Reflecting on 2021 - F1000
Reflecting on 2021

Reflecting on 2021

6 mins

Rebecca Lawrence

We foster a culture of innovation to accelerate the reach of knowledge and put it in the hands of those who will shape the future.

December is one of my favorite months of the year as it’s a time to pause, reflect and collect what we’ve learned about ourselves and our business this year, so that we can put our best foot forward, energized by hope in the year ahead.

I remember the start of January 2021 exclaiming, “Bring on 2021!” after what was a truly unprecedented 2020 – and 2021 certainly did bring it on here at F1000! The way we’re ending this year is beyond what anyone could have predicted.

A year of firsts

Learning to dance with uncertainty whilst also staying focused on our vision is a skill that we have certainly developed over this year. Our mission of ‘fostering a culture of innovation to accelerate the reach of knowledge and put it in the hands of those who will shape the future’ has remained clear, even though the pathway may have changed and adapted. It has helped us to build internal resilience, explore new possibilities and partnerships, and build true scale in our teams and our operations.

Probably one of the most significant and largest projects that we’ve delivered this year was to launch Open Research Europe in March, the platform in collaboration with the European Commission for Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe grantees. The platform reached two significant milestones only a few months later: reaching 100 publications by September, and receiving the DOAJ Seal in October. It’s also incredible to see the breadth of disciplines that are already starting to be published on the platform, with the majority so far covering social sciences and engineering. So not our historical areas of focus, but it’s fantastic to see that interest and growth in those fields.

Exploring new territories

In 2021, new successes were born out of our relationship with Taylor & Francis, particularly due to the greater global reach that being part of such a large international organization can provide.

In April, we announced our first foray into China with two partnerships. Our partnership with Beihang University provides the first open access publication platform that is dedicated to ‘Digital Twin’ technologies and it was exciting to see the first articles go live only a few months later in September. We also partnered with another Chinese institution, AUBO (Beijing) Intelligent Science and Technology Co. Ltd, to develop the first open research publishing platform dedicated to the science and technology of collaborative robots. This platform started accepting submissions in August.

Shortly after, in May, we launched our first major new product, showcasing other opportunities provided by our partnership with Taylor Francis, in this case utilizing their significant strengths in books publishing. The pilot of a new book publishing concept, called Open Plus Books, fuses the traditional print and open access books model with F1000’s open research publishing model. We were delighted to publish this first pilot book on Gates Open Research, one of our partner platforms.

Around the same time, we announced that the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) partnered with F1000 to migrate MedEdPublish onto the F1000 system. This expands their existing relationship with Taylor & Francis. The platform officially started welcoming submissions in August, with the first articles published at the start of November.

We reached another milestone in July, with the launch of our first Gateway in India. F1000 partnered with the International Institute of Academic Research & Publications (IIARP) to create a dedicated open research publishing hub for IIARP researchers. This was just the start of our growth in this market – we’ve since launched two other Gateways in India, with more coming soon:

  • NIPER-Kolkata launched in August, enabling a home for the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and – Research (NIPER-Kolkata) conference outputs.
  • Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) launched its own open access publishing hub in October for researchers with a MAHE affiliation.

Speaking of new territories, in September we launched one of the world’s first open research publishing platforms in the field of International Relations through our first venture into Poland working with the University of Warsaw. Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations transitioned to an open research publishing model, offering innovative open access publishing opportunities for International Relations researchers by migrating their existing journal onto a new platform.

The trailblazing continues

Around the same time, Taylor & Francis announced that they are launching the first open research publishing platform for the Materials Science community, utilizing the publishing model, technology and knowledge pioneered by F1000. This joint initiative strengthens our shared goals of amplifying and democratizing research and is another firm step forward in expanding Taylor & Francis’ capabilities into open research and open access publishing. The publishing platform, known as Materials Open Research, offers researchers and industry experts within the Materials Science community, a space to publish, share and promote their work in an accessible and transparent way, with submissions being accepted in November.

In October, we were delighted to extend our publishing offering on F1000Research into all subject disciplines, with the latest addition of Humanities, Social Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering completing the line-up. In recognition of the different needs that these communities have in conducting and publishing their research, we also launched two new article types on F1000Research: Policy Briefs and Case Studies.

We are thrilled to have ended the year with an incredible achievement: the launch of the world’s first open research publishing platform dedicated to HSS that combines books, articles, and other research outputs in one interdisciplinary venue! Routledge Open Research combines F1000’s innovative open research publishing model with Routledge’s reputation and global market reach. It will host books (through Open Plus Books), peer-reviewed articles and other content together for the first time, affording scholars, institutions, departments, funders, and societies the opportunity to publish all their research outputs in one dedicated, inter-disciplinary place.

And last but certainly not least, we re-invigorated the F1000 brand in 2021 to better reflect our current mission and vision, which is to empower researchers, advance knowledge and engage society. It has been designed to reflect both our history and partnership with the scientific community, as well as our goals of transparent and open research for all. Our vision statement has been created to articulate our aspirations and reflects F1000’s unwavering and long held belief in the principles of open research.

Bring on 2022

As you can see, despite the huge global challenge we have faced, we’ve accomplished many things at F1000 this year working both with our colleagues in Taylor & Francis, and with many exciting new partners around the world and across the scholarly landscape. We have big plans to continue with this momentum in 2022!

We will keep working hard to realize our vision to make research openly accessible, enabling rapid access to knowledge for all. We will strive to minimize reporting and publication bias, and research waste, whilst supporting the verification and reuse of research. Our publishing offerings will continue to enable transparency, fairness, and accountability of expert reviewers, and to support a holistic research evaluation system. We are eager to continue working to provide a scholarly communication system that maximizes the societal benefit of research.