The Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF), the largest non-governmental funder of neurofibromatosis (NF) research, and PLOS ONE, a leading peer-reviewed scientific journal, are pleased to announce the successful completion of the first funding cycle of the Drug Discovery Initiative Registered Report (DDIRR) 2017 Awards, a funder-publisher partnership integrating the Registered Reports model into the grant application process.
Registered Reports pre-determine the research questions, methodology and design of a study to be carried out, and are designed to enhance the rigor, reproducibility and transparency of the science produced. CTF and PLOS ONE partnered together to review the 2017 DDIRR applications and granted three awards: Dr. Andrea McClatchey of Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Lei Xu of Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr. Aaron Schindeler from the University of Sydney. The researchers also obtained an in-principle acceptance (IPA) to publication in the journal PLOS ONE. Provided the study is conducted according to plan, acceptance in principle is honored regardless of study outcome – thereby eliminating publication bias and maximizing the transparency of the funded work.
The reports are being placed on the Open Science Framework registered report portal (https://osf.io/rr/), where authors will have the opportunity to make public or embargo their reports until publication of results. The awards have a duration of 12 months and will conclude in May 2019. As soon as results are added to the registered report, PLOS ONE will review compliance with the proposed protocol and publish their results, even if they are negative. By securing publication before they start their research, applicants can eliminate the bias of a result-based approach. The process was designed to maintain independence of funding and publishing decisions, while at the same time optimizing processes, thereby avoiding duplication and preventing research waste.
This new award constitutes an evolution of the Drug Discovery Initiative (DDI) Awards that CTF had introduced in 2006 as a funding program for promising ideas that could lead to larger studies or move drugs into the clinic. Feedback on the new DDIRR program from both applicants and reviewers has been unanimously positive, and the Foundation together with PLOS ONE editors have also announced a new cycle for DDIRR in 2018-2019. The Foundation will invite applicants to submit their proposals starting on September 24, 2018, with the anticipated assignment of new awards in the first quarter of 2019.
“The overall outcome of this first round of DDIRR has been very positive. Reviewers have focused their attention to protocols and study designs, allowing researchers to have their statistics ready for publication,” said Salvatore La Rosa, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Development for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. “As this particular grant program focuses on hypothesis-testing research, the quality and rigor of the applications are critical to soundly move proof-of-concept experiments from the lab into the clinic. This new program increases our ability to do that.”
“We are delighted to continue our collaboration with CTF on the Registered Reports model for the DDI Awards. We hope this can serve as a model for other funders. The Registered Reports provide researchers with peer reviewed study designs and an in-principle acceptance of the completed study at PLOS ONE. The deposited reports at the Open Science Framework portal ensure full transparency of the research project – a win for everyone involved,” adds Joerg Heber, Editor-in-Chief of PLOS ONE.