bims-skolko Biomed news
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2019‒02‒10
twelve papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society


  1. Nature. 2019 Feb;566(7742): 9
    Byrne J.
      
    Keywords:  Ethics; Publishing; Research management
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-00439-9
  2. Nature. 2019 Feb;566(7742): 141-142
    Heaven D.
      
    Keywords:  Climate sciences; Information technology; Publishing
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-00447-9
  3. Spinal Cord. 2019 Feb 05.
    Dijkers MP.
      STUDY DESIGN: A narrative review of principles, benefits and disadvantages, as well as methods of research data sharing.OBJECTIVES: To assist prospective Spinal Cord authors and others with understanding and implementing data sharing, so that various benefits of such sharing can accrue to all spinal cord injury research stakeholders.
    SETTING: International.
    METHODS: The medical research and health care services literature was reviewed nonsystematically for relevant articles, and web sites were explored for information and services offered by various pertinent organizations.
    RESULTS: Grant makers, professional organizations, research journals, publishers, and other entities in the research field increasingly stress the ethics as well as societal and practical benefits of data sharing, and require researchers to do so within a reasonable time after data collection ends. Sharing data, retrospectively, generally requires much time and resources, but when a data management plan is part of a research proposal from the start, costs are limited, and grant makers allow these costs to be part of a budget. There are many organizations that offer information on or even assist with preparing data for sharing and actual deposit in a data repository.
    CONCLUSIONS: The requirement of data sharing is not likely to go away, and researchers interested in submitting their reports to Spinal Cord would do well to familiarize themselves with the myriad practical issues involved in preparing data for sharing.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41393-018-0232-6
  4. Conserv Biol. 2019 Feb 06.
    Verde Arregoitia LD, González-Suárez M.
      Every 2 years, the conservation community comes together at The Society for Conservation Biology's International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) to share new developments in conservation science and practice. Publication of findings presented at conferences in scientific journals adds to the permanent record and helps increase potential impact of the work presented. However, quantitative research on publication rates for meetings relevant to conservation is lacking. For the 25th ICCB, (Auckland, New Zealand in 2011), we examined study publication rates and presenter demographics, recorded titles, number of authors, presenter affiliations, gender, country of study region, publication status, and elapsed time between presentation and publication. Of the 980 contributions (782 talks and 198 posters), 587 (60%) were published as peer-reviewed journal articles or book chapters. Mean time to publication was 13.7 months for all presentation abstracts and 21.3 months excluding abstracts with corresponding articles that were published before the meeting. The gender breakdown of presenters was almost even (53% male, 47% female), but representation of the countries where the presenting authors were based was skewed. The political units with the most contributions were by far the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Presenters based in 16 different English-speaking countries made up 74% of the total sample, but this did not influence the likelihood of their abstract leading to a publication. Examination of conference presenters and publication of their presentations is useful to identify biases and potential challenges that need to be addressed to make conference communications permanent and increase their reach beyond conference attendees. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  ICCB; posters; publication rates; scientometrics; transboundary
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13296
  5. Lancet. 2018 Oct 06. pii: S0140-6736(18)32353-5. [Epub ahead of print]392(10154): 1186-1187
    Smith R.
      
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32353-5
  6. Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2019 Feb;pii: S1877-1297(17)30459-8. [Epub ahead of print]11(2): 204-210
    Young J, Bridgeman MB, Hermes-DeSantis ER.
      BACKGROUND: Scientific poster content and delivery methodology have evolved in recent years. The objective of this observational cross-sectional survey-based study was to evaluate pharmacists' preferences of two different scientific poster formats conducted at a conference in May 2017. Two posters on the same topic were developed and presented utilizing different formatting; one in the traditional, text-based format and the other in an infographic-based format. Study participants (n = 61) included 23 (38%) preceptors and 37 (61%) residents. Preceptors and residents scored clarity and comprehensibility similarly for both poster formats respectively, but rated aesthetic appeal higher for the infographic format. Both groups found more detailed information to be missing from the infographic poster format. Overall, residents did not prefer one poster format to another, while preceptors overwhelmingly preferred the infographic poster format over the traditional poster format.IMPACT: Several key confounders limit the interpretations of the study results. These confounders include lack of large and well-distributed sample size, inability to control for the effect of preference on comprehension scores, and differences between resident and preceptor experience that may ultimately influence preferences and results.
    RECOMMENDATIONS: In repeating this study, investigators should consider capturing a national and larger sample size to increase applicability of results, design questions to assess comprehension, and collect participant baseline characteristics.
    DISCUSSION: Variations in preferences and perceptions for optimal scientific poster content and design among pharmacists exist. The findings of this study suggest infographic poster formats are more aesthetically appealing, but demonstrate similar clarity and comprehensibility as a traditional poster format.
    Keywords:  Communication; Poster; Presentation skills; Scientific presentation; Writing
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cptl.2018.11.011
  7. PLoS One. 2019 ;14(2): e0211495
    Wong VSS, Avalos LN, Callaham ML.
      BACKGROUND: Open Payments is a United States federal program mandating reporting of medical industry payments to physicians, increasing transparency of physician conflicts of interest (COI). Study objectives were to assess industry payments to physician-editors, and to compare their financial COI rate to all physicians within the specialty.METHODS AND FINDINGS: We performed a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data, reviewing Open Payments from August 1, 2013 to December 31, 2016. We reviewed general payments ("… not made in connection with a research agreement") and research funding to "top tier" physician-editors of highly-cited medical journals. We compared payments to physician-editors and physicians-by-specialty. In 35 journals, 333 (74.5%) of 447 "top tier" US-based editors met inclusion criteria. Of these, 212 (63.7%) received industry-associated payments in the study period. In an average year, 141 (42.3%) of physician-editors received any direct payments to themselves including general payments and research payments, 66 (19.8%) received direct payments >$5,000 (National Institutes of Health threshold for a Significant Financial Interest) and 51 (15.3%) received >$10,000. Mean annual general payments to physician-editors was $55,157 (median 3,512, standard deviation 561,885, range 10-10,981,153). Median general payments to physician-editors were mostly higher compared to all physicians within their specialty. Mean annual direct research payment to the physician-editor was $14,558 (median 4,000, range 15-174,440). Mean annual indirect research funding to the physician-editor's institution (highly valued by academic leaders such as departmental chairs and deans) was $175,282 (median 49,107, range 0.18-5,000,000). The main study limitation was difficulty identifying physician-editors primarily responsible for making manuscript decisions.
    CONCLUSIONS: A substantial minority of physician-editors receive payments from industry within any given year, sometimes quite large. Most editors received payment of some kind during the four-year study period. Given the extent of editors' influences on the medical literature, more robust and accessible editor financial COI declarations are recommended.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211495
  8. Psychiatry Res. 2019 Jan 29. pii: S0165-1781(19)30209-4. [Epub ahead of print]
    DeLisi LE.
      Authors often are frustrated by responses they receive from editors when their manuscripts are rejected and do not understand from an editor's view what is needed to successfully publish their work. Editors receive sometimes several manuscripts a day and have to develop methods to screen out the ones that are likely not to pass the review process. They also want papers to be able to be written in such a way that it is clear why the studies of which they report are important and novel and worth publishing. Thus, advice is given in the following article that begins with how to choose an appropriate journal, to the surprising importance of a title and ends with how one should conclude the manuscript.
    Keywords:  Editing; Manuscript; Publishing
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2019.01.087
  9. PLoS One. 2019 ;14(2): e0206711
    Leroux SJ.
      Research in applied ecology provides scientific evidence to guide conservation policy and management. Applied ecology is becoming increasingly quantitative and model selection via information criteria has become a common statistical modeling approach. Unfortunately, parameters that contain little to no useful information are commonly presented and interpreted as important in applied ecology. I review the concept of an uninformative parameter in model selection using information criteria and perform a literature review to measure the prevalence of uninformative parameters in model selection studies applying Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC) in 2014 in four of the top journals in applied ecology (Biological Conservation, Conservation Biology, Ecological Applications, Journal of Applied Ecology). Twenty-one percent of studies I reviewed applied AIC metrics. Many (31.5%) of the studies applying AIC metrics in the four applied ecology journals I reviewed had or were very likely to have uninformative parameters in a model set. In addition, more than 40% of studies reviewed had insufficient information to assess the presence or absence of uninformative parameters in a model set. Given the prevalence of studies likely to have uninformative parameters or with insufficient information to assess parameter status (71.5%), I surmise that much of the policy recommendations based on applied ecology research may not be supported by the data analysis. I provide four warning signals and a decision tree to assist authors, reviewers, and editors to screen for uninformative parameters in studies applying model selection with information criteria. In the end, careful thinking at every step of the scientific process and greater reporting standards are required to detect uninformative parameters in studies adopting an information criteria approach.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0206711
  10. Recenti Prog Med. 2019 Jan;110(1): 11-17
    Milano G.
      The New York Times recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of its historic "Science section" with a special issue. An opportunity to reflect on the state of the art of scientific journalism. After having seen the inserts dedicated to science flourish in the '70s and '80s, in recent times the major Italian weekly and several newspapers have decided - with rare exceptions - to eliminate them. Most health inserts remain. How can we explain the reason for this trend? Science continues to permeate our culture, from cinema, to books, to advertising, to television. And there are numerous masters and university courses in Italy that prepare young graduates for science communication. Yet, paradoxically, in the newsrooms the presence of scientific journalists has been gradually reduced to nothing, and quite often those who write about science are "generalist" journalists. Fault of the crisis that publishers live and of the entry into the mass information circuit of internet? Certainly the interaction between the protagonists of scientific information (public, journalists, researchers) has become more and more complex and problematic. Since the '80s the boundary between academic institutions and business has gradually faded, coinciding with the birth of the so-called entrepreneurial science. Scientific research becomes instrumental to the pursuit of personal and commercial goals, and the conflict of interests more pervasive: because the dividing line between science and business is increasingly blurred. The anxiety to communicate on the part of scientists, to make public what research is discovering, is pressing and an integral part of their "work". There are scientists whose career is integrated with the media system. Stories of unbridled competition (just think of the war between France/USA to grab the royalties of the blood test for AIDS) and stories of fraud (in the last ten years the number of articles retracted by scientific journals has increased tenfold compared to the previous ten years and fraud covers 60 percent of these retractions) have come to have a corrosive effect on the untouchable image of science. Making good scientific journalism, which takes into account the context in which research is moving today, requires awareness (going deep into the issues to be addressed) and ethical rigor. This applies to all modes of expression, from print media to online communication. And should be a must not only for "science writers", but for all those who produce information.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1701/3089.30817
  11. BMC Public Health. 2019 Feb 04. 19(1): 153
    Greyson D, Rafferty E, Slater L, MacDonald N, Bettinger JA, Dubé È, MacDonald SE.
      A high quality systematic review search has three core attributes; it is systematic, comprehensive, and transparent. The current over-emphasis on the primacy of systematic reviews over other forms of literature review in health research, however, runs the risk of encouraging publication of reviews whose searches do not meet these three criteria under the guise of being systematic reviews. This correspondence comes in response to Perman S, Turner S, Ramsay AIG, Baim-Lance A, Utley M, Fulop NJ. School-based vaccination programmes: a systematic review of the evidence on organization and delivery in high income countries. 2017; BMC Public Health 17:252, which we assert did not meet these three important quality criteria for systematic reviews, thereby leading to potentially unreliable conclusions. Our aims herein are to emphasize the importance of maintaining a high degree of rigour in the conduct and publication of systematic reviews that may be used by clinicians and policy-makers to guide or alter practice or policy, and to highlight and discuss key evidence omitted in the published review in order to contextualize the findings for readers. By consulting a research librarian, we identified limitations in the search terms, the number and type of databases, and the screening methods used by Perman et al. Using a revised Ovid MEDLINE search strategy, we identified an additional 1016 records in that source alone, and highlighted relevant literature on the organization and delivery of school-based immunization program that was omitted as a result. We argue that a number of the literature gaps noted by Perman et al. may well be addressed by existing literature found through a more systematic and comprehensive search and screening strategy. We commend both the journal and the authors, however, for their transparency in supplying information about the search strategy and providing open access to peer reviewer and editor's comments, which enabled us to understand the reasons for the limitations of that review.
    Keywords:  Immunization; Narrative review; Scholarly communication; School; Search methodology; Systematic review; Vaccination
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-6275-y
  12. Bioorg Chem. 2019 Feb 02. pii: S0045-2068(18)31024-1. [Epub ahead of print]86 273-276
    Roman BI.
      The publication of unfounded health claims on small molecules in peer-reviewed scientific literature is a problem that requires attention. It undermines the evidence-based decision making processes of modern-day society, weakens the credibility of the scientific enterprise, and diverts resources to futile research efforts. In the present essay we discuss some human and scientific causes behind the issue. We propose a number of actions to be taken up by scientists, referees and publishers. One particularly important factor is the issue of enigmatic compound behavior in biological assays. We therefore also introduce the idea of biological filters, a pattern recognition method to triage enigmatic compounds into valuable hits and false positives, based on the entirety of their biological effects in cell-based systems.
    Keywords:  Biological filters; Drug discovery; False positives; Health claims; Hit validation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bioorg.2019.02.002