The ukactive Research Institute has announced plans to make all academic research it conducts available as 'pre-print articles' to stakeholders in the physical activity sector.
The move is part of the institute's strategic objective to make data more quickly available to all physical activity practitioners, policymakers and all those who might benefit from the findings.
In a blog post, the institutes principal investigator, Dr James Steele, said the move was a step towards "open science in sport, exercise and physical activity".
"From its inception, one of the core aims of the ukactive Research Institute was to bridge the evidence gap between traditional laboratory-based ‘exercise is medicine’ research and real-world interventions," Steele writes.
"In order to bridge the gap, a strategic objective of the Research Institute is to use its unique position at the heart of the health and physical activity sector to disseminate data and key findings to practitioners, operators, policymakers, local government and health agencies to ensure lessons translate to actions.
"As a first step in this process, the Research Institute will endeavour to make all academic research it conducts open access upon completion as ‘pre-print articles’.
"At present, the traditional route to academic publication and dissemination of findings involves submission of papers to journals where the work is peer reviewed prior to publication.
Of course, this adds an element of quality control to the process, which is a valuable part of science as a method. This is not something we are forgoing and we will be submitting our work for peer review concomitantly on completion alongside our pre-print article.
"However, the traditional academic publishing route can add lengthy delays to dissemination, and often the findings of academic work are not openly accessible to those who might benefit most from those findings.
"With our pre-print articles, we intend to disseminate findings early (with the caveat that they have not been fully peer-reviewed – though all articles are independently vetted by a recently formed open access repository called SportRCiv, as being of an academic standard.
"The intention is to enable the wider academic community, in addition to practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders, to see the results of our work without barriers so that they might benefit from them.
"For academics, it enables feedback, debate and discussion to inform future work.
"For practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders, we will include with all pre-prints a summary highlighting the approach taken and main findings, alongside conclusions and limitations – enabling the work to inform practice.
"This is an important step towards ensuring our work benefits the sector, and with time we will be looking to embed other open science practices within our policy, including pre-registration of protocols, analysis and data."
To read Steele's full blog, click here.