bims-librar Biomed News
on Biomedical librarianship
Issue of 2020‒11‒15
fourteen papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Nov 12. pii: gkaa994. [Epub ahead of print]
    Ferguson C, Araújo D, Faulk L, Gou Y, Hamelers A, Huang Z, Ide-Smith M, Levchenko M, Marinos N, Nambiar R, Nassar M, Parkin M, Pi X, Rahman F, Rogers F, Roochun Y, Saha S, Selim M, Shafique Z, Sharma S, Stephenson D, Talo' F, Thouvenin A, Tirunagari S, Vartak V, Venkatesan A, Yang X, McEntyre J.
      Europe PMC ( is a database of research articles, including peer reviewed full text articles and abstracts, and preprints - all freely available for use via website, APIs and bulk download. This article outlines new developments since 2017 where work has focussed on three key areas: (i) Europe PMC has added to its core content to include life science preprint abstracts and a special collection of full text of COVID-19-related preprints. Europe PMC is unique as an aggregator of biomedical preprints alongside peer-reviewed articles, with over 180 000 preprints available to search. (ii) Europe PMC has significantly expanded its links to content related to the publications, such as links to Unpaywall, providing wider access to full text, preprint peer-review platforms, all major curated data resources in the life sciences, and experimental protocols. The redesigned Europe PMC website features the PubMed abstract and corresponding PMC full text merged into one article page; there is more evident and user-friendly navigation within articles and to related content, plus a figure browse feature. (iii) The expanded annotations platform offers ∼1.3 billion text mined biological terms and concepts sourced from 10 providers and over 40 global data resources.
  2. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Nov 09. pii: gkaa952. [Epub ahead of print]
    Chen Q, Allot A, Lu Z.
      Since the outbreak of the current pandemic in 2020, there has been a rapid growth of published articles on COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2, with about 10 000 new articles added each month. This is causing an increasingly serious information overload, making it difficult for scientists, healthcare professionals and the general public to remain up to date on the latest SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research. Hence, we developed LitCovid (, a curated literature hub, to track up-to-date scientific information in PubMed. LitCovid is updated daily with newly identified relevant articles organized into curated categories. To support manual curation, advanced machine-learning and deep-learning algorithms have been developed, evaluated and integrated into the curation workflow. To the best of our knowledge, LitCovid is the first-of-its-kind COVID-19-specific literature resource, with all of its collected articles and curated data freely available. Since its release, LitCovid has been widely used, with millions of accesses by users worldwide for various information needs, such as evidence synthesis, drug discovery and text and data mining, among others.
  3. PLoS One. 2020 ;15(11): e0241376
    Lehmkuhl M, Promies N.
      Based on the decision-theoretical conditions underlying the selection of events for news coverage in science journalism, this article uses a novel input-output analysis to investigate which of the more than eight million scientific study results published between August 2014 and July 2018 have been selected by global journalism to a relevant degree. We are interested in two different structures in the media coverage of scientific results. Firstly, the structure of sources that journalists use, i.e. scientific journals, and secondly, the congruence of the journalistic selection of single results. Previous research suggests that the selection of sources and results follows a certain heavy-tailed distribution, a power law. Mathematically, this distribution can be described with a function of the form C*x-α. We argue that the exponent of such power law distributions can potentially be an indicator to describe selectivity in journalism on a high aggregation level. In our input-output analysis, we look for such patterns in the coverage of all scientific results published in the database Scopus over four years. To get an estimate of the coverage of these results, we use data from the altmetrics provider Altmetric, more precisely their Mainstream-Media-Score (MSM-Score). Based on exploratory analyses, we define papers with a score of 50 or above as Social Impact Papers (SIPs). Over our study period, we identified 5,833 SIPs published in 1,236 journals. For both the distribution of the source selection and the distribution of the selection of single results, an exponentially truncated power law is a better fit than the power law, mostly because we find a steeper decline in the tail of the distributions.
  4. BMC Public Health. 2020 Nov 13. 20(1): 1635
    Worrall AP, Connolly MJ, O'Neill A, O'Doherty M, Thornton KP, McNally C, McConkey SJ, de Barra E.
      BACKGROUND: The internet is now the first line source of health information for many people worldwide. In the current Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic, health information is being produced, revised, updated and disseminated at an increasingly rapid rate. The general public are faced with a plethora of misinformation regarding COVID-19 and the readability of online information has an impact on their understanding of the disease. The accessibility of online healthcare information relating to COVID-19 is unknown. We sought to evaluate the readability of online information relating to COVID-19 in four English speaking regions: Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, and compare readability of website source provenance and regional origin.METHODS: The Google® search engine was used to collate the first 20 webpage URLs for three individual searches for 'COVID', 'COVID-19', and 'coronavirus' from Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. The Gunning Fog Index (GFI), Flesch-Kincaid Grade (FKG) Score, Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES), Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) score were calculated to assess the readability.
    RESULTS: There were poor levels of readability webpages reviewed, with only 17.2% of webpages at a universally readable level. There was a significant difference in readability between the different webpages based on their information source (p < 0.01). Public Health organisations and Government organisations provided the most readable COVID-19 material, while digital media sources were significantly less readable. There were no significant differences in readability between regions.
    CONCLUSION: Much of the general public have relied on online information during the pandemic. Information on COVID-19 should be made more readable, and those writing webpages and information tools should ensure universal accessibility is considered in their production. Governments and healthcare practitioners should have an awareness of the online sources of information available, and ensure that readability of our own productions is at a universally readable level which will increase understanding and adherence to health guidelines.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; Coronarvirus pandemic; Health information; Health literacy; Readability
  5. Proc Assoc Inf Sci Technol. 2020 ;57(1): e363
    Chong M.
      During the COVID-19 crisis, fake news, conspiracy theories, and backlash against specific groups emerged and were largely diffused via social media. This phenomenon has been described as an "infodemic," and this study examined that the characteristics of infodemic on Twitter. Typological attributes of the infodemic Twitter network presented the features of "community clusters." The frequently shard domains and URLs demonstrated coherent characteristics within the network. Top domains and URLs were trustworthy information sources, popular blogs, and public health research institutions. Interestingly, the most shard conversational content of the network was a COVID-19 relevant incident occurred at a church in Korea based on misinformation and false belief.
    Keywords:  COVID‐19; fake news; infodemic; social network analysis; twitter
  6. Cureus. 2020 Oct 05. 12(10): e10795
    Ataç Ö, Özalp YC, Kurnaz R, Güler OM, İnamlık M, Hayran O.
      INTRODUCTION: YouTube is an important online source of information and has two billion users globally. Its viewing numbers tend to increase exponentially in extraordinary global situations. Our aim in this study was to review and evaluate the contents of the most frequently viewed YouTube videos during the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.  Methods: In this qualitative study, contents of the most frequently viewed Turkish and English YouTube videos regarding the COVID-19 pandemic were examined and scored with modified DISCERN, medical information and content index (MICI), and video power index (VPI) during April 2020.RESULTS: The mean DISCERN score of Turkish videos was similar to that of English videos (2.55±1.40 and 2.43±1.25, respectively). The total MICI score tended to be higher in Turkish videos. News channels released 86.9% of all 168 videos and 65.2% of all 23 misleading videos. When the descriptive characteristics of videos were compared in terms of their content category, average view counts, view ratios, and VPIs of misleading videos were higher than those of the useful videos. Only, the likes ratio of useful videos was higher than that of the misleading videos.
    CONCLUSIONS: Since there is no peer-review system on YouTube, people can almost release every type of video. It is very important for the content of videos that are released through news channels to be accurate because the important messages can be spread among people in society through them. In our study, especially some Turkish videos included many different rumors and faulty statements. During the extraordinary situations such as the pandemic, the videos of official health authorities and international institutions should be more visible on YouTube.
    Keywords:  covid-19; discern; mici; video power index; youtube
  7. J Health Commun. 2020 Nov 13. 1-9
    Hwang J.
      Although the influenza vaccine is widely recognized as an effective preventive measure, influenza vaccination rates among U.S. adults remain low. Moreover, influenza-related respiratory illnesses may increase the risk of adverse outcomes of COVID-19. Thus, this study examines the mechanisms involved in influenza vaccination uptake. Specifically, this study investigates how health information sources are associated with perceived vaccine efficacy and safety, which, in turn, associated with influenza vaccine uptake. Analyzing cross-sectional survey data from a national U.S. adult sample (N = 19,420), mediation analyses were conducted. Results revealed that considering vaccine efficacy, health information seekers who assigned more value to medical professionals, medical journals, and newspaper articles were more likely to perceive a vaccine as effective, thus being more likely to receive the influenza vaccine. By contrast, individuals who placed more value in social media were less likely to perceive vaccine efficacy, and, in turn, were less likely to get the influenza vaccine. Turning to vaccine safety, the value ascribed to medical professionals was positively associated with vaccine safety, which, in turn, related to influenza vaccine uptake. By contrast, social media, family or friends, and promotions were negatively associated with vaccine safety, and then influenza vaccine uptake.
    Keywords:  health information sources; influenza vaccination; medical professionals; perceived vaccine efficacy; perceived vaccine safety; social media
  8. JMIR Pediatr Parent. 2020 Nov 10. 3(2): e19669
    Buteau-Poulin A, Gosselin C, Bergeron-Ouellet A, Kiss J, Lamontagne MÈ, Maltais D, Trottier C, Desmarais C.
      BACKGROUND: The internet is a valuable resource for parents of typical children, who are looking for information about their children's growth and development and how to boost them. However, for parents of children with special needs, especially for non-English-speaking parents, there are anecdotal reports stating that specific and accurate information is not available on the internet.OBJECTIVE: This study aims to describe the type of information available on the internet for French-speaking parents of children with disability as well as assess the quality of the information collected.
    METHODS: We carried out a search of the existing relevant websites targeted at parents of children with disability. We used a validated instrument to extract structural, textual, and visual characteristics of these websites and evaluate their usability.
    RESULTS: In all, 42 websites were analyzed; of these, the information had been validated by a trustworthy source in only 18 (43%) websites. Networking opportunities for parents were available in only 7 (17%) websites. Most websites provided information related to autism spectrum disorder (20/42, 42%) and learning disabilities (19/42, 45%), and only a few websites discussed other disability types such as behavorial disorders and developmental language disorders (4/42, 10% each). Community, social, and civic life (9/42, 22%); domestic life (12/42, 29%); and mobility (15/42, 36%) were the less frequently covered topics. With regard to the usability evaluation, 22 of the 42 (52%) websites received a global score <70%, whereas 20 (48%) scored ≥70.
    CONCLUSIONS: Although the internet is an infinite source of information, it is not necessarily actionable for parents of children with disability. Some information remains difficult to find online, and networking opportunities with other parents dealing with similar challenges are scarce.
    Keywords:  disabled child; health knowledge; internet-based intervention; parents; validation study
  9. Psychooncology. 2020 Nov 11.
    Hao Jim Li Z, Wang M, Ingledew PA.
      OBJECTIVE: Psychiatric comorbidities are common among cancer patients. However, little is known about the quality of online information regarding these conditions. This study uses a validated tool to systematically determine the strengths and limitations of websites addressing depression in cancer patients.METHODS: The term "depression in cancer patients" was searched online using the search engines Google, Yippy, and Dogpile. A set of predetermined inclusion/exclusion criteria was applied to all search results, which yielded 48 websites for inclusion. A validated rating tool was used to score the websites based on the six domains of Affiliation, Accountability, Interactivity, Structure & Organization, Readability, and Content Quality. The results were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
    RESULTS: Of the 48 websites evaluated, 50% were commercial. 63% of websites identified authorship, 54% cited reliable sources, 37% provided links, and 38% were updated within the last two years. 94% of websites featured a search engine and 60% had at least four structural tools. Average readability was at a grade 12.3 level using the Flesch-Kincaid scale and 11.3 using the SMOG Index. The most completely and accurately covered topics of depression were symptoms and treatment - 83% and 73% respectively. Its prevention and prognosis were not covered by any of the websites.
    CONCLUSIONS: A validated rating tool was applied to evaluate the quality of online information for depression in cancer patients. Website accountability was poor, readability was often at a level that is too difficult for the lay audience, and the topics of prevention and prognosis were seldom covered. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Consumer Health Information; Depression; Health Education; Internet; Patient Education; Psycho-Oncology
  10. Cien Saude Colet. 2020 Nov;pii: S1413-81232020001104351. [Epub ahead of print]25(11): 4351-4360
    Ramos TB, Bokehi LC, Oliveira EB, Gomes MDSA, Bokehi JR, Castilho SR.
      This study analysed the quality of information published on the internet regarding 4 benzodiazepines that are widely used in Brazil: alprazolam, bromazepam, clonazepam and diazepam. This choice is justified by the fact that these drugs are widely used and can generate chemical dependency, and the internet is an important source of information about them. We analysed 20 sites for each drug. More than half (56.3%) of the sites were classified as deficient or very deficient. The most frequent problems with the sites were the absence of a description of the person responsible for the site (60%), incomplete information (62.5%), the absence of a contact for additional information (45%) and the absence of the last date the site was updated (82%). These results reinforce concerns regarding the quality of the health information published on the internet, which has already been noted in the literature, and the need to adopt minimum quality criteria for this information.
  11. J Pediatr Nurs. 2020 Nov 10. pii: S0882-5963(20)30604-7. [Epub ahead of print]56 64-69
    Misra AR, Oermann MH, Teague MS, Ledbetter LS.
      BACKGROUND: Parental and familial caregivers of a child with a tracheostomy, and possibly home mechanical ventilation (HMV), face the overwhelming task of learning to medically care for their child prior to discharge. Caregivers may cope by seeking health information on the Internet. This is concerning because information found during an Internet search may not be accurate, comprehensive, or up to date. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the quality and content of websites offering information about tracheostomies and HMV using a valid assessment tool.METHODS: A total of 46 websites were identified for evaluation using the DISCERN instrument for quality and reliability, and the Flesch Reading Ease (FRE) and Flesh- Kincaid (FK) grade level instruments for readability. Accuracy of content was determined by expert opinion.
    FINDINGS: Few of the websites met the recommended quality and/or readability levels. The websites recommended had a range of DISCERN scores 21-40, adjusted FRE 61-89.1, and adjusted FK 3.4-6.9. Many of the highest quality websites had a readability level at high school or college levels.
    DISCUSSION: The quality and readability of websites offering caregiver education for tracheostomy and HMV are not at a level suitable for caregivers. There was often a mismatch between DISCERN quality and readability. Many high-quality websites would not be easily read and understood by the general lay population.
    APPLICATION TO PRACTICE: DISCERN alone is not sufficient to determine whether a website should be recommended. One should consider reliability, quality, and readability when developing patient education materials, including those on the Internet.
    Keywords:  Caregiver; Education; Health information; Home mechanical ventilation; Internet; Tracheostomy
  12. Arch Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Nov 09. pii: 2359-3997000000311. [Epub ahead of print]
    Yurdakul OV, Kilicoglu MS, Bagcier F.
      Objective: Internet usage for obtaining health-related information is widely popular among patients. However, there are still concerns about the reliability and comprehensibility of online information. The purpose of this study is to investigate the reliability and readability of osteoporosis-related websites.Methods: On April 2, 2020, we searched the term "osteoporosis" on Google ( We evaluated the first 200 uniform resource locators (URLs) in the query results regarding typology, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) scores, Health on the Net Foundation Code of conduct (HONcode) certification, Flesch-Kincaid Grade (FKG), and Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) scores. The JAMA scoring system and HONcode stamp were used for assessing the reliability, whereas FKG and SMOG scores were used to assess the readability of online information.
    Results: Of the 151 analyzed websites, 57 (37.7%) were classified as highly reliable, and 19 (12.6%) were assigned with HONcode certification. The average FKG scores (8.81 ± 2.21) and SMOG scores (7.63 ± 1.81) were below the recommended grade, which is considered as easily readable. High reliable information was found to have higher readability scores, thereby representing the difficulty of readability. We observed a weak correlation between the increased reliability of information and decreased readability.
    Conclusion: Osteoporosis-related content on the internet generally has low reliability. High-reliable information is available online in scientific published materials, health portals, and news. Although the readability of the overall material is acceptable, the high-reliable websites still require high literacy and comprehension skills.
    Keywords:  Google; Osteoporosis; internet; web pages
  13. J Arthroplasty. 2020 Oct 20. pii: S0883-5403(20)31122-0. [Epub ahead of print]
    Shen TS, Driscoll DA, Islam W, Bovonratwet P, Haas SB, Su EP.
      BACKGROUND: Patients considering total joint arthroplasty often search for information online regarding surgery; however, little is known about the specific topics that patients search for and the nature of the information provided. Google compiles frequently asked questions associated with a search term using machine learning and natural language processing. Links to individual websites are provided to answer each question. Analysis of this data may help improve understanding of patient concerns and inform more effective counseling.METHODS: Search terms were entered into Google for total hip and total knee arthroplasty. Frequently asked questions and associated websites were extracted to a database using customized software. Questions were categorized by topic; websites were categorized by type. JAMA Benchmark Criteria were used to assess website quality. Pearson's chi-squared and Student's t-tests were performed as appropriate.
    RESULTS: A total of 620 questions (305 total knee arthroplasties, 315 total hip arthroplasties) were extracted with 602 associated websites. The most popular question topics were Specific Activities (23.5%), Indications/Management (15.6%), and Restrictions (13.4%). Questions related to Pain were more common in the TKA group (23.0% vs 2.5%, P < .001) compared to THA. The most common website types were Academic (31.1%), Commercial (29.2%), and Social Media (17.1%). JAMA scores (0-4) were highest for Government websites (mean 3.92, P = .005).
    CONCLUSION: The most frequently asked questions on Google related to total joint arthroplasty are related to arthritis management, rehabilitation, and ability to perform specific tasks. A sizable proportion of health information provided originate from non-academic, non-government sources (64.4%), with 17.1% from social media websites.
    Keywords:  machine learning; natural language processing; online health information; search analytics; total hip arthroplasty; total knee arthroplasty