ASAPbio is a scientist-driven initiative to promote the productive use of preprints in the life sciences.
Board members (BoD/Advisory Board)
Dick Wilder (non-voting)
ASAPbio was created as a focal point for engaging the biology community in a discussion about the role that preprints (see video below) could play in communicating results in the life sciences. The original purpose of ASAPbio was to gather major stakeholders (junior and senior scientists, academic chairs/administrators, scientific societies, publishers, and private and public funders) at HHMI Headquarters outside Washington DC on February 16/17, 2016. Recognizing the limitations in physical attendance, we made the entirety of the meeting available through live streaming, and this footage is now archived online.
Given the diversity of individuals and organizations invited, the outcome of the meeting was unknown. The program was intended to provoke thoughtful group analysis as well as individual reflection. By the close of the meeting, a consensus emerged from the scientists, funders, and the majority of journals that preprints could benefit both the public good as well as the individual scientist. We asked all attendees (physical and virtual) to submit feedback on three draft statements concerning the use of preprints, and the response was extremely positive. Our pre-meeting web survey results from the community also indicated support for preprints, especially if barriers could be removed. The meeting was summarized by a report in Science, and it was also covered by the New York Times, The Economist, and Wired.
The second meeting (ASAPbio Funders’ Workshop on Preprints) was held at the National Institutes of Health on May 24, 2016. This meeting brought together many private and public funding agencies to explore their interest in 1) supporting the use of preprints as evidence of productivity in grant applications and 2) providing funding (potentially as a consortium) for an improved preprint service for biologists. A detailed description of the agenda can be found here. At the conclusion of the meeting, the funders expressed a strong interest in both. They summarized their conclusions in this statement on the ASAPbio.org web site.
A third meeting (ASAPbio Technical Workshop) was held at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, MA on 8/30 to discuss the technical specifications of organizing preprints into a common database, which we tentatively term as a Central Service. The role of the Central Service would be to aggregate content, enhance discoverability, and promote innovative reuse of pre-reviewed literature. A key feature of such a service, in our view, would be governance by the community.
In our current work, we seek to engage different stakeholders and the world-wide scientific community in order to implement a sensible preprint system. We emphasize upfront that journals, funders, societies and scientists will be all embraced as partners who are providing good for the scientific enterprise and society. The goal is to improve choice of communication, not to take choices away. Most importantly, upcoming engagement will require the involvement of thousands of people, most importantly individual scientists at all career stages.
On January 9, 2017, ASAPbio incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the state of California.
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If you want to do more and help us as an ASAPbio Ambassador (a point of contact with your academic institution, journal, agency, etc) then please sign up here. Tell us who you are and any ideas that you have. We welcome graduate students, postdocs, deans, journal editors, scientific societies, foundations, etc. This is a global project and we welcome individuals from all countries.
We thank our funders (the Simons, Sloan, Arnold, and Moore Foundations) and our hosts (the National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences) for supporting our meetings and activities.