Friday, April 23, 2010

B - Peer review process: language and content comments

Mungra P. and Webber P. Peer review process in medical research publications: language and content comments. English for Specific Purposes 2010;29(1):43-53

This study analyzes the peer review comments of articles written by Italian medical and clinical research scientists and submitted to reputable English language journals. It is aimed at establishing the most frequent types of comments to identify the most frequent linguistic problems by Italian researchers. Comments were mainly in the area of scientific and methodological content, followed by lexical and grammatical errors, clarity and verbosity or repetition. The ability to describe procedures and to express concepts clearly is of prime importance to peer reviewers. Results of the study can be helpful in the preparation of courses or materials for training future researchers, and to improve authors' chances of publishing in high impact-factor journals.

N - Libel law: the real fight lies ahead

Libel law: the real fight lies ahead

Reformers need to keep up the pressure to reform English libel laws, says an editorial in Nature (22 April 2010, doi:10.1038/4641104a). Simon Singh's recent libel result is a victory for science, and the court's judgment itself may offer wider protection to scientists and writers (see But the real fight lies ahead, and the use of English libel law to stifle debate should concern all researchers. For every case that comes to court, say campaigners for reform, there are many more in which scientists who lack the resources to fight just quietly back down, or worse, censor themselves even before publishing.

Thanks to Margaret Cooker

B - Plagiarism retracts review

Plagiarism retracts review. The 1 April 2010
posted by Bob Grant

A review paper was retracted from Nature Reviews Genetics because the author modified a paragraph from a manuscript she was peer reviewing for the journal Plant Science and inserted into her own. The author told that the mistake was not intentional and partly caused by a medical condition that affected her memory and cognition. The retraction was the first ever made from any of the 15 Nature Reviews journals published by Nature Publishing Group.
Editors'comments are reported as well as the original and the paraphrased paragraphs.

B - Periodicals Price Survey 2010

Henderson K.S. and Bosch S. Seeking the new normal: periodicals price survey 2010. Library Journal. April 15, 2010

By the end of 2009 the library marketplace was in a weakened situation with prospects of a long recovery. Libraries may not see a “return to normal” once the economy improves. Evidence suggests instead a search for a “new normal,” one that requires varied approaches to services and collections. The delivery of information might become more important than ownership. Open access business models might become more attractive to avoid the costly venues of commercial publishers. Much of the data reported in the article outlines the issues that are shaping the journals marketplace. Some publishers froze 2010 prices at 2009 levels, others froze 2010 prices only for the elctronic format. Twenty-five percent of academic publishers reported 1% to 5% decline in orders, in particular in print ones; the already rapid move from print journals to online accelerated; the open access initiatives had only a modest effect on the publishing industry.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

N- Authors by the gross

After Times Higher Education reported a physics paper with 144 authors (this phenomenon will be familiar to EASE members), readers of THS reported even more gross examples (15 April, p29). "The HOPE study” published in the February 1996 issue of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology had a total of 718 authors. A seven-page article in the Lancet in 2002 listed more than 900 authors, but the one that takes the cake is a medical report by Topol, Califf, Van de Werf, Armstrong and their 972 co-authors, published in NEJM in 1993 – it has 100 times as many authors as pages. For this, the four named co-authors shared the 1993 Ig Nobel prize for Literature.