Wednesday, 11 January 2023

Europe PMC in 2022: a year in review




With the start of the new year Europe PMC reflects back on the year 2022. As many of us adjusted to hybrid working, with the opportunity to return back to the office, meet new colleagues, and attend conferences and workshops in person again for the first time since the pandemic, Europe PMC’s efforts continued to concentrated on open access to research, building trust in preprints, user-centred design, and long term sustainability.

Preprint highlights

In 2022, in line with our open access commitment, Europe PMC has increased the number of preprints available with the inclusion of five new preprint platforms: SciELO Preprints, Access Microbiology, ARPHA preprints, agriRxiv, and EcoEvoRxiv. Over 520,000 preprints from 28 preprint servers are now freely discoverable in Europe PMC.

Following the success of full text COVID-19 preprints in Europe PMC, conversion of full text preprints funded by Europe PMC funders was launched in April 2022, to improve the discoverability of science reported in preprints, and increase the visibility of research supported by Europe PMC funders. These full text preprints are available via the Europe PMC website, as well as automated bulk download for text-mining and programmatic analysis.

For those interested in reviewing preprints in a journal club setting Europe PMC ran a webinar on how to use Europe PMC to select and evaluate preprints. Europe PMC also expanded the number of preprint review providers in Europe PMC by the inclusion of public preprint evaluations available from Sciety, a preprint review platform.

Finally, to help increase transparency and build trust in preprints, Europe PMC developed the Article status monitor tool, which can alert researchers when a preprint is withdrawn or removed, published in a journal, or has a new version. For further information and to learn more about the tool, see this poster presented by Europe PMC at the Reproducibility, Replicability and Trust in Science conference.


 

Service for users

Europe PMC places users at the heart of innovation. To provide even more powerful and customisable search tools, user research was carried out to inform the redesign of the advanced search and main search functionality. Based on what was learnt, some changes have already been implemented – for example, changing the default sort order to relevance. Europe PMC also completed a user research study investigating ways to collate and display preprint peer review status to help build trust in preprints. Preprint review is an area of increasing interest to the research community, and therefore an important part of the Europe PMC roadmap. For more information on Europe PMC’s user research and future plans in this area see our lightning talk at the Recognising preprint peer review conference.

A site-wide user survey was launched in November, to better understand how you use Europe PMC, what you like about it, and where improvements can be made. The survey results will help guide the development of many exciting projects that we can’t wait to share with you! Keep up to date with us by following @EuropePMC_news on Twitter. Europe PMC is always keen to learn from user feedback and hopes that a new and improved design of the feedback form will make sharing your thoughts easier than ever.



 

Sustainability

There are a number of ways work on the long term sustainability of Europe PMC has been approached this past year.

In February 2022 Europe PMC adopted the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI) – a set of guidelines by which open scholarly infrastructures can be operated and sustained. The Europe PMC review against POSI demonstrated our commitment to provide high quality, sustainable, open, and community driven infrastructure, and highlighted potential improvements to increase the proportion of open source code Europe PMC is run on.

In December, Europe PMC was announced as a Global Core BioData Resource by the Global BioData Coalition, demonstrating the need for the long term funding and sustainability of Europe PMC as a critical global life science and biomedical research infrastructure.

To this end, Europe PMC was excited to announce that it has welcomed three new funders to the Europe PMC funder family in 2022. The Medical Research Foundation funds research that will ‘advance medical research, improve human health and change peoples lives’. Health and Care Research Wales focuses on health and social care, with their goal ‘to ensure that today’s research makes a difference to tomorrow’s care’. The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) funds clinical research in line with their vision ‘to reduce the individual, social and economic burden of poverty-related infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa’. All Europe PMC funders expect research they fund to be made openly available, and we delivered a webinar explaining how to make research open with Europe PMC.

To help address the urgent challenges of climate change seen across the globe, and in line with EMBL’s sustainability strategy, Europe PMC has worked hard to migrate services to a new high performance computing farm to reduce our energy consumption and resultant impact on the planet.
 

Final remarks

Europe PMC is dedicated to providing an exceptional free and open service for the scientific community that meets your needs. Europe PMC will continue to be guided by user feedback as part of its mission to support innovation and discovery by engaging users, enabling contributors, and integrating related research outputs.

Take a look at the plans for 2023 on Europe PMC’s Roadmap and let us know what you think!


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