Thursday, September 21, 2017

B - Scholarly publishing like a bubble

Bariç H, Baždariç K, Glasnoviç A, et al. Why scholarly publishing might be a bubble. Croatian Medical Journal 2017;58(1):1-3

Scholarly publishing is expanding in all directions, like a bubble. The economy of publishing has many peculiarities: the number of publications, journals, and publishers is constantly on the rise; journals subscription prices have been growing faster than the consumer price index and the inflation rate. The major publishers act as an oligopoly and, occasionally, even monopoly. The number of publications and rising prices are the main but not the only problem. There is also high number of publishers, journals, journals per publisher, predatory journals, authorships per article and per unique author, number of references per paper, self-citated and self-citing rates, and so on. A plausible hypothesis is that the expansion is driven by a market bubble.

B - What is PubMed now?

Anderson K. A confusion of journals - what is PubMed now? The Scholarly Kitchen September 7, 2017

PubMed Central used to be a credentialing system, an online port of the MEDLINE index. This shift of medium quickly made it a search engine, but one built on a manual and highly curated index. Then it was discovered that it is including articles published in journals whose publishers are considered predatory. Although these articles appear in PubMed (often after a delay), the titles are not indexed by Medline and are difficult to find. PubMed’s brand has long been muddled in ways that pass lower-quality works through the system under cover of prestige. This has real consequences.

B - Manuscript submission systems

Hartley J, Cabanac G. The delights, discomforts, and downright furies of the manuscript submission process. Learned Publishing 2017;30(2):167-172
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1092)

The authors described the frustrations that many authors feel when using manuscript submission systems. Undoubtedly these new systems have many benefits, such as the ability to detect plagiarism and fake articles and to speed up the production process. Neverthanless, instructions to authors vary hugely – from none at all to whole handbooks –  online submission systems have not reduced the complexity of submission and may have increased the work of authors. Some publishers are introducing more flexible submission rules that may help authors.                              

B - Senior scientists victim of predatory journals

Cobey K. Illegitimate journals scam even senior scientists. Nature September 7, 2017;549:7

The author has seen a litany of researchers preyed on by predatory journals, even those who recognize a potential problem can fall victim. She has ideas on how to stop it: better job of educating trainees and faculty members about how to assess a journal's integrity; incentives and resources that will prevent scientists from sending real work to places that will not identify flaws or truly contribute to the scholarly literature.

B - Core competencies for scientific editors

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)

The authors describe the development of a minimum set of core competencies for scientific editors of biomedical journals. The 14 key core competencies 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. They aim to provide guidance to scientific publishers and editors of biomedical journals worldwide on the minimum knowledge, skills, and characteristics that are needed to be effective in their role.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

B - Rules on COI

Zliobaité I, Fortelius M. Peer review: revise rules on conflicts of interest. Nature 2016;539(7628):168
(doi: 10.1038/539168a)

According to the authors, definitions of conflicts of interest (COI) in peer review need to be reassessed to reflect modern research practices. This could markedly increase the speed and quality of peer review. For example, many potential reviewers are disqualified under current rules on co-authorship. Co-authors typically have a sound understanding of each other's work and provide frank and constructive feedback. Using them as reviewers avoids settling for candidates who may be too far removed from the topic or not sufficiently senior in the field.

B - Journal peer review data

Lee CJ, Moher D. Promote scientific integrity via journal peer review data. Science 2017;357(6348):256-257
(doi: 10.1126/science.aan4141)

The peer review process both in journals and funding agencies could use more transparency, reporting and accountability. The authors identify incentives that could encourage journals to make their peer review data available to evaluate effectiveness toward achieving concrete measures of quality. This is a collective action problem requiring leadership and investment by publishers. It is time to apply the "trust, but verify" model to journal peer review. The authors suggest revising the Transparency and Openness (TOP) Guidelines, a set of reporting standards.

B - Publishing while female

Hengel E. Publishing while female. Gender differences in peer review scrutiny. October 2016

The author analyzed more than 9,000 article abstracts published in the top four economics journals since 1950. She found that papers written by women are 1-6% more readable than those by men. The most straightforward reason for it is that referees apply higher standards to female-authored papers. Besides the paper found that women's writing gradually improves more over time but men's does not.
Between their first and third published articles, the average readability gap between male and female authors grows by 12%.

Friday, June 16, 2017

B - Manuscript development and publishing

Downey SM, Geraci SA. Manuscript development and publishing: a 5-step approach. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences 2017;353(2):132-136
(doi: 10.1016/j.amjms.2016.12.005)

This article articulates a 5-step approach for developing and publishing successfully a manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal. The authors combine existing tutorials with their collective experience. The 5 steps identified instruct would-be authors to: know their material and determine their audience; outline their manuscript; be ethically vigilant; develop individual sections and submit their manuscript; and respond to reviewers׳ comments.

B - NISO Alternative altmetrics project

Lagace N. NISO Releases recommended practice covering outputs of its multiyear project in alternative assessment metrics. Serials Review 2016;42(4):337-338.
(doi: 10.1080/00987913.2016.1246343)   
NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, announced the publication of its latest Recommended Practice, NISO RP-25-2016, Outputs of the NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics Project, in September 2016 This document is the culmination of a two-phase project initialized in 2013 and designed to support the uptake of altmetrics. To further facilitate adoption of these new assessment measures, the scholarly community developed consensus work via NISO that addresses several areas of the altmetric environment: definitions and use cases; persistent identifiers, output types, and data metrics; and data quality.

B - European Commission OA publishing platform

Banks M. European Commission moves into publishing. Physics World 2017;30(5):6.
Reports that the European Commission is proposing to launch its own open-access publishing platform for papers that emerge from its Horizon 2020 programme.. It would be similar to that launched last year by the Wellcome Trust.  This aims to publish papers quickly with peer review occurring post publication. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has also announced that Gates Open Research will launch later this year. These developments present further options for open-access publishing to those provided by regular journals.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

B - Citation indicators

Davis P. Citation performance indicators - A very short introduction. The Scholarly Kitchen 2017 May 15

This post provides a brief summary of the main citation indicators used today. It is not intended to be comprehensive, nor to opine on which indicator is best. The goal  is simply to highlight their salient strengths and weaknesses. These citation indicators are grouped based on the design of their algorithm: the group Ratio-based indicators is built on the same model as the Impact Factor, by dividing citations counts by document counts; the group Portfolio-based indicators calculates a score based on a ranked set of documents; and the last group Network-based indicators seeks to measure influence within a larger citation network.

B - Should authors suggest peer reviewers?

Teixeira da Silva JA, Al-Khatib A. Should authors be requested to suggest peer reviewers? Science and Engineering Ethics 2017 Feb. 2
(doi: 10.1007/s11948-016-9842-6)

The authors of this paper query the ethics, fairness and validity of the request, by editors, of authors to suggest peer reviewers during the submission process. An author-suggested peer reviewer choice might tempt authors to seek reviewers who might be more receptive or sympathetic to the authors’ message or results, and thus favor the outcome of that paper. Authors should thus not be placed in such a potentially ethically compromising situation, especially as a mandatory condition for submission.

B - Sharing of copyrighted papers

Schiermeier Q. Science publishers try new tack on copyright breaches. Nature 2017;545(7653):145-146
(doi: 10.1038/545145a)

Rise in copyright breaches prompts industry to discuss ways to allow ‘fair sharing’ of articles. Science publishers seem to be changing tack in their approach to researchers who breach copyright. Instead of demanding that scientists or network operators take their papers down, some publishers are clubbing together to create systems for legal sharing of articles — called fair sharing — which could also help them to track the extent to which scientists share paywalled articles online.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

B - Bioethics over the past 40 years

Jin P, Hakkarinen M. Highlights in bioethics through 40 years: a quantitative analysis of top-cited journal articles. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

B - Non-English papers in scholarly communication

Liu W. The changing role of non-English papers in scholarly communication: evidence from Web of Science's three journal citation indexes. Learned Publishing 2017;30(2):115-123
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1089)

Non-English languages are widely used, but their roles in scholarly communication are relatively under-explored. This study shows that English is increasingly being used as the dominating language from natural sciences and social sciences to arts and humanities. However, a large number of non-English papers can be found in some applied disciplines of sciences and social sciences, and non-English papers have consistently played important role in arts and humanities disciplines from the beginning of 1975.

B - Funder interference in addiction research

Miller P, Martino F, Gross S, et al. Funder interference in addiction research: an international survey of authors. Addictive Behaviors 2017;72:100-105
(doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.03.026)

This study investigates funder (e.g. industry, government or charity) interference in addiction science. Interference appears to be common by governments and internationally, and similar proportions of reported interference from commercial and government funders were found. Strategies to increase transparency in the addiction science literature, including mandatory author declarations concerning the role of the funder, are necessary internationally.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

B - A review of data sharing policies

Vasilevsky NA, Minnier J, Haendel MA, et al. Reproducible and reusable research: are journal data sharing policies meeting the mark? PeerJ 2017 Apr 25;5:e3208
(doi: 10.7717/peerj.3208.eCollection2017)

Publishers could play an important role in facilitating and enforcing data sharing; however, many journals have not yet implemented data sharing policies and the requirements vary widely across journals. This study analyzed the pervasiveness and quality of data sharing policies in 318 biomedical journals . Results showed that only a minority of biomedical journals require data sharing, and a significant association between higher Impact Factors and journals with a data sharing requirement.

B - Data authorship

Bierer BE, Crosas M, Pierce HH. Data authorship as an incentive to data sharing. New England Journal of Medicine 2017;376:1684-1687
(doi: 10.1056/NEJMsb1616595)

The use of research data by persons other than those who originally gathered the data is termed “data sharing". Data sharing creates an obligation for the original investigators who obtain funding, design studies, collect and analyze data, and publish results to make their curated data and associated metadata available to third parties. The authors believe that both as a matter of fairness and as a matter of providing an incentive for data sharing, the persons who initially gathered the data should receive appropriate and standardized credit that can be used for academic advancement, for grant applications, and in broader situations.

B - Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: a comparison

Shamseer L, Moher D, Maduekwe O, et al. Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine 2017;15:28
(doi: 10.1186/s12916-017-0785-9)

The authors carried out a cross-sectional comparison of characteristics of three types of biomedical journals: potential predatory, presumed legitimate open access, and presumed legitimate subscription-based journals. Thirteen evidence-based characteristics by which predatory journals may potentially be distinguished from presumed legitimate journals were identified.

B - Statement on good science publishing

Wakeford R. Academies outline principles of good science publishing. Journal of Radiological Protection 2017;37(1):312-315
(doi: 10.1088/1361-6498/aa58f9)

 A join statement was published on 13 December 2016 by the UK Royal Society and the National Academies of France and Germany that outlines the best practice for high quality science publishing.
A set of principles define a number of minimum conditions which should be satisfied in order to earn the label of "scientific journal".

B - Single IRBs in multisite trials

Klitzman R, Pivovarova E, Lidz CW. Single IRBs in multisite trials. Question posed by the new NIH policy. JAMA 2017;317(20):2061-2062
(doi: 10.1001/jama.2017.4624)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new policy (effective September 25, 2017) to mandate that nonexempt multisite research with humans funded by the NIH be reviewed by a single institutional review boards (IRBs). Underlying the policy is the belief that the use of single IRBs for multisite studies avoids duplicate and possibly conflicting IRB reviews and thereby streamlines and accelerates the review process.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

B - Fake editors

Sorokowski P, Kulczycki E, Sorokowska A, et al. Predatory journals recruit fake editor. Nature 2017;543:481-483
Predatory journals exhibit questionable marketing schemes, follow lax or non-existent peer review procedures and fail to provide scientific rigour or transparency. Crucial to a journal's quality is its editors. Such roles have usually been assigned to established experts in the journal's field, and are considered prestigious positions. Many predatory journals recruit academics to build legitimate-looking editorial boards. The authors conceived a sting operation and submitted a fake indequate application for an editor position to 360 journals, a mix of legitimate titles and suspected predators. Forty-eight titles accepted. Four titles immediately appointed the fake editor as editor-in chief, while others required some form of payment or profit.

B - Potential COI

McCoy MS, Emanuel EJ. Why there are no "potential" conflicts of interest. JAMA 2017;317(17):1721-1722
doi: 10.1001/jama.2017.2308

The notion of a potential conflict of interest (COI) reflects the mistaken view that a COI exists only when bias or harm actually occurs. Distinctions between potential and actual COI are rooted in a basic misunderstanding of the concept of a COI and its ethical significance. These invidious distinctions should be avoided. A COI exists when a secondary interest has the potential to bias a physician’s or a researcher’s primary interest in pursuing patient well-being and generalizable knowledge. Achieving greater conceptual clarity is essential to develop policies that effectively regulate COIs.

B - A checklist to improve medical writing

Leventhal PS. A checklist to improve your writing. Medical Writing 2017;26(1):43-45

A checklist of eight items to improve medical writing is provided, with explanations and  examples for each item. Several of the checklist items are discussed in detail in other articles in the same issue of Medical Writing journal. A series of exercises to help readers put them into practice is also included.

B - Scientists on Twitter

Ke q, Ahn Y-Y, Sugimoto CR. A systematic identification and analysis of scientists on Twitter. PLoS ONE 2017;12(4):e0175368.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175368

The authors developed a systematic method to discover scientists who are recognized as scientists by other Twitter users and self-identify as scientists through their profile. They studied the demographics, sharing behaviors, and interconnectivity of the identified scientists in terms of discipline and gender. Twitter has been employed by scholars across the disciplinary spectrum, with an over-representation of social and computer and information scientists, under-representation of mathematical, physical, and life scientists, and a better representation of women.

B - Meta-assessment of bias

Fanelli D, Costas R, Ioannidis JP. Meta-assessment of bias in science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 2017;114(14):3714-3719
(doi: 10.1073/pnas.1618569114)

Actual prevalence of biases across disciplines is unknown. To gain a comprehensive picture of the potential imprint of bias in science, the authors probed for multiple bias-related patterns and risk factors in a large random sample of meta-analyses taken from all disciplines. The magnitude of these biases varied widely across fields and was overall relatively small. However, it was observed a significant risk of small, early, and highly cited studies to overestimate effects and of studies not published in peer-reviewed journals to underestimate them.