Sunday, May 27, 2012

B - Favourable comments about EASE Guidelines

Anna Sharman has recently commented favourably on EASE Guidelines for Authors and Translators of Scientific Articles:
This document is available in 20 languages and is updated every year ( The updated edition (slightly modified) should be published next month.

Monday, May 21, 2012

B - EASE Guidelines

Ufnalska SB. EASE Guidelines help editors and scientists save time. Science Editor 2011;34(4):e10

In 2010 EASE published its practical, concise and clear EASE Guidelines for Authors and Translators of Scientific Articles.  They are addressed non only to scientists but also to translators because of culture-related differences in scientific style. They aim at facilitating the publication process and enabling science editors to focus on the scientific validity and accuracy of submitted aticles. In 2011 edition a special attention was given to ethical issues (authorship, acceptable secondary publication, avoidance of plagiarism) to promote research integrity worldwide.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

B - All Russian Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (VINITI)

Markusova V.  All Russian Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (VINITI) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Acta Informatica Medica 2012;20(2):113-117
(doi: 10.5455/aim.2012.20.113-117)

This article overviews the leading agency in information processing in Russia, the All Russian Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (VINITI) of the Russian Academiy of Sciences. Its main aim is to collect, process and disseminate scientific information on various fields of science and technology, published in 70 countries in 40 languages. It contains about 30 million records dating back to 1980, with about 80,000-100,000 records added monthly.

B - Online biomedical databases

Masic I, Milinovic K. On-line biomedical databases - The best source for quick search of the scientific information in the biomedicine. Acta Informatica Medica 2012;20(2):72-84
(doi: 10.5455/aim.2012.20.72-84)

Biomedical databases can be grouped into three categories: bibliographic database, citation database and full-text database. Most important databases are located in famous university/academic centers. The authors describe about 30 online biomedical databases and how to make access and search articles in indexed medical journals.

B - Can small journals provide leadership?

Marušić A, Marušić M. Can small journals provide leadership? The Lancet 2012;379:1361-63
(doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61508-0)

Using a case study of the Croatian Medical Journal (CMJ) to represent a small journal from a small country, the authors explored what journals can achieve in their community. CMJ got excellent results. Among them, it implemented editorial policies, set up an official national register of all clinical trials approved by the Croatian Ministry of Health, strengthened health research in Croatia by promoting evidence-based medicine and systematic reviews as guidelines for practice, contributed to the increase in the quality of scholarly publishing mainly by introducing quality standards for obtaining funding.

B - Alarming cracks of bias

Sarewitz D. Beware the creeping cracks of bias. Nature 2012;485:149

The increasing pressure to publish is worsening the bias towards false positive results. Evidence is mounting that research is riddled with systematic errors, and that biases are not random. A biased scientific result is no different from a useless one. Alarming cracks in the scientific edifice are showing up starting from the biomedical field, because research results are constantly put to the practical test of improving human health. But systematic errors are a problem for any field that seeks to predict the behaviour of complex systems. Left unchecked, this could erode public trust.

Friday, May 11, 2012

B - Inappropriate authorship in high impact biomedical journals

Wislar JS, Flanagin A, Fontanarosa PB, et al. Honorary and ghost authorship in high impact biomedical journals: a cross sectional survey. British Medical Journal 2011;343:d6128
(doi: 10.1136/bmj.d6128)

Ensuring appropriate authorship remains an important issue for authors, academic and research institution, and scientific journals. This study aimed at assessing the prevalence of honorary and ghost authors in six leading general medical journals in 2008 and at comparing this with the prevalence relative to 1996. Results showed that the total prevalence of articles with inappropriate authorship was 21%, a decline from 29.1 in 1996.

B - Authorship criteria

Scott-Lichter D. Authorship disputes: me first, me equally, me too, not me. Learned Publishing 2012;25(2):83-85
(doi: 10.1087/20120201)

Authorship criteria vary among journals. Some give detailed guidelines, others provide no definitions in their instructions for authors. Unfortunately, some recurring behaviours are inconsistent with ethical scientific practice. Some examples refer to the authorship order (which often influences how the work is cited), to the guest and ghost authorship. Journal editors should define acceptable authorship criteria and encourage adherence to them. One approach that may help is requiring authors to fill the contributorship model of authorship, in which they outline their individual major contribution to the article.;jsessionid=350hu269imqwv.alexandra

B - Author self-citations

Hartley J. To cite or not to cite: author self-citations and the impact factor. Scientometrics online pub. 23 Dec.2011

Author self-citations contribute to the overall citation count of an article and are an important factor in determining the impact factor of a journal. As there are usually more citations in the text than in the reference list, the author suggests to first count the number of references in the text to gain a better measure of how many citations are in the article. A discrimination should be also done between different kinds of author self-citations - from those that are informative to those that are self-enhancing.

B - Scientists' opinion on impact factor

Buela-Casal G, Zych I. What do scientists think about the impact factor? Scientometrics online pub.22 Febr.2012
(doi: 10.1007/s11192-012-0676-y)

This study reflects the opinion on the impact factor (IF) of a broad sample of scientists all over the world. A questionnaire was answered by 1,704 researchers from 86 different countries. The results show that the opinion is slightly above a "neither positive nor negative" median. Surprisingly, there is a negative correlation between the number of articles published by the respondents and their opinion on the IF, that is more articles they have, the less they believe that IF is a good metric.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

B - Ethics of journal peer review

Lipworth W, Kerridge I. Shifting power relations and the ethics of journal peer review. Social Epistemology 2011;25(1):97-121
(doi: 10.1080/02691728.2010.534567)

This qualitative study aimed at generating an understanding of the manuscript review process. Results showed that relations of power and epistemic authority in manuscript review are complex and dynamic. A shifting "net" of power relations is then suggested, also by encouraging reviewers to participate in the review process in the most ethical and effective manner.

B - Refereeing academic articles

Hartley J. Refereeing academic articles in the information age. British Journal of Educational Technology 2011;43(3):520-528
(doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2011.01211.x)

The new technology (such as ScholarOne) used for submitting papers to academic journals increases the possibilities for gathering, analysing and presenting summary data on stages in the refereeing process. Such data can be used to clarify the roles played by editors and publishers as well as referees. The author suggests that refereeing should be “open” in this information age - i.e. correspondence between editors, referees and authors should be open and available, and not private. Some of the issues involved in achieving this are outlined and discussed.

B - Publication success prediction

Hönekopp J, Khan J. Future publication success in science is better predicted by traditional measures than by the h index. Scientometrics 2012;90(3):843-853
(doi: 10.1007/s11192-011-0551-2)

Little is known about how future publication success can be predicted from past publication success. This article investigated how the post-2000 publication success of 85 researchers in oncology could be predicted from their previous publication record. The main findings were: rates of past achievement were better predictors than measures of cumulative achievement, and a combination of authors' past productivity and the past citation rate of their average paper was most successful in predicting future publication success. This combination of traditional bibliographic indicators clearly outperformed predictions based on the rate of the h index.

B - Positive-outcome bias

Fanelli D. Negative results are disappearing from most disciplines and countries. Scientometrics 2012;90(3):891:904
(doi: 10.1007/s11192-011-0494-7)

A system that disfavours negative results not only distorts the scientific literature directly, but might also discourage high-risk projects and pressure scientists to fabricate and falsify their data. This study analysed over 4,600 papers published in all disciplines between 1990 and 2007, measuring the frequency of papers that, having declared to have ‘‘tested’’ a hypothesis, reported a positive support for it. The overall frequency of positive supports has grown by over 22% between 1990 and 2007, with significant differences between disciplines and countries. The increase was stronger in the social and some biomedical disciplines.

B - Publication bias

Joober R, Schmitz N, Annable L, et al. Publication bias: what are the challenges and can they be overcome?. Editorial. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience 2012;37(3):149-152
(doi: 10.1503/jpn.120065)

There is evidence suggesting that publication bias - withholding negative results from publication -  is increasing. Psychology and psychiatry are among the disciplines in which this increase is highest. This bias may seriously distort the literature and lead to misguided research. Researchers' and editors' ethical duty should lead them to publish both positive and negative outcomes in an equitable manner. All journals should make a concerted effort to promote publication of high-quality negative studies.

Monday, May 07, 2012

B - Writing a narrative biomedical review

Gasparyan AY, Ayvazyan L, Blackmore H et al. Writing a narrative biomedical review: considerations for authors, peer reviewers, and editors. Rheumatology International 2011 July 29 (doi: 10.1007/s00296-011-1999-3)

Writing and properly structuring a review article requires the author's deep knowledge and expertise in a specific field of science. Each section of a review article has to be constructed based on widely accepted rules and relevance evidence. The aim of this review is to analyze the main steps in writing a narrative biomedical review and to consider points that may increase the chances of successful publication and future impact, such as those related to authorship, title, abstract and keywords, introductory notes, search methodology, conclusions, acknowledgments, references, and where to submit a review manuscript. These steps can also be applicable to editorials and commentaries.

B - Teaching best practices in scientific research

Macrina FL. Teaching authorship and publication practices in the biomedical and life sciences. Science and Engineering Ethics 2011;17(2):341-354

The examination of a limited number of publisher's Instructions for Authors, of guidelines from two scientific societies, and of the policy document of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) provided the basis for articulating best practices in authorship in scientific research. They relate, in particular, to the following issues: definition of authorship, police statements on duplicative publication, conflict of interests disclosure, electronic access, data sharing, digital image integrity, and subject's protection. All these elements provide a foundation for teaching about authorship and publication practices.

B - Conflicts of interest policies

Fernando A,Timmis A, Pinto FJ et al. Conflict of interest policies and disclosure requirements among European Society of Cardiology national cardiovascular journals. Heart 2012 Apr;K98(7):e1-7
(doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2012-301875)

This review provides a comprehensive editorial perspective to better understand potential conflicts of interest (COI) disclosure. A survey on the Editors' Network of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) National Societies Cardiovascular Journals (NSCJ) COI policies and disclosure requirements confirms that this topic is poorly - and not uniformly - dealt with by journals. Further actions are then required to increase awareness of the importance of COI disclosure and to promote appropriate policies.

B - Maps of citations uncover hot research and scholarship

Howard J. Citation by citation, new maps chart hot research and scholarship's hidden terrain. The Chronicle of Higher Education 2011, Sept. 11

A team led by two biologists and a physicist has set out to build a guidance system, a sort of Google maps of scholarship, to help researchers locate hot research, spot hidden connections to other fields, and identify new disciplines. The Eigenfactor algorithm should take into account the sources of citations. This tool should be freely available and run on a desktop or laptop computer.

Friday, May 04, 2012

B - Myths about open access publishing

Taylor MP. Persistent myths about open access scientific publishing. The Guardian 2012 April 17

Recent articles published in The Guardian have drawn attention to lots of reasons why open access (OA) scientific publishing is reasonable, beneficial, and even inevitable. But some misconceptions have still been presented in two recent letters to the same journal. The author reinforces a steady situation regarding OA publishing, i.e. academic publishers do not pay peer reviewers, and lack of funds is no bar to publication in an OA journal. Probably the greatest impediment to more universal OA at the moment is researchers' fear that unless they place their work in high impact journals, they will be at a disadvantage when competing for grants.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

B - UNESCO guidelines on open access

Swan A. Policy guidelines for the development and promotion of open access. UNESCO: Open Guidelines Series;2012
The objective of this publication is to promote open access (OA) in UNESCO Member States by facilitating understanding of all relevant issues related to OA. It will serve the needs of OA policy development at the government, institutional and funding agency level. It can facilitate knowledge-based decision-making to adopt OA policies and strenghten national research systems.