Sunday, March 29, 2009

B - Impact Factor Wars: Episode V-The Empire Strikes Back

Brumback RA.Impact Factor Wars: Episode V-The Empire Strikes Back. Journal of Child Neurology, 2009 (24)3: 260-262

DOI: 10.1177/0883073808331366

A really amazing piece on the war of authors and editors to get to the empire of impact factor; cheating and tricks, cutely told in a short story, supported by sound references.

Thnks to James Hartley

Friday, March 27, 2009

N - JAMA gags whistleblowers

Whistleblowers who spot undeclared competing interests in papers in the top medical journal JAMA will be told that they must “not reveal this information to third parties or the media while the investigation is under way,” according to an editorial coauthored by JAMA’s editor, Catherine DeAngelis (2009 Mar 20, doi:10.1001/jama.2009.480). The gagging policy comes after Jonathan Leo, a professor of neuroanatomy, divulged a dispute over competing interests to the BMJ ( He had written to JAMA last May (JAMA 2008;300:1757-8) to criticise a study for being unduly favourable to a drug (JAMA 2008;299:2391-400, doi:10.1001/jama.299.20.2391). JAMA took five months to publish the letter. In a subsequent internet search, Leo found that one of the original authors had a further undeclared connection with the drug manufacturer. The Wall Street Journal reports that the journal's reaction to Leo’s criticism was "angry" (

Thursday, March 26, 2009

B - NFAIS Best Practices for Journal Article Publishing

National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) approved
the Best Practices for Journal Article Publishing on February 13, 2009. They wish to disseminate the document widely throughout the Information Community in order to generate discussion and get as much additional input as possible.

Thanks to James Hartley

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

N - Publish in Wikipedia or perish

Declan ButlerPublish in Wikipedia or perish
Journal to require authors to post in the free online encyclopaedia.

Nature News. Published online 16 December 2008 | Nature |


Wikipedia, meet RNA. Anyone submitting to a section of the journal RNA Biology will, in the future, be required to also submit a Wikipedia page that summarizes the work. The journal will then peer review the page before publishing it in Wikipedia.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

N - Beauty in information flow

As researchers use journals to build knowledge they leave “a latticework of citations, from which we can reconstruct the geography of scientific thought,” say developers at the Eigenfactor Project ( And they display this geography in appealing ways—for example, the many connections between journals and disciplines as a circle criscrossed with curves (see The project is a non-commercial academic research project sponsored by the University of Washington. It aims to use advances in network analysis and information theory to rank journals’ influence and to map their use in research.
Thanks to Paola De Castro

N - Biological society has new head

Nathalie Fomproix has succeeded Talal Younès as head of the International Union of Biological Sciences, which promotes the study of and research on biology. She was appointed on 2 March. Dr Fomproix trained as a molecular and cell biologist, obtained her doctorate from the University of Paris, and has worked as a researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and project manager in chemistry research in the Rhône-Alpes region. Dr Younès had been chief since 1980. He will coordinate the Darwin 200 celebrations. (
Thanks to Sheila Evered

Friday, March 13, 2009

b- Two Scenarios for How Scholarly Publishers Could Change Their Business Model to Open Access

Björk B, Hedlund T.Two Scenarios for How Scholarly Publishers Could Change Their Business Model to Open Access. The Journal of electronic Publishing. 2009(12)1;cc=jep;rgn=main;view=text;idno=3336451.0012.102

The Internet has made possible the cost-effective dissemination of scientific journals in the form of electronic versions, usually in parallel with the printed versions. At the same time the electronic medium also makes possible totally new open access (OA) distribution models. Although more than 2,000 new OA journals have been founded in the last 15 years, the uptake of open access has been rather slow, with currently around 5% of all peer-reviewed articles published in OA journals. Established journals and publishers have not had strong enough incentives to change their business models, and the commercial risks in doing so have been high. Two different scenarios for how scholarly publishers could change their operating model to open access are presented and discussed:he first is based on an instantaneous change and the second on a gradual change.

B - Empirical developments in retraction

Redman BK, Yarandi HN, Merz JF. Empirical developments in retraction.Journal of Medical Ethics.2008;34:807-809


This study confirms that the rate of retractions remains low but is increasing. The most commonly cited reason for retraction was research error or inability to reproduce results; the rate from research misconduct is an underestimate, since some retractions necessitated by research misconduct were reported as being due to inability to reproduce. Retraction by parties other than authors is increasing, especially for research misconduct. Although retractions are on average occurring sooner after publication than in the past, citation analysis shows that they are not being recognised by subsequent users of the work. Findings suggest that editors and institutional officials are taking more responsibility for correcting the scientific record but that reasons published in the retraction notice are not always reliable. More aggressive means of notification to the scientific community appear to be necessary.

Thanks to J. Hurtley

B - At what age do biomedical scientists do their best work?

Falagas ME., Ierodiakonou V, Alexiou VGAt what age do biomedical scientists do their best work? The FASEB Journal 2008. published online August 27,2008
doi: 10.1096/fj.08-117606

Several human characteristics that influence scientific research performance, including set goals, mental and physical abilities, education, and experience, may vary considerably during the life cycle of scientists. Is high-quality research productivity is associated with investigator’s age? On the basis of a bibliometric analysis, Highly cited research productivity plotted a curve that peaked at the age group of 31–35 yr of age and then gradually decreased with advancing age. However, a considerable proportion of this highly cited research was produced by older scientists. In conclusion, high-quality scientific productivity in the biomedical fields as a function of investigator’s age plots an inverted U-shaped curve, in which significant decreases take place from around 40 yr of age and beyond.

Thanks to J.Hurtley

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

B - Yours anonymously

Grozier, Jim. Yours anonymously. Physics World 2009;22(2):20

Letter commending Physics World for including an edited selection of comments that originally appeared on its website but regretting that the website allows the use of pseudonyms since anonymity brings out the worst in people. This is not allowed for Letters to the Editor, so why does a different rule apply to online comments? This is followed by an "Editor's note" that points out that this is a convention of most websites and to ask for full names & addresses could discourage people from entering a debate. They are retained in the published comments so readers can easily go back and read the original comments in full.

Thanks to John Glen

Saturday, March 07, 2009

N - Open Access week

Open access week declared for 2009. For the first time, the popular global event will be extended  from one day only to a whole week (October 9th-23rd) in order to accommodate widespread interest in the movement toward Open Access to scholarly research results. This year will mark the first international Open Access week. This event will present an opportunity to broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access to research, including access policies from all types of research funders within the international higher education community and the general public.

B - APS copyright revision expands author rights

Ramlagan, Nadia. APS copyright revision expands author rights. APS News 2009;18(2):8.

A recently revised copyright transfer form for journal articles allows authors to make and hold copyright for "derivative works" that contain at least 10% new material, and not more than 50% of the published APS journal article. If these conditions are not me, the author must obtain explicit permission from APS. APS strongly advocates reusing article ideas and material in conference proceedings and classroom lectures; it is the posting of full articles on open content encyclopedia projects like Wikipedia or Quantiki that presents a copyright issue. APS also gives authors the right to post and update a paper on their (or their employer's) website and on free e-print servers such as arXiv. Authors are entitled to provide full copies of their paper, for research purposes, to a colleague or third party as long as a fee is not charged. Third parties can use copies for teaching also, but incorporation into course notes for more than one semester requires APS permission.

Thanks to John Glen

Friday, March 06, 2009

N - Students armed with sub-editing skills

Luckhurst T. Students armed with sub-editing skills are given tools for life. Times Higher Education Supplement 5 March 2009

A former editor of the Daily Mirror, Roy Greenslade, has said that subeditors are disposable in these days of highly educated journalists and straight-to-screen copy. This article disagrees: Subs are almost always underpaid but they are only rarely underappreciated by the writers whose reputations they safeguard. Excellent subs are not disposable relics of a bygone era. They are the keyhole surgeons of journalism; fast, precise and adept at ensuring that prevention averts the need for expensive or embarrassing cures. At best they write attention-grabbing headlines and turn convoluted codswallop into plain, comprehensible English. To abolish subbing would risk inflicting on journalism damage comparable to that imposed on team sports by the sale of school playing fields.?

Thanks to Margaret Cooter

Thursday, March 05, 2009

B - Preserving Intellectual Freedom in Clinical Medicine

Fava GA. Preserving Intellectual Freedom in Clinical Medicine. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 2009;78:1-5
DOI: 10.1159/000162295

The paper, authored by the journal editor, notes that the drug industry has full control of many scientific societies, journals and clinical practice guidelines. Members of special interest groups act as editors, reviewers and consultants to medical journals, scientific meetings and non-profit research organisations, with the task of systematically preventing the dissemination of data which may be in conflict with their interest. It further states that censorship may be the result of direct prevention of publication and dissemination of findings by the pharmaceutical company itself. The paper provides several suggestions for preserving intellectual freedom in medicine, based on research evidence which is available.

Thanks to Emma Campbell

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

B - Citation levels and collaborative research

Levitt JM, Thelwall M. Citation levels and collaboration within library and information science. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 2009;60(3):434-442.

This study, by examining the Web of Science (WoS) Information Science & Library Science subject category (IS&LS), found that collaboration varies with citation. In fact, collaboration is clearly associated with higher citation; whereas the collaborative rates and levels of the un-cited articles remained low and stable. With respect to the influential information scientists, they had high collaborative levels, but their more highly cited articles on average are not more highly collaborative than their less highly cited articles, even if, they tend to be published earlier.
Moreover, a new indicator of collaborative level is introduced: the average partner score, that can be used in other investigations of collaboration.