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BGI’s GigaByte Wins ALPSP Scholarly Publishing Innovation Award

September 20, 2022 Views:

Award recognizes GigaByte’s unique solutions to fulfill the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, making scientific data, tools, and infrastructure available to all.

September 16, BGI's open access publishing division, GigaScience Press, has won the 2022 ALPSP Award for Innovation in Scholarly Publishing for their journal GigaByte. The award, presented annually by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), recognizes the best innovators in professional publishing and was given in recognition of GigaByte having out-of-the-box solutions to address the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Recommendation on Open Science. 

gigabyte.pngLeft to Right: Scott Edmunds, Editor in Chief of GigaScience and Chief Editor of GigaByte; Laurie Goodman, Publishing Director of GigaScience; Kaveh Bazargan, Director of River Valley Technologies.

The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, ratified in November 2021, covers not only scientific articles, but also scientific data, tools, infrastructure, etc., with the goal of making them available to everyone, including groups that have typically been ignored in the decision processes in international research and use of all available scientific information.  

Launched in 2020, GigaByte aims to promote the most rapid exchange of scientific information in a formal peer-reviewed publishing platform. GigaScience Press partnered with River Valley Technologies to develop a unique XML-first publishing platform that allows extremely rapid, low-cost article publication. The technology enables the inclusion of a variety of features such as interactive widgets, coding plugins, embedded video clips, visualization and interaction with 3D models, and blueprint downloading for 3D printing that let readers interact directly with the data used in the research. In addition, the content and the interface can be presented in any language and also in a dyslexic-friendly font, making article access highly inclusive. 

Scott Edmunds, Chief Editor of GigaByte, said:  “XML-first publishing workflows have been talked about for a long time, but it’s fantastic for GigaByte to be acknowledged as the first to demonstrate not only that the system works, but that it has real-world benefits, such as reducing costs and increasing accessibility and interactivity in scientific publishing.” 

The high speed and low cost enabled the recent publication of a series on Vectors of Human Disease, sponsored by the World Health Organization. More than half of the submissions were from Latin America, and GigaByte’s ability to publish these articles in a multilingual format allowed Portuguese and Spanish speakers to better comprehend the implications of important work relating to the public health of their communities.

The publishing platform is practically automated, thus drastically reducing publication costs. The cost savings can be passed on to the researcher, opening the door for many researchers around the world previously unable to afford publishing costs. The current article processing charge (APC) for GigaByte is $350 USD (with waivers provided for researchers where appropriate.) The industry average APC is some $2,000 USD, with some journal APCs costing more than $10,000 per article.

GigaScience Press Publishing Director Laurie Goodman explains that through Gigabyte barriers to inclusiveness are being broken down: “Although the publishing industry is working hard to become more inclusive, language and cost barriers remain substantial. International journals are typically presented only in English, impacting a large percent of scientists in non-English speaking countries, even in an open-access environment. In addition, high APCs, even with discounts, make it extremely difficult for researchers in less-well-funded laboratories from publishing their work and their achievements.”

GigaByte shared first place in the award with Charlesworth Gateway, which provides a more efficient means of communicating between editors and Chinese authors during the submission and publication process.