Tuesday, March 06, 2018

B - Payments from industry

Liu JJ, Bell CM, Matelski JJ, et al. Payments by US pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to US medical journal editors: retrospective observational study. BMJ 2017;359:j4619
(doi: 10.1136/bmj.j4619)

The authors found that US industry payments to journal editors are common and often large, particularly for certain subspecialties. Furthermore, many journals lack clear and transparent editorial conflicts of interest (COI) policies and disclosures. Journal editors should reconsider their COI policies and the impact that editor relations with industry may have on public trust in the research enterprise.

B - The choice of titles

Hartley, J. What works for you? The choice of titles for academic articles in higher education. SRHE News Blog May 2017

The range of possible forms of titles available for authors of academic articles in higher education is considerable, but few styles are actually used. This analysis of over 250 titles from the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) abstracts shows that authors in higher education employ colons most, short sentences next and questions least of all.

B - Authorship and citation manipulation

Fong EA, Wilhite AW. Authorship and citation manipulation in academic research. PLoS One 2017;12(12):e0187394
(doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187394)

This study builds a framework around how intense competition for journal space and research funding can encourage authorship and citation manipulation. It then uses that framework to develop hypotheses about who manipulates and why they do so.

B - Editors' core competencies

Moher D, Galipeau J, Alam S, et al. Core competencies for scientific editors of biomedical journals: consensus statement. BMC Medicine 2017;15:167
(doi: 10.1186/s12916-017-0927-0)

This article describes the minimum14 key core competencies for scientific editors of biomedical journals. They are divided into three major areas, and each competency has a list of associated elements or descriptions of more specific knowledge, skills, and characteristics that contribute to its fulfillment. These core competencies should be a baseline of the knowledge, skills, and characteristics needed to perform competently the duties of a scientific editor at a biomedical journal.

B - Women's visibility in academic seminars

Carter A, Croft A, Lukas D, et al. Women's visibility in academic seminars: women ask fewer questions than men. arXiv:1711.10985

The authors aimed to determine whether women and men differ in their visibility at academic seminars and which factors might underlie any biases. They examined the women's visibility through the question-asking behaviour at local departmental academic seminars (i.e., talks, presentations, colloquia, etc.). Women audience members asked absolutely and proportionally fewer questions than male. Furthermore, when a man was the first to ask a question, women asked fewer questions. Recommendations for increasing women's visibility are proposed.

B - Resistance to replication

Gertler P, Galiani S, Romero M. How to make replication the norm. Nature 2018;554:417-419

Efforts to replicate research studies are distorted by inherent conflicts between the authors of the original work and those trying to reproduce the results. The authors surveyed 11 top-tier economics journals to find out how to fix it. A first step to getting more replications is making them easier by requiring authors to publicly post the data and code used to produce the results in their studies.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

B - Preprint badges

Davis P. Badges? We don't need no stinking preprint badges! The Scholarly Kitchen 2018 Feb. 14

Authors submitting papers to PLOS journals can now opt to transfer their manuscript automatically to the bioRxiv preprint server. In this arrangement, PLOS will perform the initial screening, which includes checking for plagiarism, previous publication, scope, ethical, and technical criteria before manuscripts are transferred to bioRxiv. It also refers to badges, that is nevertheless used to describe something still undefined, but presumably to serve as a marker to the reader that a preprint has received some as yet unknown level of reviewer/editorial scrutiny/approval.

B - Journal editors core competencies

Matarese V, Shashok K. Improving the biomedical research literature: insights from authors' editors can help journal editors define and refine their core competencies. F1000Research 2018;7:109
(doi: 10.12688/f1000research.13760.2)

Based on their experience as authors' editors, they suggest how to strengthen core competencies for journal editors so that they better respond to the needs of readers and authors. First, journal editors should ensure that authors are given useful feedback on the language and writing beyond a blanket judgement of whether the English is "acceptable" or not. Second, journal editors should be able to deal effectively with inappropriate text re-use and plagiarism.

B - Triangulation

Munafò MR, Smith GD. Robust research needs many lines of evidence. Nature 2018;553(7689):399-401
(doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-01023-3)

Several studies across many fields estimate that only around 40% of published findings can be replicated reliably. But replication is not enough. The authors recommend triangulation, that is the strategic use of multiple approaches to address one question. Each approach has its own unrelated assumptions, strenghts and weaknesses. Results that agree across different methodologies are less likely to be artefacts.

B - Prestigious journals and reliability

Brembs B. Prestigious science journals struggle to reach even average reliability. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 2018;12:37
(doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00037)

Data from several lines of evidence suggest that the methodological quality of scientific experiments does not increase with increasing rank of the journal. On the contrary, some of the data suggest the inverse: methodological quality and, consequently, reliability of published research works in several fields may be decreasing with increasing journal rank.

B - Communication regulatory science

Noar SM, Cappella JN, Price S. Communication regulatory science: mapping a new field. Health Communication 2017 Dec. 13
(doi: 10.1080/10410236.2017.1407231)

Communication regulatory science is an emerging field that uses validated techniques, tools, and models to inform regulatory actions that promote optimal communication outcomes and benefit the public. This is an opening article to a special issue on communication and tobacco regulatory science, that provides an example of 10 studies that exemplify tobacco regulatory science and demonstrate how the health communication field can affect regulation and benefit public health.

B - Ethical issues on predatory journals

Ferris LE, Winker MA. Ethical issues in publishing in predatory journals. Biochemia Medica 2017; 27(3):031201
(doi: 10.11613/BM.2017.030)

This paper discusses ethical issues around predatory journals and publishing in them. These issues include: misrepresentation; lack of editorial and publishing standards and practices; academic deception; research and funding wasted; lack of archived content; and undermining confidence in research literature. 

B - Gender differences in HIV publications

Overbaugh J. Defining the barriers to women publishing in high-impact journals. Journal of Virology 2018 Jan. 24
(doi: 10.1128/JVI.02127-17)

This commentary describes gender differences in publication of HIV-related articles that raise questions about best practices in this important aspect of science.

B - Scientific presentations and writing

Kressmann C, lang S. Six communication rules for scientific presentations and writing. Medical Writing 2017;26(4):46-47

The authors defined six communication rules for scientific writing and presenting. Both presentations and research articles should not be overloaded with details or aspects that contribute nothing to the topic.

B - Database search

Delaney A, Tamás PA. Searching for evidence or approval? A commentary on database search in systematic reviews and alternative information retrieval methodologies. Research Synthesis Methods 2017 Nov. 4
(doi: 10.1002/jrsm.1282)

A commentary on the factors that call into question the appropriateness of default reliance on database searches particularly as systematic review is adapted for use in new and lower consensus fields. It discusses alternative methods for information retrieval.

B - Publications accessibility

Kasdorf B. Why accessibility is hard and how to make it easier: Lessons from publishers. Learned Publishing 2018;31(1):11-18
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1146)

The requirements for providing publications in an accessible form proves difficult to accomplish for most publishers. This article examines the issues that are challenging to publishers and their suppliers, discusses the factors that make them difficult, and suggests strategies as that of building accessibility into the production worflows upfront.

B - Animal research reporting

Osborne NJ, Ritskes-Hoitinga M, Ahluwahlia A, et al. Letter to editor - round table unites to tackle culture change in an effort to improve animal resarch reporting. BMC Veterinary Research 2017;13:314
(doi: 10.1186/s12917-017-1235-9)

A round table meeting was held s on the 25th of September 2017 in Edinburgh to discuss how to enhance the rate at which the quality of reporting animal research can be improved. A signed statement acknowledges the efforts that participant organizations have made towards improving the reporting of animal studies and confirms an ongoing commitment to drive further improvements, calling upon both academics and laboratory animal veterinarians to help make this cultural change.

Monday, January 15, 2018

B - Cost of science in transition economies

Vuong QH. The (ir)rational consideration of the cost of science in transition economies. Nature Human Behaviour 2018;2(1):
(doi: 10.1038/s41562-017-0281-4)

The perspective paper presents the dilemma that a modern society is facing regarding the demand for ‘better’ cost consideration by scientists, on one hand, and the underestimation of the value that the scientific enterprise contributes to the society, on the other. The cost consideration can also become irrational and serve as an excuse for attacking science, which does more harm to the overall process of societal developments. Besides, the focus on issues of costs in doing science may also be misleading as genuine costs incurred by other failures could be easily compromised on. 

B - Experimenter gender and biases

Chapman CC, Benedict C, Schiöth HB. Experimenter gender and replicability in science. Science Advances 2018;4:e1701427
(doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1701427)

This paper investigates how the gender of the experimenter may affect experimental findings. Clinical trials are regularly carried out without any report of the experimenter's gender. Significant biases may lead researchers to conclude that therapeutics or other interventions are either overtreating or undertreating a variety of conditions.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

B - Guidelines to publish observational studies

Rossi A, Benci C, Leventhal P. Guidelines for disclosing the results from observational trials. Medical Writing 2017;26(3):22-28

Publishing results from observational trials can be challenging for scientists and writers.  The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement was the first guideline developed to identify the minimal information that should be included in articles reporting observational and epidemiological research. More than 50 ancillary guidelines tailored to specific needs are now available to assist authors in preparing successful articles on observational studies.

B - Behavioral and social sciences research funding

Kaplan RM, Johnson SB, Kobor PC. NIH behavioral and social sciences research support: 1980-2016. American Psychologist 2017;72(8):808-821
(doi: 10.1037/amp0000222)

Behavioral and social science has often been underfunded at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 1990, the Senate Appropriations Committee, recognizing that behavior may contribute to about half of all premature deaths, recommended that funding for behavioral and social sciences research should be about 10% of the NIH-budget. Data from several sources suggest that this goal has never been realized.

B - Transparency in research publishing

Editorial. Steps towards transparency in research publishing. Nature 2017;549(431)
(doi: 10.1038/549431a)

Progress in the transparency of both research and editorial processes is gathering pace. But as these processes become increasingly open, scientists and editors need to be proactive but also alert to risks. Transparency may give rise to different sorts of bias. For example, some authors do not want to know who autored a positive peer review, so that they can avoid future positive peer review bias themselves.

B - Facial appearance affects science communication

Gheorghiu AI, Callan MJ, Skylark WJ. Facial appearance affects science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2017;114(23):5970-5975
(doi: 10.1073/pnas.1620542114)

This article shows that the science communication process is influenced by the facial appearance of the scientist. It identified the traits that engender interest in a scientist’s work and the perception that they do high-quality work, and showed that these face-based impressions influence both the selection and evaluation of science news, and may bias public attitudes and government actions regarding key scientific issues.


B - Google Scholar normalization

Mingers J, Meyer M. Normalizing Google Scholar data for use in research evaluation. Scientometrics 2017;112(2):1111-1121
(doi: 10.1007/s11192-017-2415-x)

Bibliometric evaluations across disciplines require that the data are normalized to the field as the fields are very different in their citation processes. This paper tests a method for Google Scholar (GS) normalization developed by Bornmann et al. on an alternative set of data involving journal papers, book chapters, and conference papers. The results show that GS normalization is possible although at the moment it requires extensive manual involvement in generating and validating the data.

B - Appeals of rejected manuscripts

Dambha-Miller H. An appealing prospect? A survey into the numbers, outcomes, and editorial policies for appeals of rejected biomedical manuscripts. Learned Publishing 2017;30(3):227-231
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1107)

This article investigated the number of appeals against rejected biomedical manuscripts, their success rates, and the current editorial processes for managing them. Results showed considerable variations in appeal processes amongst journals, with little evidence of any detailed, reproducible, or established appeal policies, that are essential in ensuring that manuscripts are not incorrectly rejected.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

B - Twitter in science

López-Goñi I, Sánchez-Angulo M. Social networks as a tool for science communication and public engagement: focus on Twitter. FEMS Microbiology Letters 2017 Nov. 20
(doi: 10.1093/femsle/fnx246)

A review on the use of Twitter in science and a comment on the authors' experience on using it as a platform for a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) in Spain and Latin America. They propose to extend this strategy to a pan-European Microbiology MOOC in the near future.

B - Publication ethics in health emergencies

Shaw D, Elger BS.  Publication ethics in public health emergencies. Journal of Public Health 2017;39(3):640-643
(doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdw067) 

The authors describe and analyze three issues in publication ethics that are raised when conducting research in health emergencies and disasters: reluctance to share data and samples; loss of individual authorship; and death of authors.

B - Quantity and quality in scientific publishing

Michalska-Smith MJ, Allesina S. And, not or: Quality, quantity in scientific publishing. PLos ONE 2017;12(6):e0178074
(doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178074)

Scientists often perceive a trade-off between quantity and quality on scientific publishing. The authors compared members of the National Academy of Sciences with themselves across years, and used a much larger dataset than previously analized. They found that a member's most highly cited paper in a given year has more citations in more productive years than in less productive years. Their lowest cited paper in a year, on the other hand, has fewer citations in more productive years.

B - New publishing model to avoid CoI

Amigo I, Pascual-Garcia A. Conflicts of interest in scientific publishing. EMBO reports 2017:e201745008
(doi: 10.15252/embr.201745008)

The authors suggest a publishing model that would redistribute funding and the role of different actors - scientists, metric companies, librarians and so on - to maximize the impact of their respective skills for the benefit of science. Research papers and scientific data should be published in several specialized, open and publicly funded storage repositories. Peer review should be self-organized in a centralized and publicly funded peer review platform.

B - Correcting or retracting faulty publications

Teixeira da Silva JA. It may be easier to publish than correct or retract faulty biomedical literature. Croatian Medical Journal 2017;58(1):75-79
(doi: 10.3325/cmj.2017.58.75)

Correcting errors in the literature is generally considered to be a positive academic achievement. In contrast, retracting erroneous or fraudulent work is still viewed in a negative light. Corrections might be embraced as a more natural process in science publishing, especially when errors might be truly erroneous. Such a change in mentality will require a total overhaul of peer communities,

B - Reproducibility and faculty promotion

Flier J. Faculty promotion must assess reproducibility. Nature 2017;549(7671):133
(doi: 10.1038/549133a)

Reproducibility and robustness are under-emphasized when job applicants are evaluated in academic and research institutions and when faculty members are promoted.  Institutions should explicitly seek job candidates who can be frankly self-critical of their work. Evidence of self-scepticism is rarely seen, but this is an essential quality for any scientist. Over time, efforts to increase the ratio of self-reflection to self-promotion may be the best way to improve science.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

B - Web services for authors

Forrester A, Björk B, Tenopir C. New web services that help authors choose journals. Learned Publishing 2017;30(4):281-287
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1112) 

The motivations for an author to choose a journal to submit to are complex. He requires information about multiple characteristics that may be difficult to obtain. This article compares and contrasts the new author-oriented journal comparison tools and services (free and fee-based) that have emerged to help authors find data on journals and publishers.

B - Gender discrimination against women scientists

Sills J. Not just Salk. Science 2017;357(6356):1105-1106
doi: 10.1126/science.aao6221

Three of four senior women scientists at the US Salk Institute for Biological Studies have filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination. These problems are still relevant, and they are not unique to the Salk Institute. Other women scientist raised questions of similar discrimination at their institutions, and some of them face even greater challenges.

B - A lifetime words limit for researchers

Martinson BC. Give reasearchers a lifetime word limit. Nature 2017 Oct 17

Once a researcher's primary role was to share knowledge, now it is to get a publication. The author imagines how rationing the number of publications a scientist could put out might improve the scientific literature. Lifetime limits would create a natural incentive to do research that matters, and would encourage researchers to ensure that research is conducted with the utmost care. Readers and editors would also be able to give the smaller number of articles more attention.

B - What makes a strong editorial board?

Spencer D. What makes a strong editorial board? Editors' Update, Elsevier Connect 2017 Nov 21

The author gives some thoughts about roles and recruitment for editorial board members. The most common function of editorial boards is to provide high-quality reviews, and also act as a third, or trusted "tie-breaker" reviewer. As well as reviewing and suggesting content, the editorial board is also a good source of feedback about the journal's performance, and able to serve as recruiter of good candidates for editorial positions. Comments from some current editors on issues to take into consideration when nominating new editorial board members are provided.

B - Ethical aspects of Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF)

Howard HC, Mascalzoni D, Mabile L, et al. How to responsibly acknowledge research work in the era of big data and biobanks: ethical aspects of the Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF). Journal of Community Genetics 2017 Sep 25:1-8
(doi: 10.1007/s12687-017-0332-6)

There is currently no system that systematically and accurately traces and attributes recognition to researchers and clinicians developing bioresources. This article reviews the objectives and functions of the Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF) initiative including the CoBRA (Citation of BioResources in journal Articles) guideline, and the Open Journal of Bioresources. It also presents results of a small empirical study on stakeholder awareness of the BRIF and an ethical analysis of its ethical aspects.

Monday, December 18, 2017

B - Wikipedia and diffusion of science

Teplitskiy M, Lu G, Duede E. Amplifying the impact of open access: Wikipedia and the diffusion of science. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 2016;68(9):2116-2117)
(doi: 10.1002/asi.23687)

To understand whether Wikipedia draws upon the research that scientists value most, the authors identified the 250 most heavily used journals in each of 26 research fields indexed by the Scopus database, and tested whether topic, academic status, and accessibility make articles from these journals more or less likely to be referenced on Wikipedia. They found that a journal's academic status (impact factor) and accessibility (open access policy) both strongly increase the probability of it being referenced on Wikipedia. These findings provide evidence that a major consequence of open access policies is to significantly amplify the diffusion of science, through an intermediary like Wikipedia, to a broad audience.