Saturday, October 29, 2011

N. Philosophical Transactions now online

During the International Open Access Week (October 24-28) the Royal Society announced that its world-famous historical journal archive – which includes the first ever peer-reviewed scientific journal – has been made permanently free to access online

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

B - Ethical guidelines by professional societies

Zigmond MJ. Making ethical guidelines matter. American Scientist 2011;99(4):296
(doi: 10.1511/2011.91.296)

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.

B - Do authors deliberately commit research fraud?

Steen RG. Retractions in the scientific literature: do authors deliberately commit research fraud? Journal of Medical Ethics 2011;37:113-117
(doi: 10.1136/jme.2010.038125)

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.

B - Conflicts of interest for medical publishers and editors

Desai SS, Shortell CK. Conflicts of interest for medical publishers and editors: protecting the integrity of scientific scholarship. Journal of Vascular Surgery 2011;54(3):59S-63S
(doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2011.05.111)

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

B - Reading scientific articles

Lang TA. The illusion of certainty and the certainty of illusion: a caution when reading scientific articles. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011;2(2):118-123

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.

B - Signs, symptoms and causes of plagiarism

Shashok K. Authors, editors, and the signs, symptoms and causes of plagiarism. Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia 2011;5(3):303-307
(doi: 10.4103/1658-354X.84107)

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.

B - Trends in Middle Eastern countries' science production

Habibzadeh F. Geopolitical changes and trends in Middle Eastern countries' contributions to world science over the past three decades. Archives of Iranian Medicine 2011;14(5):310-311

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.

B - Impact Factor and other metrics for evaluating science

Solimini AG, Solimini R. Impact Factor and other metrics for evaluating science: essentials for public health practitioners. Italian Journal of Public Health 2011;8(1):96-103

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.