Thursday, December 28, 2017

B - Web services for authors

Forrester A, Björk B, Tenopir C. New web services that help authors choose journals. Learned Publishing 2017;30(4):281-287
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1112) 

The motivations for an author to choose a journal to submit to are complex. He requires information about multiple characteristics that may be difficult to obtain. This article compares and contrasts the new author-oriented journal comparison tools and services (free and fee-based) that have emerged to help authors find data on journals and publishers.

B - Gender discrimination against women scientists

Sills J. Not just Salk. Science 2017;357(6356):1105-1106
doi: 10.1126/science.aao6221

Three of four senior women scientists at the US Salk Institute for Biological Studies have filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination. These problems are still relevant, and they are not unique to the Salk Institute. Other women scientist raised questions of similar discrimination at their institutions, and some of them face even greater challenges.

B - A lifetime words limit for researchers

Martinson BC. Give reasearchers a lifetime word limit. Nature 2017 Oct 17

Once a researcher's primary role was to share knowledge, now it is to get a publication. The author imagines how rationing the number of publications a scientist could put out might improve the scientific literature. Lifetime limits would create a natural incentive to do research that matters, and would encourage researchers to ensure that research is conducted with the utmost care. Readers and editors would also be able to give the smaller number of articles more attention.

B - What makes a strong editorial board?

Spencer D. What makes a strong editorial board? Editors' Update, Elsevier Connect 2017 Nov 21

The author gives some thoughts about roles and recruitment for editorial board members. The most common function of editorial boards is to provide high-quality reviews, and also act as a third, or trusted "tie-breaker" reviewer. As well as reviewing and suggesting content, the editorial board is also a good source of feedback about the journal's performance, and able to serve as recruiter of good candidates for editorial positions. Comments from some current editors on issues to take into consideration when nominating new editorial board members are provided.

B - Ethical aspects of Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF)

Howard HC, Mascalzoni D, Mabile L, et al. How to responsibly acknowledge research work in the era of big data and biobanks: ethical aspects of the Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF). Journal of Community Genetics 2017 Sep 25:1-8
(doi: 10.1007/s12687-017-0332-6)

There is currently no system that systematically and accurately traces and attributes recognition to researchers and clinicians developing bioresources. This article reviews the objectives and functions of the Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF) initiative including the CoBRA (Citation of BioResources in journal Articles) guideline, and the Open Journal of Bioresources. It also presents results of a small empirical study on stakeholder awareness of the BRIF and an ethical analysis of its ethical aspects.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

ISMPP Webinar - What's Your Path? Career Development in Medical Publications

The International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) invites you to attend a special 90-minute ISMPP U educational webinar: “What's Your Path? Career Development in Medical Publications”, on Wednesday, January 17, at 11 am EST/4 pm GMT.

This ISMPP U is complimentary and open to ALL regardless of ISMPP membership!

This special ISMPP U session is open to the public and may be of interest to students considering career options.  Within the medical publications field a rich variety of professional roles exists, offering many rewarding career pathways to pursue. In this webinar, experienced publications professionals will describe a range of typical roles at pharmaceutical companies and medical communications agencies, as well as key qualifications for these positions.

The panel will describe job change scenarios they’ve personally observed or experienced where people moved between related functions and settings, growing in leadership and responsibility.

These include creating one’s own role as a freelancer, consultant, or head of a small business.

The speakers in the webinar will be:

Lindsey Summers (Regulatory Affairs and Medical Writing Practice Lead, Ascent Life Sciences)
Mark Riotto (Director, US Publications, AstraZeneca)
Suzann Schiller (Executive Vice President, Strategic Collaborations, Cello Health Communications)
Brian Bass (Director, Bass Global, Inc.)

This session is intended for:

  • Those interested in learning about different career pathways in medical publications

  • Those who are just starting or wanting to reinvent their professional career, and

  • Experienced professionals seeking to evolve their careers.

Click here to register, and you’ll receive the weblink to attend the webinar.

Click here to learn more about the program.

– Posted: Wednesday 20th December, 2017 –

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

HEIRRI Research Innovation conference & workshop activity

The HEIRRI organisation are preparing for a busy year in 2018, with a series of conferences and workshops around the world. We have added some of these events to our calendar.

First up, their 2nd conference in April will be titled “‘Education towards a responsible society, transforming universities through RRI"  Full details here

Second, in September, HEIRRI will be running workshops in Mexico and Porto Alegro, Brazil to discuss "Facilitating reflection on Responsible Research and Innovation".  Check out the details of those events here.

- Posted: Wednesday 20th December, 2017 -

Monday, December 18, 2017

B - Wikipedia and diffusion of science

Teplitskiy M, Lu G, Duede E. Amplifying the impact of open access: Wikipedia and the diffusion of science. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 2016;68(9):2116-2117)
(doi: 10.1002/asi.23687)

To understand whether Wikipedia draws upon the research that scientists value most, the authors identified the 250 most heavily used journals in each of 26 research fields indexed by the Scopus database, and tested whether topic, academic status, and accessibility make articles from these journals more or less likely to be referenced on Wikipedia. They found that a journal's academic status (impact factor) and accessibility (open access policy) both strongly increase the probability of it being referenced on Wikipedia. These findings provide evidence that a major consequence of open access policies is to significantly amplify the diffusion of science, through an intermediary like Wikipedia, to a broad audience.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

AMERBAC Editorial Board Announcement

Our colleagues at AMERBAC – the Mexican Association of Biomedical Editors – have announced their new Editorial Board for 2018.

The Board members are as follows:

President - Lic. Alejandro Machorro Nieves
Vice President - Mtra. Angélica Dávalos Alcázar
Secretary - Dra. Abilene C. Escamilla Ortiz
Treasurer - Dr. Maximiliano de León González
Director (International Affairs) - Dra. María del Carmen Ruíz Alcocer
Director (Education and Research) - Mtra. María Teresa Rojas-Rodríguez
Director (Editorial Development) - Dr. Norberto Sotelo Cruz
Director (Diffusion) - Lic. Juan Fernando González García
Coordination in Nursing - Dr. Erick Landeros Olvera

Congratulations to all appointed. We look forward to meeting an AMERBAC delegation at our Bucharest conference in June.

- Posted: Thursday 14th December, 2017 -

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

COPE introduce Core Practices

COPE has recently replaced its “Code of Conduct for Editors” with “Core Practices”.

The reasons COPE provide for these changes are stated on its website, as being that the guidelines were criticised for being overly specific in some areas and not specific enough in others.

It goes on to explain that the core practices have radically simplified the expectations of how all parties will act, and seeks to provide a framework which references the resources available on the COPE website.

Another recent change is the introduction of institutional membership which is being piloted with five institutions.

A discussion of these changes can be read on Scholarly Kitchen.

- Posted: Wednesday 13th December, 2017 -

Monday, December 11, 2017

BMC Research Notes Launches Data Notes

In October, BMC Research Notes launched 'data notes'.

The BMC describes data notes as "data descriptors that aim to increase data availability and support the reuse of valuable research data." Data notes are restricted to a limit of 1000 words, and comprise three sections: Objective, Data description and Limitations.

They still come at a price, with a APC of €600 per article, but the goal is to provide a visible platform to make better use of valuable data that may otherwise go unused.

For more information about data notes, and BMC Research Notes, read a blog post by BMC editor Dirk Krüger, here.

- Posted: Monday 11th December, 2017 -

Friday, December 08, 2017

STM Association Statement on Open Access

This week the STM Association published their recommendations for the next EU Framework programme, regarding open access and open science.

It addresses several topics, including funding for Gold OA, hybrid journals, APC caps, embargo periods, existing infrastructure and journal models, longer texts (such as monographs and books), competition and diversity, and ‘open science’ in general.

The statement is publically available here.

Members can add your thoughts to the discussion in our forum here

- Posted: Friday 8th December, 2017 -

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Updated Guidelines for Authors and Translators

New versions of our Guidelines for Authors and Translators are available now.

Minor changes updated in this year’s versions consist of:

- updating the references
- emphasis on the incorrect use of the words gender and trimester (in the main body of the guidelines)
- note on the increased number of language versions (26 in total)
- note on EASE conference in Romania in June 2018

The English version of the Guidelines are published in the November edition of the EASE journal, European Science Editing (43.4), and links to all 26 versions can be found on the EASE website.

The EASE Guidelines provide simple, clear advice aimed at making international scientific communication more efficient.

This concise and readable set of editorial guidelines was first published by EASE in 2010 and is updated annually.

The document is available in 26 languages, and is aimed to help scientists worldwide in successful presentation of their research results and in correct translation of manuscripts into English. It briefly explains how to write complete, concise, and clear manuscripts, and draws attention to ethical issues: authorship criteria, plagiarism, conflict of interests, etc.

Eight appendices provide examples or more detailed information on selected topics (Abstracts, Ambiguity, Cohesion, Ethics, Plurals, Simplicity, Spelling, and Text-tables).

Widespread use of EASE Guidelines should increase the efficiency of international scientific communication.

Visit the Guidlines page to download copies now:

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Round table statement to improve animal research reporting

During September of this year, a round table convened at the LAVA-ESLAV-ECLAM conference on Reproducibility of Animal Studies in Edinburgh, to discuss more about the problems in publishing animal research.

The discussion involved representatives from journals (including F1000Research, PLOS ONE, BMJ Open Science, and The Lancet), funders (including Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust), and professional organisations (including EASE and EQUATOR).

The outcome was a statement published in BMC Veterinary Research this week, authored by a team led by Nicola Osborne. The document puts forward a pledge to improve reporting and reproducibility standards in animal research, and calls upon academics and laboratory veterinarians to drive this change.

The statement can be accessed here: Osborne et al. BMC Veterinary Research (2017) 13:314. DOI 10.1186/s12917-017-1235-9

– 8th November, 2017–

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Call for EASE Council Nominations

At the next EASE Annual General Meeting (in Bucharest, 8th June 2018), it will be time to elect a new Council to serve EASE for the next 3 years.

Council comprises a President, the immediate Past-President, two Vice-Presidents, a Secretary and a Treasurer, and up to seven ordinary elected members.

Do you know someone who would be great on Council?

The Nominations Committee invites members to submit suggestions for nominations. Individuals must be nominated by another member (please ask your nominee beforehand and confirm that they agree to be nominated).

The term of office will be from June 2018 until the AGM in 2021.

Council meets in-person once a year, before the AGM, either at an EASE conference or a similar event. Other meetings are held by teleconference. Council members are reimbursed their expenses for travel and accommodation for the face-to-face meeting but positions are honorary and there is no salary or fee.

We are especially looking for people with a passion for one or more of the following areas:

  • Training & skills development

  • Outreach to regional chapters

  • Research and participation in collaborative initiatives

  • Advocacy & liaison with external bodies (e.g. ISMTE)

  • Developing guidelines and other publications

  • Networking & social media

To nominate someone:

  1. Each person must be nominated by two members.

  2. The nomination must be sent to the secretary at least 90 days prior to AGM

  3. Each nomination must comprise:

    1. Name, affiliation and contact details of the two nominating members

    2. A signed letter (sent as PDF or similar) from the nominee agreeing to the nomination, stating their areas of interest and what benefits they can bring to EASE Council

    3. The cv of the nominee

Deadline for nominations is 7th February, 2018

Each nomination will be acknowledged by the secretary.

If there are more nominations then places to be filled, a ballot takes place. If a ballot is required the secretary will send a ballot form 56 days before the AGM (before 13th of April 2018) – election by simple majority of votes cast in the postal ballot – in the event of a tie, the election shall be decided by the President’s casting vote at the AGM.

- 2nd November, 2017 -

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

B - Sci-Hub

Novo LAB, Onishi VC. Could Sci-Hub become a quicksand for authors? Information Development 2017;33(3):324-325
(doi: 10.1177/0266666917703638)    
Sci-Hub has shaken the pillars of scholarly publishing, providing free access to millions of paywall-protected scientific articles. Along the way, it has also challenged the hegemony of major publishers and a system propelled by scientometrics. Here the authors posit a scenario in which the myriad of papers offered by Sci-Hub could trigger a sudden flip to gold open-access, dragging authors into an even more restricting paywall.

B - Google Scholar

Halevi G, Moed H, Bar-Ilan J. Suitability of Google Scholar as a source of scientific information and as a source of data for scientific evaluation - Review of the Literature. Journal of Informetrics 2017;11(3):823-834
(doi: 10.1016/j.joi.2017.06.005)  

The authors aimed to review some studies to provide insights into Google Scholar (GS) ability to replace controlled databases in various subject areas. Results show that GS has significantly expanded its coverage through the years which makes it a powerful database of scholarly literature. However, the quality of resources indexed and overall policy still remains known. Caution should be exercised when relying on GS for citations and metrics mainly because it can be easily manipulated and its indexing quality still remains a challenge.

Monday, September 25, 2017

B - Rewards of predatory publications

Pyne D. The rewards of predatory publications at a small business school. Journal of Scholarly Publishing 2017;48(3):137-160
(doi: 10.3138/jsp.48.3.137) 

This study is the first to compare the rewards of publishing in predatory journals with the rewards of publishing in traditional journals. It finds that the majority of faculty with research responsibilities at a small Canadian business school have publications in predatory journals. In terms of financial compensation, these publications produce greater rewards than many non-predatory journal publications. Publications in predatory journals are also positively correlated with receiving internal research awards.

B - A survey on predatory publications

Moher D, Shamseer L, Cobey K, et al. Stop this waste of people, animals and money. Nature 2017;549:23-25

Predatory journals have shoddy reporting and include papers from wealthy nations. The authors selected and examined 200 supposed biomedical predatory journals. Most of the articles came from India, and more than half of the corresponding authors hailed from high- and upper-middle-income countries. Of the 17% of sampled articles that reported a funding source, the most frequently named funder was the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

B - Improving transparency at meetings

Silberberg SD, Crawford DC, Finkelstein R, et al. Shake up conferences. Nature 2017;548:153-154

The role of scientific conferences, where much work gets its first airing, is crucial for communication. Hence greater transparency should be encouraged and embraced by all attendees.
Earlier this year, the group of authors of this article met to hash out what could be done to improve transparency at meetings: for example, emojis, smartphone technologies and revamped guidelines would boost transparency.

B - Science journalism

N. Pitrelli. Science journalism: in search of a new identity. Medical Writing 2017;26(2)

Science journalism is undergoing a major transition due to changes in the relationship between science and society and dissemination via digital and connective technologies. This article presents a number of scenarios and a series of significant results of research that fuel the debate on the future of the information systems dealing with science, technology, and healthcare.

B - Tackling wordiness in medicine and science


B. Every. Writing economically in medicine and science: tips for tackling wordiness. Medical Writing 2017;26(1)

In this article, the author describes three ways for medical writers and editors to tackle wordiness: avoiding  repetition, eliminating redundancy, and minimising purposeless words such as unnecessary qualifiers, weak verbs, and roundabout expressions. An added benefit of limiting word clutter is that it helps reduce the word count to suit publication guidelines.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

New Style Author Toolkit!

Hot on the heels of the Peer Reviewer toolkit, comes a revised Author Toolkit!

In the same style as the PR Toolkit, I have organised all the resources in the toolkit into some main themes and collected them together in different pages.

The main themes of the modules are:

General Writing Tips
Peer Review for Authors
Publishing and Editorial Issues
Ethics for Authors
Other Resources

There is not much new in it yet, but I will be adding new content to the toolkit in the near future, especially an entire module devoted to Open Access, 'predatory' journals, pros and cons and more.

Feel free to message me if you would like to be involved in expanding it, or have any comments/questions.



Thursday, September 21, 2017

B - Scholarly publishing like a bubble

Bariç H, Baždariç K, Glasnoviç A, et al. Why scholarly publishing might be a bubble. Croatian Medical Journal 2017;58(1):1-3
(doi: 10.3325/cmj.2017.58.1)

Scholarly publishing is expanding in all directions, like a bubble. The economy of publishing has many peculiarities: the number of publications, journals, and publishers is constantly on the rise; journals subscription prices have been growing faster than the consumer price index and the inflation rate. The major publishers act as an oligopoly and, occasionally, even monopoly. The number of publications and rising prices are the main but not the only problem. There is also high number of publishers, journals, journals per publisher, predatory journals, authorships per article and per unique author, number of references per paper, self-citated and self-citing rates, and so on. A plausible hypothesis is that the expansion is driven by a market bubble.

B - What is PubMed now?

Anderson K. A confusion of journals - what is PubMed now? The Scholarly Kitchen September 7, 2017

PubMed Central used to be a credentialing system, an online port of the MEDLINE index. This shift of medium quickly made it a search engine, but one built on a manual and highly curated index. Then it was discovered that it is including articles published in journals whose publishers are considered predatory. Although these articles appear in PubMed (often after a delay), the titles are not indexed by Medline and are difficult to find. PubMed’s brand has long been muddled in ways that pass lower-quality works through the system under cover of prestige. This has real consequences.

B - Manuscript submission systems

Hartley J, Cabanac G. The delights, discomforts, and downright furies of the manuscript submission process. Learned Publishing 2017;30(2):167-172
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1092)

The authors described the frustrations that many authors feel when using manuscript submission systems. Undoubtedly these new systems have many benefits, such as the ability to detect plagiarism and fake articles and to speed up the production process. Neverthanless, instructions to authors vary hugely – from none at all to whole handbooks –  online submission systems have not reduced the complexity of submission and may have increased the work of authors. Some publishers are introducing more flexible submission rules that may help authors.                              

B - Senior scientists victim of predatory journals

Cobey K. Illegitimate journals scam even senior scientists. Nature September 7, 2017;549:7

The author has seen a litany of researchers preyed on by predatory journals, even those who recognize a potential problem can fall victim. She has ideas on how to stop it: better job of educating trainees and faculty members about how to assess a journal's integrity; incentives and resources that will prevent scientists from sending real work to places that will not identify flaws or truly contribute to the scholarly literature.

B - Core competencies for scientific editors

Moher D, Galipeau J, Alam S, et al. Core competencies for scientific editors of biomedical journals: consensus statement. BMC Medicine 2017;15:167
(doi: 10.1186/s12916-017-0927-0)

The authors describe the development of a minimum set of core competencies for scientific editors of biomedical journals. The 14 key core competencies are divided into three major areas, and each competency has a list of associated elements or descriptions of more specific knowledge, skills, and characteristics that contribute to its fulfillment. They aim to provide guidance to scientific publishers and editors of biomedical journals worldwide on the minimum knowledge, skills, and characteristics that are needed to be effective in their role.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

PubMed Journal Selection Webinar

Join staff of the U.S. National Library of Medicine to learn how journals are selected for MEDLINE and PubMed Central, how NLM has responded to an evolving scholarly communication ecosystem, and how to use NLM resources in assessing the quality of a publication.

"PubMed Journal Selection and the Changing Landscape of Scholarly Communication."
Date and time: Friday, October 6, 2017, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM EDT

This Webinar is intended for librarians and other information specialists who work with PubMed. Participants may receive one MLA continuing education credit.

By the end of this Webinar, participants should be able to:

  • Describe some issues and concerns surrounding the current publishing landscape.

  • List the roles and responsibilities of NLM in collecting and providing access to biomedical literature.

  • Explain what is referenced in the PubMed database.

  • Find the complete list of journals in MEDLINE and in PubMed.

  • Describe the selection criteria for the different components of the PubMed database.

  • Find additional resources for authors and librarians on assessing publication quality.

If you are interested in joining, registration is on the NNLM site, here


Metadata 2020 Collaboration

Metadata 2020







Metadata 2020 is a new global initiative, organised to draw together people and organisations from all over the world. Its goal is to rally and support the academic community around the critical issue of sharing richer metadata for research communications.

The collaboration, which is being overseen by Crossref, involves researchers, publishers, aggregators, service providers, librarians, and funders who will commit to improving the quality and interoperability of their metadata. Crucially, Metadata 2020 aims to enhance communication between the different communities involved in scholarly communications, through sharing stories and resources, providing education and support to everyone seeking to improve their metadata.

The role of Editors is key in this collaboration, given our very hands-on involvement in adding the metadata into the ecosystem, our perspective on the use of metadata in publishing, and the nature of our interaction with so many scholarly communications groups who produce, use, and work with metadata.

Across the full research community, we struggle with a consistency in the formats and quality of metadata. Properly structuring metadata makes it easy to find, retrieve and coordinate information for individuals and cross-organisational platforms.

For example, in many instances, publishers and data repositories set up metadata feeds to Crossref or Datacite when they launch, but do not go back to update any of the configurations later if any change to data forms or workflows are made. Another example addresses attitudes in attention to detail and the global impact it may have - if there are mistakes in the content of metadata, corrections tend to receive less care and oversight than they should, relative to how much it is actually worth to all of us. And as a final example: in a blog post on the University of Cambridge Schol Comms blog, Dr Danny Kingsley writes:

“Researchers cannot be expected to share their data at the end of their research project if they are unable to locate their data, if the data is not correctly labelled or if it lacks metadata to make the data re-usable.”


The reality is that most scholarly communications infrastructure is based on the metadata, so quality is key to all of our success. It is our shared responsibility, and through increasing awareness of its value, and implementation of high quality practices, we will see shared benefits.

Metadata 2020 is taking the approach of organizing smaller community-focused groups for funders, data repos, researchers, etc. to help articulate specific case studies on the financial and community benefits of better metadata. It would be great to have your help!

Find out more at, follow @Metadata2020 on Twitter, and email to participate.

Friday, September 08, 2017

EASE Peer Reviewing Group - join the discussion!

We have added two big developments on the EASE site relating to peer review this week.

EASE Peer Reviewing Group

We are delighted to announce the formation of a new EASE working group looking at Peer Review. This group will be looking at guidelines, good practice, the culture of review and how to recognise and reward reviewers - and many other topics.

There is a public forum for discussion of peer review topics (open for non members as well as members) so please do take a look and encourage your colleagues to contribute - see

We will be discussing several topics during peer review week - we'd love to hear your views on all the tricky reviewing issues.

EASE Peer Reviewers' toolkit

To coordinate with Peer review Week, the EASE Peer Review Working Group has assembled a selection of resources on the peer review process

Those new to the peer review process - and those not so new - may find these links useful, so visit the website and bookmark the page!

If you know of any other resources that we should add to the site, please let us know.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Final Call for Abstracts!

A final reminder that the deadline for abstracts for presentations is 15th September, 2017.

Deadline for poster abstracts is 1st April, 2018.

Presentation sessions should address any issues around the theme of the conference: ‘Balancing Innovation and Tradition in Science Editing’.

Please see the Programme for the list of specified sessions.

Speakers will have a 10-20 minute slot within their chosen session.

*Please submit a session title and 200-word abstract, including the title of the session you wish to speak in, by 15th September 2017

Poster presentations can address any aspects of science editing and publishing.

If you wish to submit a poster, please submit a title and 200-word abstract by 1st April 2018

All submissions should be sent by email to either the EASE Secretariat Tea Marasovic, or to the Conference Chair, Joan Marsh.

EASE Conference announcements!

We are delighted to announce some further details of our 14th EASE conference, to be held in June, 2018.

The University of Bucharest has kindly agreed to host our conference. Prof Liviu Papadima, Vice-rector, will provide facilities in the Faculty of Law, Boulevard. M. Kogalniceanu.

We are also pleased to bring you the first draft of the conference programme, to give you an idea of the topics and sessions we will be bringing you at the event.

We have added several new pages to our website to cover everything conference-related, and will be regularly updating it as we finalise further details.

Please visit our Bucharest 2018 homepage for more information.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Member offer - Online Editors' course and resource

A newly-launched online resource and training course for Editors on How to publish better content is available from PSP Consulting.

EASE members can sign up at the introductory offer of £200. State that you are an EASE member when booking to obtain the discount.

The course provides an online resource for editors in all disciplines, covering topics such as improving submissions, detecting problem submissions, improving peer review and creating strategic plans. Course modules also include short guide booklets covering the topics, interactive quizzes, and case studies.

Find out more at at

EASE are pleased to officially endorse this course, which we feel offers excellent expert guidance on a wealth of valuable publishing skills and situations.

(The decision to endorse the course was made following strict EASE guidelines for endorsement: Pippa Smart at PSP is on EASE Council but was not involved in the endorsement)

Friday, August 11, 2017

ESE 43(3) - August 2017

“If research was a transport business, we would be appalled by these data.
Half the goods carried would be badly designed, half lost in
shipping, and half of the remainder broken by the time they
arrived.” - Chalmers and Glasziou
(quoted in Rewarding systematic approaches to reducing research waste, Hilton, ESE 43.3)

The August issue of European Science Editing is published, and if you are an EASE member, should be in your hands as we speak. Members and journal subscribers can access all current journal content online now. For non subscribers, all articles become open for free access after six months of publication.

This issue of the journal features an original article by Quan-Hoang Vuong et. al., looking at academic productivity in Vietnam; a viewpoint from Moira Hudson, giving an author’s editor’s perspective on formatting manuscripts for journal submission; an essay on the role of editors in reducing waste in research by Rhiannon Howe; and in keeping with that theme, an Editorial from John Hilton on the rewards of a systematic approach to waste reduction in research.

The Editorial is open access, for all readers to download in full now


HEIRRI announce training program pilot testers

HEIRRI have announced the selection of two institutions to pilot test their training program scholarships.

The Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (Pan African University, Algeria) and Centre for Studies in Science Policy (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India) will test two of the training programme courses being developed by the organisation, chosen from a list including Dialogical Reflection on Research and Innovation; Facilitating Reflection on Responsible Research and Innovation; and Considering Responsible Research and Innovation by Design.

The HEIRRI project will also provide funding to two more institutions to pilot their courses: Christian Albrechts Universität zu Kiel (Germany) and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain).

These institutions will actively participate in the development process of the materials, giving feedback on the materials and their use in their institutions.

More information can be found on the HEIRRI website here

14th EASE Conference - Venue announcement and last call for abstracts!

We are pleased to announce the venue for the 14th EASE Conference!

The event will be held at the Law School at the University of Bucharest, Romania, 8-10th June 2018. Registration will open in January 2018 and there are discounts for EASE members to attend

We also make a final call for abstract submissions to the conference. The event will focus on balancing innovation and tradition in science editing, and we invite papers, posters and talks to address this topic.

If you wish to submit a paper, please send your title and a 200-word abstract to Tea by 15th September.

Keep an eye on our main conference page for further announcements to the agenda, hotel details and events around the conference itself:

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

B - Rules on COI

Zliobaité I, Fortelius M. Peer review: revise rules on conflicts of interest. Nature 2016;539(7628):168
(doi: 10.1038/539168a)

According to the authors, definitions of conflicts of interest (COI) in peer review need to be reassessed to reflect modern research practices. This could markedly increase the speed and quality of peer review. For example, many potential reviewers are disqualified under current rules on co-authorship. Co-authors typically have a sound understanding of each other's work and provide frank and constructive feedback. Using them as reviewers avoids settling for candidates who may be too far removed from the topic or not sufficiently senior in the field.

B - Journal peer review data

Lee CJ, Moher D. Promote scientific integrity via journal peer review data. Science 2017;357(6348):256-257
(doi: 10.1126/science.aan4141)

The peer review process both in journals and funding agencies could use more transparency, reporting and accountability. The authors identify incentives that could encourage journals to make their peer review data available to evaluate effectiveness toward achieving concrete measures of quality. This is a collective action problem requiring leadership and investment by publishers. It is time to apply the "trust, but verify" model to journal peer review. The authors suggest revising the Transparency and Openness (TOP) Guidelines, a set of reporting standards.

B - Publishing while female

Hengel E. Publishing while female. Gender differences in peer review scrutiny. Royal Economic Society’s annual conference. October 2016

The author analyzed more than 9,000 article abstracts published in the top four economics journals since 1950. She found that papers written by women are 1-6% more readable than those by men. The most straightforward reason for it is that referees apply higher standards to female-authored papers. Besides the paper found that women's writing gradually improves more over time but men's does not.
Between their first and third published articles, the average readability gap between male and female authors grows by 12%.

Friday, June 16, 2017

B - Manuscript development and publishing

Downey SM, Geraci SA. Manuscript development and publishing: a 5-step approach. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences 2017;353(2):132-136
(doi: 10.1016/j.amjms.2016.12.005)

This article articulates a 5-step approach for developing and publishing successfully a manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal. The authors combine existing tutorials with their collective experience. The 5 steps identified instruct would-be authors to: know their material and determine their audience; outline their manuscript; be ethically vigilant; develop individual sections and submit their manuscript; and respond to reviewers׳ comments.

B - NISO Alternative altmetrics project

Lagace N. NISO Releases recommended practice covering outputs of its multiyear project in alternative assessment metrics. Serials Review 2016;42(4):337-338.
(doi: 10.1080/00987913.2016.1246343)   
NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, announced the publication of its latest Recommended Practice, NISO RP-25-2016, Outputs of the NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics Project, in September 2016 This document is the culmination of a two-phase project initialized in 2013 and designed to support the uptake of altmetrics. To further facilitate adoption of these new assessment measures, the scholarly community developed consensus work via NISO that addresses several areas of the altmetric environment: definitions and use cases; persistent identifiers, output types, and data metrics; and data quality.

B - European Commission OA publishing platform

Banks M. European Commission moves into publishing. Physics World 2017;30(5):6.
Reports that the European Commission is proposing to launch its own open-access publishing platform for papers that emerge from its Horizon 2020 programme.. It would be similar to that launched last year by the Wellcome Trust.  This aims to publish papers quickly with peer review occurring post publication. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has also announced that Gates Open Research will launch later this year. These developments present further options for open-access publishing to those provided by regular journals.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

B - Citation indicators

Davis P. Citation performance indicators - A very short introduction. The Scholarly Kitchen 2017 May 15

This post provides a brief summary of the main citation indicators used today. It is not intended to be comprehensive, nor to opine on which indicator is best. The goal  is simply to highlight their salient strengths and weaknesses. These citation indicators are grouped based on the design of their algorithm: the group Ratio-based indicators is built on the same model as the Impact Factor, by dividing citations counts by document counts; the group Portfolio-based indicators calculates a score based on a ranked set of documents; and the last group Network-based indicators seeks to measure influence within a larger citation network.

B - Should authors suggest peer reviewers?

Teixeira da Silva JA, Al-Khatib A. Should authors be requested to suggest peer reviewers? Science and Engineering Ethics 2017 Feb. 2
(doi: 10.1007/s11948-016-9842-6)

The authors of this paper query the ethics, fairness and validity of the request, by editors, of authors to suggest peer reviewers during the submission process. An author-suggested peer reviewer choice might tempt authors to seek reviewers who might be more receptive or sympathetic to the authors’ message or results, and thus favor the outcome of that paper. Authors should thus not be placed in such a potentially ethically compromising situation, especially as a mandatory condition for submission.

B - Sharing of copyrighted papers

Schiermeier Q. Science publishers try new tack on copyright breaches. Nature 2017;545(7653):145-146
(doi: 10.1038/545145a)

Rise in copyright breaches prompts industry to discuss ways to allow ‘fair sharing’ of articles. Science publishers seem to be changing tack in their approach to researchers who breach copyright. Instead of demanding that scientists or network operators take their papers down, some publishers are clubbing together to create systems for legal sharing of articles — called fair sharing — which could also help them to track the extent to which scientists share paywalled articles online.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

B - Bioethics over the past 40 years

Jin P, Hakkarinen M. Highlights in bioethics through 40 years: a quantitative analysis of top-cited journal articles. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

B - Non-English papers in scholarly communication

Liu W. The changing role of non-English papers in scholarly communication: evidence from Web of Science's three journal citation indexes. Learned Publishing 2017;30(2):115-123
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1089)

Non-English languages are widely used, but their roles in scholarly communication are relatively under-explored. This study shows that English is increasingly being used as the dominating language from natural sciences and social sciences to arts and humanities. However, a large number of non-English papers can be found in some applied disciplines of sciences and social sciences, and non-English papers have consistently played important role in arts and humanities disciplines from the beginning of 1975.

B - Funder interference in addiction research

Miller P, Martino F, Gross S, et al. Funder interference in addiction research: an international survey of authors. Addictive Behaviors 2017;72:100-105
(doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.03.026)

This study investigates funder (e.g. industry, government or charity) interference in addiction science. Interference appears to be common by governments and internationally, and similar proportions of reported interference from commercial and government funders were found. Strategies to increase transparency in the addiction science literature, including mandatory author declarations concerning the role of the funder, are necessary internationally.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

B - A review of data sharing policies

Vasilevsky NA, Minnier J, Haendel MA, et al. Reproducible and reusable research: are journal data sharing policies meeting the mark? PeerJ 2017 Apr 25;5:e3208
(doi: 10.7717/peerj.3208.eCollection2017)

Publishers could play an important role in facilitating and enforcing data sharing; however, many journals have not yet implemented data sharing policies and the requirements vary widely across journals. This study analyzed the pervasiveness and quality of data sharing policies in 318 biomedical journals . Results showed that only a minority of biomedical journals require data sharing, and a significant association between higher Impact Factors and journals with a data sharing requirement.

B - Data authorship

Bierer BE, Crosas M, Pierce HH. Data authorship as an incentive to data sharing. New England Journal of Medicine 2017;376:1684-1687
(doi: 10.1056/NEJMsb1616595)

The use of research data by persons other than those who originally gathered the data is termed “data sharing". Data sharing creates an obligation for the original investigators who obtain funding, design studies, collect and analyze data, and publish results to make their curated data and associated metadata available to third parties. The authors believe that both as a matter of fairness and as a matter of providing an incentive for data sharing, the persons who initially gathered the data should receive appropriate and standardized credit that can be used for academic advancement, for grant applications, and in broader situations.

B - Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: a comparison

Shamseer L, Moher D, Maduekwe O, et al. Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine 2017;15:28
(doi: 10.1186/s12916-017-0785-9)

The authors carried out a cross-sectional comparison of characteristics of three types of biomedical journals: potential predatory, presumed legitimate open access, and presumed legitimate subscription-based journals. Thirteen evidence-based characteristics by which predatory journals may potentially be distinguished from presumed legitimate journals were identified.

B - Statement on good science publishing

Wakeford R. Academies outline principles of good science publishing. Journal of Radiological Protection 2017;37(1):312-315
(doi: 10.1088/1361-6498/aa58f9)

 A join statement was published on 13 December 2016 by the UK Royal Society and the National Academies of France and Germany that outlines the best practice for high quality science publishing.
A set of principles define a number of minimum conditions which should be satisfied in order to earn the label of "scientific journal".

B - Single IRBs in multisite trials

Klitzman R, Pivovarova E, Lidz CW. Single IRBs in multisite trials. Question posed by the new NIH policy. JAMA 2017;317(20):2061-2062
(doi: 10.1001/jama.2017.4624)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new policy (effective September 25, 2017) to mandate that nonexempt multisite research with humans funded by the NIH be reviewed by a single institutional review boards (IRBs). Underlying the policy is the belief that the use of single IRBs for multisite studies avoids duplicate and possibly conflicting IRB reviews and thereby streamlines and accelerates the review process.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

B - Fake editors

Sorokowski P, Kulczycki E, Sorokowska A, et al. Predatory journals recruit fake editor. Nature 2017;543:481-483
Predatory journals exhibit questionable marketing schemes, follow lax or non-existent peer review procedures and fail to provide scientific rigour or transparency. Crucial to a journal's quality is its editors. Such roles have usually been assigned to established experts in the journal's field, and are considered prestigious positions. Many predatory journals recruit academics to build legitimate-looking editorial boards. The authors conceived a sting operation and submitted a fake indequate application for an editor position to 360 journals, a mix of legitimate titles and suspected predators. Forty-eight titles accepted. Four titles immediately appointed the fake editor as editor-in chief, while others required some form of payment or profit.

B - Potential COI

McCoy MS, Emanuel EJ. Why there are no "potential" conflicts of interest. JAMA 2017;317(17):1721-1722
doi: 10.1001/jama.2017.2308

The notion of a potential conflict of interest (COI) reflects the mistaken view that a COI exists only when bias or harm actually occurs. Distinctions between potential and actual COI are rooted in a basic misunderstanding of the concept of a COI and its ethical significance. These invidious distinctions should be avoided. A COI exists when a secondary interest has the potential to bias a physician’s or a researcher’s primary interest in pursuing patient well-being and generalizable knowledge. Achieving greater conceptual clarity is essential to develop policies that effectively regulate COIs.

B - A checklist to improve medical writing

Leventhal PS. A checklist to improve your writing. Medical Writing 2017;26(1):43-45

A checklist of eight items to improve medical writing is provided, with explanations and  examples for each item. Several of the checklist items are discussed in detail in other articles in the same issue of Medical Writing journal. A series of exercises to help readers put them into practice is also included.

B - Scientists on Twitter

Ke q, Ahn Y-Y, Sugimoto CR. A systematic identification and analysis of scientists on Twitter. PLoS ONE 2017;12(4):e0175368.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175368

The authors developed a systematic method to discover scientists who are recognized as scientists by other Twitter users and self-identify as scientists through their profile. They studied the demographics, sharing behaviors, and interconnectivity of the identified scientists in terms of discipline and gender. Twitter has been employed by scholars across the disciplinary spectrum, with an over-representation of social and computer and information scientists, under-representation of mathematical, physical, and life scientists, and a better representation of women.

B - Meta-assessment of bias

Fanelli D, Costas R, Ioannidis JP. Meta-assessment of bias in science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 2017;114(14):3714-3719
(doi: 10.1073/pnas.1618569114)

Actual prevalence of biases across disciplines is unknown. To gain a comprehensive picture of the potential imprint of bias in science, the authors probed for multiple bias-related patterns and risk factors in a large random sample of meta-analyses taken from all disciplines. The magnitude of these biases varied widely across fields and was overall relatively small. However, it was observed a significant risk of small, early, and highly cited studies to overestimate effects and of studies not published in peer-reviewed journals to underestimate them.     

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

B - Institutional OA publishing

Shashok K. Can scientists and their institutions become their own open access publishers? arXiv:1701.02461  

This article offers a personal perspective on the current state of academic publishing, and posits that the scientific community is beset with journals that contribute little valuable knowledge, overload the community's capacity for high-quality peer review, and waste resources. Open access publishing can offer solutions, but commercial journal publishers have influenced open access policies and practices in ways that favor their economic interests. One way to free research from constraints on access is the diamond route of open access publishing, in which institutions and funders that produce new knowledge reclaim responsibility for publication via institutional journals or other open platforms.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

B - Full discovery: the publisher's role

Dove JG. Full discovery: what is the publisher's role? Learned Publishing 2017;30(1):81-86
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1086)

Efforts over the years to improve content discoverability have made great progress, but an increasing amount of freely available content brings up new issues. Readers of all kinds rely on a variety of ‘discovery pathways’, such as search engines, library systems, and various electronic links, some of which are blind to the content they desire. The National Information Standards Organization (NISO)’s Discovery to Delivery (D2D) Topic Committee has developed a grid comparing various ways in which content is shared with various ways in which users discover such content.This article brings to light a few of the current obstacles and opportunities for innovation by publishers, aggregators, search engines, and library systems.

B - Evidence-based review of Open Access

Tennant JP, Waldner F, Jacques DC, et al. The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: an evidence-based review. F1000Research 2016;5:632
(doi: 10.12688/f1000research.8460.3)

This review presents published evidence of the impact of Open Access on the academy, economy and society. Overall, the evidence points to a favorable impact of OA on the scholarly literature through increased dissemination and reuse. OA has the potential to be a sustainable business venture for new and established publishers, and can provide substantial benefits to research- and development-intensive businesses, including health organisations, volunteer sectors, and technology. The social case for OA is strong, in particular for advancing citizen science initiatives, and leveling the playing field for researchers in developing countries.

B - Accountability in publishing

Mani H. Foot print of a paper: accountability in academic publishing. The Lancet 2016;338(1004):562-563
(doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31217-X)

At the moment, the publishing process is unaccountable to the readers and is not transparent. In a published paper, there is no record of previous submissions to other journals and the comments it might have received in the journey to the final publication. A transparent and openly recorded submission and review process would result in accountability, improve the quality of papers and the peer review process, and reduce the chances of previously reported systematic cheating. The scientific input of a reviewer can also be included in their academic activities. A database for registering any paper before submission could issue an internationally recognised identification number that could help to track the submissions.

B - Journal self-citations

Heneberg P. From excessive journal self-cites to citation stacking: analysis of journal self-citation kinetics in search for journals, which boost their scientometric indicators. PLoS One 2016;11:e0153730

Little is known about kinetics of journal self-citations. The author hypothesized that they may show a generalizable pattern within particular research fields or across multiple fields. Currently used scientometric indicators provide only limited protection against unethical behaviors. An algorithm is needed to be developed to search for potential citation networks, allowing their efficient elimination. The algorithm could be based on differences in a number of citations received from a respective journal during the impact factor calculation window (post-publication years 1–2) and the number of citations received only later (e.g., post-publication years 4–7).

B - Publication ethics statement

Gasparyan AY, Yessirkepov M, Voronov AA, et al. Statement on publication ethics for editors and publishers. Journal of Korean Medical Science 2016;31(9):1351-1354
(doi: 10.3346/jkms.2016.31.9.1351)

Editors and publishers are frequently encountered with the fast-growing problems of authorship, conflicts of interest, peer review, research misconduct, unethical citations, and inappropriate journal impact metrics. The aim of this Statement is to increase awareness of all stakeholders of science communication of the emerging ethical issues in journal editing and publishing and initiate a campaign of upgrading and enforcing related journal instructions.

B - Systematic reviews

Barbui C, Addis A, Amato L, et al. Can systematic reviews contribute to regulatory decisions? European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2017;73(4):507-509
(doi: 10.1007/s00228-016-2194-y)

Discusses the potential usefulness of systematic reviews in responding to regulatory needs. By collecting, analysing and critically appraising all relevant studies on a specific topic, they may be used by different stakeholders as a basis for making clinical and policy recommendations, including regulatory recommendations. They may simultaneously produce new findings and summarize existing knowledge, with the potential of informing regulatory decisions more pragmatically and more rapidly than other research designs.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

B - Reproducibility

Allison DB, Brown AW, George BJ, et al. Reproducibility: a tragedy of errors. Nature 20163 Feb. 3 530(7588):27-9
(doi: 10.1038/530027a)

Mistakes in peer-reviewed papers are easy to find but hard to fix. Post-publication peer review is not consistent, smooth or rapid. Many journal editors and staff members seemed unprepared or ill-equipped to investigate, take action or even respond. The authors summarized their experience, the main barriers they encountered, and their thoughts on how to make published science more rigorous.

B - Are pseudonyms ethical in publishing?

Teixeira da Silva JA. Are pseudonyms ethical in (science) publishing? Neuroskeptic as a case study. Science and Engeneering Ethics 2016.
(doi: 10.1007/s11948-016-9825-7)

In science publishing, there are increasingly strict rules regarding the use of false identities for authors, the lack of institutional or contact details, and the lack of conflicts of interest, and such instances are generally considered to be misconduct. The author focuses on Neuroskeptic, a highly prominent science critic, primarily on the blogosphere and in social media, highlighting the dangers associated with the use of pseudonyms in academic publishing.

B - India's publication in predatory journals

Seethapathy GS, Santhosh Kumar JU, Hareesha AS.  India's scientific publication in predatory journals: need for regulating quality of Indian science and education. Current Science 2016;111(11):1759-1763
The objective of this study was to estimate which category of educational and research institutes predominantly publishes in predatory open access journals in India and to understand whether academicians in India are aware of predatory journals. Results showed that India is lacking in monitoring the research carried out in higher educational and research institutes.


B- Writing an effective article submission letter

Writing an effective journal article submission cover letter. San Francisco Edit 2017

The journal editor is going to decide whether to send the article to the reviewers by reading the letter and the abstract of your manuscript. The cover letter is an important component of the submission process. It should contain information which will generate interest and encourage the journal editor to evaluate the manuscript.

B - History of peer review

Baldwin M. In referees we trust? Physics Today 2017;70(2):44-49
(doi: 10.1063/PT.3.3463)
The imprimatur bestowed by peer review has a history that is both shorter and more complex than many scientists realize. This article reviews the history of peer review both for journals and grant-giving  bodies and reveals that it has had many changes only becoming the standard for scientific acceptability relatively recently. It discusses the present situation and the pressures it faces today.

B - Review of altmetrics

Gonzalez-Valiente CL, Pacheco-Mendoza J, Arencibia-Jorge R. A review of altmetrics as an emerging discipline for research evaluation. Learned Publishing 2016;29(4).229-238
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1043)

This article analyses the scientific production of publications on altmetrics as an emergent discipline for research evaluation with the aim to identify the investigative tendencies that characterize the subject. About 253 documents indexed by Web of Science and Scopus databases were retrieved, showing a growth in articles 2005–2015. Half of the publications come from the USA and the UK.
The highest co-occurrence of terms was social media-altmetrics, followed by Twitter-altmetrics.

B - Evolution of impact and productivity

Sinatra R, Wang D, Deville P, et al. Quantifying the evolution of individual scientific impact. Science 2016;354(6312)
doi: 10.1126/science.aaf5239

Are there quantifiable patterns behind a successful scientific career? Sinatra et al. analyzed the publications of 2,887 physicists, as well as data on scientists publishing in a variety of fields. They quantified the changes in impact and productivity throughout a career in science, finding that impact, as measured by influential publications, is distributed randomly within a scientist’s sequence of publications.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

B - Translational medicine data

Satagopam V, Gu W, Eifes S, et al. Integration and visualization of translational medicine data for better understanding of human diseases. Big Data 2016;4(2):97-108
(doi: 10.1089/big.2015.0057)

The authors present an integrated workflow for exploring, analysis, and interpretation of translational medicine data in the context of human health. Three Web services—tranSMART, a Galaxy Server, and a MINERVA platform—are combined into one big data pipeline. Native visualization capabilities enable the biomedical experts to get a comprehensive overview and control over separate steps of the workflow. The workflow is available as a sandbox environment, where readers can work with the described setup themselves. This work shows how visualization and interfacing of big data processing services facilitate exploration, analysis, and interpretation of translational medicine data.

B - Patient perspectives and clinical research

Crowe S, Giles C. Making patient relevant clinical research a reality. BMJ 2016;355:i6627
(doi: 10.1136/bmj.i6627)

A wide gap exists between what generally receives funding and what patients, carers, and the public would like to see examined. Incorporating patient perspectives more thoroughly into clinical research would broaden its scope and help answer the research questions likely to bring about the biggest improvements in our understanding of disease. Nevertheless several problems underlie our current inability to make research relevant to patients and the wider public. The BMJ already insists that all submitted research includes a statement describing how the authors did or did not involve patients. The journal also operates a system of patient peer review. If other medical journals follow suit, the message about patient relevant research is more likely to be heard.

B - Comparison of primary outcomes in protocols

Perlmutter A, Tran VT, Dechartres A, et al. Comparison of primary outcomes in protocols, public clinical-trial registries and publications: the example of oncology trials. Annals of Oncology 2016;mdw682
(doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdw682)

In oncology trials, primary outcome descriptions in are often of low quality and may not reflect what is in the protocol, thus limiting the detection of modifications between planned and published outcomes. The authors compared primary outcomes in protocols, and publications of oncology trials and evaluated the use of as compared with protocols in detecting discrepancies between planned and published outcomes.