bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2019‒08‒18
thirteen papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society


  1. Sci Eng Ethics. 2019 Aug 13.
    Tóth J.
      This letter contains suggestions for editors and software providers to help avoid affiliation bias in the initial and concluding stages of the peer review process. Submission management systems have a responsibility to ensure protection against affiliation bias. This can be achieved by automatically withholding the author's identity and affiliation information from all editors, including the Editor-in-Chief, until a decision about publication has been made. Journals relying on email-based submissions are in a more difficult situation. Not having external support in confirming the submitting author's identity, this dilemma can be resolved through the implementation of strict instructions and guidelines concerning manuscript submission and handling. In this case the "human factor" cannot be fully eliminated, while automated processes can only be changed intentionally and with a certain delay. Therefore, with the suggested steps, submission management systems could become a strong guard against unconscious bias while also making conscious bias more difficult to impact the peer review process.
    Keywords:  Affiliation bias; Journal policies; Submission software; Triple blind peer review
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-019-00128-w
  2. Am J Med. 2019 Aug 13. pii: S0002-9343(19)30660-6. [Epub ahead of print]
    Baffy G, Burns MM, Hoffmann B, Ramani S, Sabharwal S, Borus JF, Pories S, Quan SF, Ingelfinger JR.
      Scholarly communication in science, technology and medicine has been organized around journal-based scientific publishing for the past 350years. Scientific publishing has unique business models and includes stakeholders with conflicting interests - publishers, funders, libraries, and scholars who create, curate, and consume the literature. Massive growth and change in scholarly communication, coinciding with digitalization, have amplified stresses inherent in traditional scientific publishing as evidenced by overwhelmed editors and reviewers, increased retraction rates, emergence of pseudo-journals, strained library budgets, and debates about the metrics of academic recognition for scholarly achievements. Simultaneously, several open access models are gaining traction and online technologies offer opportunities to augment traditional tasks of scientific publishing, develop integrated discovery services, and establish global and equitable scholarly communication through crowdsourcing, software development, big data management and machine learning. These rapidly evolving developments raise financial, legal and ethical dilemmas that require solutions while successful strategies are difficult to predict. Key challenges and trends are reviewed from the authors' perspective about how to engage the scholarly community in this multifaceted process.
    Keywords:  Open access; peer review; pre-print repository; predatory publishing; self-archiving
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2019.07.028
  3. Nurs Outlook. 2019 Aug 12. pii: S0029-6554(19)30354-9. [Epub ahead of print]
    Kakamad FH, Salih AM, Baba HO.
      
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2019.07.004
  4. R Soc Open Sci. 2019 Jul;6(7): 190194
    Smaldino PE, Turner MA, Contreras Kallens PA.
      Assessing scientists using exploitable metrics can lead to the degradation of research methods even without any strategic behaviour on the part of individuals, via 'the natural selection of bad science.' Institutional incentives to maximize metrics like publication quantity and impact drive this dynamic. Removing these incentives is necessary, but institutional change is slow. However, recent developments suggest possible solutions with more rapid onsets. These include what we call open science improvements, which can reduce publication bias and improve the efficacy of peer review. In addition, there have been increasing calls for funders to move away from prestige- or innovation-based approaches in favour of lotteries. We investigated whether such changes are likely to improve the reproducibility of science even in the presence of persistent incentives for publication quantity through computational modelling. We found that modified lotteries, which allocate funding randomly among proposals that pass a threshold for methodological rigour, effectively reduce the rate of false discoveries, particularly when paired with open science improvements that increase the publication of negative results and improve the quality of peer review. In the absence of funding that targets rigour, open science improvements can still reduce false discoveries in the published literature but are less likely to improve the overall culture of research practices that underlie those publications.
    Keywords:  cultural evolution; funding; open science; replication; reproducibility
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.190194
  5. Foot Ankle Surg. 2019 Jul 31. pii: S1268-7731(19)30112-2. [Epub ahead of print]
    Kwon JY, Gonzalez T, Miller C, Cook SP, Briceno J, Velasco BT, Thordarson D.
      INTRODUCTION: A common criticism of the peer-review process is the often disparate nature of reviewer recommendations when a decision is rendered which belies the supposed uniformity of the process. The purpose of this investigation was to examine level of agreement between reviewers for Foot & Ankle International (FAI) and analyze variables which may have influenced agreement in order to better understand the peer-review process.METHODS: Approval to conduct this investigation was obtained from the Executive Board and Editor in Chief of FAI. All manuscripts submitted to FAI during the calendar year 2016 which underwent formal peer-review were included in the analysis. For each reviewed manuscript, demographic data was collected regarding specific reviewer and manuscript characteristics in a de-identified manner.
    RESULTS: 442 manuscripts underwent formal blinded peer-review by two independent reviewers during the study period. Only 199 manuscripts (45%) had a decision rendered in which both reviewers agreed on the same initial recommendation. There were no differences in demographic characteristics between the group of reviewers who agreed as compared to those who disagreed on the initial round of peer review. A similar number of indexed peer-reviewed publications between reviewers correlated with increased levels of agreement.
    CONCLUSIONS: During the study period, there was 45% initial agreement between reviewers for FAI when assessing the same manuscript. Aside from research productivity, no other reviewer-specific variables examined in this investigation were found to correlate with agreement. Specific recommendations and changes may be considered to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the peer-review process.
    Keywords:  Foot and Ankle International journal; Peer review; Publishing standards; Reviewers´agreement
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fas.2019.07.007
  6. Nat Commun. 2019 Aug 13. 10(1): 3502
    Petersen AM, Vincent EM, Westerling AL.
      We juxtapose 386 prominent contrarians with 386 expert scientists by tracking their digital footprints across ∼200,000 research publications and ∼100,000 English-language digital and print media articles on climate change. Projecting these individuals across the same backdrop facilitates quantifying disparities in media visibility and scientific authority, and identifying organization patterns within their association networks. Here we show via direct comparison that contrarians are featured in 49% more media articles than scientists. Yet when comparing visibility in mainstream media sources only, we observe just a 1% excess visibility, which objectively demonstrates the crowding out of professional mainstream sources by the proliferation of new media sources, many of which contribute to the production and consumption of climate change disinformation at scale. These results demonstrate why climate scientists should increasingly exert their authority in scientific and public discourse, and why professional journalists and editors should adjust the disproportionate attention given to contrarians.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-09959-4
  7. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2019 Aug 08. pii: S1198-743X(19)30417-3. [Epub ahead of print]
    Saito H, Tani Y, Ozaki A, Sawano T, Shimada Y, Yamamoto K, Tanimoto T.
      
    Keywords:  MRSA guidelines; financial conflicts of interest
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmi.2019.07.025
  8. Res Integr Peer Rev. 2019 ;4 16
    Hamilton S, Bernstein AB, Blakey G, Fagan V, Farrow T, Jordan D, Seiler W, Gertel A, .
      Background: CORE (Clarity and Openness in Reporting: E3-based) Reference (released May 2016 by the European Medical Writers Association [EMWA] and the American Medical Writers Association [AMWA]) is a complete and authoritative open-access user's guide to support the authoring of clinical study reports (CSRs) for current industry-standard-design interventional studies. CORE Reference is a content guidance resource and is not a CSR Template.TransCelerate Biopharma Inc., an alliance of biopharmaceutical companies, released a CSR Template in November 2018 and recognised CORE Reference as one of two principal sources used in its development.Methods: The regulatory medical writing and statistical professionals who developed CORE Reference conducted a critical review of the TransCelerate CSR Template. We summarise our major findings and recommendations in this communication. We also re-examined and edited the Version 1 CORE Reference Terminology Table that we first published in 2016, and we present this as Version 2 in this communication.
    Results: Our major critical review findings indicate that opportunities remain to refine the CSR Template structure and instructional text, enhance content clarity, add web links to referenced guidance documents, improve transparency to support the broad readership of CSRs, and develop supporting resources.The CORE Reference 'Terminology Table' Version 2 includes estimand as a defined term and an adaptation of the original 'worked study example' to incorporate the recently evolved concept of 'estimands'.
    Conclusions: As TransCelerate's CSR Template represents an important milestone in authoring CSRs, we offer CSR authors advice and recommendations on its use, similarities, and differences with CORE Reference and advise them to consider shared interpretations between the two.
    Registration: CORE Reference is registered with the EQUATOR Network. The TransCelerate CSR Template is not registered with any external organisation to the knowledge of the authors of this paper.
    Keywords:  Data Reporting; Disclosure; Guideline; Information Dissemination; Patient Data Privacy; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Report
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s41073-019-0075-5
  9. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2019 Jul 25. pii: S1053-0770(19)30780-3. [Epub ahead of print]
    Pagel PS, Freed JK, Lien CA.
      OBJECTIVE: Gender disparities in editorial board composition exist in the vast majority of specialties including anesthesiology. If a similar lack of gender parity exists in cardiothoracic anesthesiology is unknown. The authors examined the gender composition and trends of the Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia (JCVA) editorial board from the initial year of its publication (1987) to 2019. The authors tested the hypothesis that the proportion of women serving on the JCVA editorial board has steadily increased over the journal's history, but women are underrepresented compared with the percentage of those currently practicing academic cardiothoracic anesthesia in the United States (US).DESIGN: Observational study.
    SETTING: Internet analysis.
    PARTICIPANTS: All members of the JCVA editorial board, 1987-2019.
    INTERVENTIONS: The JCVA editor-in-chief, the associate editor-in-chief, associate editors, section editors, and general editors on the board were extracted from the masthead of a single issue from each calendar year. The years were divided into quartiles (1987-1995, 1996-2003, 2004-2011, and 2012-2019) to collect representative samples of editorial board composition for analysis.
    MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: A total of 2,797 members of the JCVA editorial board were positively identified (2,477 [88.6%] men; 310 [11.1%] women); 10 (0.3%) editors could not be identified. Four hundred and fourteen associate and section editors were recorded (men 360 [87.0%], women 54 [13.0%]). There were also 2,353 general editors (2,087 [88.7%] men; 256 [10.9%] women). The total number of JCVA board members, associate and section editors, and general editors progressively increased from 1987 to 1995 to 2012 to 2019. The percentage of women serving on the editorial board increased from 2.5% to 15.8%. Increases in the proportion of female general editors from 2.9% to 16.2% were responsible for this overall increase. A gender gap between the percentage of female first authors (data obtained from a previous publication) and editorial board members was observed in each quartile. Editorial board composition was also different than last author distribution in 1987 to 1995 and 2012 to 2019, but not the other 2 time periods.
    CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate that the proportion of women serving on the JCVA editorial board has steadily increased over the journal's history. Nevertheless, women continue to be underrepresented on the JCVA board compared with the percentage of US female academic cardiothoracic anesthesiologists, and gender gaps between first and last authorship and board composition also persist.
    Keywords:  cardiothoracic anesthesiology; editorial board; gender equality; leadership; women in academic medicine
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1053/j.jvca.2019.07.139
  10. Z Evid Fortbild Qual Gesundhwes. 2019 Aug 07. pii: S1865-9217(19)30090-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.zefq.2019.07.001