Friday, December 19, 2014

B - Evidence-based medicine in crisis?

Greenhalgh T, Howick J, Maskrey N. Evidence based medicine: a movement in crisis? BMJ 2014;348:g3725
(doi: 10.1136/bmj.g3725)

The authors argue that, although evidence based medicine has had many benefits, it has also had some negative unintended consequences. They offer a preliminary agenda for the movement’s renaissance, refocusing on providing useable evidence that can be combined with context and professional expertise so that individual patients get optimal treatment.

B - Academia gets social

Owens B. Academia gets social. The Lancet 2014;384:1834-1835

The author examines the rise of academic social networking websites, such as and ResearchGate, and asks researchers how these sites are shaping their careers.  These academic-focused social networks operate much like Facebook or LinkedIn. Researchers upload their latest research publications, and discuss the technical aspects of their work. The number of papers and datasets uploaded is mounting at an exponential rate. The rapid feedback metrics on the number of views and downloads of the papers can help researchers decide where to focus their efforts.

B - The peer review scam

Ferguson C, Marcus A, Oransky I. Publishing: the peer-review scam. Nature 2014;515:480-482

When a handful of authors were caught reviewing their own papers, it exposed weaknesses in modern publishing systems. As the systems are made more technical and automated, there are more ways to game it. Some observers argue for changes to the way that editors assign papers to reviewers, particularly to end the use of reviewers suggested by a manuscript's authors. Journal editors are trying to plug the holes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

B - Publishing and evidence-based medicine in Asia

Yamshchikov GV, Schmid GP. Publication practices and attitudes towards evidence-based medicine in central Asia. The Lancet Global Health 2013;1(2):e73-e74
(doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(13)70022-6)

To assess the current contribution of central Asian scientists to medical science, the authors analyzed the quantity and scope of medical literature from central Asia published between January 2009 and July 2011. To ascertain perceptions of the use of evidence-based medicine (EBM) in central Asia, they also did  interviews with 85 medical scientists, medical educators, and health-care professionals from central Asia. Most respondents thought that EBM is important but not used in health-care decision-making. The results of the study indicate that countries of central Asia still have barriers to integration into world scientific processes.

B - The top 100 papers

Van Noorden R, Maher B, Nuzzo R. The top 100 papers. Nature 2014;514:550-553

Nature asked Thomson Reuters, which now owns the SCI, to list the 100 most highly cited papers of all time. Surprisingly, many of the world’s most famous papers do not make the cut. Most of the 100 papers describe experimental methods or software that have become essential in their fields.
The most cited work in history, for example, is a 1951 paper describing an assay to determine the amount of protein in a solution. It has now gathered more than 305,000 citations. The list of top journals reveals how powerfully research has been affected by computation and the analysis of large data sets. But the position of any particular methods paper or database at the top of the citation charts is also down to luck and circumstance.

B - Compliance of retraction notices with COPE guidelines

Singh Balhara YP, Mishra A. Compliance of retraction notices for retracted articles on mental disorders with COPE guidelines on retraction. Current Science 2014;107(5):757-760

This study aimed at assessing the compliance of retraction notices for articles on mental disorders with COPE guidelines,  and the impact of open access on post-retraction citation of retracted articles. There seemed to be little impact of COPE guidelines on retractions. Free accessibility of the retraction notice was found to have a significant impact on the post-retraction citation of retracted article.


B - Health news and academic press releases

Sumner P, Vivian-Griffiths S, Boivin J, et al. The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study. BMJ 2014;349:g7015
(doi: 10.1136/bmj.g7015)

This article aims to identify the source (press releases or news) of distortions, exaggerations, or changes to the main conclusions drawn from research that could potentially influence a reader’s health related behaviour. Findings show that exaggeration in news is strongly associated with exaggeration in press releases. Improving the accuracy of academic press releases could represent a key opportunity for reducing misleading health related news.

B - Five-step authorship framework

Marušić A, Hren D, Mansi B, et al. Five-step authorship framework to improve transparency in disclosing contributors to industry-sponsored clinical trial publications. BMC Medicine 2014;12(197)

This article describes a research project led by the Medical Publishing Insights and Practices (MPIP) Initiative to identify current challenges when determining authorship for industry-sponsored clinical trials. As a result, the Five-step Authorship Framework was developed to provide a clear and flexible process to facilitate more transparent and consistent  authorship decisions for clinical trial publications, and help readers better assess the credibility of results and perspectives of the authors for medical research more broadly.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

B - The rise of predatory publishers

Bartholomew RE. Science for sale: the rise of predatory journals. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 2014;107(10):384-385
(doi: 10.1177/0141076814548526)

Some unscrupolous publishers are exploiting the open-access (OA) model by corrupting the peer-review process, which is often absent or minimal, and by charging large fees to authors. Such publishers and their journals are referred to as 'predatory'.  Their motivation is the procurement of evaluation and publication fees, While many predatory publications would be easily recognised as such, some are highly sophisticated and operate websites that mirror prominent mainstream journals. Even experienced scientists have been duped into joining the editorial boards of bogus journals, or submitting articles. The peer review remains the benchmark of scientific assessment.

B - Visibility of Argentinean publications

Chinchilla-Rodríguez Z, Miguel S, de Moya-Anegón F. What factors affect the visibility of Argentinean publications in humanities and social sciences in Scopus? Some evidence beyond the geographic realm of research. Scientometrics e-pub 29 August2014
(doi: 10.1007/s11192-014-1414-4)
 Argentina´s patterns of publication in the humanities and social sciences were studied for the period 2003–2012, using the Scopus database and distinguishing the geographic realm of the research. The results indicate that “topics of national scope” have grown and gained international visibility. Citation is apparently not determined only by the geographic realm of research, but also by language of publication, co-authorship, and the profiles of the journals where published.

B - Rubriq: a peer review service

Stemmle L, Collier K. RUBRIQ: tools, services, and software to improve peer review. Learned Publishing 2013;26(4):265-268
(doi: 10.1087/20130406)

The authors describe the Rubriq peer review service. It is an author-pays model that facilitates a fast, independent, and standardized double-blinded peer review from three expert academic reviewers, who are paid for their efforts. This service should improve journal selection, supplement editorial reviews, and make peer review more portable between journals. The reviews are returned to the author in 1-2 weeks. Manuscripts are classified and screened for plagiarism using iThenticate and, after review, they are matched to the most appropriate journals. The authors also tested the usefulness of the Rubriq review with editors, working with six publishers.

B - Research credibility

Ioannidis JPA. How to make more published research true. PLoS Medicine 2014;11(10):e1001747
(doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001747)

Currently, many published research findings are false or exaggerated, and an estimated 85% of research resources are wasted. To improve the credibility and efficiency of scientific research, some practices may help increase the proportion of true research findings. They are: adoption of large-scale collaborative research; replication culture; registration; sharing; reproducibility practices; better statistical methods; standardization of definitions and analyses; more appropriate statistical thresholds; and improvement in study design standards, peer review, reporting and dissemination of research, and training of the scientific workforce.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

B - How to develop high-quality, ethical clinical manuscripts

Hindle A, Tobin SC, Robens J, et al. Working with authors to develop high-quality, ethical clinical manuscripts: Guidance for the professional medical writer. Medical Writing 2014;23(3):228-235
(doi: 10.1179/2047480614Z.000000000229)

This article provides medical writers with advice on how to help researchers prepare high-quality clinical manuscripts for publication in English-language journals, and consider some ethical issues. Authors will then be assisted in preparing a well-structured, ethically sound, and highly readable manuscript that clearly expresses the clinical evidence of their findings.

B - Retraction notices and COPE guidelines

Balhara YP, Mishra A. Compliance of retraction notices for retracted articles on mental disorders with COPE guidelines on retraction. Current Science 2014;107(5):757-760

This study is aimed at assessing the compliance of retraction notices for articles on mental disorders with COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) guidelines and the impact of open access on post-retraction citation of retracted articles. A bibliometric search was carried out using PubMed. Results show little impact of COPE guidelines on retractions.

Monday, September 22, 2014

B - Wikipedia citations in journal articles

Tohidinasab F, Jamali HR. Why and where Wikipedia is cited in journal articles? Journal of Scientometric Research 2013;2(3):231-238
(doi: 10.4103/2320-0057.135415)

This research aimed to identify the motivations for citation to Wikipedia in scientific papers. Also, the number of citation to Wikipedia, location of citation, type of citing papers, subject of citing and cited articles were determined and compared in different subject fields. Results showed that there are 20 motivations for citing Wikipedia and the most frequent of them are providing general information and definition, facts and figures. Citations to Wikipedia often appear in the introduction or introductory sections of papers. Computer sciences, internet and chemistry are the most cited subjects. The use of Wikipedia in articles is increasing both in terms of quantity and diversity;year=2013;volume=2;issue=3;spage=231;epage=238;aulast=Tohidinasab

B - Science publishing in Russia

Teixeira da Silva JA, Lukatkin AS. Challenges to research, science writing and publishing in Russia. The Asian and Australasian Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology 2013;7(1):66-71

Traditionally, Russian researchers write articles in Russian. They tend to publish articles in a leading Russian journal as it is much easier than to attempt to publish in an English-based journal. This paper provides some perspectives as to the rationale and challenges that Russian scientists face when publishing in high ranked international journals. They are influenced by cultural and structural limitations.

B - The Kardashian index

Hall N. The Kardashian index: a measure of discrepant social media profile for scientists. Genome Biology 2014;15:424
(doi: 10.1186/s13059-014-0424-0)

The author proposes the "Kardashian index" (from the name of one of the most followed people on twitter), a measure of discrepancy between a scientist’s social media profile and publication record based on the direct comparison of numbers of citations and twitter followers. He has compared the numbers of followers that research scientists have on twitter with the number of citations they have for their peer-reviewed work.

B - Publication bias in social sciences

Franco A, Malhotra N, Simonovits G. Publication bias in the social sciences: unlocking the file drawer. Science 2014;345(6203):1502-1505
(doi: 10.1126/science.1255484)

The authors examined every study since 2002 that was funded by TESS (Time-sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences),  a national grants programme adopting a rigorous peer review for proposals submitted. They found a strong relationship between the results of a study and whether it was published, a pattern indicative of publication bias. Selective reporting of scientific findings is often referred to as the "file drawer" problem. Although around half of the total studies in the sample were published, only 20% of those with null results appeared in print. In contrast, about 60% of studies with strong results and 50% of those with mixed results were published What is perhaps most striking is not that so few null results are published, but that so many of them are never even written up (65%).

Friday, September 19, 2014

B - Social media use by medical students

Harrison B, Gill J, Jalali A. Social media etiquette for the modern medical student: a narrative review. International Journal of Medical Students 2014;2(2):64-67

Most medical students worldwide are using various social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) for file sharing, circulation of educational resources and staying connected with peers.  This narrative review examines social media use by medical students, with a concentration on online professionalism and how education on the topic is, or should be, integrated into the world-wide medical school curricula. The research shows that there is a potentially dangerous dichotomy between the online social lives of modern medical students and professionalism requirements of medical career for which they are training.

B - Peer review for RCT

Patel J. Why training and specialization is needed for peer review: a case study of peer review for randomized controlled trials. BMC Medicine 2014;12:128
(doi: 10.1186/s12916-014-0128-z)

Innovations in peer review have focused on the process of peer review rather than its quality.  Some types of research, such as randomized controlled trials (RCTs), may lend themselves to a more specialized form of peer review where training and ongoing appraisal and revalidation is provided to individuals who peer review RCTs. Any randomized controlled trial peer reviewed by such a trained peer reviewer could then have a searchable ‘quality assurance’ symbol attached to the published articles and any published peer reviewer reports.

B - Impact factor mania

Casadevall A, Fang FC. Causes for the persistence of impact factor mania. mBio 2014;5(2):e00064-14 
(doi: 10.1128/mBio.00064-14)

Science and scientists are currently afflicted by an epidemic of mania manifested by associating the value of research with the journal where the work is published rather than the content of the work itself. The authors consider the reasons for the persistence of impact factor mania and its pernicious effects on science. They conclude that impact factor mania persists because it confers significant benefits to individual scientists and journals. Various measures to reduce the influence of the impact factor are considered.

B - An example of unethical behaviour

Masic I. A new example of unethical behavior in the academic journal "Medical Archives". Medical Archives 2014;68(4):228-230
(doi: 10.5455/medarh.2014.68.228.230)

A recent case of unethical behaviour by authors who have submitted their article in the Medical Archives is described in this Editorial. The same article was submitted to another journal and then retracted and sent to "Retraction Watch". Considerations on plagiarism and other forms of unethical behaviour in a scientific publication are also expressed.

B - Plagiarism and ethics

Jamali R, Ghazinoory S, Sadeghi M. Plagiarism and ethics of knowledge. Journal of Information Ethics 2014;23(1):101-110
(doi: 10.3172/JIE.23.1.101)

This study aims to investigate whether there is any difference between plagiarism volumes in different fields of study in Iran. Specifically, if there is any significant difference between these statistics among five countries, namely Iran, USA, Turkey, Australia and China. The results show that there was no trace of plagiarism in 6 out of 27 fields under consideration for Iranian papers. Most cases of plagiarism were reported in three scientific fields, with medicine on top of the list. The paper suggest that more frequent instances of plagiarism in Iranian articles are due to the unawareness of the international standards of science writing and editing.

B - Scholarly publishing trends 2014

Smart P. The big picture: scholarly publishing trends 2014. Science Editing 2014;1(2):52-57
(doi: 10.6087/kcse.2014.1.52)

This article considers the changes that have happened recently to the scholarly journal environment, starting with the changes in research and development and the influence of the emerging economies. It then considers the financial models and the serials crisis that led to the movement for more open access to research and greater involvement of the academic community. It looks at the ethical issues that have beset the recent years, and the new technologies that promise more efficient and ethical publishing. There is particular concern about some of the new publishers who are not adhering to established quality control and ethical practices.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

B - Science transparency

Denegri S, Faure H. It's plain and simple: transparency is good for science and in the public interest. Trials 2013;14:215
(doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-14-215)

In the past couple of years, there has been a growing focus on the need to make scientific output accessible to a greater number of people, especially in the field of clinical research. The public are being urged to become more well-informed and to ask their doctors about taking part in clinical trials.
All recent initiatives demonstrate that there are still a number of challenges in making current research both accessible and understandable by prospective participants. It is necessary to improve ‘signposting’, to direct the public to the information. Plain English summaries are seen as a good idea but very few people are willing to pay for improved content.

B - Lay summaries of OA articles

Nunn E, Pinfield S. Lay summaries of open access journal articles: engaging with the general public on medical research. Learned Publishing 2014;27(3):173-184
(doi: 10.1087/20140303)

This study investigates attitudes towards the addition of  lay summaries to open-access journal articles in the context of engaging the public with medical research. In particular, the perspectives of two stakeholder groups were analysed:  employees of organisations with a stake in communicating OA medical research to the public, and members of the public who have experience of accessing online medical research.

B - Periodicals price survey 2014

Bosch S, Henderson K. Steps down the evolutionary road. Periodicals price survey 2014. Library Journal April 2014

The article discusses the serials and scholarly publishing industry as of April 2014, focusing on the authors' identification of trends impacting use and pricing in the field according to data from the Periodicals Price Survey 2014. Topics include the library industry's recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, average price changes across serial categories, and a reduction in print orders. On the basis of the survey the average prices for science, technology, and medical (STM) serials remain the highest, compared with prices for serials in other subject areas.

B - Recommended procedures for retracting articles

Gilliver S. Recommended procedures for retracting articles: inadequate or patchily applied? Analysis of a recent article in PLoS One examining the fates of retracted articles. Medical Writing 2014;23(2):122-124
(doi: 10.1179/2047480614Z000000000202)

In several cases, many articles, that are found to have broken ethics rules, have been linked to a single researcher. A 2014 study published in PLoS One sought to determine whether 88 articles by one of the worst known offenders were retracted as recommended and, if so, whether their retraction conformed to the Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines and other recommended practices.

B - The impact of retraction

Madlock-Brown CR, Eichmann D. The (lack of) impact of retraction on citation networks. Science and Engineering Ethics e-pub March 2014
(doi: 10.1007/s11948-014-9532-1)

This paper presents an analysis of recent retraction patterns, with a unique emphasis on the role author self-cites play, to assist the scientific community in creating counter-strategies. The findings indicate new reasons for retractions have emerged in recent years, and more editors are penning retractions. The rates of increase for retraction varies by category, and there is statistically significant difference of average impact factor between many categories. 18% of authors self-cite retracted work post retraction with only 10% of those authors also citing the retraction notice. Further, there is a positive correlation between self-cites and after retraction citations.

B - Retractions of scientific publications

Katavić V. Retractions of scientific publications: responsibility and accountability. Biochemia Medica 2014;24(2):217-222
(doi: 10.11613/BM.2014.024)  

This evidence-based opinion piece gives a short overview of the increase in retractions of publications in scientific journals and discusses various reasons for that increase. Also discussed are some of the recent prominent cases of scientific misconduct, the number of authors with multiple retractions, and problems with reproducibility of published research.

B - Quality of author guidelines

Nambiar R, Tilak P, Cerejo C. Quality of author guidelines of journals in the biomedical and physical sciences. Learned Publishing 2014;27(3):201-209  
(doi: 10.1087/20140306)

This article aimed to assess quantitatively the completeness and clarity of author guidelines of 80 international English-language journals in the biomedical and physical sciences. No journal scored 100% for completeness and clarity. While author guidelines of many journals adequately address some essential aspects of manuscript preparation and submission, they often do not provide all the information needed as clearly as possible. 'Formatting instructions' was the most complete and clear category, and 'authorship' the least complete and clear category.