Tuesday, November 29, 2011

B- Making the journal abstract more concrete

Hartley J. Making the journal abstract more concrete. Journal of Scholarly Publishing 2011;43(1):110-115
(doi: 10.3138/jsp.43.1.110)

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

B - Costs and benefits of transitions to gold open access

Jubb M. Heading for the open road: costs and benefits of transitions in scholarly communications. Liber Quarterly 2011;21(1):102-104

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.

B - Performance of scientific peer reviewers

Callaham M, McCulloch C. Longitudinal trends in the performance of scientific peer reviewers. Annals of Emergency Medicine 2011;57(2):141-148

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.

B - Peer reviews: make them public

Mietchen D. Peer reviews: make them public. Nature 2011;473(452)

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

B - Peer review accuracy: cooperation between referees and authors

Leek JT, Taub MA, Pineda FJ. Cooperation between referees and authors increases peer review accuracy. PLoS ONE 2011;6(11):e26895

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.

B - Public access and use of health research: a NIH study

O'Keeffe J, Willinsky J, Maggio L. Public access and use of health research: an exploratory study of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy using interviews and surveys of health personnel. Journal of Medical Internet Research 2011;13(4):e97

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.

B - The virtues of correct citation

Mertens S, Baethge C. The virtues of correct citation: careful referencing is important but is often neglected even in peer reviewed articles. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International 2011;108(33):550-552 doi:10.3238/arztebl.2011.0550

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.

B - Integration of data and publications

Reilly S, Schallier W, Schrimpf S. et al. Report on integration of data and publications. Alliance for Permanent Access. ODE Project 2011, 17 oct.

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

B - Misconducts in publication of biomedical articles

Varghese T. Misconducts in the publication of biomedical articles. Calicut Medical Journal 2011;9(2):e1

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.

B - Why animal research needs to improve

Macleod M. Why animal research needs to improve. Nature 2011;477:511

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

N - ORCID progress

The ORCID (open researcher and contributor ID) project has raised sufficient funds from its 44 founding organisations to start the first phase of development, under the interim leadership of CrossRef's Geoffrey Bilder. The project will use Thomson Reuters' ResearcherID code under a royalty-free perpetual license, and further funds are being sought.

N - EC consults on scientific information

In September, the European Commission completed a consultation on scientific information in the digital age. The EC will set out its plans for open access to publications and data in the context of research projects funded by the Union budget, including detail specific actions for individual member states. You can follow progress on the EC website.

N - Proofreading tips

The New York Times reports that it seems to be getting plenty of feedback from its readers about typos and gaffes, and its Times Topics blog presents a handy list of proofreading tips, "culled from years of journalism tip sheets."

N - Journal ranking

Faculty of 1000, the post-publication peer review service, has been looking at a new alternative to the journal impact factor. The F1000 Journal Rankings are based on the evaluations provided by the site's contributors. The approach is based on qualitative judgements and uses an algorithm developed collaboratively. The biggest problem seems to be whether to permit evaluations by editors of articles in their own journals.

N - Apps for libraries

The Apps for Library Ideas Challenge was set up by Elsevier under the banner "Know what your users need but not how to build it?" and sought innovative application ideas from libraries using Elsevier's SciVerse platform. Ten finalists were selected, including determining the number of authors, vocabulary mapping, journal abbreviation translation, and supported search.

Update (08/11/11):
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.

N - More calls for access to data

An article in PLoS ONE by John Ioannidis and colleagues noted that that not enough journals have policies on data availability, and that authors don't adhere to policies that are in place. The article was the focus of a news story in Nature, which also addressed the need for better standards and incentives to share, both of which could address the question of why scientists don't share more. Focusing on clinical data, The Cochrane Collaboration issued a statement calling for free access to all data from clinical trials, to avoid selective reporting and ultimately reducing risks for patients.

N - EMWA Journal changes

The European Medical Writers Association's quarterly journal The Write Stuff will be re-launched in 2012 as Medical Writing. The newly branded journal will be published by Maney Publishing and will be available online via IngentaConnect.

N - Twitter styles

Increasingly, the traditional journal article is only part of the mosaic of outputs that can relate to a research project. Researchers also blog, talk at conferences, share data online, contribute to guidelines or networks, and so on. All of these can be disseminated via Twitter. The London School of Economics and Political Sicence (LSE)'s Impact of Social Sciences blog includes useful guides to using Twitter for research projects and the different styles of tweeting.

N - OA search engine

JISC, the UK organisation that promotes information technologies in academia, has developed a search engine for open access content. The engine, developed by the Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute, enables users to navigate papers held in British open access repositories. You can try the search at core.kmi.open.ac.uk. The system stores downloads of previous searches, enabling access even if the originating source is offline.

N - How to measure OA

There's no shortage of facts and figures about the growth (or lack of growth, depending how you read the numbers) of open access publishing. A recent post on the Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics blog presets an impressive array of data and milestones. But the European Commission is looking for a more sustainable way of measuring OA. It has published a call for proposals for a study to develop a set of indicators to measure open access. The aim is for monitoring of the growth of open access literature from 2000 onwards within the European Research Area (ERA) and beyond. The EC sees OA as a key part of the "single market for research and innovation in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely."

N - DOI as URL

CrossRef has announced a new format for the display of digital object indentifiers (DOIs). All organisations are now encouraged to use the URL format http://dx.doi.org/doi wherever a DOI appears. This makes DOIs more user-friendly, more appropriate for mobile devices and more easily machine-readable. To address concerns that the URL string is longer than the previous format, CrossRef also recommends that publishers consider using the ShortDOI service to shorten existing DOIs.

N - Edited news is good news

Another boost for editors: readers prefer news articles that have been profesionally edited. The research, sponsored by the American Copy Editors Society (ACES), also found that readers were more concerned about professionalism and grammar than style or structure. Fred Vultee of Wayne State University, USA, presented the findings at the ACES annual conference and indicated that his future work will address the question of whether readers would stop visiting a website because of poor editing.

N - From MathML to MathJax

Presenting mathematical formulae correctly has always been tricky for publishers, whatever the medium. It's especially difficult when you are delivering a range of mathematical content via multiple online platforms. An article in the October/November issue of Research Information reports on the development and progress of MathJax, a universal standard for online display of mathematical formulae. It enables all web browsers to display Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) more easily. Future plans include and enhanced interface and linewrapping of equations, as well as third-party contributions and integration with other software.

N - ALPSP awards

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)'s Award for Contribution to Scholarly Publishing has gone this year to Cliff Morgan of John Wiley & Sons, in recognition his long-standing contributions to digital preservation, article metrics, article versioning, and many other projects. The best new journal award went to Chemical Science, published by RSC Publishing, with a highly-commended certificate going to Bioanalysis, published by Future Science. Publishing innovation was recognised with an award for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Better Life Index, an elegant, interactive tool that has increased accessibility of OECD's data sets.

N - Interoperability options

The number of open access institutional repositories has been rising steadily, but the real value lies in the potential to create a linked network of these repositories. The Confederation of Open Access Repositories is addressing the inevitable technical and organisational challenges that may prevent interoperability, defined as "the ability for systems to communicate with each other and pass information back and forth in a usable format." COAR has published a paper and is inviting stakeholders to contribute ideas.

N - Data centres as curators

There is much debate about mandatory versus optional policies for self-archiving or repository deposition. A new report from Research Information Network and JISC takes a step back and looks at the usage and impact of data centres in the UK. Data centres supply research data to the academic community, and may also collect, store and/or curate the data. The report focuses on the curatorial role, with its benefits of quality assurance, preservation and applicability.