Friday, July 20, 2018

PUBMET2018 Open Science Conference

The 5th PUBMET2018 Conference on scholarly publishing in the context of Open Science which will be held on 20-21 September 2018 at the University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia, and is organized by the University of Zadar, the University of Zagreb and the Ruđer Bošković Institute, under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and Education and OpenAIRE Advance.

This conference provides a platform for researchers, editors, publishers, librarians, repository managers, and policymakers to discuss recent trends in scholarly publishing and metrics, and timely topics related to Open Science.
Please check the PUBMET website at to find more information about speakers, workshops, social events and other information.

There is a special session on Friday - SPARC Europe session - focussing on the management of copyright, moral and exploitation rights, and Creative Commons, discussing how to make these issues work optimally for a range of stakeholders in scholarly communications.

There is still time to submit an abstract for PUBMET2018 and you can also register using the REGISTER link. Special discounts are available for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.

A sightseeing trip has been organised to take delegates on a tour of beautiful Zadar, the pearl of Dalmatia and Adriatic sea, with its wealth of cultural, historical, but also modern attractions.

After visiting the conference website, please address any questions regarding registration, accommodation and on-line submission to the organizers at

We’re looking forward to seeing you in Zadar!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

An Introduction to Editing With Macros

From the YouTube channel of Paul Beverley, one our our most active members, comes a new video in which he explains what a macro is and how it can be used to benefit many tasks involved in manuscript editing.

Paul is a master of the macro and regularly provides EASE members with new code to enhance common or repetitive tasks. In this video, not only does he provide excellent tuition on the fundamentals, but he reassures us that opening the code window to start creating macros doesn't have to be as scary as we might think.

If this has whet your appetite for enhancing your daily tasks, Paul has a wealth of Word macros for writers and editors available in a free book titled Macros for Editors, which you can download from his website Archive Publications.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Peer review as a cooperation dilemma

An article assessing the institutional pressures and resource limitations faced by scientists has been published in the journal Scientometrics.

Authored by Federico Bianchi, Francisco Grimaldo, Giangiacomo Bravo and Flaminio Squazzoni, the article shows that a mix of competition and cooperation is possible in peer review, but only if reviewer rewards are improved for a better division of academic labour.

Previous versions of the paper were presented during some PEERE meetings.

Bianchi, F., Grimaldo, F., Bravo, G. et al. The peer review game: an agent-based model of scientists facing resource constraints and institutional pressures. Scientometrics (2018).

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Nature article addresses problems with multiple publication dates

A short letter was published in Nature last week, briefly addressing the topic of publication dates and scientific priority, suggestions that Citations must default to the online publication date.

The aticle suggests the publication date of all articles should be officially recorded as the earliest online publication date when it first appears, rather than the scheduled publication date of the issue they are assigned to.

The increasing sophistication of ways in which research publishing databases communicate, and the way articles are indexed and discovered is arguably beginning to render traditional issue schedules obsolete (an example of which is mentioned in the Nature article).

While there are plenty of sound arguments and reasons in favour of curating content into issues of varying frequency across a year, the increasing normality of early online publication suggests there is perhaps less necessity to enshrine an article with a date associated with the issue itself.

The Nature article raises some of the problems associated with the issue date taking precedence over the online date, but there is an additional controversy associated with this practice too in how citations are counting. 

There is some criticism that journals can ‘bank’ citations in advance of years by publishing articles online towards the end of the current year, with an issue date of the following year. Any citation advantage of this practice could be seen as an artefact of the traditional publishing system. It is in authors and readers interests that articles are published as soon as possible; that the official date of publication is indexed as a date in the future is merely a function of issue schedules.

As far as we can see, there are not any articles indexed for 2019 in Web of Science….yet, and therefore no citations accrued to the year in advance, but as we get closer to the end of the year , for better or worse, articles and citations for 2019 will begin to appear.

In light of this latter predicament and the issues raised in the Nature article, we may start to see more progressive discussions around this detail of the publishing process in the near future.

Citations must default to the online publication date
Michael Keller & Stanley Prusiner
Nature 558, 519 (2018)
doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-05387-4

Thursday, June 28, 2018

EASE Council Announcement

Following the elections and official appointments at our recent conference in Bucharest, we are pleased to officially announce the new EASE Council for 2018-2021 in full on our website.

The Council, headed by President Pippa Smart and Vice-Presidents Duncan Nicholas and Ines Steffens, features 15 members from different backgrounds in research, journal editing and the publishing industry, who will be giving EASE their expert direction and influence on all aspects of the academic publishing spectrum.

We are very excited for the Association to be led by this new team, look forward to developing our contributions to the science editing profession and providing our members with a wealth of resources, guidance and community experience to enhance their work.

Visit the Organisation pages on our website to meet our new team.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Publication disclosure

Sing Chawla D. Most researchers disclose their results before publication. Physics World 2018 May 17

Over two thirds of researchers have released the results of at least one study they authored before the findings were formally published. A survey of more than 7,000 researchers across nine disciplines found that social scientists, mathematicians, biological scientists and those working in agriculture have the highest disclosure rates, around 75%. Most academics do so to get feedback from peers.

Implicit biases

Berg J. Measuring and managing bias. Science 2017;357(6354):849
(doi: 10.1126/science.aap7679)

Implicit biases - those that we are not consciously aware of - are intrinsic human characteristics that should be acknowledged and managed, rather than denied or ignored. Implicit association tests can be a useful tool for understanding and measuring implicit biases. Even those involved in research should consider randomizing and blinding experiments, including animal and other studies, when feasible.

The phrase "necessary and sufficient"

YoshiharaM, Yoshihara M. "Necessary and sufficient" in biology is not necessarily necessary - confusions and erroneous conclusions resulting from misapplied logic in the field of biology, especially neuroscience. Journal of Neurogenetics 2018;32(2):53-64
(doi: 10.1080/01677063.2018.1468443) 

In this article, the authors describe an incorrect use of logic in current biology (especially neuroscience) which involves the careless application of the "necessary and sufficient" (N&S) condition originally used in formal logic. The words N&S are not only misleading, but the way of thinking of researchers when they use them is often incorrect. In most cases, they propose to use "indispensable and inducing".

Friday, June 15, 2018

Preclinical research reporting

Lightfoot H. Reporting of preclinical research: what do we get told - when and how? Medical Writing 2017 (4):20-23
At present, there are no specific requirements for the reporting of preclinical research, and many studies, particularly those with negative results, never get published. However, routine and reliable reporting of all research – preclinical, clinical, laboratory, animal or human based, and with positive or negative outcomes – is essential to the future of collaborative and successful clinical research. There are several new ideas to promote this.

Publishing gendered system

Lundine J, Bourgeault IL, Clark J, et al. The gendered system of academic publishing. The Lancet 2018;391(10132):1754-56
(doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30950-4)

Despite growing numbers of women in the research workforce, most authors, peer reviewers, and editors at academic journals are men. This leads to a women's underrepresentation and disadvantage in other areas of the scientific enterprise. Women receive less research funding, and thus they publish fewer research articles, being less visible and less likely invited as peer reviewers and editors. Editors and publishers should address those gender gaps.

B - A new taxonomy of retractions and corrections

Fanelli D, Ioannidis JPA, Goodman S. Improving the integrity of published science: An expanded taxonomy of retractions and corrections. European Journal of Clinical Investigation 2018;48(4):e12898
(doi: 10.1111/eci.12898)

Journal practices for amending publications offer too little incentives for authors and editors to correct or retract articles when errors have been made. The authors present a a unique and expanded set of amendment formats and procedures, each of which addresses a distinct issue. This new taxonomy integrates and unifies the diversity of formats currently deployed and suggests five new ones.


Stark PB. Before reproducibility must come preproducibility. Nature 2018 May 24
(doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-05256-0)

Most papers fail to report many aspects of an experiment or an analysis that are crucial to understanding the result and its limitations, and to repeating the work. The author proposes a new neologism, "preproducibility", meaning that an experiment or analysis is preproducible if it has been described in adequate detail for others to undertake it. It requires information about materials, instruments and procedures; experimental design; raw data; computational tools used in analyses; and other information.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Conference newsletters uploaded

The Poenaru Post is the daily newsletter accompanying the 14th EASE Conference, printed Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with a digital-only edition on Monday following the conference, to summarise the final day.

Our newsletter is named after Petrache Poenaru, the physicist inventor who created the fountain pen after making an ink reservoir from a swan's quill during his studies in 1827. He seemed to be an appropriate muse to go alongside our conference logo, bringing our delegates their daily review of conference activities and Romanian trivia.

We have made each newsletter available here, as a memento for those who attended and as a summary of the events for those who could not be there.

Poenaru Post Issue 1. Friday 8th June
Poenaru Post Issue 2. Saturday 9th June
Poenaru Post Issue 3. Sunday 10th June
Poenaru Post Issue 4. Monday 11th June


Duncan Nicholas: (EASE Vice-President)

Sam Hinsley (The Lancet)
Ashley Cooper (The Lancet)
Kate McIntosh (The Lancet)
Jamie Lundine (Gender, Work and Health Research Unit , University of Ottowa)
Joan Marsh - Talent scout (The Lancet)

This page will also remain as a permanent fixture in our conference pages here

- Thursday 13th June, 2018 -

Friday, June 08, 2018

B - Journal identity theft

Cochran A. Paper accepted... unless the letter was forged. The Scholarly Kitchen 2018 Apr 18

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has become aware of seven fake acceptance letters for its journals over the last five years. Someone promised acceptance in a journal and misrepresented a relationship with ASCE. Also a certain number of conferences advertized that the top 10 papers submitted would be sent to one of ASCE journals. The author, ASCE Associate Publisher and Journals Director, suggests adding detailed and complete information to instructions for authors about what an author should expect to happen when submitting a paper.

B - Experimental philosophy

Colombo M, Duev G, Nuijten MB, et al. Statistical reporting inconsistencies in experimental philosophy. PLOS One 2018 Apr 22
(doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194360)

Experimental philosophy (x-phi) is a young field of research in the intersection of philosophy and psychology. This article investigated the prevalence of statistical reporting errors in x-phi. Results showed that the rates of inconsistencies in x-phi are lower than in the psychological and behavioural sciences.

B - Anonimity in scientific publishing

Roediger HL. Anonimity in scientific publishing. Observer 2018;31(4)

Is there room for anonymous manuscript submissions and reviews in the era of transparency in science? In this article, the Past President of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) provides some insights in publication practices. Anonymous submission helps researchers who are starting out giving them a shot at a fairer process, but there are counterarguments. And signing reviews represents a danger to young scholars who might be advising rejection of a paper of a someone senior who might later be editor or be asked to write a reference letter for the reviewer.

B - Journal selection criteria

Wijewickrema M, Petras V. Journal selection criteria in an open access environment: A comparison between the medicine and social sciences. Learned Publishing 2017;30(4)
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1113)

This study compares 16 factors that influence journal choices between medicine and social sciences using the answers given to a global survey of 235 open access journal authors. The results reveal that authors of both areas consider "peer reviewed" status as the most important factor. Those in medicine area give more consideration to: impact factor, inclusion in abstracting and indexing services, publisher's prestige, and online submission with tracking facility.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

B - Do physicians read medical journals?

Packer M. Does anyone read medical journals anymore? Medpage Today 2018 March 28

In the past physicians kept up with the medical literature. But today dutifully physicians just click on the table of contents, and spend less than 30 seconds perusing the titles and rarely click on actual paper. Much of the literature is replete with data and analyses that are satisfying to the authors, but fall unnoticed to possible readers.

B - Analysis on peer review research

Grimaldo F, Marušić A, Squazzoni F. Fragments of peer review: A quantitative analysis of the literature (1969-2015). PLOS ONE 2018 Feb 21
(doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193148)

This paper examines research on peer review between 1969 and 2015 by looking at records indexed from the Scopus database. The most prolific and influential scholars, the most cited publications and the most important journals in the field were identified. The number of publications doubled from 2005, with more tradition in the US but with important research groups also in Europe. There is a lack of large-scale, cross-disciplinary collaboration.

B - Open access to bibliographic references

Shotton D. Funders should mandate open citations. Nature 2018 Jan 9

Analyses of citations can reveal how scientific knowledge develops over time and illuminate patterns of authorship. Such information is essential for assessing scholars' influence and making wise decisions about research investment. Bibliographic databases and citation indices are also crucial to individual reasearchers to find relevant papers throughout the literature. According to the author, all publishers must make bibliographic references free to access, analyse and reuse.

B - How to be a great journal editor

How to be a great journal editor: advice from eight top academic editors. Times Higher Education Features 2017, Dec. 14

Editing an academic journal is a vital and rewarding task, but also time-consuming and often frustrating. All eight top academic editors provide a contribution on their experiences  on various issues: peer review, editing a small journal, promoting good science, and other tasks.

Monday, June 04, 2018

B - Detection of duplicated images

Acuna DE, Brookes PS, Kording KP. Bioscience-scale automated detection of figure element reuse. bioRxiv 2018 Feb. 22
(doi: 10.1101/269415)

The authors describe a copy-move detection algorithm that finds reused images in the biological sciences literature even if they have been rotated, resized or had their contrast or colours changed. An analysis of figure element reuse is presented on a large dataset comprising 760,000 open access articles and 2 million figures.

B - Author credit

McNutt MK, Bradford M, Drazen JM, et al. Transparency in authors' contributions and responsibilities to promote integrity in scientific publication. PNAS 2018;201715374
(doi: 10.1073/pnas.1715374115)

The authors, a group of editors and publishers, propose changes to journal authorship policies and procedures to provide insight into which author is responsible for which contributions, assurance that the list is complete, and clearly articulated standards to justify authorship credit. They recommend that journals adopt common and transparent standards for authorship.

B - Population diversity in clinical trials

Knepper TC, McLeod HL. When will clinical trials finally reflect diversity? Nature 2018;557:157-159

Many studies show that the likelihood, nature and severity of side effects from a medication can differ between populations. For this reason, funders and researchers have repeatedly said that clinical trials should include more participants from ethnic minorities. An analysis of drug studies shows that most participants are white, even though trials are being done in more countries.

Friday, June 01, 2018

EASE Conference Fringe Event

EASE is pround to present a Conference Fringe Event, in association with the British Council and Scientific Organisation of Medical Students.

On 7th June, the evening before our conference begins, EASE President, Ana Marusic will be speaking at a forum hosted by the British Council in Romania and the Scientific Organisation of Medical Students (SOMS).

The lecture is aimed at young medical students, to discuss issues surrounding scientific communication, principles of research methodology, research integrity and peer review.

The event will feature a speech from British Council director Nigel Bellingham, contributions from medical students and early career professionals associated with SOMS, and a discussion moderated by Mihai Stancu, PHD candidate at Maximilian University of Munich.

This lecture will be promoted through British Council online channels as a fringe event connected to the 14th EASE Conference at the University of Bucharest.

Where: British Council Library
Calea Dorobanți 14, București 010572, Romania

When: Thursday 7th June, 19:30

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

How to choose the best academic translator for your research

In our second guest blog post, we welcome back Avi Staiman, CEO of Academic Language Experts, to discuss how to identify an appropriate translator for your work.

If you would like to write a post about aspects of your work that would make an interesting read for our members, please get in touch.

How to choose the best academic translator for your research: Mother tongues, native speakers and everything in between

Looking for an academic translator for your academic research can be a daunting task. Whether you are looking to translate your book in order to reach a new audience or want to publish your article in a journal which is not in your native language, it is critical to pick the right translator for your manuscript. Where to start? With all the options available, how do you pick the right one? The goal of this blog post is to present a series of criteria to help you narrow down your search for the perfect candidate for your project.

The first step in picking the best translator is finding someone who is highly proficient in both the source and target languages. Translators describe themselves in a variety of different ways which can be confusing so we will start by defining the most commonly used terms.

  1. Native language: Your native language is the language of the surrounding culture you grow up in, which is often the language you think in.

  1. Mother tongue: Your mother tongue is the language you grow up speaking at home. For many people this is the same as their native language, but that is not always the case, especially among children of immigrants.

  1. Fluent or proficient speaker: This level can be acquired in a second language through intensive study. This level is typically insufficient to ensure consistently natural-sounding language use in writing.

The importance of native language

It is rare but possible for a child to become fluent in more than one language if more than one language is spoken regularly and fluently in their surroundings, but after around the age of six, becoming fluent in a new language with all its nuances of syntax and tone becomes virtually impossible. Some children may grow up with multiple native languages but only ever use one of them at school or professionally—and therefore never develop the full vocabulary and range required to write well in the other languages. Other people may have no highly developed native language, either because they aren’t sufficiently exposed to language at a young age, or because they lost some proficiency in the intricacies of their native language as they transitioned into exclusive use of a second language.

In my experience, fluency and proficiency are insufficient for purposes of academic editing, translation or publication. Even if a translator can master the terminology and vocabulary of a second language, it is very difficult for people to free themselves entirely from the syntax of the language they think in. Even if your translator is fluent in the target language, if it is not his native language, he will likely bring over traces of his native language which will give him away as a non-native speaker and distract from the content of the writing. Thus, it is extremely rare for someone to be both a native speaker and a great writer in more than one language. Beware of translators offering translation services into multiple languages and be sure to ask them what their true native language is.

Look for a translator who is a native speaker of the target language

If you want your translated text to sound natural, you need a translator who is a native speaker, not just a “fluent” or “proficient” one. When looking for a translator, many people mistakenly believe that what they are looking for is a native speaker of the source language—and of course it is true that translators must be proficient in reading and understanding nuances in the languages from which they’re translating. However, the product of the translation is a text in the target language, not the source language, so it stands to reason that if you want an excellent translation in a specific genre, you need a translator who can write an excellent text in that genre in the target language.

This means that your translator must be a native speaker of the language in which the translation (not the source) is written and a skilled writer in that language. In fact, translators of a given language may be overly committed to being faithful to the source text, when what really matters is that the published text is clear and well written without the distraction of unnatural-sounding language. Most academic journals are looking for clear and coherent texts that stand on their own. You may also want to consider using a language editor to edit the work of the translator as we discussed in our previous post.

Look for a translator who is familiar with your field

Besides native-level speech and writing skills, it is also critical for your translator to be familiar with your field and its terminology. Even well-educated native speakers may have difficulty reading, let alone writing, technical articles if they’re not familiar with the field. Your translator doesn’t necessarily have to be an expert in your exact field, but he or she needs to be familiar enough with writing in your field to know how to identify precedents—and where to look for them—to find out how terminology is used. It is a good idea for you to make sure the translator understands your use of key terminology at the outset; to this end you may choose to provide a set of terms and meanings or even a list of terms to avoid.

Ask for a phone interview

When looking for a translator, you can learn a lot from a phone interview. Listen for unnatural grammar or speech patterns. Ask what the translator’s top language is and what kinds of texts he or she has translated before. Don’t find out too late that you are the translator’s guinea pig to learn about your field! This would be a good time to ask what you can do to make the task smoother for the translator – can you provide a list of terms? A bibliography? Examples of similar texts?


Above all, you want to avoid having to subject your academic translation to further edits, which will almost certainly be required if the translator is not a native speaker, and which will likely lead either to further interruptions in tone and flow, or to what is essentially a full rewrite. A well-written article should return from peer review without major language comments and critique. Rather than rely on edits after the fact, make sure from the outset that your translator is a native speaker and an experienced writer familiar with your field.

Avi Staiman
Avi has worked as a translator and editor in various fields of humanities and social sciences, and is the founder of Academic Language Experts.

–  Wednesday 22nd May, 2018  –