Why ASAPbio?

Science only progresses as quickly and efficiently as it is shared. But even with all of the technological capabilities available today, the process of publishing scientific work is taking longer than ever.

ASAPbio (Accelerating Science and Publication in biology) is a scientist-driven nonprofit working to drive open and innovative communication in the life sciences. We promote the productive use of preprints for research dissemination and transparent peer review and feedback on all research outputs.

From Vale 2015

Vision

We envision a life sciences communication ecosystem where all papers and other outputs are shared rapidly and without restrictions on access or reuse, and open and constructive exchanges take place on research products at all stages.

Values

ASAPbio seeks to embody the following values and priorities through our projects, activities and community work:

Focus on researchers

To improve the scholarly communication ecosystem researchers must be actively involved in the design and implementation of new approaches to share, discuss, and evaluate research. Rapid open sharing, discussion, and collaboration around research are needed to ensure an ecosystem where scientists can thrive. Researchers should have mechanisms available to openly share their research findings when they are ready to do so, while ensuring that their work is reported accurately and responsibly.

Advancing scientific discovery

Rapid open access and evaluation for all scientific outputs drives progress, new discoveries, and public good.

Equity, inclusion, and accessibility

Open availability of research outputs will reduce barriers to the access and reuse of research findings for all researchers. More open discussion and evaluation will also increase the opportunities for interaction, collaboration, and broad participation by researchers from different communities and backgrounds. Innovation in science communication must actively seek and include the viewpoints of those who have traditionally been underrepresented, including early-career researchers, racially and ethnically minoritized groups, people with disabilities, and those based in the Global South.

Respect and empathy

Greater understanding and appreciation of different perspectives will help us to design communication systems that meet the needs of scientists across the world.

Collaboration and transparency

Just as the most effective science is driven by collaboration and transparency, the same values must guide our work to improve research communication.

Experimentation and adaptation to evidence-based best practice

We embrace new ideas and technological innovations, and we will lead experiments that allow us to learn which new approaches best support science and scientists.

History

In 2015, ASAPbio founder Ron Vale published an analysis of the increasing time to first-author publication among graduate students at UCSF, and proposed a more widespread use of preprints in the life sciences as a potential solution. He recruited three fellow members of Rescuing Biomedical Research (Daniel Colon-Ramos, Harold Varmus, and Jessica Polka) to organize a meeting on the topic. Held at the headquarters of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in early 2016, the meeting concluded with broad consensus among attendees (among them researchers, funders, and representatives from journals and publishers) that preprints could productively contribute to the research ecosystem. As follow up from the meeting, ASAPbio began serving as a dedicated organization to coordinate efforts promoting the adoption of preprints in the life sciences.

ASAPbio subsequently received grant funding, incorporated as a nonprofit, and, in 2017, initiated a second area of programming focusing on increasing transparency in peer review. 

Team

Board of Directors

James Fraser

Vice President

Headshot of Iain Cheeseman
Iain Cheeseman

Treasurer

Jennifer Lin

Secretary

Photo of Needhi Bhalla
Needhi Bhalla
Phil Bourne
Heather Joseph
R. Dyche Mullins
Headshot of Mark Patterson
Mark Patterson
Kristen Ratan
Dick Wilder

Staff

Executive Director

As Executive Director of ASAPbio, Jessica leads initiatives related to peer review and oversees the organization’s general administrative and strategic needs. Background: Jessica performed postdoctoral research in the department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School (2013-2016) following a PhD in Biochemistry from UCSF (2012). She lives and works in Somerville, MA. ORCID: 0000-0001-6610-9293 Pronouns:…

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Photo of Iratxe Puebla

Associate Director

Iratxe is Associate Director for ASAPbio. In her role Iratxe works to foster awareness of preprints and drive community engagement, Iratxe also coordinates the ASAPbio Fellows program. Prior to ASAPbio, Iratxe worked in publishing for 16 years, she held editorial roles with Open Access publishers, initially at BioMed Central and then PLOS, where she was Deputy…

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Victoria Yan

Peer Review Registry Coordinator (Intern)

Alumni

 

Jesse Bloom, Board member, 2020-2021

Daniel Colón-Ramos, Board member, 2017-2020

Tony Hyman, Board member, 2017-2020

Harlan Krumholz, Board member, 2017-2018

Maria Leptin, Board member, 2017-2018

Naomi Penfold, Associate Director 2018-2020

Jigisha Patel, Project Coordinator, 2020-2021

Ron Vale, Founder, President, and Board member, 2015-2020

Carly Strasser, Board member, 2017

Harold Varmus, Board member, 2017-2020

Cynthia Wolberger, Board member, 2017-2021

Approaches

Convening

We have gathered people through meetings and workshops, producing stakeholder perspectives on the roles of preprintsnew ideas for peer review, and recommendations for preprint technology and metadata development. Where possible, we videocast our meetings to enable remote participation and complement in-person discussions with surveys (for example, on the benefits and concerns about preprints) and pre-meeting commentaries on preprints and peer review.

Community building

We work with a community and Fellows who act as local points of contact in their institutions and fields. Since 2016, over 130 researchers have joined us and organised discussions and campaigns in their local communities. We offer support and guidance to help community members bring preprints to new research fields, institutions, and locales. We invite you to join! 

Resource development

We act as a hub for information about recent policy developments and in-depth coverage of key issues. Our preprint FAQs have been viewed by over 5,000 users, and we continue to add resources to explain preprint licensing, showcase funders who support preprints and identify journal policies that encourage their use.

Advocacy

We call for more progressive policies on publication from funders, universities, and journals. For example, over 350 journals have signed our open letter to call for the publication of peer review reports and subsequently updated their practices. This shows that many journals already support transparent peer review and is a strong call for other journals to consider this too.

How we work

Grants and Contributions

Preprints

Preprints accelerate the progress of science by enabling researchers to disseminate their results to one another months or years ahead of final journal publication.

From 2016-2018, our work was supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and the Simons Foundation. Starting in 2018, our work on preprinting has been supported by our Member Advisory Group.

Peer review

Peer review is regarded as an essential feature of scientific publication, but it is shrouded from public view. We believe that increasing the transparency and portability of peer review will lead to a robust and efficient publication system.

Our peer review work is supported by a grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Services

Consulting

We are pleased to offer consulting services on mission-aligned projects related to preprints and open peer review.

For example, in 2020-2021, ASAPbio partnered with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to identify shared technology needs for preprints. We conducted user interviews, identified and consulted with key services, and hosted an online workshop (see report).

Workshops and trainings

We offer sessions on preprints, peer review, and the scientific publishing ecosystem suitable, for example, for NIH training grant Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) classes. We are also available to provide workshops to librarians, students, and researchers.

For more information on the above, contact Executive Director Jessica Polka (jessica.polka@asapbio.org).

Strategic goals

 

Drive adoption of preprints & other approaches to early research sharing

  • Develop resources that communicate the value of preprints and progress in adoption across life sciences and tailor resources to the needs of individual communities and different stakeholders
  • Collaborate with research groups who are exploring preprints and their value
  • Develop metrics to evaluate progress in adoption at discipline and geographical level
  • Focus on supporting underrepresented fields, regions and/or demographic groups where ASAPbio can bring the most impact to support preprint adoption
  • Support modalities for the early and rapid communication of all scholarly outputs, including shorter preprints and other research objects

Maximize the value of peer review as scholarship

  • Support approaches to maximize efficiency in the communication, sharing and reuse of reviews, to accelerate assessment of research works and reduce reviewer time/resource waste.
  • Work on initiatives that support the review/input on all research outputs (preprints, early papers, journal articles etc)  and at all stages of their communication (i.e. both within and outside journal publication)
  • Explore avenues to provide visibility to reviews/commentary  via quantitative tracking of activity, outreach that communicates their value in science communication and support of meta-research into review and commentary of all research outputs.

Communicate the principles of the future of science communication we aim to achieve

  • Articulate the principles and values that we feel need to guide the future science communication and share these publicly
  • Use these principles as guide for how new initiatives, projects or tools in science communication align to our vision and goals as an organization, and to help us prioritize potential collaborations.

Grow reach of ASAPbio Community and empower Community members

  • Proactively work to ensure broad representation in our community and organization groups (e.g. Board of Directors) and address gaps in representation (e.g related to race, geographical location, language, career stage)
  • Deliver programs that empower members of the community to further communicate our mission and principles such as the Fellows program, Community calls and workshops targeted at specific disciplines or stakeholder groups
  • Seek collaboration with local communities as well as others in the science communication space

Keep in touch

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Transparency

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (EIN: 81-4921243) incorporated in the state of California (entity #: C3975544).

Download our IRS form 990s: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020