FIRST VIRTUAL SESSION
The Organizing Committee of the VI BRISPE thank the panelists (https://www.vibrispe2020.com/c%C3%B3pia-confirmed-speakers) and the audience that participated in the 1st virtual session, which was held in collaboration with the Brazilian National Academy of Medicine (ANM) on July 2, 2020.
It was an outstanding panel, and we wish we could have more time for discussion!
As a takeaway message linked to the 1st warm-up session, we highlight here a comment from Ana Marusic and two excerpts from two publications expressing the thoughts of Ivan Oransky and Gowri Gopalakrishna, respectively, on how to boost public trust in COVID-19 research results in our fast science environment:
Ana Marusic, Professor and Chair of the Department of Research in Biomedicine and Health at the University of Split School of Medicine, Croatia
“As for a brief statement on how to boost public trust in research results on COVID-19 in the “fast science” environment, I can say as a journal editor that it is very important to ensure the integrity of the published record. Enormous amount of data published in journals and in other outlets, such as preprints, on COVID-19 has blurred the border between the “traditional” and “non-traditional” outlets, and it is often difficult to assess the quality and validity of research. This is why journal editors and other stakeholders in scientific publishing should not lower the standards of peer review and editorial decisions on publications. Peer review process could be expedited, as examples from different journals demonstrate that is it possible, but this should not decrease the rigour of peer review and decision to publish, so that there is no waste in research on a topic that is of such grave global health concern”.
Ivan Oransky, President of the Association of Health Care Journalists, United States
“… I do think we need to be really, you know, aware of how speed can, again, while entirely necessary-- I mean, I want the vaccine as much as anybody else. I want to know more about this virus, you know, as much as anyone else. We need to be honest. And I think scientists are trying to be honest, many of them, about what speed means. It means you're rushing, obviously, by definition. It also means you're more likely to make mistakes. Part of this is an existential crisis for all of us. It's not as though this is some purely academic subject of interest. We all want things to go a certain way. We want success. We want treatments. We want cures, vaccines, et cetera. We want to stop this virus in its tracks. We're going to have what's referred to as confirmation bias. We're going to see results in a certain way... And I wouldn't necessarily say that it's even going to be worse than usual. It's going to flourish, and it's going to almost be, you know, it's gonna be accelerated, the speed, but also, I think, some of the errors as well… So I think the stakes are higher. And as long as we recognize that, then the volume of papers isn't really a problem, again, as long as you recognize that any particular paper is really preliminary.”. (https://johnshopkinssph.libsyn.com/097-retractions-of-covid-19-research-papers-how-the-race-to-find-treatments-could-mean-sloppy-science)
Gowri Gopalakrishna, Postdoctoral Researcher, Amsterdam UMC - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
“The speed and volume of data that have been published in the past few months on covid-19, emphasise the long recognised importance of maintaining research integrity…both individuals and professional societies, should actively speak out when they feel the standards for integrity in research  have been compromised. Identifying unreliable research is a global responsibility of the scientific community…editors and authors should be proactive in assuring that the review status of their publications is clearly understood. Journals should explicitly state whether a publication is peer reviewed or not and if peer reviewed, was it under a rapid review. All preprints platforms should as standard policy have warning banners to readers that the studies are not peer reviewed and should be read with great caution. Many preprint platforms already do this… As some countries have begun to ease lockdown measures and others consider what approach to take, the reliability of the research used to make these decisions will be crucial. The use of flawed studies that lacked proper peer review by predisposed advisory committees could re-ignite the pandemic and lead to further economic instability”. (https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/06/08/assuring-research-integrity-during-a-pandemic/)
During this warm-up period, we plan to have at least one virtual session per month.