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FORCE2018 at McGill University on October 11-12, 2018 – with pre-conference workshops on Oct 10 hosted at Concordia University
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Thursday, October 11 • 2:30pm - 3:00pm
The Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium (NPRC): Reconfiguring the publication workflow in neuroscience

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In this presentation, we provide an overview of the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium (NPRC), one of the earliest attempts in biomedicine to address systemic problems in the publication workflow. The NPRC is hosted by INCF, the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (incf.org), an international organization that serves as a forum for coordinating digital neuroscience, particularly neuroscience infrastructure, across international borders. The NPRC was conceived at a Society for Neuroscience (sfn.org) -sponsored workshop held in 2007, Pubmed Plus: New Directions in Publishing and Data Mining, that focused on future opportunities for publishing in neuroscience, particularly for linking journals and data. The NPRC recognized that the current system of competing for limited space in top journals led to inefficiencies in publishing and an overstretched pool of reviewers. More than a dozen journals came together and agreed to share peer reviews across journals, regardless of the publisher. The NPRC has been running since 2008 and currently lists 24 journals.

During this time, there have been significant changes in the publishing landscape, e.g., the rise of “sound science” journals like PLoS One, ORCIDs, data journals, data citation and most recently, a change in attitude towards pre-print services in biomedicine. The NPRC was one of the first groups to reimagine how the publication workflow could work, and took some sensible steps to do so. It has been operating at a sustained but modest level, in part because of some of the technological and sociological barriers to transferring reviews in our current systems. But over time, members of this consortium have started to recognized that we could go much further.

In addition to streamlining the process of peer review, and re-imagining the publication workflow, the community would benefit immensely from an agreement across the many neuroscience journals to establish the standards by which both data and code are communicated across the community and reviewed. NPRC can therefore act as a forum and a decision body based on consensus to harmonize some of the practices in the field. The social process used to choose, establish and enforce these best practices would follow the INCF transparency and consensus building principles.

This talk will engage the audience to consider the future of the NPRC network and the need for cohesive actions led by the community across competing journals.

My co-authors are Maryann E. Martone, UCSD and David N. Kennedy, University of Massachusetts


Jean-Baptiste Poline

Resercher, McGill
Publication culture in research, data analsysis methods in brain imaging