Monday, May 31, 2010

B - Open access biomedical journals in Greece

Vlachaki A, Urquhart C. Use of open access journals in biomedicine in Greece. Library Management 2010; 31(1/2):19-26

The impact of open access initiatives on biomedical scientific publishing and scholarly communication in Greece are examined. Findings are preliminary as they come from a longitudinal study that uses bibliometrics, questionnaire surveys and interviews to examine knowledge, awareness and attitudes towards open access. The bibliometric research indicates that Greek biomedical publications are increasing, but that coverage of Greek medical journals in databases as MEDLINE is decreasing.

B - Highly cited articles in LIS: analysis of content and authorship

Blessinger K and Hrycaj P. Highly cited articles in library and information science: an analysis of content and authorship trends. Library & Information Science Research 2010; 32(2):156-62

Thirty-two high impact journal articles, published in the period 1994-2004 and influential to scholarly communication in library and information sciences (LIS), are identified and examined. In particular, journal distributions, major subject themes, and general authorship characteristics of these articles are discussed and compared to the majority of scholarly articles published in LIS during the same time period.

N - Science papers in South Africa

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has increased its research output and its scientific collaboration with other countries, says an article in Science Watch( In March 1995, the country's scientific profile reflected its isolation from the world community. Since then, its number of published papers and citation impact in various fields has climbed steadily, from 3,300 in 1989 to over 6,600 in 2008. Collaboration with authors from other countries also increased. In plant and animal sciences, South Africa contributed 1.55% of the world's output, and it beat the world average for citations-per-paper in computer science, environment/ecology, space science, immunology and clinical medicine.

Thanks to Margaret Cooter

Thursday, May 27, 2010

B - Does a Hierarchy of the Sciences exist?

Fanelli D. "Positive" results increase down the hierarchy of the sciences. PLos ONE 2010;5(4):e10068

The hypothesis of a Hierarchy of the Sciences with physical sciences at the top, social sciences at the bottom, and biological sciences in-between is nearly 200 years old. Whether disciplines really differ in hardness and can be ranked accordingly, however, is still controversial. Does a Hierarchy of Sciences exist? This study compared 2,434 scientific papers published in all disciplines and that stated to have tested a hypothesis and adopted the hypotetico-deductive method of scientific inquiry. Results support, on one hand, the existence of a Hierarchy , in which scientific rigour and objectivity are roughly inversely proportional to the complexity of the subject matter. On the other hand, results also support the scientific status of the social sciences: when they adopt a scientific approach to discovery, they differ from the natural sciences only by a matter of degree.

B - Are editorial peer reviewers' recommendations reliable?

Kravitz RL, Franks P, Feldman MD et al. Editorial peer reviewers' recommendations at a general medical journal: are they reliable and do editors care? PLoS ONE 2010; 5(4):e10072 (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010072)

The relation between reviewers' publication recommendations and editors' decisions over a five-year period (2004-2008) at the Journal of General Internal Medicine was examined. Among the 2,264 manuscripts sent out for external peer review, just under half received reviews that were in complete agreement not to reject, less than 10% received reviews that were in complete agreement to reject. Reliability of reviewer recommedations at JGIM is low. Yet JGIM editor's decisions appeared to be significantly influenced by reviewers' recommendations. Efforts are needed to improve the reliability of the peer-review process while helping editors understand the limitations of reviewers' recommendations.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

N - Publication awards

14 June 2010 is the closing date for applications for 2010 ALPSP Awards for significant achievement in the field of learned and professional publishing. The awards are for publishing innovation; best new journal; and best ebook publisher. Full details are at Winners will be announced on 9 September.

Thanks to Margaret Cooter

B - Indicators for measuring researchers' performance

Buela-Casal G. Scientific journal impact indexes and indicators for measuring researchers' performance. Revista de Psicodidactica 2010;15(1):3-19

Scientific productivity is a key factor in granting funding for projects. In the majority of cases, productivity indicators are based on data extracted from the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) database. The paper describes and classifies the most relevant indicators for measuring the output, productivity and impact of researchers' performance. In particular, it describes the advantages and disadvantages of: journal impact factor (IF), papers IF, weighted IF, accumulated IF, author IF, immedicacy index, h index and many others. The paper gives also some advices regarding the use of different indexes.

B - Science fails to face the shortcomings of statistics

Sigfried T. Odds are, it's wrong. Science fails to face the shortcomings of statistics. ScienceNews 2010; 177:7

Science has long been married to mathematics and mathematical methods have been secured science's fidelity to fact and given reliability to findings. Then science was seduced by statistics. The author says that even when performed correctly, statistical tests are widely misunderstood and frequently misinterpreted. The standard statistical system for drawing conclusions is, in essence, illogical. Staticians themselves caution against mistaking statistical significance for practical importance, but scientific papers commit that error often.

N - Learn a language, adopt a national stereotype?

Learn a language, adopt a national stereotype?

The multicultural membership of EASE might be interested in national stereotyping present in the language learning materials prepared by the US Foreign Service Institute. Swedish nationals are depicted as cartoon vikings. Native Americans only appear in full traditional headdress. The countries that comprise the African francophonie are described primarily in terms of natural resources on offer. And it would be generous to say that the portrayal of Belgium is odd, says blogger Chasing Dragons ( He wonders if the stereotypes are consistent in other language-learning materials, or if they have become more subtle over time. Materials that are in the public domain are available at

Thanks to Margaret Cooter

N - Making referencing too easy?

Making referencing too easy?
The Open University and its partners have developed a free, open source software - MyReferences - to help students and universities manage academic references more easily. It is part of the Technology Enhanced Learning supporting students to achieve Academic Rigour (TELSTAR) project. Any institution can download it, customise it to their own needs and integrate it into their own learning environments. This resource takes the usability of available tools a step further by integrating them into online courses so the materials students commonly need to reference are already available in the format they need. Students simply select the sources they need to reference, the referencing style their institution requires, and then copy and paste the result into their assignment. How will students ever learn to comply with journal guidelines?

Thanks to Margaret Cooter

N - Science video awards

Click on the links to see the winners of The Scientist Video Awards. They include: "Synaptic Cleft", a parody of rap group Wu-Tang Clan's, "Gravel Pit" about neurotransmission, and "Fencing Flamingos", which follows the work of a PhD student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology , studying flamingos in the rugged High-Andes of Bolivia. The harsh conditions made it challenging to make the video, but it's been worth it: "We've had more people see the video than I'll ever have reading a journal article that I write."

Thanks to Margaret Cooter

B - Fraud: who is responsible?

Blaustein, JD. Fraud: who is responsible? The Scientist 2010

"Who is responsible for the fraudulent data making its way into publication?" - asked the editor of Endocrinology - as a paper published in his journal was being retracted due to fraud. The allegations that led to action by the US Office of Research Integrity did not come from the editors or the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, nor from its reviewers or readers. If a researcher simply changed a value or two in a spreadsheet, there might be no sign visible to the head of the laboratory, collaborators, the journal reviewers or the editors; discovering the fraud depends on replication of the study. But another type of fraud, plagiarism, gets uncovered. The digitalization of science has made some types of fraud easier to perpetrate, but only marginally. Scientists who commit fraud believe they will get away with it, and some do, in the short term. Everyone must be vigilant; when data are suspect, they must be investigated by the appropriate body and not swept under the rug. “The system works, but sometimes too slowly,” he says.

Thanks to Margaret Cooter

Friday, May 21, 2010

B - Conflict of interest policies

Krimsky S, Sweet E. An analysis of toxicology and medical journal conflict-of-interest polices. Account Res 2009;16:235-253.

A comparison of journals' conflict-of-interest (COI) policies can provide insight into published reports of low compliance rates and inconsistencies in disclosures by the same author in different journals. COI policies of 227 medical and toxicology journals were examined for competing interest criteria, types of submissions covered, monetary or time thresholds for reporting, and penalties for violations. About 85% of journals had written policies, but for more than 75% of these, the level of specificity was minimal or nonexistent, and more than 80% had minimal or narrow scope. Overall, non-specificity, high author discretion, and limited scope were prevalent in these journals.

B - Research misconduct policies

Resnik DB, Peddada S, Brunson W Jr. Research misconduct policies of scientific journals. Account Res 2009;16:254-267.

A random sample of 399 journals were contacted, asking for details of policies on research misconduct. Of the 197 journals that responded, 55% had a policy, but most policies didn't define misconduct and most weren't created by the journal. The existence of a misconduct policy was slightly positively associated with the journal impact factor.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

B - E-publication bias

Jakobsen AK, Christensen R, Persson R, et al. Open access publishing; and now, e-publication bias. BMJ 2010;340. doi:10.1136/bmj.c2243

'E-publication bias' is identified in this small study of articles published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. The research suggests that author-paid open access publishing preferentially increases accessibility to industry-funded research, perhaps favouring distribution of pro-industry results.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

B- Roundtable participants find near-consensus on free access to results of publicly funded research

David Kramer:

The premise of Harold Varmus for free online access to all published NIH work is very simple: taxpayers are not supposed to pay to “to see the results of the research that they paid for” in the first place. After ten years of pressure, thanks to a Congress mandate since mid 2008 all the article by NIH can be freely accessed on PubMed Central Archive - however, after a year of publication. Not all agencies complied due to the fact that there is less interest in non-health related issues. Recently the President Obama himself pushed the agencies to “take extraordinary steps to open their data … to public scrutiny”. However, the Office of Science and Technology Policy of the White House that required all federal agencies to provide free access to scholarly articles they fund and the Panel set up for this purpose - u can find the “Report and Recommendations from the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable at: (made up of librarians, university administrators, academic researchers and publishers;) following the response given to the issue, will have to find a sort of compromise legislation to build a bridge that suits the need of publishers, universities and the public alike.

B - Preparing clinical data for publication

Hrynaszkiewicz I, Norton ML, Vickers AJ, et al. Preparing raw clinical data for publication: guidance for journal editors, authors, and peer reviewers. Trials 2010;11:28. doi:10.1186/1745-6215-11-9

Many journals require authors to make their raw, unprocessed data available to other scientists, but there is little information on how this data should be prepared for publication and sharing. In clinical research patient privacy and consent for use of personal health information are key considerations, but there are no agreed-upon definitions of anonymised patient information. In this article, the authors propose a minimum standard for de-identifying datasets for the purposes of publication in a peer-reviewed biomedical journal, or for sharing with other researchers. Basic advice on file preparation is provided along with procedural guidance on prospective and retrospective publication of raw data, with an emphasis on randomised controlled trials.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

B - Publication bias in surgery journals

Pitak-Arnnop P, Sader R, Rapidis AD, et al. Publication bias in oral and maxillofacial surgery journals: an observation on published controlled trials. Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery 2010;38(1):4-10. (doi:10.1016/j.jcms.2009.10.005)

Publication bias compromises evidence-based practice. This study looked for publication bias in 53 published controlled trials in leading oral and maxillofacial surgery journals. Journals preferentially published controlled trials with a positive outcome (77%) and from high-income countries (74%). Single-centred trials with low sample size were published more frequently. Results suggest the possible existence of publication bias in the oral and maxillofocial surgery literature. Journals in this field should establish measures to eliminate publication bias. This was an observational study of published articles; an analysis of all submitted manuscripts would provide more accurate data.