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.