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Editor Spotlight: Simon Porcher

In the March installment of our Editor Spotlight series, we chat with Simon Porcher of Université Paris Panthéon-Assas. In this interview, he discusses the Academic Editor role at PLOS ONE, methods for enhancing reproducibility in scientific reporting, and ways we can act during future pandemics.

Dr. Simon Porcher is a full professor of Strategy and Public Management at Université Paris Panthéon-Assas. He studies how cross-sector partnerships create value and respond to grand challenges. Porcher has been recognized as one of the top 40 under 40 professors in management worldwide by Poets & Quants and received the Best Dissertation Award from the Public & Non-Profit Division of the Academy of Management.

What drew you to contribute as an Academic Editor at PLOS ONE? How does this experience complement your work as a researcher?

PLOS ONE has garnered recognition in social sciences, and my personal experience publishing an article in the review was great.

My role as an Academic Editor complements my work as a researcher in several ways. Serving as an editor allows me to contribute to the academic community by promoting high-quality research and advancing knowledge in social sciences. Serving as an editor is a good way to establish connections with a diverse array of scholars.

On a more personal level, being an academic editor broadens my perspective by exposing me to a wide range of research topics, methodologies, and perspectives beyond my own field of study. This exposure broadens my intellectual horizon. Moreover, evaluating manuscripts fosters critical thinking skills as I assess how to best help authors improve their papers and contribute meaningfully to the scholarly discourse.

You’ve done some work on reproducibility in research. What do you think are the most urgent or powerful solutions to enhancing reproducibility? What role can publishers such as PLOS play in this?

The most urgent solutions to enhance reproducibility in research include open data and code sharing, which promote transparency and facilitate replication efforts. Additionally, the pre-registration of studies, particularly in the use of experimental and survey data, prevents selective reporting and data dredging, thereby increasing the credibility of research findings. Education and training are also crucial to support researchers in adopting reproducible practice and foster a culture of transparency within the scientific community.

Publishers play a pivotal role in promoting reproducibility by requiring datasets and codes to be accessible in repositories upon acceptance. Guidelines on reporting research results are also essential to ensure consistency. Some publishers, like PLOS, have taken proactive steps by allowing researchers to publish preregistered studies, further incentivizing transparency and accountability.

Furthermore, dedicating sections in journals to reproductions and replications can incentivize replication efforts and enhance the academic debate around important findings. Additionally, to encourage rigorous research practices, funding agencies should systematically require reproducibility as a criterion for funding opportunities.

Some of your research is focused on Covid-19 policies and their effects. Have any of these findings surprised you, or encouraged you for our preparedness for any future epidemics or pandemics?

Our research has identified two key findings. Firstly, during the initial waves of the pandemic, implementing mask mandates and providing direct economic support to individuals proved to be effective measures in containing both the health and social impacts of the virus. Secondly, in anticipation of future pandemics, it is crucial to prioritize investments in robust social protection systems. These systems play a vital role in preventing individuals from feeling compelled to go to work when they should be staying home, thus helping to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases and safeguard public health.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by contributors are solely those of individual contributors, and not necessarily those of PLOS.

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