NEW YORK, June 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Last June, a dedicated global team of Ebola researchers began an ambitious project to track the virus using large-scale genome sequencing. Their research, which was written on the research platform Authorea and published June 18 in the journal Cell (Park 2015), reveals critical information about how the virus traveled and mutated over seven months of the recent Ebola outbreak.
Today Authorea is pleased to announce that the working draft, data, workflows, and full edit history of the paper are available to the public for free on Authorea.
This is the first time that such complete details have ever been released for a scientific paper. This release provides unprecedented transparency and detail, empowering students and researchers to review every change and edit to every word during the writing of this landmark research paper, using Authorea's "History" feature.
"When we planned this study, our team decided to make our work as open and transparent as possible, and writing the paper on Authorea is part of that," said co-lead author Daniel Park. "We felt a moral imperative to put everything out there, especially in this kind of emergency situation."
"Authorea was founded to make researchers' day-to-day tasks easier," says Authorea co-founder and Harvard Research Associate Alberto Pepe. "We realized we were wasting time emailing around documents and data. So we built a website where everyone could write and edit in the same place."
But Authorea also supports a bigger goal: making science more open. The platform is free to use for open research. "We encourage scientists to publish their entire research process: writing, data, and discussion," said Dr. Pepe. "The default stance is often to be closed, and we encourage more openness and transparency."
Researchers in life sciences and other fields often withhold their raw data for months before and even after publishing, according to recent surveys. This practice has questionable utility, as it slows the pace of research, makes it less reproducible, and erodes public trust in science.
"Open access saves lives," said Professor Peter Suber from the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and the Harvard Open Access Project, which were not involved with the Cell Ebola study. "Research saves lives, and when access is unaffordable or delayed, the access barriers put lives at risk. This is especially true in a crisis like Ebola where time is of the essence."
Authorea is an online word processor that makes research writing and publishing faster and easier. With over 41000 users and a weekly growth rate that has doubled in the past nine months, Authorea is currently the fastest-growing science publishing platform in the world.
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