Saturday, October 22, 2016

Changes at eLife

eLife, the open-access journal supported by three major research funders (, has announced that it will start charging from 2017. Since its launch in 2012, the journal has had no charges, supported entirely by grants from the funders. The ‘publication fee’ will be $2500. The move is explained in an editorial in the journal, and follows the announcement in June 2016 of continuing investment by the founding organisations. The journal has also announced a partnership with to create an annotation ‘layer’ for eLife.

N - Nature data policy

From September 2016, all research papers accepted for publication in Nature and 12 other Nature journals will have to include a statement on access to the study’s data. e policy, announced in an editorial in Nature will require a statement reporting the availability of the "minimal data set necessary to interpret, replicate and build on the findings reported in the paper" along with details about publicly available data sets and reasons for any access restrictions.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

B - Challenges in altmetrics

Haustein, S. Grand challenges in altmetrics: heterogeneity, data quality and dependencies. Scientometrics 2016;108(1):413-423
(doi: 10.1007/s11192-016-1910-9)

This paper focuses on the current challenges for altmetrics. Heterogeneity, data quality and particular dependencies are identified as the three major issues and discussed in detail with an emphasis on past developments in bibliometrics. The heterogeneity of altmetrics reflects the diversity of the acts and online events, most of which take place on social media platforms. Data quality issues become apparent in the lack of accuracy, consistency and replicability of various altmetrics, which is largely affected by the dynamic nature of social media events. Furthermore altmetrics are shaped by technical possibilities.

B - OA publication fees in Germany

Jahn N, Tullney M. A study of institutional spending on open access publication fees in Germany. PeerJ 2016;4:e2323
(doi: 10.7717/peerj.2323)

This study examines how much German universities and research organisations spent on open access publication fees. According to self-reported cost data from the Open APC initiative, this type of support has grown over the years. Comparing these expenditure with those from Austria and the UK, German open access funding is focused primarily on fully open access journals, raising important questions about hybrid open access journals as a publication venue.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

B - Truth in science publishing

Südhof TC. Truth in science publishing: a personal perspective. PLoS Biology 2016;14(8):e1002547
(doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002547)

Emerging flaws in the integrity of the peer review system are largely responsible for the validity of published scientific results.. Distortions in peer review are driven by economic forces and enabled by a lack of accountability of journals, editors, and authors. One approach to restoring trust may be to establish basic rules that render peer review more transparent, such as publishing the reviews and monitoring not only the track records of authors but also of editors and journals.

B - A COPE perspective on publishing ethical issues

Pierson CA. Avoiding ethics pitfalls in publishing: a perspective from COPE. Oral Diseases 2016 July 12
(doi: 10.1111/odi.12539)

Throughout its history, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) has provided a forum for discussion about ethical issues related to all aspects of scholarly publishing and developed resources to assist those who write, review, and edit scholarly work. This concise review provides examples of ethical issues related to authoring, reviewing, and editing scholarly manuscripts from the perspective of COPE.

B - Authorship of clinical trial documents

Billiones R. Authorship of clinical trial documents. Medical Writing 2016;25(1):33-35

Authorship of clinical trial documents such as clinical study protocols, clinical study reports, investigator’s brochures and inform ed consent forms has not yet been given much attention. This article looks at the common practices of authorship attribution and signing off on these documents and examines the ICH guidelines.

B - Researchers under cyber attacks

Dadkhah M, Borchardt G, Maliszewski T. Fraud in academic publishing: researchers under cyber attacks. The American Journal of Medicine 2016
(doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2016.08.030)

Day by day, researchers receive new suspicious emails in their inboxes. In this short communication the authors review current cyber threats in academic publishing and try to present general guidelines for authors.

B - Publishing elite against impact factor

Callaway E. Beat it, impact factor! Publishing elite turns against controversial metric. Nature 2016;535(7611):210-211

Senior staff at societies and leading journals want to end inappropriate use of impact factor. They say that the measure is a broad-brush indicator of a journal's output and it should not be used as a proxy for the quality of any single article or its authors.


B - Ethical medical communications

Smalley S. Staying ahead of the game in the changing arena of ethical medical communications - Viewpoint of a freelance medical writer. Medical Writing 2016;25(2):13-17

Good publication practices as well as guidelines, regulations, codes of practice, and other guidelines governing pharmaceutical-HCP interactions and promotion of medicines play an important role in professional and ethical medical communication. It is essential for those working in the medical communications sector to stay informed of evolving guidance. 

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

B - Content and phrasing in titles

Kerans ME, Murray A, Sabatè S. Content and phrasing in titles of original research and review articles in 2015: range of practice in four clinical journals. Publications 2016;4(2),11
(doi: 10.3390/publications402011)

This study aimed to learn more about titles in clinical medicine today and to develop an efficient, reliable way to study titles over time and on the fly—for quick application by authors, manuscript editors, translators and instructors. It compared content and form in titles from two general medical journals—the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and the British Medical Journal—and two anesthesiology journals (the European Journal of Anaesthesiology and Anesthesiology). Significant content differences were found.

B - Photoshopping science

Patterson K. Is photoshopping science universally wrong? The Conversation June 1, 2016

Photoshop has become a proprietary eponym for image manipulation, and manipulation of scientific images is universally unethical. Scientists rely on a vast array of technologies to capture, measure, test, display and communicate their research. Raw scientific data needs to be detected or discovered and then the data often needs to be transformed, or manipulated into a comprehensible form. There are detailed guidelineson what is considered appropriate vs inappropriate image manipulation techniques.

B - Readability of academic blogs

Hartley J, Cabanac G. Are two authors better than one? Can writing in pairs affect the readability of academic blogs? Scientometrics 2016

The literature on academic writing suggests that writing in pairs leads to more readable papers than writing alone. The authors wondered whether academic blog posts written alone or in pairs would vary in style: they found no differences in average sentence length between single- and co-authored posts. However, the posts written in pairs were slightly less readable than the single-authored posts, which challenges the current view on the advantages of writing in pairs.

B - Ghostwriting in drug marketing

Matheson A. Ghostwriting: the importance of definition and its place in contemporary drug marketing. BMJ 2016;354:i4578
(doi: 10.1136/bmj.i4578)

During the past decade, the pharmaceutical publications industry has campaigned to persuade medicine, journals, ethicists, and the media that it is opposed to ghostwriting. Yet ghostwriting remains widespread in industry financed medical journal literature. The author describes how the pharmaceutical publications industry seeks to legitimise ghostwriting by changing its definition while deflecting attention from wider marketing practices in academic publishing.