Tuesday, January 05, 2016

B - Online plain English resources

Gilliver S. Online plain English and readability resources. Medical Writing 2015;24(1):20-2

B - Medical journalism

Whelan J. Medical journalism: another way to write about science. Medical Writing 2015; 24(4):219-21
(doi: 10.1179/2047480615Z.000000000327)                                                       
Jubb M, Goldstein S, Amin M, et al. Monitoring the transition to open access. A report for the Universities UK Open Access Co-ordination Group. Research Information Network August 2015; 105 p.

Reliable indicators should be gathered on key features of the transition to open access (OA) in the UK. The findings presented in the report from this study are a first attempt at generating such indicators covering five sets of issues: OA options available to authors; accessibility; usage; financial sustainability for universities; and financial sustainability for learned societies.

B - Interdisciplinary research

Van Noorden R. Interdisciplinary research by the numbers. Nature 2015 September 16;525(7569):306-7
(doi: 10.1038/525306a)

Interdisciplinary work is considered crucial by scientists, policy-makers and funders. This study reveals the extent and impact of research that bridges disciplines.The fraction of paper references that point to work in other disciplines is increasing in both the natural and the social sciences. And although papers that combine very disparate fields tend to have fewer citations, interdisciplinary work can have broad societal and economic impacts that are not captured by citations.

B - Research impact assessment models and methods

Milat AJ, Bauman AE, Redman S. A narrative review of research impact assessment models and methods. Health Research Policy and Systems 2015;13:18
(doi: 10.1186/s12961-015-0003-1)

The purpose of this narrative literature review is to synthesize evidence that describes processes and conceptual models for assessing policy and practice impacts of public health research. The literature is characterised by an over reliance on bibliometric methods to assess research impact. Future impact assessment processes could be strengthened by routinely engaging the end-users of research in interviews and assessment processes.

B - Academic misconduct

Hvistendahl M. China pursues fraudsters in science publishing. Science 2015;350(6264):1015
(doi: 10.1126/science.350.6264.1015)

China’s main basic research agency is cracking down on scientists who used fake peer reviews to publish papers, demanding that serious offenders return research funding. Since 2012 scores of authors, many of them Chinese, have been snagged in a peer-review scandal involving papers published in international journals. Journals discovered that authors provided email addresses to accounts controlled by the perpetrators, and then reviewed their own work.

Monday, January 04, 2016

B - Making the most of peer review

Slavov N. Point of view: making the most of peer review. eLIFE  2015 Nov 11;4:e12708
(doi: 10.7554/eLIFE.12708)

Many of the legitimate concerns about papers raised on blogs and other platforms are being ignored by journals. Journals should publish referee reports, and referees should be encouraged to sign their reports. Journals should also consider non-anonymous post-publication comments submitted to certain platforms within a certain time after the paper has been published.


B - Build digital democracy

Helbing D, Pournaras E. Society: build digital democracy. Nature  2015 Nov 5;527(7576):33-4.
(doi: 10.1038/527033a)

Open sharing of data that are collected with smart devices would empower citizens and create jobs, say the authors of this article. A research team has started to create a distributed, privacy-preserving 'digital nervous system' called Nervousnet. It uses the sensor networks that make up the Internet of Things, including those in smartphones, to measure the world around us and to build a collective 'data commons'.

B - The Resource Identification Initiative

Bandrowski A, Brush M, Grethe JS, et al. The Resource Identification Initiative: a cultural shift in publishing. Journal of Comparative Neurology 2016;524(1):8-22
(doi: 10.1002/cne.23913)

The Resource Identification Initiative was launched as a pilot project to improve the reporting standards for research resources in the Methods sections of articles and thereby improve identifiability and scientific reproducibility. The pilot engaged over 25 biomedical journal editors from most major publishers, as well as scientists and funding officials. Authors were asked to include Research Resource Identifiers (RRIDs) in their articles prior to publication for three resource types: antibodies, model organisms, and tools (i.e., software and databases). RRIDs are assigned by an authoritative database.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

B - Hijacking a journal

Bohannon J. How to hijack a journal. Science 2015;350(6263):903-905
(doi: 10.1126/science.350.6263.903)

In the past few years fraudsters are snatching entire web addresses, right out from under academic publishers, erecting fake versions of their sites, and hijacking their journals, along with their web traffic. The usual method is to build a convincing version of a website at a similar address and then drive web traffic to the fake site. Unsuspecting visitors who log into the hijacked journal sites might give away passwords or money as they try to pay subscriptions or article processing fees.

B - Authorship: myths and misconceptions

Menezes RG, Kharoshah MA, Madadin M, et al. Authorship: few myths and misconceptions. Science and Engineering Ethics e-pub Dec 15 2015;1-5
(doi: 10.1007/s11948-015-9742-1)

This article addresses and dispels some of the popular myths and misconceptions surrounding authorship of a scientific publication as this is often misconstrued by beginners in academia especially those in the developing world. While ethical issues in publishing related to authorship have been increasingly discussed, not much has been written about the myths and misconceptions of who might be an author.

B - Storing and accessing biomedical big data

Bourne PE, Lorsch JR. Green ED. Sustaining the big-data ecosystem. Nature Nov 5 2015;527
(doi: 10.1038/527S16a)

Biomedical big data offer tremendous potential for making discoveries, but the cost of sustaining these digital assets and the resources needed to make them useful have received relatively little attention. Funders should encourage the development of new metrics to ascertain the usage and value of data and when we have a better understanding of data usage, we can develop business models for storing, organizing and accessing them. Tools and rewards that incentivize researchers to submit their data to data resources in ways that maximize both quality and ease of access, are also needed.

B - Why scientists decline to review papers

Breuning M, Backstrom J, Brannon J, et al. Reviewer fatigue? Why scholars decline to review their peer's work. PS: Political Science & Politics 2015;48(4):595-600
(doi: 10.1017/S1049096515000827)          

The double-blind peer review process is central to publishing in academic journals, but it also relies heavily on the voluntarily efforts of anonymous reviewers. To evaluate the degree to which scholars suffer from the resulting “reviewer fatigue,” the authors empirically evaluated the reasons scholars offered when declining to review for the American Political Science Review. Just over one-quarter of them declined requests to review. For those who decline, reviewer fatigue is only one of several reasons: scholars are willing to review but they often face many demands on their time and substantial workloads overall.

B - Double-blind review

Menéndez J. More on double-blind review. APS News 2015;24(10):4

Letter that gives reason why double-blind review should not be optional and also thinks it would be valuable in avoiding institutional or country bias.

B - Internet influence on plagiarism

Ison DC. The influence of the Internet on plagiarism among doctoral dissertations: an empirical study. Journal of Academic Ethics 2015;13(2):151-66
(doi: 10.1007/s10805-015-9233-7)

The online environment is accelerating the decline in academic ethics. This study collected empirical data to investigate the potential influence Internet had on significant higher education artifacts by comparing dissertations written prior to widespread use of the Internet with those written in a period in ubiquitous Internet use. It utilized Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) dissertations written in English and published by accredited universities in the U.S. and Canada. A sample of 384 dissertations were analyzed. Results suggest that the Internet may not be significantly impacting the prevalence of plagiarism in advanced levels of higher education.

B - Retraction policies of top journals

Resnik DB, Wager E, Kissling GE. Retraction policies of top scientific journals ranked by impact factor. Journal of the Medical Library Association 2015;103(3):136-9
(doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.103.3.006)

The purpose of this study was to provide updated information on the retraction policies of major science journals. The specific aims were to: (1) determine the percentage of the top 200 science journals ranked by impact factor that have a retraction policy; (2) analyze the content of journal retraction policies; and (3) ascertain whether having a retraction policy is associated with impact factor, scientific discipline, or status as a review journal. Results showed that the majority of journals had a retraction policy, and almost all of them would retract an article without the authors’ permission. COPE’s guidelines appear to have had a significant influence on journal retraction policies.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

B - The end of journals

Krumholz HM. The end of journals. Circulation  e-pub Nov. 10, 2015

According to the author, there are at least 9 deficiencies in the current publication model that fuel the sense that journals as we have known them are approaching their final act. Among them: the publication process is too long; the expense of publishing is growing rapidly; the configuration of articles prohibits a comprehensive and in-depth approach to a scientific question; peer review and the journal decision-making process occur without much external scrutiny and transparency; and so on.


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

B - Negative results

Teixeira da Silva JA. Negative results: negative perceptions limit their potential for increasing reproducibility. Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine 2015;14:12
(doi: 10.1186/s12952-015-0033-9)

Not all negative results in science get published. Part of the problem lies with a traditional mind-set and rigid publishing framework that tends to view negative results in a negative light, or that only tends to reward scientists primarily for presenting positive findings. This opinion piece indicates that in addition to a deficient mind-set, there are also severe limitations in the availability of publishing channels where negative results could get published.

B - Increasing value and reduce waste

Moher D, Glasziou P, Chalmers I, et al. Increasing value and reducing waste in biomedical research: who's listening? The Lancet Sept. 28, 2015
(doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00307-4)

Published online during the REWARD/EQUATOR Conference in Edinburgh (September 28-30), this review provides some initial observations on the possible effects of The Lancet 2014 series of five reviews showing how dividends from the investment in research might be increased from the relevance and priorities of the questions being asked, to how the research is designed, conducted, and reported. 17 recommendations were addressed to five main stakeholders—funders, regulators, journals, academic institutions, and researchers, Some examples of individual initiatives show ways to reduce waste and increase value in biomedical research.

B - Can a medical researcher have too many publications?

Jorm AF. Can a medical researcher have too many publications? The Medical Journal of Australia 2015;203(5):230-1
(doi: 10.5694/mja15.00194)

Most prolific researchers may not be adhering to authorship guidelines: the author argues that very high publication rates should be seen as indicating poor authorship practices and should be discounted in evaluating track record.

B - The COBWEB randomized controlled trial

Barnes C, Boutron I, Giraudeau B, et al. Impact of an online writing aid tool for writing a randomized trial report: the COBWEB (Consort-based WEB tool) randomized controlled trial. BMC Medicine 2015;13:221
(doi: 10.1186/s12916-015-0460-y)

The authors developed a writing aid tool based on the CONSORT guidelines and its extension for non-pharmacologic treatments to help authors when writing a report of a randomized controlled trial (RCT). They evaluated the impact of this tool on the completeness of reporting of two-arm parallel-group RCTs evaluating pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/13/221

Thursday, September 24, 2015

B - How to improve the medical research literature

Moher D, Altman DG. Four proposals to help improve the medical research literature. PLoS Medicine 2015;12(9):e1001864
(doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001864)

The authors discuss four potential contributory actions by journals and educational institutions to help increase the value of research articles: publications officers, core competency training of medical editors, training authors to write articles “fit for purpose” , and training peer reviewers. All four ideas need to be piloted and evaluated, and if proven effective, considered for implementation. For ease of presentation and discussion, these ideas are presented separately. At the end, a discussion of possible ways to fund these initiatives.

B - Gender gap in social-science funding

Boyle PJ, Smith LK, Cooper NJ, et al. Women are funded more fairly in social science. Nature 10 Sept. 2015;525:181-183

In the biomedical sciences, women get smaller grants than men in the United States and the United Kingdom. This pattern is evident at different rates across disciplinary domains. The data presented in the article show that there is little difference between female and male social scientists in application rate, success rate and grant size. The authors discuss some lessons that these results may hold for the biomedical sciences.

B - Editorial Board meetings

Cochran A. The value in attending editorial board meetings. The Scholarly Kitchen Apr 9 2015

The author has learned a lot from her own large experience about what makes editorial board meetings successful from the publisher perspective. They are like mini focus groups: you hear about what is going on at the universities, what hot topics are bubbling up in the field, and what the pain points are for authors, reviewers and editors. These meetings are also an opportunity to ask about the competition and to ask about features or services that others are offering and see which the editors think are worthwhile. New product ideas can also come from these meetings. The author gives some advice about managing them.

Monday, September 21, 2015

B - Overflow in science and trust

Siebert S, Machesky LM, Insall RH. Overflow in science and its implications for trust. eLIFE 2015;4:e10825
(doi: 10.7554/eLife.10825)

To explore the question of how the perceived decline in reproducibility and integrity in some areas of science has affected trust in the scientific enterprise, the authors interviewed a number of senior biomedical researchers. The interviews revealed a perceived decline in trust, in large part because the quantity of new data exceeds the ability to process it appropriately. Some suggestions are provided on how this overflow in science can be managed.

B - Scientometric analysis on big data

Vivek KS, Sumit KB, Khushboo S, et al. Scientometric mapping of research on "Big Data". Scientometrics e-pub 9 Sept. 2015
(doi: 10.1007/s11192-015-1729-9)

This paper presents a scientometric analysis of research work done on the emerging area of "Big Data" in the years 2010-2014. The analysis maps comprehensively the parameters of total output, growth of output, authorship and country-level collaboration patterns, major contributors (countries, institutions and individuals), top publication sources, thematic trends and emerging themes in the field.

B - Ethical ambiguity in physics

Ecklund EH, Johnson DR, Matthews KRW. Study highlights ethical ambiguity in physics. Physics Today 2015;68(6):8-10

As part of a study entitled "Ethics Among Physicists in Cross-National Context" the authors interviewed 170 physicists at US and UK universities and the results suggest that ethical issues in physics are not as black and white as many physicists may think. Some narrowly defined unethical conduct as fabrication, falsification and plagiarism while others also included such things as accepting funding for military research, misusing research funds, abusing the peer-review system, misallocating credit and authorship, practicing cronyism, overhyping research results and exploiting subordinates. They suggest that more needs to be done to teach ethics to students and reaffirm ethical practices for research scientists.

B - Open access and peer review system

Arns M. Open access is tiring out peer reviewers. Nature 2014;515:467

As numbers of published articles rise, the scholarly review system must adapt to avoid unmanageable burdens and slipping standards. The migration of scholarly journals from print to digital increases the burden on reviewers. The increased pressure means that papers are assigned to reviewers who are not experts in the area. They might have the technical ability to evaluate methods and results sections  but lack the expertise to evaluate a full paper, including introduction and discussion. The author suggests a two-tier system, in which some papers are not reviewed before publication at all and are instead subject to a post-publication peer review.

B - Cluster randomized trials

Meurer WJ, Lewis RJ. Cluster randomized trials evaluating treatments applied to groups. JAMA 2015;313(20):2068-2069
(doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.5199)

Sometimes a new treatment is best introduced to an entire group of patients rather than to individual patients. One approach to evaluate the efficacy of such treatments is to conduct a cluster randomized trial. According to the authors, four points are to be considered when evaluating a cluster randomized trial. Among them, was the use of clustering well justified? Was the intracluster correlation appropriately accounted for in the design, analysis, and interpretationm of the trial?

B - FASTR legislation

Conover E. Getting up to seed on FASTR legislation. APS News 2015;24(8):1-6.

A bill that would mandate public access to federally funded research, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was approved by the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. This would require that peer-reviewed scientific publications from federally funded research be made freely available to the public within a year of publication. The implications of this for journal publishers is discussed.