Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The role of editors' associations is evolving to solve the numerous problems of efficient writing, editing, and publishing. This article presents activities carried out by some international science editors' associations, that include developing standards and guidelines of science writing, editing, indexing, research reporting, peer review, editorial independence, and other editorial policies. They also play a central role by facilitating distribution of information and networking, conducting research, and publishing periodical literature.
Friday, December 16, 2011
According to this study, additional reviews based on reporting guidelines (such as STROBE and CONSORT) result in a moderate improvement in manuscript quality. Nevertheless, authors in a mid-level medical journal have difficulties in adhering to high methodological standards at the latest research phases. To boost paper quality and impact, authors should be aware of future requirements of reporting guidelines at the very beginning of their study.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
This work introduces a proposal to improve the categorization of Scopus database journals included at the SCImago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) portal using reference analyisis of citing journals. This method represents a consistent and congruent new disciplinary structure, showing a solid performance in grouping journals at a higher level than categories - that is, aggregating journals into subject areas. It should be supplemented with additional techniques.
The results from a study on the peer review process of the Angewandte Chemie International Edition showed a correlation between peer assessments and single publication h index values: after publication, manuscripts with positive ratings by the journal's reviewers showed on average higher h index values than manuscripts with negative ratings by reviewers.
There is unanimous agreement that resources for science should be assigned according to rigorous evaluation criteria. Some governments have already introduced bibliometric methodology in support or substitution for more traditional peer review. The aim of this work was to compare ranking lists of Italian universities obtained through peer review for the period 2001-2003, with those obtained from bibliometric simulations. The comparison showed great differences between the two methodologies, raising strong doubts about the peer review reliability.
Much of the world's most useful information is locked within books and it is stored offline. As a consequence, the vast majority of books ever written are not accessible to the majority of people. In this article the author, Google's Director of External Relations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, points out some of the huge opportunities that lie ahead in the relationship between the Internet and the world of books. He discusses Google's vision of the power and value to society of its book digitization programme, Google Books, launched in 2004 with the aim of bringing as many as possible of the world's books online.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
This study used the field of HIV vaccine research as a barometer to measure the degree to which scientists have access to published research. This area of research - of critical importance for the developing countries - saw recent growth in the popularity of open access journals, but the exact impact of these changes is not yet clear. Institutional subscriptions continue to play an important role, however, subscriptions do not provide access to the full range of HIV vaccine research literature. A variety of other means to access literature are investigated, including emailing corresponding authors or joint affiliations.
This article reviewed the outcomes of 408 cases, that the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) had investigated between 1997 and 2010 with respect to 7 distinct criteria. The results showed that the number of ethical implications per case had not changed significantly since 1997, and that the number of ethical cases, including research misconduct, was not diminishing.
The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills released a citation analysis that found that UK "attracts more citations per pound spent in overall research and development than any other country". A similar analysis for the period 1991 to 2010 by Thomson Reuters reported that UK produced 17% of the world's research papers with more than 500 citations and 20% of those with more than 1,000 citations. Today UK scientific papers have the greatest impact in the world and biological sciences are the strongest area of research. This performance surpassed even that of the United States, which has the world's best-funded research system.
Are journal editors an anachronism? On the Guardian a recurring revolutionary theme has been recently reported: publishing must be taken back from editors and the institutions and returned to the people. In this blog post it is discussed why we still need editors and their journals, perhaps more than ever before. The information overload is a problem of quality signaling between authors and readers, and the role of editors is enhanced - not diminished - in mediating these signals. Journals should be then considered as mediators of quality signals and not as a mechanism to control the distribution of scientific research.
Thanks to Sylwia Ufnalska
Editors of science journals are sometimes reluctant to retract articles. Reasons may include concerns about litigation or about effects a retraction might have on the reputation of a journal. Editors should work to prevent and detect potential misconduct by educating researchers and authors about good practices. Journals policies and guidelines should also inform peer reviewers and editors about their responsibilities for ensuring the integrity of the process and of what is reported. Nowadays new tools are available for detecting various types of misconduct but all of them carry costs.
Monday, December 05, 2011
Computational science has led to exciting new developments in many scientific areas. The availability of large public databases has allowed for researchers to make meaningful scientific contributions. Replication is the ultimate standard by which the value of scientific claims is assessed, particularly when full independent replication of a study is not feasible. However, there are some barriers to reproducible research, and the author proposes some steps to improve the current situation.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Abstracts in social science journals have been criticized in the past for being imprecise. They need to be more concrete. Readers need to know in which discipline a study has taken place, how many and what kinds of participants have been involved and what methodologies have been used. The author provides three examples of how abstracts could be improved.
Friday, November 25, 2011
This article reports on a study investigating the drivers, costs and benefits of potential ways to increase access to scholarly journals. A detailed and authorative analysis of how it could be achieved identifying five different scenarios over the next five years: gold and green open access, moves towards national licensing, publisher-led delayed open access, and transactional models. It then compares and evaluates benefits, costs, and risks for the UK. Policymakers should encourage the use of existing subject and institutional repositories (green infrastructure) and in parallel promote and facilitate a transition to gold open access.
Editors at the Annals of Emerging Medicine rated the quality of every review performed by journal's reviewers during a 14-year longitudinal study. Results demonstrated slow but steady deterioration of most peer reviewers' performance on validated quality scores for article assessment over the years. This performance is consistent with studies of performance over time in disciplines other than medicine. The findings should persuade editors of the need to track reviewer quality, directing reviews to the upper tier of reviewers and avoiding the lowest.
A public-review policy would help editors and increase a journal's reputation, particularly if others in the field publicly shared their own relevant observations. Public reviews, including those of rejected manuscripts, would also provide an incentive for authors to submit their work only when it is ready, helping to lower rejection rates.
Thanks to Valerie Matarese
Researchers from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published results of a peer review simulation game designed to test the effects of open vs. closed review on reviewer accuracy.
Through both theoretical modeling and their game, played by a small community of scientists over cloud computing, they found that reviewers spend more time, are more collaborative and more accurate when review is open than when they work anonymously. Cooperative peer reviewing behaviour can lead to a higher review accuracy.
In 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy mandated open access for publications resulting from NIH funding. This study measured current use, interest, and barriers among health personnel of research to establish the potential impact of NIH Policy on health care quality and outcomes. The results of the study showed expectation for a positive impact.
References in scientific publications often contain errors, such as their choice and placing. The following mistakes can appear: the source does not support the statement (quotation error); the reference citation is placed in such a way that it is not clear which statement it relates to; the bibliographic data are incomplete or wrong (citation errors). The authors carried out a small pilot study of references in Deutsches Ärtzeblatt, which results indicated an error rate in references of around 20%, on the basis of a conservative estimate. It would be helpful to describe how the authors selected the references they have used, if there were inclusion and exclusion criteria, which databases were searched and so on.
Thanks to James Hartley.
As part of the ODE (Opportunities for Data Exchange) project the report presents current opinions from numerous sources to reveal opportunities for supporting a more connected and integrated scholarly record. Four perspectives are considered, those of researchers, publishers, and libraries & data enters. It examines how scholarly journals handle the increasing amount of data alongside the article by considering different publishing models (peer reviewed articles, supplementary files, etc.). The report identifies clear opportunities for all stakeholders to directly enable a more joined up and vital scholarly record of modern research.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Many articles appearing in biomedical journals are done and published solely for academic advancement. According to the author, the editor of the Calicut Medical Journal, medical journal editors face many types of misconducts, the most common of them is plagiarism. Nowadays most of journals use specialised softwares to detect plagiarism: these softwares compare the submitted article with huge depositories of published literature to look for evidence of similarity.
Scant attention is usually given by authors, reviewers, and editors to the basic aspects related to the design of experiments, that use animals to model human diseases. In the face of pressures to reduce the number of animals used, researchers often do studies that are too small to detect a significant effect, and also tend to publish only positive results. Then, rules need to be changed: if publication in high-impact journals continues to be a yardstick, then the review process must do much more to assess bias.
Monday, November 07, 2011
The winners were announced on 3 November. The top prizes went to Journals/Conferences @ Your Fingertips, a way of delivering the top 20 journal or conferences relating to search results, proposed by Low Ke Khoon of the National University of Singapore, and JTOCs 2 Go, a customisable table of contents notification service proposed by Andrea Szwajcer from the University of Manitoba, Canada.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Around 60,000 historical scientific papers are accessible via a fully searchable online archive, with papers published more than 70 years ago now becoming freely available.
The Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific publisher, with the first edition of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society appearing in 1665. Henry Oldenburg – Secretary of the Royal Society and first Editor of the publication – ensured that it was “licensed by the council of the society, being first reviewed by some of the members of the same”, thus making it the first ever peer-reviewed journal.
To know more
Monday, October 10, 2011
Today more than 50 scientific societies have written guidelines on research ethics for their members. These societies are uniquely positioned to understand and develop effective codes of conduct for the specific segment of science that they represent. Research institutions can set standards only for the most basic and universal matters, such as plagiarism and fabrication of data. The example of guidelines issued by the American Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is provided illustrating how a professional society can go beyond guidelines alone to promote research integrity in other dynamic ways.
A study was undertaken to test the "deliberate fraud" hypothesis that some authors deliberately commit research fraud. It is based on the presumption that authors producing fraudulent papers specifically target journals with a high impact factor, have other fraudulent publications, delay retracting the paper and collaborate with co-authors who also have other retractions for fraud. All 788 English language papers retracted from the PubMed database between 2000 and 2010 were evaluated. The results suggest that papers retracted because of data fabrication or falsification represent a deliberate effort to deceive.
This article discusses the potential conflicts of interest between editors, contributing authors, the publisher, and advertisers in the medical publication process. Editors and publishers must be as responsible as authors to promote and protect the integrity of the scientific process. They should protect editorial independence, promote the use of a scientific arbitration board for serious disputes, promote transparency throughout all stages of publication, and take advantage of an effective legal framework
Thursday, October 06, 2011
The article provides an example of the analyses needed to understand a single sentence in a scientific journal. In so doing, it raises several interesting issues of meaning, measurement, statistical analyses, and the form in which results are presented and interpreted. According to the author, most authors have never been taught how to communicate technical information in writing, and most journals do not have the time to edit a paper thoroughly.
This article discusses how plagiarism is defined and suggests some possible causes for its increase in scientific literature. Nowadays there is some awareness that re-use of words in research articles by no English-mother tongue authors should be distinguished from intentional stealing other authors' ideas. Editors tend to consider any text duplication as a symptom of serious misconduct without considering the reasons why researchers do that. Practical advice is given to researchers on how to improve their writing and citing skills and thus avoid accusations of plagiarism.
It is not possible to study the Middle East science growth without considering its geopolitical changes. Despite a nearly constant tension over the past 3 decades, science production of this region has grown nearly four times faster than the world's pace. In particular Iran and Turkey had a fast scientific growth, followed by Cyprus, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. In the 1990s, in the aftermath of the Iraq-Iran war, Iran developed the necessary infrastructure for research and then allocated a larger budget to its research sector, with an astronomical scientific growth - mostly in medicine, agriculture, and nuclear technology.
The article reviews the most widely used metrics, highlighting the pros and cons of each of them. The rigide application of quantitative metrics to judge the quality of a journal, of a single publication or of a researcher suffers from many negative issues and is prone to many reasonable criticisms. A solution could be the use of a qualitative assessment by a panel review based on few but robust quantitative metrics.
Friday, September 30, 2011
(doi: 10.4415/ANN_ 11_03_01)
What kind of ethics is useful for researchers? Nowadays the proliferation of bioethic experts and the success of practical guidelines are a fact from which the author of this editorial draws the following conclusions: people find bioethics and guidelines helpful; expertise in ethics is most of all a matter of correct or true judgment; and experts should be able to communicate.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
This study provides information on how practicing clinicians perceive research in which multiple conflicts of interest (COI) are disclosed. The authors developed two research vignettes presenting a fictional antidepressant medication study, one in which the authors had no COI and another in which there were multiple COI disclosed. Perceived credibility ratings were much lower in the COI group that is, increased disclosure of COI resulted in lower credibility ratings.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The article focuses on ghostwriting and guest authorship in industry-controlled research: several examples have revealed the use of ghostwriters to insert concealed marketing messages favourable to a company's product, and the recruitment of academics as "guest" authors despite not fulfilling authorship criteria. Medical journals, academic institutions, and professional disciplinary bodies have thus far failed to enforce effective sanctions. Given this failure, the authors suggest a firm legal response through the imposition of legal liability on guest authorship as fraud.
Thanks to Mariolina Salio
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Science, technology and innovation are critical drivers of economic growth and national well-being of a country. Investing in them has become a hope for many countries, both rich and poor. But innovation demands that novel ideas are pursued, and to attract them some long-held traditions and modes of operation need to be reexamined. Some issues are highlighted to foster innovation and economic success. Among them, the peer review process, the evaluation timeline and criteria for judging and rewarding performance, the increase in number of young researchers and diversity of scientific human resource pool.
The challenges and opportunities posed by the migration from print to digital were addressed. The author explored the role of publishers in the scholarly communication process, and the various roles and responsibilities of other different players in the scientific publishing chain.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The authors surveyed 21 editors and reviewers from major psychology journals to identify and describe the statistical and design errors they encounter most often and to get their advice to prevent them. Three major areas were identified: problems with research design and reporting; inappropriate data analysis; and misinterpretation of results. Researchers should attend to these common issues to improve the scientific quality of their submitted manuscripts.
Authors often work hard to maximize the material presented within the constraints of the printed page, and this leads to frustration especially during the proof stage and, much important, to compromises that can be detrimental to the research itself. The APS Editor in Chief announces that in a effort to streamline the calculation of length, the APS journals will no longer use the printed page as the determining factor for length. Instead the journals will use word counts to determine length. This new method will be easier for authors to calculate in advance, keeping the quality of concise communication that is a virtue of letters and short papers.
Thanks to John Glen
Ethics training at least in medical publication seems to lead to worse behaviour. Young researchers find out just how they are expected to behave, which turns out to be...unethically.
Thanks to John Glen
Fold.it is a multiplayer online game that allows players worldwide to solve complex protein-structure prediction problems. A 15-year-old AIDS problem was recently solved in just three weeks by a group of online gamers. They created a model of a protein that scientists haven't been able to model themselves, using a game-like structure. This result indicates a high potential for integrating video games into the real-world scientific process and for solving, if properly directed, a wide range of scientific problems.
Thanks to Kate Whittaker
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Overall, manuscript retraction appears to be occurring more frequently, although it is uncertain whether this is a result of increasing misconduct or simply increasing detection due to enhanced vigilance. The authors developed a novel measure, the "retraction index", by dividing the number of retractions by the total number of articles published by 17 journals ranging in impact factor 2.00 to 53.484 in the years 2001 to 2010. They found that the frequency of retraction varied among journals and showed a strong correlation with the journal impact factor.
The article discusses the effect that scientific retractions have on public opinion. After initial findings are published part of the readers will not change their mind even if the paper is retracted. The paper's influence on the public may last for awhile, despite a growing contrary evidence. The recent retraction of a key paper proposing a link between childhood vaccines and autism has widened the societal divide on this issue. The number of retractions have been increasing but they are just the tip of the iceberg: a study showed that about 2% of scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Effort involved in producing a particular paper is difficult to quantify. Neverthanless, it and the number of authors are positively correlated with citation count: working hard and work effectively with others are the most important factors affecting number of citations. According to the author, effort - and how to measure it - should be incorporated into future bibliometric studies. Journal impact factor seems to be rather overrated when applied at an individualistic level, although its social aspects are very important affecting such tangibles as getting a job, a promotion, or a proposal funded
According to the authors, the current fashion of ranking people, papers and journals is anything but harmless. They suggest to measure the "fertility" of individual researchers - with respect to their ability to foster quality - in terms of kinship (the k-index) rather than through personalized indices (the h-index). Scientific production is nourished by the past and is conveyed for the future advancement. A chart of elective kinship, produced through the transmission of scientific theory, methodology, know-how, competence, and even culture, could be then realized.
Thanks to Penny Hubbard
Self-enhancement and self-citation biases are well-documented phenomena in the social psychology field. The article examines the number of self-citations in articles published by four journals and the reasons why authors cite themselves. References in articles are not always included because they are essential to understand the argument or because they are the best source of information. Sometimes they are included because authors want to promote and praise themselves and their findings. Then, self-citations have more to do with self-promotion than with the advancement of science. It is not clear whether editors should take action about self-citations.
Thanks to James Hartley
Explanation of uncertainties presents a serious challenge, particularly to an audience with a wide range of scientific and mathematical expertise. In this review current practice for communicating uncertainties by means of graphic visualizations are examined, using examples drawn from sport, weather, climate, health, economics, and politics. The most suitable choice of visualization to illustrate uncertainty depends closely on the objectives of the presenter, the context of communication, and the audience. Useful recommendations are provided, although careful case studies are needed describing the development and evaluation of specific examples in a wide range of contexts.
Friday, September 16, 2011
A thoughtful revision of a paper based on editorial and referee feedback does improve its quality. The process of revising a paper can sometimes be frustrating for the authors, editors and referees. Authors should be open to referee criticisms and should go through his comments point by point responding constructively and diplomatically to each point. Also noting that a referee has made critical mistakes or has requested unnecessary extensions, nonetheless authors should make any effort to improve the paper. Authors, editors and referees all benefit from a collaborative and collegial peer review process.
The UK parliamentary science and technology committee carried out an inquiry into the peer review process in science. Several medical and scientific journal editors appearing before the committee last May spoke of the many merits of the peer review system, but they raised some concerns about the variability of its quality and a lack of adequate evaluation to confirm its value. They agreed that the process should be improved. Another issue regarded whether the peer review process had a "conservative impact" on science and whether this was problem. The BMJ Group produced a written evidence to the parliamentary inquiry.
Friday, September 09, 2011
This review includes 81 reporting guidelines, most of which have been developed in the last 10 years. Fifty-eight percent of them are classified as new guidance. The authors believe that a more rigorous approach for developing reporting guidelines is needed. The results of the review indicate that guidelines developers provide little information about the guideline development process. Publishing better descriptions on how reporting guidelines were developed will allow potential users to assess the robustness of the provided recommendations. An assessment tool could also be developed to help authors and editors to create and evaluate specific reporting guidelines. Journal editors could be more confident in endorsing reporting guidelines that have followed these approaches.
Because eliminating potential conflicts of interest is essentially impossible, nearly all biomedical journals require authors to disclose funding for their work, as well as other relevant relationships that they, their families, or their institutions might hold when an article is submitted for publication. The authors examined the disclosures related to conflict of interest accompanying papers published in major oncology journals to compare the nature of requested information with information provided. This analysis revealed a wide range of disclosure policies and practices: most but not all of the journals required some disclosure of potential conflicts of interest, but related standards and definitions varied considerably.
The paper reviews the recent studies that evaluate the impact of free access (open access) on scholars, clinicians, and the general public in developed and developing countries. The review assesses impact in terms of reading, citation, and related forms of use. Authors consider factors such as journal reputation and the absence of publication fees when submitting their work. In contrast, free access is not a significant factor in their submission decisions. There is clear evidence that free access increases the number of article downloads, although its impact on article citations is not clear. Further research is needed to evaluate the effect of free access on the general public's use of the primary medical literature.
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Authorship is a serious problem in smaller scientific communities . Many authors do not qualify for the standard authorship criteria set by the ICMJE and some editors as well cannot be familiar with them. Funding from a study carried out by the Croatian Medical Journal (CMJ) showed that contribution declaration forms, that authors fill out and send to journals, are to be considered not reliable as a way of assessing authorship. For this reason the CMJ decided to ask each manuscript author a single open-ended question: "Why do you think you deserve to be the author of this manuscript?" and to publish author's answer to this question without editing.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
This article investigates the awareness of scholarly authors toward open access repositories and the factors that motivate their use. The research findings indicated that although there was a good understanding and appreciation of the ethos of open access in general, there were differences between authors from different disciplinary backgrounds in understanding validity of open access repositories and subsequent motivations for depositing articles in them.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The article is focused on the methodology of preparation, writing and publishing scientific papers in biomedical journals. In particular, scientific and professional journals currently published in Bosnia and Herzegovina are described, providing a comparative review on the number and structure of papers published in journals indexed in Medline. The author believes that it is necessary to increase quality standards in acceptance and reviewing of papers in the biomedical journals published in the country.
Librarians can play a dinamic role in the development of the open access landscape by familiarizing themselves with government funding initiatives, institutional open access funds and policies, institutional repositories, and promoting and supporting open access publishing models. This article provides examples of how librarians can incorporate open access concepts into their pre-existing librarian roles.
Bioresources need to be easily accessible to facilitate advancement of research. A Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF) could promote the sharing of bioresources by creating a link between their initiators or implementers and the impact of the scientific research using them. A BRIF would make it possible to trace the quantitative use of a bioresource, the kind of research using it and the efforts behind establishing and maintaining it . Specific requirements for citing bioresources are lacking in the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (URM) and should be then added. A BRIF working group has been recently set up.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Funders, publishers, societies, and individual research groups have developed tools, resources, and policies to encourage researchers to make their data publicly available. This article aims at investigating who openly shares raw research data, who doesn't, and which initiatives are correlated with high rates of data sharing. Considering a particular type of data - biological gene expression microarray intensity values - a large set of data sharing actions and associated variables have been collected and analyzed. Even in this field, with mature policies, repositories and standards, research data sharing levels are low and increasing slowly, and data is least available in areas where it could make the biggest impact.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
A very simple and easily calculable index for comparison of researchers working in different fields is suggested. This is the n-index = researcher's h-index divided by the highest h-index of the journals of his/her major field of study (n is the first letter of Namazi, co-author of this article). This novel index can overcome the problem of unequal citations in different fields, as publications in certain disciplines are typically cited much more or much less than in others.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Scholarly journals are being increasingly recognized as educational tools. In view of recent trends in information flow, digitalization, and acceleration of publishing process - that may increase the rate of errors and mistakes - editors, authors, reviewers and publishers should closely consider every detail, from submission to publishing, to ensure a high quality of publications. Some relevant elements of success are discussed, such as qualified editorial team, internationalization of the peer review process, unique journal title, specific scope of interest, original content of articles, indexing in databases and wider journal visibility.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
A survey was carried out to know how advertising actually works as a source of financing for OA journals, exploring both why journals do not employ it, and how it is employed. The results show that advertising is used to generate income only for some OA journals, and that there is a lack of knowledge about its possibilities. The use of advertising increases with the increased size of a publishers (in terms of the number of published journals) and with the increased size of a journals (in terms of published articles).
According to a survey, conducted amongst a group of InTech's authors, they are generally favourably inclined towards open access (OA) being aware of the benefits of free access to their work after publication. As might be expected, most of the authors have concerns about cost and quality control of OA publications. OA publishers should then satisfy the demand from authors for a in-depth pre-publication peer review system, have a clear policy on peer review, and ensure transparency.
Monday, June 20, 2011
The author writes on the many debates that rage about whether open access is speeding scientific progress. Some argue that academic researchers already have good access to the articles they need and critics suggest that the open access publishing model encourages mediocre work.
A reply to this article comes from Jacques Zimmer, a member of the editorial board of PLoS ONE (A positive review for PLoS ONE. Science 2010;330(6000):34). He says that most of the papers he handles are of high quality, and that its journal is serious and aims at rendering well-performed science accessible to everybody
Based on an analysis of the Directory of Open Access Journals, the study highlights that a large number of small publishers publish the majority of OA journals, and that 90% of these publishers publish only a single journal. These data are compared to similar data about toll access publishing. All these elements suggest that small-scale operation of OA publishing is economically inefficient and that it should be best organized in larger publishing institutions.
The article focuses on the costs and potential benefits of three alternative models for scholarly publishing: subscription publishing, open access publishing and self-archiving. It summarizes the findings of a study undertaken for the UK Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). It concludes that more open access to findings from publicly funded research would have substantial benefits for research communication.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Results of a study on the development of open access (OA) journals, registered in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), showed a very rapid growth in the period 1993-2009. Since 2000 the average annual growth rate has been 18% for the number of journals and 30% for the number of articles. The volume of OA published peer reviewed research articles has grown at a much faster rate than the increase in total volume of all peer reviewed research articles. Three major phases of OA development are suggested: the Pioneering years (1993-1999), the Innovation years (2000-2004), and the Consolidation years (2005-2009).
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Funds to pay the costs of open access (OA) publishing are short and about 80% of journals are subscription-based. Paying to publish might inflate acceptance rates and lower quality standards. A solution could be that institutions, universities and funders mandate Green OA self-archiving of final peer-reviewed drafts by their authors. A "no-fault basis" peer review charge is also suggested: the author's institution or funder should pay for each round of referreing, regardless of outcome (acceptance, revision, or rejection). If the journal fee were not a publication fee but a referreing fee, the costs per accepted article would be much lower and it would discourage unrealistic submissions that take up the time of journals' referees.
A review of the recently published literature about current trends and future applications of institutional repositories (IRs) including the benefits and obstacles of setting up an IR. They have been increasingly recognised as a vital tool for scholarly communication, institutional visibility and knowledge management. The report can be used to persuade different stakeholders at institutions, including management, about the value of open access (OA) and the importance of establishing OA institutional policies.
This report arises from the activities of the Southern European Libraries Link (SELL), which represents library consortia of six countries (France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey). One of its main goals is "to draw common policies towards information acquirement and provision". Experts in each country provided reports on the situation of open access to move towards common policies for open access to science. European countries have unique characteristics as regards participation in the scientific communication process: they use languages that are not the usual channel for scientific communication, they do not have a powerful publishing industry, they spend a smaller percentage of GDP on research and scientific data acquisition.
The study wanted to ascertain whether authors were aware of library support for article processing fees and whether they are satisfied with open access (OA) publishing. Results indicate that authors are increasingly publishing in OA journals, appreciate library funding initiatives and believe that impact factor and readership are strong motivators for OA publishing. Sustainability of OA funds is then a major concern for many libraries. Specific recommendations for publishers are given, i.e. timely indexing in PubMed and other databases, promotion of OA articles through press releases and access to statistics on a regular basis.
Friday, June 10, 2011
The results of the study suggests that telling peer reviewers that their signed reviews might be available on the BMJ's website had no important effect on review quality. However, it may reduce the number of willing reviewers and increase the amount of time taken to write a review. BMJ believes that the ethical arguments in favour of open peer review outweigh any disadvantage.
A short review based on a personal perspective on the issue of writing scientific papers in the biomedical field. It is based on the author's own experiences as a reviewer and an editor. By means of 10 simple lessons the problems and the pitfalls of getting a manuscript published are considered.
A somewhat conservative perspective on "edemocracy" as public access to scholarly and scientific research is presented. The author suggests to maximise the usage and impact of research carried out in research institutions by depositing final drafts in open access institutional repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication in order to have them freely accessible to all potential users webwide.
In this volume, the editors have created the first anthology of the "access to knowledge" or "A2K" movement, mapping this emerging field of activism as a series of historical moments, strategies, and concepts. Intellectual property law has given rise to new debates and struggles over politics, economics, and freedom.
The paper's aim is to examine why open access (OA) is not practiced by all researchers, all the time, or more encouraged by library managers. It is suggested that sometimes a new actor such as a mandate or deposit policy is required, to assist library and repository managers and to encourage authors to look beyond their existing frames and embrace OA.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
This study describes shortcomings of the peer review process and provides situational, personal, social, and ethical factors influencing reviewers' and editors' behaviour. Editors need to know of potential influences on reviewers and also on themselves. Some data is offered which illustrates the problem and suggests potential solutions. Journals with large editorial boards could consider using a small team to nominate and evaluate reviewers, make decisions and communicate with the authors. Reviewing might be improved through the education and training of postgraduate students.
This study examined the quality of peer review in three scholarly nursing journals from the perspectives of authors and editors. In particular, it examined the extent to which manuscript reviews provided constructive guidance for authors to further develop their work for publication, and for editors to make informed and sound decisions on the disposition of manuscripts. A majority of authors agreed that peer reviews provided constructive guidance, and a majority of editors agreed that reviews provided adequate rationale.
This study shows how a medical journal's influence can be calculated by using citations obtained from Google Scholar and other methods even though the journal is not covered by any citation databases. 580 articles published in the Medical Journal of Malaysia (MJM) between 2004 and 2008 served as sample.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
IEEE (the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity) has developed a suite of tools that efficiently define, identify, and manage plagiarism complaints. The combined use of these three essential tools (policy guidelines, a plagiarism detection system, and an enhanced resolution service) has been extremely effective and has made possible for the IEEE editorial staff to manage all plagiarism complaints.
Librarians can play a dynamic role in the development of the open access (OA) landscape by familiarizing themselves with government funding initiatives, OA publishing models, institutional OA funds and policies, and institutional repositories. The article provides examples of how librarians can incorporate OA issues into pre-existing librarian roles.
The principles of evidence-based practice can also be used in the field of journalism. An application of one of the basic approaches used in evidence-based practice, PICO - that stands for Population, Intervention, Comparison and Outcome - can be applicable in biomedical journalism, i.e. to study whether single-blind review is as good as double-blind review in a small scientific community.
The publication considers and weighs the evidence on the OA citation impact advantage. It suggests a strong OA citation impact advantage, with a download differential found across studies averaging at least 100%, followed by a citation impact differential of between 25-250% in favour of open access for the majority of studies, and particularly for larger studies, with a minority of studies finding no effect. Possible explanations for these anomalies include small sample size (one study refers to an a statistically insignificant OA impact advantage), disciplinary citation patterns, and failure to allow sufficient time to observe the citation impact difference. As the author points out - no studies found a citation disadvantage for OA.
The study examines whether there is a direct correlation between multiple open access (OA) availability of journal articles and the citation advantage by collecting data of OA article appearance and citations in 20 top library and information science (LIS) journals published in 2006 (total number 875). Multiple OA availability refers to multi-locations and multi-versions of an OA article. The analysis demonstrates a statistical significance for a correlation between OA status of LIS articles and a positive impact on their citation account.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The article considers whether open access (OA) publishing provides a way to improve the visibility of research outputs from smaller countries. A search of Slovenia's bibliographic database was carried out to identify all biomedical journals and those which are OA. None out of 18 Slovenian OA journals has an impact factor. The solution could be to reduce the number of journals and to increase their quality by encouraging scientists to publish their best articles in them.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Few studies show the impact of OA in the visibility of journals covering all scientific fields and geographical regions.This article presents analyses on the degree of proliferation of OA journals in a data sample of about 1,700 active journals indexed in Scopus. The results show that the benefits of OA in term of impact are to be found on the green road (authors publishing in a traditional journal and then self-archiving their post-prints in their institutional repository).
Using a randomized controlled trial of open access (OA) publishing, involving 36 academic journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, the effects of free access on article downloads and citations are reported. OA articles received significantly more downloads (almost a doubling) and reached a broader audience than subscription-access articles within the first year after publication, yet they were not cited more frequently within 3 years. The author concludes that the real benefit of free access to the scientific literature is to those outside the core research communities, who consume, but rarely contribute to, the corpus of literature.
The purpose of the study was to compare the content and quality of statistical and scientific reviews of manuscripts submitted to Nursing Research. Scientific reviews were rated as more comprehensive, but most did not evaluate statistical aspects. Statistical reviews were more likely to identify fatal flaws, were generally rated higher in overall usefulness to the editor in making a decision on whether to publish, and to authors for improving a manuscript. Both reviews are complementary.
Results from a questionnaire are presented: over 400 researchers in 12 countries responded ranking 7 article characteristics and rating 16 article profiles. After article topic, the next most highly ranked characteristics were online accessibility and source of article. There were significant differences in ranking by discipline and geographic location.
Friday, May 06, 2011
The event is free, and all are welcome to attend. No ticket or advance booking is required. Doors will open at 5.30pm, and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.The discussion kicks off at 6pm, and is scheduled to finish at 7.30pm.
Monday, April 11, 2011
The author underlines what can be done to address ethical concerns (such as plagiarism, fabrication, and falsification) and at the same time maintain the timely flow of reliable scholarly information. The need to correct ethical breaches after publication can be reduced if potential indicators can be identified before publication. This proactive approach requires education and changing of human behaviour.
The article aims at investigating to what extent pediatric open access journals endorse editorial recommendations such as the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts (URM) issued by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). They were mentioned by 66% journals, that is more frequently than conventional journals; however, endorsement is still only moderate. Further research should confirm these exploratory findings in other medical fields and should clarify what the motivations and barriers are in implementing such policies.
Monday, April 04, 2011
Well-conducted systematic reviews are generally considered higher-calibre evidence than individual trials in decision-making for clinical practice and health policy. But there is increasing evidence that publication bias exists for such reviews, and that non-publication of completed studies is as much of a problem as it is for trials. Increased clarity surrounding systematic review conduct and reporting would be possible if the protocols for systematic reviews, just like those for trials, were registered.Until now there has not been an overarching registry for recording the existence and development of systematic reviews from inception through to completion. This month, the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (University of York, UK) announces PROSPERO, its international Prospective Register of Ongoing Systematic Reviews (http://tinyurl.com/6g9xfkx). Registration is free, is available to anyone around the world, and generates a unique identifying number for each registered systematic review, which can (and should) be reported in any publications that arise from the study. Investigators should use the registry to record the existence of the protocol for a planned or ongoing systematic review of health care interventions even before screening studies for inclusion in the systematic review.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
This Editorial aims at explaining some aspects of peer review that may not be familiar to some readers. It should be reminded that although the reviewers' comments help the editor, it is the editor who has the final decision and takes responsibility for what appears in the journal. But the reviewer has the opportunity to review submissions well before they appear in the journal and can identify those trends and issues that are coming up in the future. One problem regards the possibilities of biasresulting from the prestige of the author and its institution. If the reviewer has a conflict of interest, it must either be declared to the editor, or the reviewer should decline the invitation to carry out the reviw.
The author rejects the notion that we should write when it is hot (summer months) and submit when it is not (winter months - when there would be less competition). This point of view was expressed in an earlier article of the same journal (doi:10.1087/20100206), based on data over a four-year period. More supporting data should be needed to sustain this notion as probably different results would be found with different journals. Differences also depend on journals' editorial policies. So the author's conclusion is: It is better to write when you can and submit straight away!
The report reviews the changing patterns of science and scientific collaboration, in order to provide basis for understanding such ongoing changes. It aims at identifying the opportunities and benefits of international collaboration, to consider how they can best be realised, and to initiate a debate on how international scientific collaboration can be harnessed to tackle global problems more effectively.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Last February, Bai Chunli became president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He is interviewed about science in China and his vision for the institution. He aims at boosting quality, collaboration and commercialization of research. The Academy's evaluation system of research and science productivity, which is now largely based on the number and quality of papers, will shift towards assessing the quality of innovation, its actual contribution to society and progress. Then, CAS will consolidate its collaborations with developed nations but it will also promote cooperation with developing nations.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The article aims at illustrating the weakness of the impact factor as a measure of science and at showing its negative impact on science. The popularization of impact factor as a rapid and cheap method for evaluation of researchers or research groups has stimulated a dynamic interaction between bureaucrats, researchers, and editors. It has created a vicious circle where the measurement process strongly influences the measured variable. Examples are presented to demonstrate the increasing pressure to manipulate the impact factors, as excessive self-citations.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Though the process of publication involves many individuals such as editorial advisors, peer reviewers, technical staff etc., the integrity and credibility of a journal are ultimately in the hands of the editor. Editors' independence is then vital to good publication practice. Not only journal owners may press them for acceptance or rejection of a manuscript but also scientists themselves try to influence editors and politics often finds ways to control journal editorial decisions. It is nercessary to provide equal publication opportunity for high quality research regardless of political, economical, and personal concerns.
This study investigated the citations received by DOAJ's journals from the ISI Web of Science's articles in the years 2003-2008. The main question was: are journals in DOAJ valid and can be cited? Journals were divided on the basis of the five ISI's division of sciences and they were studied and compared accordingly. Findings showed that 10.87% journals received citations with an average number of citations per article of 6.45. Researchers cited OA journals in the field of Pure Sciences more than the other four fields, and the citations received by the journals in the two fields of Pure Sciences and Health & Medical Sciences is considerably more than the other three fields.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Strange attractors in the Web of Science databaseMiguel A. García-Pérez
Database citation index, offered by the established Web of Science, is under scrutiny in this study. Sophistication in calculation algorithms, seems not to be free of error and in Web of Science leads to “phantom citations” concentrating “strange attractors” around, especially, non-english authors and sources. The Hirsch h-index is also criticized for its robustness for omitting for instance: the number of authors and the placement in the list of authors; the number of publications, penalizes new scientists with a short career however important their discovery might be, therefore error of commission, missing citations, stray references “encourages the use of other platforms for the accrual of complete citation records”.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
As part of SURFfoundation's SURFshare programme, this study aimed at investigating what researchers need to enable them to store their research data and make that data accessible. The focus was on research conducted in Europe, the USA and Australia in the years 2008-2010. Researchers have expressed a clear need for support as they do not have the skills, awareness or knowledge to improve their day-to-day data storage. At the same time, they see preservation as a different step, that is somewhat outside their immediate interest. Then, storage and preservation are two distinct issues for resarchers. Most of them are unwilling to accept responsibility for preserving their data after publication; however, when the data are transferred to another party, researchers wish to remain in control of their data.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Su Cheng, Pan YunTao, Zhen YanNing, Ma Zheng, Yuan JunPeng,
Guo Hong, Yu ZhengLu, Ma CaiFeng,Wu YiShan
Journal of Informetrics 5 (2011) 1–13
Despite proven sex and gender differences, women continue to be underrepresented in clinical trials, and the absence of gender analyses in published literature is striking. In recent years, there have been numerous initiatives that advocate for gender mainstreaming in health and life science research, in particular in the HIV field, but without much success. Editors, publishers and peer reviewers should try to change the paradigm in the world of scientific publication, and Instructions for authors issued by journals should contain a policy on sex-disaggregated data and gender analysis. In particular, editors' associations could play an essential role in facilitating a transition to improved standard editorial policies.
Friday, March 11, 2011
The research examines the relationship between open access (OA) availability of journal articles and the citation advantage by collecting data of OA copies and citation numbers in 20 top library and information science journals. A correlation is discovered between the two variables: multiple OA availability of an article has a positive impact on its citation count.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
In our times editing of medical journals is gaining more importance as a driving force of science communication. High quality of publications and their impact ia s result of a process, to which non only authors but also publishers, editors, and reviewers contribute in different ways. Their combined efforts can speed-up scientific progress and rapidly distribute valuable updated information throughout the world. Today more than ever before, editors' task is that of improving the process of peer-review and editing, and to increase the number of publications with higher scientific value. As a result of changes in the spreading of scientific information - also through the increasing use of social networking services - new metrics of impact have emerged, as the immediacy index. Furthermore, expansion of online publication highlighted the importance of supplements and thematic issues, that can rapidly promote new journals.
Friday, March 04, 2011
Many scientifically discovered effects published in the literature seem to diminish with time. Some scientists attribute the decline effect to statistical self-correction of initially exaggerated outcomes. But to be sure of this interpretation, "negative results" - that is, experimental outcomes that were not noteworthy or consistent enough to be published - should be available. The author suggests the creation of an open access repository of research methods and all research findings - published and unpublished - which would let scientists log their hypotheses and methodologies before an experiment, and their results afterwards, regardless of outcome.
Thursday, March 03, 2011
This study investigated whether the physical proximity of collaborators was a strong predictor of the scientific impact of their research as measured by citations of the resulting publications. It was focused on life sciences research across three major Harvard University campuses. Despite the positive impact of emerging communication technologies on scientific research, the results provided strong evidence for the role of physical proximity as a predictor of the impact of collaborations.
There are reasons why scientists, in particular, should be and often are good communicators. One is that most scientists work with enthusiasm, and this is infectious. The problems for the scientist as a public communicator start with academic publishing: the language, form and conventions of the published scientific paper could almost have been devised to conceal information. So to be effective communicators, scientists have to learn to stand back from their own work and see it as strangers might do.
In the latest years several funders and public organizations at national and international level claimed with public statements for free access to publicly funded research. This contribution presents the principles upon which rely the mandatory Open Access (OA) policies of over 40 funding organizations worldwide. The European Union also mandates OA for researches granted within the 7th Framework Programme.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
The EU-sponsored Study of Open Access Publishing (SOAP Project) surveyed 50,000 researchers for their opinions on open access (OA) journals. The study found two main reasons researchers don't submit their work to OA journals: almost 40% said that a lack of funding for author fees was a deterrent, whereas 30% cited a lack of high-quality OA journals in their field.
Then, scientists love OA papers as readers, but as authors they are still skeptical.
A study examined how researchers consider and use open access (OA) publications. A survey, addressed to research and academic institutions of social and natural science in Europe and North America, took place between June and August 2009. In general, respondents were in favour of OA institutional repositories and especially in having stricter acceptance procedures. This would enhance their trust and they would feel much more inclined to submit their works for publication.
This past yaer has seen some real progress on the open access front. Today nearly 6.000 titles appear in the Directory of Open Access Journals, more journals participate in PubMed Central and about 80 new open access mandate policies were passed. There will always be an increasing amount of scientific reasearch to publish and more research that scientists will have to consult. The author lists some publishers' opinion about the present scenario. most of them still affirm that libraries are perfectly capable of providing their users with all the published research they might need. However invisible it is to publishers, the only way to create a sustainable future for knowledge is to make sure that the open access movement is a force to be reckoned with.
Scientific journals need not only to assess the quality of manuscripts but also to examine the predictive validity of their decisions in selecting the best manuscripts. One of the concerning question is on whether selection of the best manuscripts also means selecting papers that after publication show top citation performance within their fields. This study proposes a new promising approach for assessing the predictive validity of editorial selection decisions. This new methodology has shown many advantages but also some limitations that need to be addressed by future research studies.
In open access (OA) publishing scholarly communication is made available free 0f charge on the Internet. In biomedical research, authors or sponsors often pay a fee to a publisher to enable immediate free online access. Other journals use a hybrid model allowing authors to choose between subscription access and author-paid OA. Results from a study on OA publishing in a journal of the BMJ group show that author-paid OA publishing preferentially increases accessibility to studies funded by industry. For this emerging type of publication bias in OA hybrid journals, the term e-publication bias is suggested.
The author (deputy editor at the BMJ) argues that telling authors who has reviewed their paper has helped to make the process fairer. Open peer review at the BMJ currently means that all reviewers sign their reports, declare their competing interests, and desist from making additional covert comments to the editors. Most BMJ authors and reviewers seem happy with this approach. Perhaps open peer review has succeeded at the BMJ because it is made clear that editors, not reviewers, decide whether to accept aor reject submissions. In his reply(doi:10.1136/bmj.c6425), Karim Khan is concerned that open peer review could stop reviewers from being completely frank.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
A report, compiled by Kathleen Lyle, a founder member of the SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders), offers a valuable insight into the outsourcing of editorial work to overseas suppliers. In 2010 the SfEP asked members to report their experiences of editorial outsourcing. The relevant parts of their replies are quoted and commented on in this report, confirming that British publishers have been using overseas suppliers for many years. What remain relevant are linguistic ability and editorial skills. The SfEP's concern is that some overseas suppliers whose staff are not English mother-tongue are offering editorial services, often based on a rigid, rule-based approach.