Friday, December 28, 2007

B - Periodical Price Survey 2007: Serial Wars

Van Orsdel L C, Born K. Periodical Price Survey 2007: Serial Wars. Library Journal 2007

As the open access movement stands now alone as an alternative to the existing system of journal publication, which most say is unsustainable as it is, publishers of scientific, technical and medical journal vigorously defend the adequacy of the current system, while fearing cancellation of subscriptions by librarians. Questions such as journal pricing, OA policies and the practice of self-archiving and its effects on subscription cancellations, even being still unclear and under examination, are extremely significant in the issue of access to scientific information.

Friday, December 21, 2007

B - Assuring the confidentiality of shared electronic health records

McGilchrist M, Sullivan F, Kalra D. Assuring the confidentiality of shared electronic health records. BMJ 2007;335:1223-1224 (15 December)

In health care, the collection and storage of sensitive personal data is essential for delivering a high quality clinical service and for research, that is why, considered the recent scandals related to losses of sensitive data, we urgently need better technical measures to enforce and verify procedures that represent good practice, in storing, managing and sharing data between institutions. Standard operating procedures (SOPs), can prevent inadvertent disclosure of data only if staff are trained to use them consistently; if users do not have malicious intent, are competent, and don’t make mistakes; and if the author of the SOP has planned for all scenarios relating to data access and sharing. This is why SOPs are important but also insufficient, because they form a closed opaque system, and need to be improved to provide transparency, counter conflicts of interest, and enforce agreed procedures.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

B - Is Content of Medical Journals Related to Advertisements?

Vlassov V V. Is Content of Medical Journals Related to Advertisements? Case-control Study. Croat Med J. 2007;48:786-90

A case-control study was performed on a convenience sample of 7 journals subscribed by Central Medical Library in Moscow, 4 international and 3 Russian peer-reviewed journals to assess the relationship between the content of the journal and paid advertisements published on the same journal. Study results showed that in 3 of 7 journals, contents were related to paid advertisements, usually placed somewhat explicitly face to face or overleaf the related research articles, supporting the hypothesis that journal content is manipulated to place more emphasis on the advertisements.

Friday, December 07, 2007

B - Monuments and instruments

Marris E. Monuments and instruments. Nature 2007;450:592-593 doi: 10.1038/450592a

Architecture has always been used to make statements about what science is and how it should be done, and consequently the architecture of buildings influences the fruit of researchers’ work. From the concept of the “dry” or “wet” lab to the openness of spaces and the use of glass, the article offers a landscape of architectural studies, obsessions and fashions in the field laboratory and research buildings construction and restructuring.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

B - An exploratory study of Google Scholar

Mayr P, Walter A K. An exploratory study of Google Scholar. Online Information Review 2007;31(6):814-830
DOI: 10.1108/14684520710841784

The purpose of the paper is to discuss the new scientific search service Google Scholar (GS), born to search exclusively scholarly documents, and to test its functionality. The study, based on queries against different journal lists, showed some deficiencies in coverage and up-to-datedness of GS index and pointed out the most important sources of this kind of service, such as the commercial academic publishers, currently the main data providers. Through the analysis of a huge amount of data from this search engine, the study concludes that GS has some interesting pros but cannot be used as substitute of specialized databases and catalogues.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

B - The strike rate index: a new index for journal quality

Barendse W. The strike rate index: a new index for journal quality based on journal size and the h-index of citations. Biomedical Digital Libraries 2007, 4:3


Measuring quality in science is a difficult and controversial process. A uniform method that can be applied across all fields should be desirable. The quantification is generally summed up with the impact factor of the journal in which the work is published, which shows differences between fields. Here the h-index, a way to summarize an individual's highly cited work, was calculated for journals over a twenty year time span and compared to the size of the journal in four fields, Agriculture, Condensed Matter Physics, Genetics and Heredity and Mathematical Physics. The relationship between the h-index and the size of the journal is analysed: the larger the journal, the more likely it is to have a high h-index. A strike rate index (SRI) based on the log relationship of the h-index and the size of the journal shows a similar distribution in the four fields, with similar thresholds for quality, allowing journals across diverse fields to be compared to each other.

B -An Incentive Solution to the Peer Review Problem

Hauser M, Fehr E (2007) An Incentive Solution to the Peer Review Problem. PLoS Biol 5(4): e107

Despite the Internet facilities, peer review generally continues to be a long process. The authors of this note propose a system of incentives and punishments for reviewers according to times of their response to the editorial deadlines. Time for review will be maintained in the referees database and the future articles submitted by reviewers will be processed immediately or with delay according to the circumstance. All positive and negative aspects of the suggested procedure are discussed.
Editors' Note: The problems with the peer review process are a source of endless discussion within the scientific community. This solution to delayed reviews seems innovative, if not necessarily practical. Edotors of PLOS Biol encourage comments online through our Reader Response facility, rather than via formal submission to PLoS Biology.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

B - Who’s watching whose ethics?

Shashok K, Jacobs A. Who’s watching whose ethics? Slanted reporting of the medical writer’s role in the Neuropsychopharmacology-Cyberonics case 1. The Write Stuff. 2007 (16)1-3

Medical writing is seldom considered in the lay press, and whenever it happens, it is mostly misleading. A recent case of blame on a medical writer and the following attempts to make things clear to the public is reported in this article. This offers many hints to reflect on ethical considerations regarding authors, editors and medical writers. There are also very useful references. The case reported here involved an article published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology and the suggested unethical behavoiur of the medical writer. This was debated in Science. A group of medical writers reacted to this unfair appreciations, and wrote a letter to Science to clarify positions but it was never considered for publication. The Write Stuff, the journal of the European Medical Writers Association, published the corresponcence that Science did not consider, of course, after taking into account all ethical implications regarding the publication of such correspondence.