Published: 13 October 2021

By Dr Jocelyn LeBlanc, Research, Data and Impact Manager, Association of Medical Research Charities

We’re thrilled to be opening the AMRC Open Research publishing platform to all researchers funded by any member charity or supporter organisation, as well as grant holders and researchers working at affiliated institutions, centres, or research networks.

AMRC Open Research offers a flexible, cost-effective publishing option that encourages open research practices, and we want to ensure all our members and their research communities can make use of it.

Our members and supporters fund research that is shaped by people living with health conditions and diseases. This is how vital breakthroughs have been made, improving understanding of disease, and ensuring it delivers the changes that matter most to the people and families living with them.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on medical research charities. Many charities have been forced to cut funding for research projects and clinical trials. These disruptions and cancellations could delay medical advances that have the potential to offer life-changing treatments to millions of people. Now more than ever, it is essential that the outputs of the research our charities fund are freely available as quickly and as widely as possible to save and improve the lives of thousands of patients. 

Maximising the impact of health-related research

Open research is becoming increasingly important with initiatives such as The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) which pledges to broaden the range of impact measures to evaluate the quality of research content and Plan S gaining momentum globally. AMRC Open Research helps ensure that medical research charities are at the forefront of this movement; empowering our members and helping ensure that their outputs can bring about real improvements to patients’ lives. 

AMRC Open Research addresses many of the challenges of the current publishing system head-on. The platform speeds up the process of sharing research, increases transparency with open peer review, and is inclusive of all research outputs regardless of novelty or result. This approach coupled with AMRC Open Research’s open data and method policies supports reproducibility.

As well as original research articles, researchers can publish a diversity of article types including methods, study protocols, reviews, data notes, and research notes. In this way the platform helps to reduce research waste ensuring that all the outputs of research are published, including null and negative results which researchers may have difficulty publishing elsewhere. This ensures that charity-funded research can progress quicker and bring benefits to patients sooner.

Putting patients first

Medical research charities fund high-quality research to save and improve lives. AMRC Open Research is designed to ensure all research results can be shared rapidly and widely, helping to minimise duplication and waste and maximise the potential for real world impact for patients.

Making outputs of research freely available as widely as possible creates a richer research environment and helps to advance science. Otherwise, scientific progress could be impeded, and this could have real consequences for people’s lives. AMRC Open Research offers our charities’ researchers a way to do this and enables them to publish negative data and results, helping reduce duplication in research and encourage more information sharing.

Many of our charities consider it critical that all the research data from the studies they fund is published, and our platform helps facilitate this.  It will expand knowledge within the research community but will importantly increase the visibility of charity-funded studies to people affected by the conditions or diseases they’re researching. This includes the publishing of negative studies, often hard to publish in mainstream journals, which will prevent valuable research resources being wasted on similar studies in the future. It is also important to publish full protocols, since this allows the replication of key datasets by other research groups, and often the lack of reproducibility across research teams is a major barrier to drug development.

Growing our influence

This innovative publishing model is gaining traction in the research community, as shown by the success of other similar platforms hosted by F1000. Wellcome Open Research started publishing articles in November 2016. Within four years it is the single most used publishing venue for Wellcome funded researchers. Open Research Europe swiftly passed the 100 article milestone after only six months of publishing its first articles. We hope our plans for AMRC Open Research will result in a similar outcome and maximise the impact of charity funded research.

Visit AMRC Open Research to learn more about the platform and view the published articles. Please contact us if you have any questions and start submitting.