By Mathieu Boudreau
What’s new with MRM Highlights in 2020?
Well to start off, me! Hi, my name is Mathieu Boudreau, and as the incoming MRM deputy editor for scientific outreach, I’ll be the head editor for the digital content of MRM Highlights. I’ve been involved with MRM Highlights since the early days of the initiative. My first interview for Highlights was in 2015, and since then I’ve contributed a total of 13 MRM Highlights Q&As. In addition, last fall I was approached by Nikola Stikov to cover his Highlights responsibilities following an accidental wrist injury that he sustained, so I’ve been acting as the unofficial head editor for MRM Highlights for several months already. I’m grateful for Nikola to have placed his trust in me over the years working together on the Highlights initiative, to the other MRM Highlights editor Atef Badji for her continuous work and assistance throughout this transition, and to the new MRM editor-in-chief (EIC) Peter Jezzard for working hard to ensure that this initiative continues. I also look forward to collaborating with Mark Chiew, the new editor of the MRM Highlights magazine.
With a new team comes a fresh new vision for the digital content of MRM Highlights. For the past four years, while the Highlights medium has seen some changes (written Q&As from 2015 to early 2019, followed by video interviews for most of 2019), the overall format has generally stayed the same. Following some discussions between the new EIC and the MRM Highlights editors last fall, a new format (and overall vision) was designed for this upcoming year.
Previously, MRM Highlights interviews were done for both of the monthly MRM Editor’s Picks, which were chosen by the EIC. This will no longer be the case. The MRM EIC will continue to choose Editor’s Picks, but these will not be limited to only 2 per month. As part of the MRM scientific outreach team, we (MRM Highlights) will continue to highlight these picks on digital platforms through social media each month. However, the papers chosen as MRM Editor’s Picks will no longer be the focus of MRM Highlights “Q&A” interviews.
Instead, MRM Highlights will turn its focus to papers demonstrating reproducible research practices. Each month, one recent MRM paper demonstrating exemplary reproducible research practices will be chosen for an interview. Two blog posts will be published each month: one highlighting the authors and their work, and a second one highlighting their reproducible research practices. What do we mean by reproducible research practices? The MRM Author Guidelines has a section (on page 1) explaining the scope of the reproducible research practices we want to highlight. There is a broad range of topics that may be covered, such as papers that: share their code/data/phantoms on platforms like MR-Hub and GitHub, use version control tools, share scripts that reproduce figures, use state-of-the-art tools that help reproducible research (e.g. container technology), etc. To help us highlight such papers, MRM has added a new question to the peer review scoring questionnaire that will inform the editors if this paper supports reproducible research. MRM Highlights editors will also regularly search through recent papers to find those that contain reproducible research practices that reviewers may not have flagged. We also welcome feedback from readers, feel free to reach out to us with ideas for recent papers or topics you’d like to see covered!
In addition, we will no longer be using the recent YouTube video interview format, and instead will be reverting to the previous written blog post format. We will continue to recommend to authors to submit audioslides that provides an overview of their paper to go along with their Q&A. The YouTube channel might also be used for future one-off interviews and conversations that would benefit from a spontaneous exchange of ideas.
Our hope with this new format is that by highlighting some of the current reproducible research practices, more people in the MRM community will consider making their code and data available when they publish their papers in this journal. Also, as web services and software tools that facilitate reproducibility are evolving and appearing at a rapid rate, this new MRM Highlights format will be a platform where you can get first-hand insights on how these are currently being used in our field.
The first interview in this new format will be released this Friday in a Q&A format, with a second blog post the following week where the authors will share some of the insights on their reproducible research practices. We hope you’ll tune in!