bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2019‒04‒28
sixteen papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society


  1. Account Res. 2019 Apr 26.
    Mistry V, Grey A, Bolland MJ.
      Retraction of scientific publications can unmask scientific misconduct. We undertook a survey of publication rates, for authors with multiple retractions in the biomedical literature, to determine whether they changed after authors' first retractions. We collected publication and citation data from Scopus for 100 authors with multiple retractions (either >10 retractions or 2-5 retractions) in the Retraction Watch database. Publication rates increased until the year of the first retraction and decreased rapidly thereafter. By 4y after the first retraction the proportion of authors actively publishing at least one paper/year was <50%, annual publication rates were <50% of the pre-retraction rate, and only 22% of authors had a publication rate >50% of their pre-retraction rate. There was no difference in the decline in publication rates between authors associated with a retraction for misconduct and those not associated with such a retraction. After the first retraction, citation rates of retracted papers declined whereas those of unretracted papers by the same authors remained unchanged. In summary, publication rates of authors with multiple retractions, most of whom were associated with scientific misconduct, declined rapidly after their first retraction but a small minority continued to publish regularly.
    Keywords:  biomedical literature; misconduct; retraction
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/08989621.2019.1612244
  2. J Bioeth Inq. 2019 Apr 23.
    Teixeira da Silva JA, Dobránszki J, Bhar RH, Mehlman CT.
      Editors have increasing pressure as scholarly publishing tries to shore up trust and reassure academics and the public that traditional peer review is robust, fail-safe, and corrective. Hidden conflicts of interest (COIs) may skew the fairness of the publishing process because they could allow the status of personal or professional relationships to positively influence the outcome of peer review or reduce the processing period of this process. Not all authors have such privileged relationships. In academic journals, editors usually have very specialized skills and are selected as agents of trust, entrusted with the responsibility of serving as quality control gate-keepers during peer review. In many cases, editors form extensive networks, either with other professionals, industry, academic bodies, journals, or publishers. Such networks and relationships may influence their decisions or even their subjectivity towards a set of submitting authors, paper, or institute, ultimately influencing the peer review process. These positions and relationships are not simply aspects of a curriculum, they are potential COIs. Thus, on the editorial board of all academic journals, editors should carry a COI statement that reflects their past history, as well as actual relationships and positions that they have, as these may influence their editorial functions.
    Keywords:  Accountability; Editorial responsibility; Peer review; Quality control; Transparency
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11673-019-09908-2
  3. Res Integr Peer Rev. 2019 ;4 7
    Haven TL, de Goede MEE, Tijdink JK, Oort FJ.
      Background: The emphasis on impact factors and the quantity of publications intensifies competition between researchers. This competition was traditionally considered an incentive to produce high-quality work, but there are unwanted side-effects of this competition like publication pressure. To measure the effect of publication pressure on researchers, the Publication Pressure Questionnaire (PPQ) was developed. Upon using the PPQ, some issues came to light that motivated a revision.Method: We constructed two new subscales based on work stress models using the facet method. We administered the revised PPQ (PPQr) to a convenience sample together with the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and the Work Design Questionnaire (WDQ). To assess which items best measured publication pressure, we carried out a principal component analysis (PCA). Reliability was sufficient when Cronbach's alpha > 0.7. Finally, we administered the PPQr in a larger, independent sample of researchers to check the reliability of the revised version.
    Results: Three components were identified as 'stress', 'attitude', and 'resources'. We selected 3 × 6 = 18 items with high loadings in the three-component solution. Based on the convenience sample, Cronbach's alphas were 0.83 for stress, 0.80 for attitude, and 0.76 for resources. We checked the validity of the PPQr by inspecting the correlations with the MBI and the WDQ. Stress correlated 0.62 with MBI's emotional exhaustion. Resources correlated 0.50 with relevant WDQ subscales. To assess the internal structure of the PPQr in the independent reliability sample, we conducted the principal component analysis. The three-component solution explains 50% of the variance. Cronbach's alphas were 0.80, 0.78, and 0.75 for stress, attitude, and resources, respectively.
    Conclusion: We conclude that the PPQr is a valid and reliable instrument to measure publication pressure in academic researchers from all disciplinary fields. The PPQr strongly relates to burnout and could also be beneficial for policy makers and research institutions to assess the degree of publication pressure in their institute.
    Keywords:  Burnout; Publication pressure; Reliability; Research integrity; Validity
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s41073-019-0066-6
  4. Nature. 2019 Apr;568(7753): 458
    Bernards R.
      
    Keywords:  Funding; Industry; Medical research
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-01285-5
  5. Pharm Pract (Granada). 2019 Jan-Mar;17(1):17(1): 1502
    Fernandez-Llimos F, .
      Selecting peer reviewers is a crucial stage of the editorial process that ensures the quality of scholarly publications. An alternative to selecting peer reviewers from data bases created with expressions of interest of volunteers consists in systematically searching PubMed for similar articles and inviting their authors to act as peer reviewers. Although this process might identify more appropriate peers, it also can increase the time of the editorial process. In 2018, Pharmacy Practice had to invite 4.70 (SE=0.33) potential reviewers per one accepting. The time from the first reviewer invitation to the last reviewer report received was 61 days (SE=2.1). These figures confirm the existence of a peer review crisis which is significantly increasing the publication delay.
    Keywords:  Open Access Publishing; Peer Review; Periodicals as Topic; Research
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.18549/PharmPract.2019.1.1502
  6. Biochem Med (Zagreb). 2019 Jun 15. 29(2): 020201
    Al-Khatib A, Teixeira da Silva JA.
      Voluntary peer review is generally provided by researchers as a duty or service to their disciplines. They commit their expertise, knowledge and time freely without expecting rewards or compensation. Peer review can be perceived as a reciprocal mission that aims to safeguard the quality of publications by helping authors improve their manuscripts. While voluntary peer review adds value to research, rewarding the quantity or the volume of peer review is likely to lure academics into providing poor quality peer review. Consequently, the quantity of peer review may increase, but at the expense of quality, which may lead to unintended consequences and might negatively affect the quality of biomedical publications. This paper aims to present evidence that while voluntary peer review may aid researchers, pressurized peer review may create a perverse incentive that negatively affects the integrity of the biomedical research record. We closely examine one of the proposed models for rewarding peer review based on the quantity of peer review reports. This article also argues that peer review should remain a voluntary mission, and should not be prompted by the need to attain tenure or promotion.
    Keywords:  autonomy; biomedical research; ethics in publishing; responsible peer review; scientific misconduct
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.11613/BM.2019.020201
  7. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 Apr 05. 2(4): e192834
    Saito H, Ozaki A, Sawano T, Shimada Y, Tanimoto T.
      Importance: Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are important in advancing the quality of medical care. Financial relationships between physicians and pharmaceutical companies may influence clinical practice. In accordance with the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association guidelines for transparency, pharmaceutical company payments to physicians have been disclosed since 2013. The distribution of pharmaceutical company payments among CPG authors in Japan has not been studied.Objectives: To determine the characteristics and distribution of payments made by pharmaceutical companies to authors of oncologic CPGs in Japan and to assess the transparency of policies associated with conflict of interest (COI) disclosures in CPGs.
    Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cross-sectional study of 326 authors from 6 prominent oncologic CPGs from Japan included annual payment data for 2016 from 78 pharmaceutical companies during varying times from January 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017.
    Main Outcomes and Measures: Amount and proportion of payments made by pharmaceutical companies to the authors; amount and proportion of payments made to the authors of each guideline; and information on policies for disclosing COIs in CPGs (Japanese yen were converted to US dollars based on the February 20, 2019 exchange rate of 110 yen per 1 US dollar).
    Results: Of 326 eligible authors, 255 (78.2%) received payments from pharmaceutical companies in 2016. The total number of payments was 3947, and the total amount was $3 444 193 (¥378 861 220), including $2 696 777 for speaking, $181 944 for writing, $554 381 for consulting, and $11 091 for unclear fees. The median payment amount was $3233 (interquartile range [IQR], $506-$10 873), and the mean (SD) payment amount was $10 565 ($20 059); 84 authors (25.8%) received more than $10 000. The largest proportions of CPG authors receiving at least 1 payment were those for gastric carcinoma (92%) and colorectal carcinoma (92%). The median payment was highest for authors of colorectal carcinoma guidelines ($7781; IQR, $2506-$18 633), whereas it was lowest for authors of pancreatic carcinoma guidelines ($2207; IQR, $304-$9240). Only breast carcinoma CPGs published the authors' individual COI disclosure in an identifiable matter; guidelines for lung, colorectal, pancreatic, and hepatocellular carcinomas disclosed the financial relationships between the authors and companies anonymously; and the gastric carcinoma CPGs did not have a COI disclosure section.
    Conclusions and Relevance: Most oncologic CPG authors received payments from pharmaceutical companies, and COI disclosure methods appeared to be insufficient. Given the possibility of bias in guideline content if authors have any financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, CPGs from Japan may require improved transparency.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.2834
  8. Nature. 2019 Apr;568(7753): 435
    Bishop D.
      
    Keywords:  Publishing; Research management
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-01307-2
  9. Nature. 2019 Apr;568(7753): 433
      
    Keywords:  Authorship; Communication; Publishing
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-01233-3
  10. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2019 05;32(3): 344
    Setaluri V.
      
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/pcmr.12786
  11. Nat Hum Behav. 2017 Oct;1(10): 693
      
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-017-0231-1
  12. Conserv Biol. 2019 Apr 23.
    Ibbett H, Brittain S.
      Social science methods are increasingly applied in conservation research. However, the conservation sector has received criticism for inadequate application of ethical rigour when research involves people, particularly when investigating sensitive or illegal topics. We conducted a systematic review to investigate a) journal's ethical policies when publishing research that involves human participants, and b) the ethical safeguards documented by authors in conservation articles. Focusing on studies that used social science methods to research hunting of wildlife by local people, we reviewed 185 studies published in 57 journals. Only 37% of journals required authors to report ethical safeguards in manuscripts, and 55% of all articles reported ethical safeguards. We identified a significant mismatch between journals ethics policies and their publication practice, and found ethics were often poorly described, with insufficient detail to determine the quality of the safeguards implemented. We encourage authors to rigorously report ethical safeguards in publications. We urge journals to make ethics statements mandatory, to provide explicit guidelines to authors outlining their ethical reporting standards and to ensure compliance throughout the peer-review process. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Social science; anonymity; human research ethics; hunting; informed consent; institutional review boards; interviews; rule-breaking
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13337
  13. Yearb Med Inform. 2019 Apr 25.
    Paton C, Kobayashi S.
      OBJECTIVES: Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers significant potential for improving healthcare. This paper discusses how an "open science" approach to AI tool development, data sharing, education, and research can support the clinical adoption of AI systems.METHOD: In response to the call for participation for the 2019 International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) Yearbook theme issue on AI in healthcare, the IMIA Open Source Working Group conducted a rapid review of recent literature relating to open science and AI in healthcare and discussed how an open science approach could help overcome concerns about the adoption of new AI technology in healthcare settings.
    RESULTS: The recent literature reveals that open science approaches to AI system development are well established. The ecosystem of software development, data sharing, education, and research in the AI community has, in general, adopted an open science ethos that has driven much of the recent innovation and adoption of new AI techniques. However, within the healthcare domain, adoption may be inhibited by the use of "black-box" AI systems, where only the inputs and outputs of those systems are understood, and clinical effectiveness and implementation studies are missing.
    CONCLUSIONS: As AI-based data analysis and clinical decision support systems begin to be implemented in healthcare systems around the world, further openness of clinical effectiveness and mechanisms of action may be required by safety-conscious healthcare policy-makers to ensure they are clinically effective in real world use.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0039-1677898