In mid-November 2019 the NYTimes published an article based on a newly leaked proposed EPA policy that put forth three options of new rules on which EPA policies should be based - as well as greatly expanded the application of the proposed rule.
The EPA’s new proposed rule uses buzz words of transparency, replication, peer review process, and more to make it seems as if this policy is strengthening scientific inquiry. In reality, it would most likely result in the exclusion of relevant studies due to excessive data sharing requirements that would result in the violation of privacy and confidentiality in human subject studies. Rather than bettering science through increasing transparency, it would harm the scientific community by forcing scientists to either violate patients’ privacy or to not have their final studies usable by the EPA. This lack of scientific information also potentially harms the general public.
The leaked document greatly expands the applicability of the proposed rule to include all data and model underlying ‘pivotal regulatory science’ rather than just limiting to ‘dose-response data’ and ‘dose-response models’. As stated in the leaked policy, the EPA is proposing three data sharing models to support this regulation.
With three options for publicly available data/models, the first would exclude any studies without publicly available data/models. The first alternate option, the weighing option, would allow for the inclusion of studies that are unable to make their data/models publicly available as the basis of pivotal regulatory science, but the EPA could arbitrarily place less weight on said studies “to the point of entirely disregarding them.” This would greatly affect policymaking and result in the weakening or repealing of policies as this would apply to all studies regardless of when generated. As would the tiered access option, which would be a more reasonable option better balancing the issue of protecting privacy while also maintaining proper data sharing. See below in the “changes in more recent, leaked document section” for details.
There are better methods, as set by Science and Nature, such that data sharing is enforced but for situations in which it is not fully possible, replication of studies is possible through confidential access for researchers.
Changes in more recent, leaked document
Last month we released a new report on the state of reproducibility, falsifiability, and the scientific method. Read the report below!
Ripeta is a finalist for the 2019 Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) Award for Innovation in Publishing.
This award is "open to any new development, product, service, launch or project which is both innovative and of significant value to scholarly communication. The winners must demonstrate excellence in terms of originality and innovation, significance and value to its community, utility and long-term viability."
Ripeta will be showcased at the ALPSP Conference and the winner announced at the Awards Dinner on 12 September. The ALPSP Awards recognize and celebrate the best innovators in our industry at a time when scholarly publishing is changing rapidly.
To learn more about Ripeta and the award nomination, check out the ALPSP blog post with Founder, Dr. Leslie McIntosh: https://blog.alpsp.org/2019/08/spotlight-on-ripeta.html.
Ricochet*, the new tool by Ripeta, llc is the latest research tool to receive up to $30K (£25K) from the prestigious Catalyst Grant, courtesy of Digital Science – the technology company responsible for helping the global research community work smarter and discover more.
Founded by a team of three science-related experts who joined forces whilst working at Washington University in St. Louis, Ricochet was developed to assess, design, and disseminate practices and measures to improve the reproducibility of science with minimal burden on scientists, starting with the biomedical sciences.
Ricochet’s main focus is on assessing the quality of the reporting and robustness of the scientific method rather than the quality of the science.
Ripeta, llc Co-Founder and biomedical expert Dr Leslie McIntosh, shares her thoughts on receiving a Catalyst Grant:
“Technological advances, increased data, and complex analytical techniques have increased scientific discovery, yet convoluted the process of scientific reproducibility. At Ripeta, we are building the Ricochet toolset to improve reproducibility – separating the scientific method from the science. We are excited to win the Catalyst Grant to propel this work forward over the next year.”
Steve Scott, Director of Portfolio Development at Digital Science and one of the Catalyst Grant judges said:
“Reproducibility is one of the biggest challenges for the research and evidence community, so it’s great to know that Ricochet is working to improve this key area, starting with biomedical science research.
“Twice a year we open the Catalyst Grant to applications from all over the world – and each year we receive more applications. This year we were especially pleased to have received 30% of our applications from women, a trend we hope to see continue.
“The people best positioned to know what innovations are needed are researchers themselves – but it’s incredibly hard for those with an idea to secure early-stage funding – finding investors who understand the research market is a challenge, meaning many potentially successful ideas remain just that, ‘ideas’. That’s exactly why we created the Catalyst Grant – our financial support, alongside our advice makes a real difference.”
About the Catalyst Grant from Digital Science
Digital Science, the organisation that revealed how Brexit would cost the UK’s research and evidence market a whopping £1 billion, has created an innovation-friendly environment for anyone with an early stage idea that could impact global research, it’s called the Catalyst Grant. Twice a year anyone with an idea that could improve research can apply for up to £25K ($30K) and if awarded, they will receive incubator-type support from market-leading experts to help create their product and get it into the hands of the people who need it most.
*We are now simply using 'ripeta' as the name for the technology suite developed by our company.