Research Methods Deserve Credit and Recognition as a Valuable Research Output
Open Research and improved mechanisms to assess and evaluate researchers are both things needed for the scholarly enterprise. We now commonly see open access to research articles, data and code, and citations, which together have moved the needle for achieving both Open Research and research assessment/evaluation. However, one key element that is missing, which is a cornerstone of the research process, is access to a granular description of the methods and approaches used to perform the research. The methods, approaches, and protocols are often incredibly painstaking to develop and optimize and are the key piece needed to fully interpret the results and ensure reproducibility. Too often sufficient information about methods is missing from research articles; the Cancer Biology reproducibility project that aimed to reproduce fifty research studies was stopped after just eighteen were attempted because the efforts to understand what experiments were used was a “hopeless slog”. The research community must incorporate better research method documentation before, during, and after publication to ensure that research efforts are replicable and that the methods can be valued as a standalone research output. protocols.io is a platform, tool, and repository for collaborative method development, storage, and open access publication, which provides an ideal solution to this challenge. By publishing the methods and ensuring they have their own DOIs, any reuse and citations can be tracked and incorporated into research assessment and evaluation processes. Researchers who successfully develop and optimize research protocols deserve to receive credit for this as a distinct output alongside the overarching write-up presented in a manuscript and resulting data.
Copyright (c) 2020 Emma Ganley
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).