The following blog post is a collaboration between the Center for Open Science and the Focused Ultrasound Foundation.
In 2016, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation funded a clinical trial investigating the efficacy of a focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor (ET) which yielded transformative findings. The trial demonstrated that focused ultrasound could very effectively treat ET with little to no side effects, a very significant improvement on previous treatment outcomes. To publish this groundbreaking research, however, the researcher unfortunately had to abide by a nine-month publication embargo which delayed FDA approval of the treatment and thus life changing treatments for many patients suffering with the debilitating disease. This flashpoint event became a call to action in the focused ultrasound community to improve openness in publication practices and shift values: science and the patients had to come before individualistic journal concerns.
In response to this, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation (FUSF) determined that the community needed a platform where researchers could share their research outputs quickly and openly prior to jumping through the many hoops of the publication process. This aim came to fruition in a partnership with the Center for Open Science (COS) to create an open preprint archive for focused ultrasound research, the FocUS Archive. The FocUS Archive is built on the OSF Preprints infrastructure, a system which enables research communities, like that of focused ultrasound, to deposit and share findings and easily collaborate on research.
Launched in 2017, the FocUS Archive is now a critical hub of preprint activity in the focused ultrasound community – by providing a place for researchers to easily and quickly post their research findings the server is accelerating the dissemination of advances, outputs, and evidence across the focused ultrasound community. Furthermore, this increased availability of research in preprint form not only broadens access to knowledge and data – it also provides focused ultrasound stakeholders with a wealth of public testimonials to the efficacy of the technology that they can leverage to accelerate its further development and adoption.
In addition to the FocUS Archive, FUSF has also launched an Open Science policy initiative and created an OSF-hosted data repository. Both projects make significant use of COS resources, and the Foundation continues to work with COS on developing data sharing, open access scholarly communications, and research practice standards policies.
“COS has been instrumental in our efforts to further open science in the focused ultrasound community," said the Foundation's Open Science Manager, Charlie Manning. "Both through their hosting of our preprint server and data repository and through the use of resources such as their Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) guidelines, COS has proved invaluable to our internal and external initiatives to push transparency and accessibility in our research community.”