Authors: Fatemeh Torabi and Ruth Blackburn

Health Data Research UK’s Early Career Researcher Committee is delighted to announce joint winners of the Open Access Publication of the Month competition for November. Our winners are; ‘Whole genome sequencing of drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from a high burden tuberculosis region of north West Pakistan’ by Jabbar et al. and ‘Long-term impact of giving antibiotics before skin incision versus after cord clamping on children born by caesarean section: protocol for a longitudinal study based on UK electronic health records’ by Šumilo et al.

Our criteria for judging these two research papers are in line with HDR UK ethos in celebrating research quality, team science, scale, open science, patient/public involvement and impact, diversity and inclusion.

Burdened by high rates of tuberculosis, Pakistan faces an uphill battle to control this disease. Using a whole genome sequencing approach, novel mutations have been identified in the genome of 81 tuberculosis patients which show resistance to commonly used tuberculosis-associated drugs. These insights will contribute to improved management of tuberculosis patients though smarter drug regimens. The committee really valued Abdul Jabbar’s team’s work in establishing an effective international collaboration in this piece of work for conducting the largest analysis of the whole genome sequencing in a region with high burden of tuberculosis. Antibiotic resistance is not only a regional issue, but a global one. The solutions therefore require a robust, transparent and effective international collaboration – a theme that has been effectively exemplified here. The authors’ transparent approach in reporting and their effort towards openly accessible protocols and resources was highlighted by the Early Career Researcher Committee.

The Committee also wanted to highlight the protocol developed by another f this month’s papers: Dana Šumilo and her team looked at the long tem impact of broad-spectrum antibiotics given to mothers to prevent infection following caesarian section.  The Commitee particularly commend the team on their emphasis on patient and public involvement, working with lay parent groups to prioritise the outcomes investigated by the study – notably resulting in a focus on the impact of antibiotic exposure on the child (childhood asthma and eczema).  We hope this team will continue to deliver and disseminate their findings using best practices in Open Science as the research unfolds, making code and data available to the wider scientific community wherever possible.

On behalf of the Early Career Research Committee we want to congradulate Abdul Jabbar and his team for their discoveries and efforts in promoting a reproducible approach. We would also like to congratulate Dana Šumilo and her team for their refined protocol promoting collaboration, openness and inclusivity.

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