Saturday, December 23, 2006
Research findings can be distorted in the lay press. Journalists and scientists must share the responsibilities of better explaining and interpreting science in an accessible and meaningful context for nonspecialist readers.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
This article reports a novel method for translating medical dictionaries by combining electronic word extraction and automated alignment. This method pernmits to rapidly generate a medical terminology dictionary. This research which also identifies inconsistencies in currently used terminology systems was performed in a Swedish-English dictionary with 31,000 entries.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The mechanism for allocating science funding in the UK is to move away from peer review to a measure based on research income, postgraduate research student data and bibliometrics. For other disciplines, including mathematics and statistics, funding is going to be based on a "significantly reduced, light-touch peer review process informed by a range of discipline-specific indicators". The new system for science, engineering and technology will be phased in between September 2010 and August 2014.
This piece describes how eye-catching journal covers are surviving in the age of the Internet, at least in chemistry, and briefly discusses the surrounding ethical issues and how they are used to promote articles.
The authors, librarians at the California Institute of Technology, warn learned society publishers, such as the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry, that high quality is not enough to secure their position and that libraries will be taking cost effectiveness into account. Further, they suggest that it looks bad for learned society publishers to be seen to align themselves with commercial publishers rather than the research communities they serve, for example on the subject of open access.
Monday, December 11, 2006
The editors of PLOS Medicine wonder whether they, as editors, are publishing the right stuff in their journal on the basis of the findings of a major study estimating the likely trends in global morbidity and mortality. This editorial critically considers what editors should be publishing and the proportion of research on different diseases appearing in a general medical journal.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Johnson C. 2006 Repetitive, Duplicate, and Redundant Publications: A Review for Authors and Readers. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 29(7): 505-509
This editorial defines and discusses a range of terminology, relevant to the repetitive, duplicate and redundant scientific literature. It also assesses the affect of these publications on science as a whole, asking the questions: What is wrong with duplicate publication, why do people do it, when is duplicate publication acceptable and who is responsible? The article concludes with discussion on prevention and policy making.
This general-interest article reviews the contribution of William Chambers (1800–1883), who was one of the first science publishers to take advantage of steam power and new machinery in the 19th century to reach a national market, reaching a broad readership from all parts of society. The article is part of the Science in the Industrial Revolution series.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Overview of what happened on the Open Access (OA) scene in the last two years. Facts and figures concerning publishers, funding organizations, charities, academic and research institutions as well as the authors' attidutes regarding citation patterns and self archiving practices in this ever changing publication arena. The paper contains a list of very useful links to the most up-dated documents and declarations on Open Access.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
This article is very interesting since it highlights an undoubtedly unusual issue: the origins of bibliometrics. In the field of scientometrics, based on statistics on science, bibliometrics is a subfield concerned with measuring the output side of science. According to most “histories”, in the 1950s the pioneers of bibliometrics were mainly D.J.D. Price and Eugene Garfield. However, in the early 1900s, psychologists began collecting statistics on their discipline so that the systematic counting of publications originated with psychologists. Publications came to be counted in addresses, reviews and histories of psychology for several decades. The aim was to contribute to the advancement of psychology. This is a pioneering work that shoud be taken into consideration.
The Science Resources Statistics Division of the National Science Foundation held a workshop to explore why the number of US science publications remained essentially flat from 1992 to 2002, leading to a drop in the US share of publications from 38% to 30%.
One of the reason is that the percentage of US publications is declining as other countries increase their output. Moreover, this is partly due to an increase in global collaborations and to a growing appreciation among non-US researchers for the value of publishing in English-language journals, making it more competitive for American scientists to get their work accepted.
Much of the new competition appears to be coming from China.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Elliott, K. C. 2006. An Ethics of Expertise Based on Informed Consent. Science and Engineering Ethics. 12(4):637-661.
Scientists are believed to serve society by the informing both the public and its political representatives, but the coupled with this is the moral responsibility to benefit society. This paper bases its theory on the notation that scientists must be responsible for providing information in a way that promotes autonomous decision-making. A theoretical framework is developed for an “ethics of expertise” (EOE). It is suggested that the concept of informed consent (developed in biomedical ethics) can help set guidelines to help all scientists fulfil their ethical responsibilities.
This article states that from the perspective of cost–benefit analysis the amount of reading of an article is an essential metric to compare with article and journal publishing costs. The myth that journal articles are read infrequently has been quashed by the advent of electronic publishing and ability to observe server counts of hits and downloads. The four main measures used to assess the amount of reading per article are; article citations, surveys of amount of reading divided by number of articles, electronic "hits and downloads" and surveys using Table-of-Contents, the later being the main study of this article. Results of this form analysis are complementary to other estimates of amount of reading, and are proposed to overcome their flaws.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Reported incidences of deceit and fraud in medical literature are alarming.
The problem ranges from gift authorship to wholesale fabrication of data. Among the potential factors which may have promoted fraud and deceit there are financial gain, personal fame and the competitive scientific environment Most cases may be dealt with at an institutional level; the principles of ethical behaviour should be developed in scientists curricula; the role of regulatory organisations such as the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) is pointed out.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Printed and electronic versions of publications are treated differently within the European Union as regards VAT rates: whereas books and periodicals are subject to a reduced
rate, electronic publications are charged with the full rate. These regulations have several consequences for European libraries and the market for scholarly publications in Europe. The report contains the results of a survey commissioned by the Frankfurt Group in order to show the impact of current VAT regulations on the resources available for libraries and the competitive position of EU publishing, education and research.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Using Thomson Scientific's ISI Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar, Science found dozens of citations of retracted papers in fields from physics to cancer research to plant biology. Efforts to correct scientific literature are often uneven and chaotic. Like ghosts riffling the pages of journals, retracted papers live on and continue to be cited; sometimes their citations are "negative", but scientists often do not know that the work they are citing has been retracted. The article gives many examples of retraction cases and comments of major editors and relevant scientists. [DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5770.38]
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Impact factor has become one of the most debated themes on research evaluation. In this article published in the official journal of the European Medical Writers Association (www.emwa.org), Cockerill exoplores the developments in citation tracking services since the pioneering work of Eugene Garfield who created what is now a de facto standard (impact factor). Among them: Google scholar, Scopus, CrossRef, CiteSeer and CiteBAse. Alternatives to IF (article-level citation information, downloads, etc.) are pointed out and critivally discussed.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Why do we publish clinical trials results? Is the present format for reporting results from randomized clinical trials in peer-reviewed journals still efficient and effective? The advantages offered by alternative models of publications are presented and the implications for trial sponsors and medical journals are discussed in detail. Problems, opportunities and possible solutions on reporting results are clearly pointed out in the ever changing scenario of online publications.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Farthing, M. J. G. 2006. Authors and Publication Practices. Science and Engineering Ethics. 12(1):41.
Not only authors can perpetrate research and publication misconduct, but journal editors and reviewers may also breach ethical standards (particularly with respect to conflicts of interest). The progression towards ‘open’ peer review is a result of the need for increased transparency. This paper also discusses the need for a drastic overhaul of the relationship between journals, editors and the biomedical industry. A radical proposal that journals should no longer publish clinical trials sponsored by industry is examined.
García Landa L. G. 2006. Academic Language Barriers and Language Freedom. Current Issues in Language Planning. 7(1):61.
The current trend to publish research predominantly in English acts as an obstacle to many non-English-speaking academics in poor countries wishing to access and publish scientific literature. A case study at the National Autonomous University of Mexico examines these issues by asking researchers and teachers about the language of choice for their activities, the problems they faced and how they were solved.
Burrough-Boenisch, J. 2006. Negotiable Acceptability: Reflections on the Interactions between Language Professionals in
This paper discusses what affects the criteria of acceptability of language professionals when working with a non-native speaking author before submission of their papers in English. It is argue that language planners could make significant contribution by both training language professionals and securing better guidance from journals.
The recent history of international science communication is discussed in the context of possible improvements to language planning. With English increasing becoming the language choice in today’s scientific communication, the paper analyses the problems and advantage which are encountered. Suggestions include a campaign to raise awareness amongst Anglophones of the difficulties faced by non-Anglophones, especially by scientists of recently declined international languages. The paper also discusses the possible downsides for scientific progress by a reduction to a single international science language.http://www.multilingual-matters.net/cilp/007/1/default.htm
Friday, September 29, 2006
The basic currency of science is still the research article, but modern laboratory research results yield enormous data sets, straining the established article framework. Moreover, isolated findings or negative results are seldom published at all, so it is useful to preserve data in its native digital format (this could be an important step to avoid purposeless repetition of costly experiments). Scientific information is exchanged in a multi-tiered manner, rendering the scientific manuscript even optional. The future of scientific data lies in digital storage and access, contributing also to the reduction of the "publish or perish" syndrome. Academic publishing must diversify or die.
The author explains what digital repositories are, how they are being used at LANL and CERN, and explores the reasons for their very limited take-up in chemistry and how publishers are responding.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Report on how scientific misconduct is dealt with in China, including an unofficial 'name-and-shame' website called New Threads (http://www.xys.org/), which
is intended to expose bad science and raise the profile of research ethics in China.
He proposes a new measure, m, which is the h-index for a topic divided by the number of years since it first appeared in print. Gallium nitride and buckminsterfullerene top the chemical compounds, with m-indices of 2.12 and 5.10 respectively.
As for topics in physics, carbon nanotubes, nanowires and quantum dots come first with ms of 12.85, 8.75 and 7.84.
(Source: Nature, 2006, 441, 265.)
Thursday, September 21, 2006
The exchange of information enabled by the Internet has swept away many limitations on research and learning and promises to fundamentally change the conduct of science. For the first time in history,we have a practical opportunity for efficient, unlimited sharing ofinformation at virtually no cost beyond that of providing it to the firstreader. As a result, the scientific paper and its historic container, thejournal, are poised for change. Increasingly, research funders are adoptingpolicies that facilitate the sharing of information and realize thebenefits of digital scholarship.
Monday, September 04, 2006
The discussion on the state of the art of scientific publications in Latin American countries generally restricts itself to its supposedly low visibility. This affirmation is generally conditioned to the exclusive use of large international databases, mainly of the USA and Europe, which include thousands of scientific publications that have marginalized a large part of the scientific literature produced in peripheral countries. Given this fact of low visibility, it became imperative for some Latin American countries, beginning in the 90s (20th Century), to develop their own mechanisms of projection of the results of their own scientific production.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Thanks to enterprising students, undergraduates have several opportunities to share their research in journals created by and for their peers. Students are involved at every step: writing, designing, fundraising, and even delivering.
Librarians, publishers, and the scientific community are grappling with how libraries will maintain the role of storing published articles and their supplemental data in the digital age.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Information disseminated by the media influences health behaviour, health care-utilization and health policies. An observatory on lay press was established to check news and articles dealing with medicine and health. The activities of the observatory aimed to improve quality of scientific and medical news in terms of selection and content.
Open access is making a noticeable impact on access to information. In 2005, many major research funders, including the Wellcome Trust, National Institutes for Health (NIH), and the Research Councils UK (RCUK), set out their position in a number of statements. Of particular note was the stipulation that authors receiving grants must deposit their final manuscript in an open access forum within 6–12 months of publication.The paper considers such position statements and the models used by publishers to provide open or delayed access, such as Oxford Open from Oxford University Press, HighWire Press' delayed access policy, BioMed Central, and Public Library of Science (PLoS).
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Reports that U.S. Department of Energy lawyers discovered e-mails indicating that some data relating to the long-term environmental safety of this proposed nuclear waste repository site had been falsified.
Posted for John Glen
Presents a model for scientific publishing in which distribution and archiving are undertaken by the authors and only refereeing and possibly indexing undertaken by another agency. Papers would be deposited in subject-based centralized Archives. How this residual refereeing service would be paid for is discussed.
Posted for John Glen
The review shows that there is a small body of evidence to demonstrate the positive impact of library and information services on the direct care of patients. There is also a lack of impact studies conducted with non-clinical staff. It is possible, however, to gather evidence of the potential for information services to deliver cost savings.
It points out that the suggested earlier attribution (ibid 58(1):15-16) of the origin of this term (for the tendency to give credit for a scientific advance to the most distinguished of several possible candidates) to Louis & Mary Fieser is incorrect - they used the same Matthew quotation but for a different phenomenon. The original attribution by the author (ibid 57(5):10-11 2004) to Robert Merton (Science 159: 56, 1968) is correct.
Posted for John Glen
Friday, August 18, 2006
Emails have the potential to improve communication between physicians and patients. Patients' interest in using email is high, but t he 'digital divide' is still is an ethical concern for this type communication. The results of a survey are reported showing that patients are interested in email communication with the family practice clinic.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Few randomised trials assess the generalisability of their results. Trials should include evaluations of the feasibility, coverage, and acceptability of interventions. Such information is essential to decisions about adopting new interventions.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
The APS Task Force on Ethics Education has advocated the creation andmaintenance of a web site to serve as a resource for ethics education.There are some existing resources: the APS has an official statement on the issue (http://www.aps.org/statements/02_4.cfm) and has also produced "Guidelines for Professional Conduct" (http://www.aps.org/statements/02_2.cfm). The proposed web site should also include case studies running the gamut from publication practices, conflict of interest, data acquisition, mentoring, issues of bias, and health and safety, among others. The example given involves excluding a graduate student from authorship of a paper which develops a theory that accounts for the student's results.
Posted for G. Glen
Reports how Einstein objected when the Physical Review sent a paper of his to a referee, withdrew the paper and subsequently published it in another journal with radically altered conclusions - and never again submitted a paper to Physical Review! The reasons for his changes are discussed as are the policies of early journals about acceptance of papers.
Posted for J. Glen
Comments on suggestion by Loc Vu-Quoc that multiple author publications be divided according to the number of authors might have the consequence of deletion of junior collaborators from authorship, also questions whether all authors have to be held responsible for everything in the paper. Reply byVu-Quoc points out that such behaviour would be short-sighted and that ethical gbuidelines such as those of the American Chemical Society clearly state all persons who have made significant scientific contributions to the work would be listed as coauthors.
Posted for John Glen
Describes the rapid development of blogs (magazine-like collections of
articles published on the Internet) which now include many giving
information to scientists and also aimed at giving science news to the
general public. The use of hyperlinks and trackbacks making finding them
relatively easy. See e.g. Carroll's own site at www.cosmicvariance.com.
posted for John Glen
It's not clear yet what the "2.0" element of this will be. They talk about commenting and blogging and link to the Topaz Project website, but it says very little, as yet.
Science reports failure to declare conflicts of interest by Editor-in-Chief and editorial board members of Neuropsychopharmacology over an article reviewing a device manufactured by a company for which most of the authors acted as consultants.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Proceedings of scientific meetings are important sources of scholarly communication and supplement journal literature in basic and applied sciences. In some fields of engineering they seem to be even more important than publishing in periodicals. This study analyses the weight of proceedings literature in all fields of sciences, social sciences and humanities through the ISI Proceedings database; it also explores information about conference location for the analysis of bibliometrically relevant aspects of information flow.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Many patients who need medical interpreters have no access to them. Language barriers can have deleterious effects. Patients who face such barriers are less likely than others to have a usual source of medical care; they receive preventive services at reduced rates; and they have an increased risk of nonadherence to medication
Whatever mechanisms are chosen, it seems clear that new methods of support must be developed if biomedical research is to continue to thrive in the United States. The goal of a durable, steady stream of support for research in the life sciences has never been more pressing, since the research derived from that support has never promised greater benefits. The fate of life-sciences research should not be consigned to the political winds of Washington.
Internationality as a concept is being applied ambiguously, particularly in the world of academic journal publication. Although different criteria are used by scientometrists in order to measure internationality and to supplement its minimal literal meaning, the present study suggests that no single criterion alone is sufficient. Internationality Index, constructed from a combination of suitably weighted criteria, is the only way to unambiguously quantify the degree of internationality.
The association between referee recommendations and editorial decisions at two scholarly journals are analysed. The method enables researchers to (1) determine the number of latent dimensions needed to account for this association, and (2) estimate scale values for both the referee-recommendation and the editorial-decision categories.
The vast majority of scientific papers are of direct interest only to specialists, even if they report research of long-term importance. However, a few journal papers are published every week that have immediate relevance for health and safety, or for public policy. This report has resulted from three years of investigation by the Royal Society into best practice in communicating the results of new scientific research to the public, carried out as party of the Society’s ‘Science in Society’ programme. The study was carried out by a working group drawn from science in academia and industry, scientific publishing and groups representing consumer and patient interests.
Available online as PDF file at: http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/downloaddoc.asp?id=2879
Thursday, August 03, 2006
This article presents a broad framework for understanding the professional and legal responsibilities of physicians when interacting with industry. Physicians have unique responsibilities based on the “fiduciary” nature of the patient-physician relationship and specified laws regarding health care. Physicians must protect the best interests of patients, with clinical decisions free of undue influence. Physicians have special obligations related to receiving gifts from industry and ensure that these gifts do not compromise professional judgment, they should generally not accept personal gifts from industry and consider accepting only those that primarily entail a benefit to patients, are not of substantial value, and have no “strings” attached.
A published scientific paper is the end-result of a complex interaction between authors, referees, editors and publishers. Each brings to the process a different agenda, and a widely disparate adherence to standards of competence and integrity. This subjective analysis attempts to explain why and where the regulatory mechanisms that ought to detect and eliminate the publication or the dissemination by other means of poor, erroneous, or frankly fraudulent scientific finds have broken down, and what can be done to fix them
Sunday, July 30, 2006
The purpose of the paper was to determine a theoretical framework by which credibility in health care web sites can be depicted. A comprehensive literature review of published articles, policy papers, and grey literature using relevant search terms was conducted. Sources for articles reviewed included MEDLINE, PsycINFO, ERIC and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) databases. The Web of Science citation service and Google were also implemented. The common term, credibility, was purposed for use in this context. A comprehensive set of credibility criteria, was also developed. Conclusions pointed out that relevancy and readiness of the purposed common terminology, criteria, and implementation within the theoretical framework must be further researched.
When a retraction is published it appears in PubMed linked to the original paper, thereby alerting scientists to the problem, however, retracted papers continue to be cited in the scientific literature at rates comparable to those for nonretracted papers. Being the coauthor of a paper that is retracted can be very damaging. Scientists who have come face to face with scientific misconduct consider its consequences years later.Cases of possible scientific misconduct involving research funded by the NIH and other agencies within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are brought to the attention of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). Most countries outside the United States do not have an independent institute like ORI dedicated to handling scientific misconduct.
Friday, July 28, 2006
In reviewing the case for open access, it makes more sense to focus readers' attention on ways of increasing access, rather than holding to a strict line on whether a journal article, a journal, or a publisher, for that matter, is open or closed. A commitment to the value and quality of research carries with it a responsibility to extend the circulation of such work as far as possible and ideally to all who are interested in it and all who might profit by it. What follows on this principle, given the current transformation of journals from print to online formats, is that researchers, scholarly societies, publishers, and research libraries have now to ask themselves whether or not they are using this new technology to do as much as can be done to advance and improve access to research and scholarship.
Dipak Kalra, Renate Gertz, Peter Singleton, Hazel M Inskip. 2006. Confidentiality and consent in medical research: Confidentiality of personal health information used for research BMJ ;333:196-198, doi:10.1136/bmj.333.7560.196
Researchers must balance the quest for better health for all against the need to respect the privacy of research participants. In this article, Kalra and colleagues look at what needs to be done to ensure best practice. Several areas of research practice need to be improved, and staff training and access policies are essential, but firstly the main contemporary public concerns must be recognised and understood, they say.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
ECONOMICS AND FUNDING, including
ETHICAL ISSUES, including Misconduct and fraud
LANGUAGE AND WRITING
POLITICS OF PUBLISHING
PRACTICE OF PUBLISHING, including Models of publishing; Metadata; Peer review