Monday, June 30, 2008

B - Descriptions of treatment in trials and reviews

Glasziou P, Meats E, Heneghan C, Shepperd S. What is missing from descriptions of treatment in trials and reviews? BMJ 2008;336:1472-1474 (28 June), doi:10.1136/bmj.39590.732037.47

Replicating non-pharmacological treatments depends on how well they have been described in research studies. Many current trials and reviews often omit crucial details of treatments, while clinicians need details of the "how to" to use treatments tested in trials. Providing some additional details could improve the uptake of trial results in clinical practice.

Thanks to Andrew Herxheimer

B - The plague of plagiarism in an online world

Gorman GE. The plague of plagiarism in an online world. Online Information Review 2008 (32) 3:297-301

DOI: 10.1108/14684520810889637

Plagiarism is a long standing, but increasingly problematic, occurrence in academic writing and publishing and is now easier thanks to the Internet technologies.
The paper suggests to create clearly and fully articulated protocols regarding the nature, context and penalty for plagiarism.

B - Guidelines for Reporting Health Research

Simera I, Altman D G, Moher D, Schulz K F, Hoey J. Guidelines for Reporting Health Research: The EQUATOR Network's Survey of Guideline Authors. PLoS Medicine, June 24, 2008

The survey carried out by the EQUATOR Network, a new initiative funded by the UK National Health Service, was aimed at coordinating the efforts of those developing good reporting guidelines across many areas of medical research, and at providing resources for training and for the promotion of guidelines. The poor reporting of a medical study's methodology and findings can in fact lead to ineffective treatments, the waste of valuable health care resources and harm to patients. The survey found that financial support is needed to help promote guidelines once they have been developed. It also showed a need to harmonize the development of these different guidelines, that is they should all have a robust methodology to be widely accepted).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

N - Feedjit, Real time traffic feeds

Feedjit gives immediate feed on your traffic. It is free and easy to install, you don't need to register to get it for your blog or website. I just included in the EASE Journal Blog.

Friday, June 20, 2008

B - To Share or not to Share:Publication and QualityAssurance of ResearchData Outputs

To Share or not to Share:Publication and QualityAssurance of ResearchData Outputs Report commissioned by the Research Information Network (RIN), June 2008

The digital age has offered to the research community new ways to use research findings. Research data are a valuable long-term resource and making them publicly-available is essential to realise their full potential value. But until now we have lacked a clear picture of how researchers are responding to these challenges. Based on the results of more than 100 detailed interviews with researchers across eight subject and cross-disciplinary areas, the RIN report points out that realising the full potential of data requires further progress in data management policies and practice.,%20main%20-%20final.pdf

B - Are international co-publications an indicator for quality of scientific research?

Schmoch U, Schubert T. Are international co-publications an indicator for quality of scientific research? Scientometrics 2008;74(3):361-377

The article deals with the role of internationally co-authored papers, or co-publications. Specifically, the authors compare, within a data-set of German research units, citation and co-publication indicators as proxies for scientific research quality assessment. They also address the issue of the relationship between citations and co-publications. Their results suggest that, although there is a strong partial correlation between citations and co-publications, co-publication indicators cannot be used as a proxy for research quality assessment, Thus, concerning this question, there remains a primer on citation analysis.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

N - Free access boosts science in poor countries

Low cost access to research in poor countries has been accompanied by an advance in scientific discovery, an analysis by the publisher Elsevier suggests. The Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI), run by the World Health Organization, subsidises access to Elsevier journals. Between 2002 and 2006, in 105 countries with HINARI access papers published in international peer reviewed journals rose 63% compared with 38% in 102 rich countries. Kimberley Parker, HINARI’s programme manager, said “We are pleased to be able to say that we look to be a contributing factor but we can't prove it.”
Thanks to Joan Marsh

B - How to give away your birthright for what?

Unruh, W.G. 2008 Physicists and copyright - How to give away your birthright for what?. APS News 17(6)8.

Draws attention to the consequences of some journals' copyright transfer agreements which mean that "derivative works" which "depend on" the original need the permission of the copyright holders and urging authors to scrutinize such agreements before signing and not to sign those that do not specifically allow the authors to make derivative works, in any context, commerical or non-commercial. On the same page Gene D. Sprouse (Editor in Chief, APS) and Joseph W. Serene (Treasurer/Publisher, APS) reply under the title A response from APS to say what the American Physical Society's position is and why they believe their current policy is defensible. They also refer to a list of "frequently answered questions" on their website: http://forms.aps,org/author/copyfaq.html.

Posted for John Glen

Friday, June 13, 2008

N - The power of n=1

Two new journals hope to harness the evidence in medical case reports. Cases Journal (, launched by BioMed Central in May, is open access and peer reviewed and authors must pay £99 per report. BMJ Case Reports ( is a free online journal launched in June. It charges authors an annual fee of £95, and they can submit as many reports as they like. Case reports are weak evidence but are a starting point for further research, the editors say. And together they might provide evidence for people with comorbities, who are often excluded from randomised trials. See

Monday, June 09, 2008

N - Government dismisses simplified spellings

The UK schools secretary, Ed Balls, has dismissed as “nonsense” claims that tricky English spellings hinder children’s education. The literacy researcher Masha Bell said that by the age of 11 children face 800 words with difficult spellings, such as monkey, spinach, caterpillar, dwarf, soldiers, and stomach, at a recent conference of the Spelling Society ( The society campaigns to raise awareness of “the problems caused by the irregularity of English spelling” and promotes spelling reform. “English has an unspeakably awful spelling system," she told the Observer newspaper. “It is the worst of all the alphabetical languages.” (, 8 Jun 2008, “English is too hard to read for children”).

Sunday, June 08, 2008

B - How Do US Journalists Cover Treatments, Tests, Products, and Procedures? An Evaluation of 500 Stories

Schwitzer G. How Do US Journalists Cover Treatments, Tests, Products, and Procedures? An Evaluation of 500 Stories. PLoS Med 2008;5(5): e95 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050095

Starting from the premise that the daily delivery of news stories about new treatments, tests, products, and procedures may have a profound, and perhaps harmful, impact on health care consumers, a new US Web site project, (, modeled after similar efforts in Australia and Canada, has been created to evaluate and grade health news coverage, notifying journalists of their grades. This article reports on the project's findings after its first 22 months and after evaluation of 500 health news stories hoping that the evaluation of health news proposed will lead news organizations and all who engage in the dissemination of health news and information to reevaluate their practices to better serve a more informed health care consumer population.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

N - XML extra for Word helps editors

An extension to Word 2007 allows science journal editors to create article templates, tailored for their individual requirements. These templates can encourage authors to write articles with greater consistency and to include semantic information, which is essential for the search of articles in digital form. Microsoft has released the enhancement, which supports the use of the National Library of Medicine’s XML (extensible markup language) format and National Center for Biotechnology Information format for digital books. This “will help publishers to process these articles in their editorial and production departments,” said Ahmed Hindawi, chief of the publisher Hindawi. See
Thanks to Margaret Cooter.