bims-skolko Biomed news
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2019‒01‒20
nine papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society


  1. Nat Commun. 2019 Jan 18. 10(1): 322
    Bravo G, Grimaldo F, López-Iñesta E, Mehmani B, Squazzoni F.
      To increase transparency in science, some scholarly journals are publishing peer review reports. But it is unclear how this practice affects the peer review process. Here, we examine the effect of publishing peer review reports on referee behavior in five scholarly journals involved in a pilot study at Elsevier. By considering 9,220 submissions and 18,525 reviews from 2010 to 2017, we measured changes both before and during the pilot and found that publishing reports did not significantly compromise referees' willingness to review, recommendations, or turn-around times. Younger and non-academic scholars were more willing to accept to review and provided more positive and objective recommendations. Male referees tended to write more constructive reports during the pilot. Only 8.1% of referees agreed to reveal their identity in the published report. These findings suggest that open peer review does not compromise the process, at least when referees are able to protect their anonymity.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08250-2
  2. BMC Med. 2019 Jan 18. 17(1): 12
    Fiala C, Diamandis EP.
      Where should I submit my paper? This is a question that young scientists and trainees frequently ask. In this Commentary, we advise on how to make such a decision whilst balancing the risks and benefits. We argue that trying to publish in top tier journals may not always be the best option and that publishing in indexed, open access journals may expose research to the same or larger audiences. The value of research should not be judged according to the publishing journal's name, but rather from other measures of impact such as successful commercialization of new technologies, number of citations, and downloads. We also highlight the role of mentors, who have the responsibility to protect the long-term interests of their trainees by balancing the consequences of acceptances and rejections.
    Keywords:  Anxiety; Depression; Impact factor; Open access; Scientific publishing; Young scientists
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-019-1249-1
  3. Account Res. 2019 Jan 16.
    Resnik DB.
      US federal policy defines research misconduct as fabrication of data, falsification of data, or plagiarism (FFP). In recent years, some have argued or suggested that the definition of research misconduct should also include sexual harassment, sabotage, deceptive use of statistics, and failure to disclose a significant conflict of interest. While the arguments for revising the definition of misconduct used by federal agencies to include misbehaviors other than FFP are not convincing at this point in time, the arguments for revising definitions used by other organizations, such as professional societies, universities, or journals, may be. Since these other organizations play an important role in promoting integrity in science and deterring unethical behavior, they may consider adopting definitions of misconduct that extend beyond FFP. Debates about the definition of research misconduct are a normal and healthy part of broader discussions about integrity in science and how best to promote it. These debates should continue even if the federal definition of misconduct remains unchanged.
    Keywords:  definition; fabrication; falsification; plagiarism; research misconduct; sabotage; sexual harassment; statistics
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/08989621.2019.1570156
  4. PLoS One. 2019 ;14(1): e0198117
    Patience GS, Galli F, Patience PA, Boffito DC.
      Authorship is the currency of an academic career for which the number of papers researchers publish demonstrates creativity, productivity, and impact. To discourage coercive authorship practices and inflated publication records, journals require authors to affirm and detail their intellectual contributions but this strategy has been unsuccessful as authorship lists continue to grow. Here, we surveyed close to 6000 of the top cited authors in all science categories with a list of 25 research activities that we adapted from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) authorship guidelines. Responses varied widely from individuals in the same discipline, same level of experience, and same geographic region. Most researchers agreed with the NIH criteria and grant authorship to individuals who draft the manuscript, analyze and interpret data, and propose ideas. However, thousands of the researchers also value supervision and contributing comments to the manuscript, whereas the NIH recommends discounting these activities when attributing authorship. People value the minutiae of research beyond writing and data reduction: researchers in the humanities value it less than those in pure and applied sciences; individuals from Far East Asia and Middle East and Northern Africa value these activities more than anglophones and northern Europeans. While developing national and international collaborations, researchers must recognize differences in peoples values while assigning authorship.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0198117
  5. Nature. 2019 Jan;565(7739): 294
    Cheah PY.
      
    Keywords:  Research data; Research management
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-00118-9
  6. Soc Stud Sci. 2019 Jan 17. 306312718824663
    Jacob MA.
      Based on fieldwork in the Committee on Publication Ethics, this paper offers an analysis of the forms of doings that publication ethics in action can take during what is called the 'Forum', a space where allegations of dubious research conduct get aired and debated between editors and publishers. This article examines recurring motifs within the review of publication practices whose ethics are called into. These motifs include: the shaping of publication ethics as an expertise that can be standardized across locations and disciplines, the separation of the research record from relations that produce it, and the divisibility of the scientific paper. Together these institute an ethics of repair at the centre of the curative enterprise of the Committee on Publication Ethics. Under the language of correcting the literature the members are working out, along with authors, what the research record should be and, inevitably, what it is. In turn, this article elicits new analytical objects that re-describe publication ethics as a form of expertise, beyond (and despite) the rehearsed axioms of this now well-established professional field.
    Keywords:  ethics; publication; repair; research integrity; research misconduct; scholarly communication
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312718824663
  7. F1000Res. 2018 ;7 1605
    Schimanski LA, Alperin JP.
      Review, promotion, and tenure (RPT) processes significantly affect how faculty direct their own career and scholarly progression. Although RPT practices vary between and within institutions, and affect various disciplines, ranks, institution types, genders, and ethnicity in different ways, some consistent themes emerge when investigating what faculty would like to change about RPT. For instance, over the last few decades, RPT processes have generally increased the value placed on research, at the expense of teaching and service, which often results in an incongruity between how faculty actually spend their time vs. what is considered in their evaluation. Another issue relates to publication practices: most agree RPT requirements should encourage peer-reviewed works of high quality, but in practice, the value of publications is often assessed using shortcuts such as the prestige of the publication venue, rather than on the quality and rigor of peer review of each individual item. Open access and online publishing have made these issues even murkier due to misconceptions about peer review practices and concerns about predatory online publishers, which leaves traditional publishing formats the most desired despite their restricted circulation. And, efforts to replace journal-level measures such as the impact factor with more precise article-level metrics (e.g., citation counts and altmetrics) have been slow to integrate with the RPT process. Questions remain as to whether, or how, RPT practices should be changed to better reflect faculty work patterns and reduce pressure to publish in only the most prestigious traditional formats. To determine the most useful way to change RPT, we need to assess further the needs and perceptions of faculty and administrators, and gain a better understanding of the level of influence of written RPT guidelines and policy in an often vague process that is meant to allow for flexibility in assessing individuals.
    Keywords:  academia; higher education; incentives; promotion; publishing; tenure
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.16493.1
  8. J Korean Med Sci. 2019 Jan 14. 34(2): e6
    Rivera H.
      Inappropriate authorship and other fraudulent publication strategies are pervasive. Here, I deal with contribution disclosures, authorship disputes versus plagiarism among collaborators, kin co-authorship, gender bias, authorship trade, and fake peer review (FPR). In contrast to underserved authorship and other ubiquitous malpractices, authorship trade and FPR appear to concentrate in some Asian countries that exhibit a mixed academic pattern of rapid growth and poor ethics. It seems that strong pressures to publish coupled with the incessantly growing number of publications entail a lower quality of published science in part attributable to a poor, compromised or even absent (in predatory journals) peer review. In this regard, the commitment of Publons to strengthen this fundamental process and ultimately ensure the quality and integrity of the published articles is laudable. Because the many recommendations for adherence to authorship guidelines and rules of honest and transparent research reporting have been rather ineffective, strong deterrents should be established to end manipulated peer review, undeserved authorship, and related fakeries.
    Keywords:  Authorship Trade; Fake Peer Review; Inappropriate Authorship; Publication Ethics; Retractions
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3346/jkms.2019.34.e6
  9. Neurosurgery. 2019 Jan 12.
    O'Donohoe TJ, Dhillon R, Bridson TL, Tee J.
      BACKGROUND: Systematic review (SR) abstracts are frequently relied upon to guide clinical decision-making. However, there is mounting evidence that the quality of abstract reporting in the medical literature is suboptimal.OBJECTIVE: To appraise SR abstract reporting quality in neurosurgical journals and identify factors associated with improved reporting.
    METHODS: This study systematically surveyed SR abstracts published in 8 leading neurosurgical journals between 8 April 2007 and 21 August 2017. Abstracts were identified through a search of the MEDLINE database and their reporting quality was determined in duplicate using a tool derived from the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses for Abstracts (PRISMA-A) statement. All SR abstracts that provided comparison between treatment strategies were eligible for inclusion. Descriptive statistics were utilized to identify factors associated with improved reporting.
    RESULTS: A total of 257 abstracts were included in the analysis, with a mean of 22.8 (±25.3) included studies. The overall quality of reporting in included abstracts was suboptimal, with a mean score of 53.05% (±11.18). Reporting scores were higher among abstracts published after the release of the PRISMA-A guidelines (M = 56.52; 21.74-73.91) compared with those published beforehand (M = 47.83; 8.70-69.57; U = 4346.00, z = -4.61, P < .001). Similarly, both word count (r = 0.338, P < .001) and journal impact factor (r = 0.199, P = .001) were associated with an improved reporting score.
    CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that the overall reporting quality of abstracts in leading neurosurgical journals requires improvement. Strengths include the large number abstracts assessed, and its weaknesses include the fact that only neurosurgery-specific journals were surveyed. We recommend that attention be turned toward strengthening abstract submission and peer-review processes.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyy615