ASAPbio (Accelerating Science and Publication in biology) is a scientist-driven initiative to promote innovation and transparency in life sciences communication. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit incorporated in the state of California.

Board of Directors
Ron Vale (President)
Cynthia Wolberger (Vice President)
James Fraser (Secretary & Treasurer)
Prachee Avasthi
Daniel Colón-Ramos
Tony Hyman
Heather Joseph
Harlan Krumholz
Harold Varmus
Dick Wilder

Executive Director
Jessica Polka

Promoting preprinting

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 Scienceand it was also covered by the New York Times, The Economist, and Wired.

Since that time, ASAPbio has acted an information hub for the life sciences community, providing resources on preprints such as a FAQ and tracking journal, funder, and university policies. We also have organized a series of workshops to discuss the evolving preprint ecosystem and organized discussions on current topics, such as preprint licensing.

 

Peer Review

On February 7-9, 2018, a group of approximately 90 junior and senior scientists, publishers, editors, and funders convened at HHMI Headquarters in Chevy Chase, MD for a meeting on Transparency, Recognition, and Innovation in Peer Review in the Life Sciences, organized by Wellcome, ASAPbio, and HHMI. The plenary sessions of the agenda were webcast, and all videos can be viewed in the webcast archive. Slides from talks can be downloaded from the agenda.

In the weeks leading up to the meeting, two surveys captured attitudes toward our current peer review system, and community members wrote commentaries to discuss visions for its evolution.

The event itself kicked off on the evening of Feburary 7th with keynotes from Erin O’Shea (President of HHMI), Jeremy Berg (Editor-in-Chief of Science) and Mike Lauer (Deputy Director for Extramural Research at NIH). After a morning of discussion, participants (both in-person and virtual) took part in an a vote on statements related to transparency and recognition to gauge the development of consensus. The results of a vote suggested that the majority of participants favored:

  1. Publishing the content of peer reviews (with or without the reviewers’ names) and making these reports a formal part of the scholarly record with an associated DOI,
  2. Formal recognition and credit for peer review activities from funding agencies and institutions, and
  3. Acknowledging all contributors to a peer review report (such as students and postdocs) when submitting it to a journal.

 

Getting involved

If you are interested in ASAPbio, and want to keep informed, please subscribe with the text box on the right side of the website.

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.

Acknowledgements

All members of the original organizing committee for the February 2016 meeting (Daniel Colón Ramos, Jessica Polka, Ron Vale, Harold Varmus) are also affiliated with Rescuing Biomedical Research.

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.