Wednesday, August 26, 2009
An editorial by the editor in chief of Science, reporting how scientists have the absolute obligation to honesty and commenting on the necessity to guarantee clear, truthful presentations of data, results, and methods which are essential for enabling the findings of one scientist to be confirmed, refuted, or extended in new ways by other scientists. "Authors, reviewers, and editors of scientific manuscripts should therefore constantly ask themselves whether the reader has been provided with everything needed to both understand and reproduce the results".
Journals should set a higher bar for the clarity of presentation in the manuscripts that we publish. The final comment is that "As scientists and as journal publishers, we can and we must do better..."
Monday, August 24, 2009
The PRISMA Statement (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses) is a new revised guideline for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses http://www.prisma-statement.org/. PRISMA should supersede the existing QUOROM Statement; journals and other organisations are therefore encouraged to update their instructions and resources and refer to these new guidelines. The PRISMA Statement consists of a 27-item checklist and a four-phase flow diagram. Papers on
PRISMA guideline have been published simultaneously in several journals (in short and long versions) including BMJ, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Open Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Hartley J, Betts L. Higher Education Review 2009; 41(3):29-44
In this study a draft questionnaire - later defined and assessed in its final form - was submitted to various postgraduate students (English, American, Australian). “Publishing before or after completing the thesis” (http://www.parint.org/isajewebsite/isajebook/isajewebbook.htm) not only shows the importance it plays such an exercise for postgraduate students themselves but also the “changing role of the supervisor” itself. Early publishing encourages and give self-assurance to the student and the supervisor becomes also a co-author. The questionnaire shows that “32 out of the 58 students (55%) had successfully submitted papers for publication before submitting their theses” and that students received significantly more help from their supervisors before submitting their thesis rather than after and the latter were listed more in their papers again before than after publishing. The question of citation of coauthors in relation to the quality of the thesis themselves emerged and the average of journals with more “impact factors” where the students had published was taken into account; in this case data showed no relevance whether publication occurred before or after the thesis: it did show, however, a significant difference when the publishing was done by the students with or without the supervisor contribution. Further data from the questionnaire are compared.
A good guide into the world wide web internet hoax sites (that doesn’t sound published in the year 2000) by a Librarian from Western Washington University entitled: “Better Read That Again: Web Hoaxes and Misinformation” that deals with “lack of quality control” as far as information is concerned. Counterfeit web sites (that attempts to pass themselves off as authentic) where “many Internet users are ill-equipped to do a capable job of scrutiny” are well describes as “a so-called gray area of information”. In this very useful article attention is paid to the different types and degrees of misinformation with examples of existing counterfeit sites as well as of anti-hoaxes ones. The area to which he points out is a very large one the author doesn’t fail to underline how “Health information is perhaps among the most troublesome of all information on the Web” and also how “the consequences are perhaps nowhere as severe as in the areas of health and business. Erroneous health information can quite simply lead to serious injury and even death”.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
communication technology to support population health. Lancet 2009 (243) 21: 1050-51
Information saves lives because it is fundamental to public health practice. But, today, the volume and complexity of knowledge and information have outstripped the capacity of health systems to function at their best without the support of information management systems. Therefore, electronic information and communication technology (ICT) has become indispensable to cope with the overload of infornmation. The author supports the cautious use of free and open source software to manage the bulk of information ans save precious money with particular regard to resource poor settings.
Thanks to Daniela Marsili
This in an editorial relating to an entire issue of The Write Stuff dedicated to scientific writing. It is an extra large issue of a valuable journal that in itself represents a reference point for editors and translators at different levels, both experienced and non experienced. In fact it discusses current practices of writing and gives guidance on improviong writing styles, but it also contains provocative view points on controvertial issues and a rich and updated bibliography.
Many authors give advice to students about how to write the Introduction section of their articles. Some give examples of different ways of doing this in general, and a few discuss the opening sentence in particular. In this paper 13 different types of opening sentences are outlined, and their usage contrasted in British and American journals in the Sciences and Social Sciences. Implications for teaching are considered.
Letter suggesting that the questions opened by the Schön case of scientific fraud are much broader than just science. The plea by Michael Nielson (Physics World 2009;22(5):30-35) for a more "open" culture on science might lead to an overload of unchecked information. He questions why the devices Schön claimed to have made were never checked either for their existence or, if they existed, that they worked
Thanks to J. Glen
A new website called viXra has been set up in the UK for sharing preprints with no restrictions on the sort of papers that can be posted, following criticisms about the way the arXiv site is moderated. The history of arXiv and its refereeing process are described and the nature of the concern is examined.
Thanks to J. Glen