New research platform aims to transform scientific publishing

Chris Liverani - Unsplash

Research England has announced funding of £650,000 to help build a new global platform for scholarly communication where research will be published as it occurs.

The platform, to be called Octopus, is aimed to transform the publication of scientific research into eight elements, unlike a traditional journal article, with free access for all.

The eight elements are:

  • problem
  • hypothesis or rationale
  • methods or protocol
  • data or results
  • analysis
  • interpretation
  • real-world implementation
  • peer review.

'Elements are linked together on Octopus, to form chains of collaborative work. These smaller units of publication encourage faster sharing, and credit can be given to individual work at all stages of the research process, including peer review' (UKRI News, 6th August 2021).

The platform:

  • is free for researchers to publish their work
  • is free for anyone to read
  • embeds the principles of openness and transparency throughout.

Its aim is to reward best practice in every aspect of the scientific process and be a useful tool to build on collaborative research and save costs with unnecessary repetition of research.

The design emphasis will be on speed and ease of use, both for authors to share their own work and to search for relevant work of others.

Director of Octopus, Dr Alexandra Freeman, told UKRI News:

My hope for Octopus is that it breaks down barriers to access  scientific research, helps remove hierarchies and the culture problems that those cause, and encourages a new culture of collaboration, constructive critique and fast sharing of work.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown not only how important fast and open publication of research is, but also what can be achieved when the scientific community work together towards a common goal.

COVID-19 research shouldn’t be the exception. All research should be this transparent, and freely available to all.


Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash