Transforming Article Publishing to Keep Pace with Open Research

March 25, 2019 Elizabeth Moylan

Have you shared data on publication? Have you pre-registered a study design? Have you made materials available to other researchers? At Wiley, we support initiatives that improve transparency in research and its publication, for example, our work supporting data sharingRegistered Reportstransparent peer review, and open research badges. But how can we recognize (and celebrate) when researchers have adopted an open research practice? Here we speak with Wiley colleagues Rebecca Reddecliffe and Stuart Allen about their work to support open research initiatives.

Q. Rebecca and Stuart, can you explain a little about your roles at Wiley?

RR: I am a Product Manager in the Wiley Online Library (WOL) team. I work closely with colleagues including user experience designers, Journal Publishing Managers, marketers and society partners to develop new features and get constant feedback on the platform. My role is particularly focused on roadmap developments for our society partners, listening to their challenges and implementing potential solutions.

SA: I am a User Experience (UX) Designer in the Product Management team working primarily on WOL, but also on other features (such as Journal apps). I work closely with product managers to help develop features and requirements based on customer and internal feedback


Q. Given Wiley’s commitment to open research, what are you focusing on right now?

RR: Our focus is on creating a seamless infrastructure for our user-facing platforms and supporting systems. But to truly facilitate the cultural change that Henriikka Mustajoki (Head of Development, Federation of Finnish Learned Societies) discussed with us last year, we need to help in ‘calling out’ the ways in which individual researchers engage with open research. We know some facets of open research are more in demand in some subject areas than others, but our focus is creating the structure to support any journal in adopting open initiatives when they’re ready to do so. 

SA: Researchers are the primary users of the Wiley Online Library, access to the content is their priority, and open research initiatives are enabling openness of the materials that accompany the final article. From an author’s point of view, they want to get their research out there to as wide an audience as possible. As authors, funders, and societies create a groundswell of support for open research initiatives, we’re providing the toolkits to help them. Researchers are continuously moving between the author and reader role during the research lifecycle. Open research allows us to create a stronger bridge between these roles, giving researchers access to the data to draw out their own analyses and conclusions and build upon them, creating greater engagement with the content itself.

Q. So, how do you go about finding out what researchers want and what they need?

SA: Our researcher insight shows that researchers primarily want to get to the content, the abstract and PDF traditionally.

We use this understanding to drive the principles of content layout. For example, the header area is reserved for only the most essential information, title, author, date of publication. This ensures users get to the information they need as quickly as possible and we don’t want to disrupt or hinder this.  

We thoroughly test new features with users and share learnings. When developing potential open research elements, we keep this experience in mind, as well as the other requirements, such as the need to make the materials prominent but not disruptive to a reader’s usual flow through an article.

Q. And did this work lead to any new developments?

RR: Yes, the feedback we received led us to create a new article section, ‘Open Research’ for all journals adopting open research initiatives (see Figure 1). This section gives individual open research elements the prominence they deserve, placing them in front of the paywall, in a scalable and familiar position for supporting information around an article. The section makes it easier for authors to indicate, for example, where these elements can be found and how to access them.

We have started our work with data availability statements and open research Badges, placing them in this section. We have refined initial ideas and our collaboration with societies, editors and colleagues steered the look and feel of the section. 

Figure 1. Data availability statement in the Open Research section.

Q. Do you feel this is a robust and optimal solution? Were there other options to consider?

SA: Yes, we did explore other approaches at first. For example, an early concept for data availability statements was to place them in the article themselves, but they were easily lost at the end of the discussion and conclusions. We moved them to the header area in front of the paywall, but it was too congested and gave a poor reader experience (see Fig. 2 below).

RR: As open researcher initiatives began to grow, we wanted a solution that gave the reader the information they needed as part of their usual reading flow without adding extra clicks or steps. As we eliminated options and gained more insight through feedback, the idea of the expandable open research section was born. 

Figure 2. Early evolution of Data Availability Statement in the header.

Q. That all sounds fabulous can you share more of what is to come?

We’re excited to see the data availability statements and open research badges evolve on WOL over the course of the next year. We have a roadmap of exciting new ideas to explore, supporting the adoption of more open research practices such as the CRediT classification for authors’ individual contributions and post-publication peer review options too.

If any partners have ideas or would like to discuss open research initiatives, please reach out to us or your usual contact at Wiley.

About the Author

Elizabeth Moylan

Publisher, Wiley //

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