bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2019‒12‒01
seventeen papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. Nature. 2019 Nov;575(7784): 576-577
    Callaway E.
    Keywords:  Publishing; Scientific community; Structural biology
  2. BMJ Open. 2019 Nov 24. 9(11): e033421
    Glonti K, Boutron I, Moher D, Hren D.
      OBJECTIVE: Peer reviewers of biomedical journals are expected to perform a large number of roles and tasks, some of which are seemingly contradictory or demonstrate incongruities between the respective positions of peer reviewers and journal editors. Our aim was to explore the perspectives, expectations and understanding of the roles and tasks of peer reviewers of journal editors from general and specialty biomedical journals.DESIGN: Qualitative study.
    SETTING: Worldwide.
    PARTICIPANTS: 56 journal editors from biomedical journals, most of whom were editors-in-chief (n=39), male (n=40) and worked part-time (n=50) at journals from 22 different publishers.
    METHODS: Semistructured interviews with journal editors were conducted. Recruitment was based on purposive maximum variation sampling. Data were analysed thematically following the methodology by Braun and Clarke.
    RESULTS: Journal editors' understanding of the roles and partly of tasks of peer reviewers are profoundly shaped by each journal's unique context and characteristics, including financial and human resources and journal reputation or prestige. There was a broad agreement among journal editors on expected technical tasks of peer reviewers related to scientific aspects, but there were different expectations in the level of depth. We also found that most journal editors support the perspective that authorship experience is key to high-quality reviews, while formal training in peer reviewing is not.
    CONCLUSION: These journal editors' accounts reveal issues of a social nature within the peer-review process related to missed opportunities for journal editors to engage with peer reviewers to clarify the expected roles and tasks.Further research is needed on actual performance of peer reviewers looking into the content of peer-reviewer reports to inform meaningful training interventions, journal policies and guidelines.
    Keywords:  biomedical publishing; peer review; qualitative research; scientific journal publishing; stakeholder consultation
  3. J Assoc Inf Sci Technol. 2019 Jul;70(7): 754-768
    Wakeling S, Creaser C, Pinfield S, Fry J, Spezi V, Willett P, Paramita M.
      Open-access mega-journals (OAMJs) are characterized by their large scale, wide scope, open-access (OA) business model, and "soundness-only" peer review. The last of these controversially discounts the novelty, significance, and relevance of submitted articles and assesses only their "soundness." This article reports the results of an international survey of authors (n = 11,883), comparing the responses of OAMJ authors with those of other OA and subscription journals, and drawing comparisons between different OAMJs. Strikingly, OAMJ authors showed a low understanding of soundness-only peer review: two-thirds believed OAMJs took into account novelty, significance, and relevance, although there were marked geographical variations. Author satisfaction with OAMJs, however, was high, with more than 80% of OAMJ authors saying they would publish again in the same journal, although there were variations by title, and levels were slightly lower than subscription journals (over 90%). Their reasons for choosing to publish in OAMJs included a wide variety of factors, not significantly different from reasons given by authors of other journals, with the most important including the quality of the journal and quality of peer review. About half of OAMJ articles had been submitted elsewhere before submission to the OAMJ with some evidence of a "cascade" of articles between journals from the same publisher.
  4. Front Microbiol. 2019 ;10 2542
    Fukatsu T.
    Keywords:  grand challenge; insect; microbe; publishing; symbiosis
  5. J Pediatr Orthop. 2019 Nov 22.
    LeBrun DG, Kocher MS, Baldwin KD, Patel NM.
      BACKGROUND: Observational studies are the most commonly used study designs in the pediatric orthopaedic literature. The differences between observational study designs are important but not widely understood, leading to potential discrepancies between the reported and actual study design. Study design misclassification is associated with a potential for misreporting level of evidence (LOE). The purpose of this study was to determine the degree of study design and LOE misclassification in the pediatric orthopaedic literature.METHODS: The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) Web of Science was queried to identify all pediatric orthopaedic observational studies published from 2014 to 2017. Reported study design and LOE were recorded for each study. The actual study design and LOE were determined on the basis of established clinical epidemiological criteria by reviewers with advanced epidemiological training. Studies with a discrepancy between reported versus actual study design and LOE were identified. The following covariates were recorded for each study: subspecialty, inclusion of a statistician coauthor, sample size, journal, and journal impact factor. χ test was used to identify factors associated with study design and LOE misreporting.
    RESULTS: In total, 1000 articles were screened, yielding 647 observational studies. A total of 335 publications (52%) did not clearly report a study design in the abstract or manuscript text. Of those that did, 59/312 (19%) reported the incorrect study design. The largest discrepancy was in the 109 studies that were reported to be case series, among which 30 (27.5%) were actually retrospective cohort studies. In total, 313 publications (48%) did not report a LOE. Of those that did, 95/334 (28%) reported the incorrect LOE. In total, 33 studies (19%) reported a LOE that was higher than the actual LOE and 62 (35%) under-reported the LOE.
    CONCLUSIONS: The majority of observational pediatric orthopaedic studies did not report a study design or reported the wrong study design. Similarly, the majority of studies did not report or misreported their LOE. Greater epidemiological rigor in evaluating observational studies is required on the part of investigators, reviewers, and editors.
  6. Addict Behav. 2019 Oct 25. pii: S0306-4603(19)30960-8. [Epub ahead of print]102 106193
    Vassar M, Jellison S, Wendelbo H, Wayant C.
      INTRODUCTION: Transparent, open scientific research practices aim to improve the validity and reproducibility of research findings. A key component of open science is the public sharing of data and metadata that constitute the basis for research findings.METHODS: We conducted a 6 year cross-sectional investigation of the rates and methods of data sharing in 15 high-impact addiction journals that publish clinical trials. We extracted trial characteristics and whether the trial data were shared publicly in any form. We conducted a sensitivity analysis of only trials with public funding sources.
    RESULTS: In the included journals, zero (0/394, 0.0%) RCTs shared their data publicly. The large majority (315/394, 79.9%) of included trials received funding from public sources. Eight journals had data sharing policies and published 299 of the included trials (75.9%).
    CONCLUSION: Our finding has significant implications for the addiction research community. These implications are broad, ranging from possibly slowed scientific advancement to noncompliance with obligations to the public whose tax dollars funded a large majority of the included RCTs. To improve the rates of data sharing, we recommend studying incentive systems, while simultaneously working to cultivate a data sharing system that emphasizes scientific, rather than author, accuracy.
    Keywords:  Data sharing; Randomized controlled trials; Research methodology
  7. Nature. 2019 Dec;576(7785): 39
    Thorp HH, Skipper M, Kiermer V, Berenbaum M, Sweet D, Horton R.
    Keywords:  Policy; Publishing; Research data; Research management
  8. J Pediatr Nurs. 2019 Sep - Oct;48:pii: S0882-5963(19)30321-5. [Epub ahead of print]48 A9-A10
    Betz CL.
  9. J Korean Med Sci. 2019 Nov 25. 34(45): e300
    Gasparyan AY, Ayvazyan L, Mukanova U, Yessirkepov M, Kitas GD.
      Scientific hypotheses are essential for progress in rapidly developing academic disciplines. Proposing new ideas and hypotheses require thorough analyses of evidence-based data and predictions of the implications. One of the main concerns relates to the ethical implications of the generated hypotheses. The authors may need to outline potential benefits and limitations of their suggestions and target widely visible publication outlets to ignite discussion by experts and start testing the hypotheses. Not many publication outlets are currently welcoming hypotheses and unconventional ideas that may open gates to criticism and conservative remarks. A few scholarly journals guide the authors on how to structure hypotheses. Reflecting on general and specific issues around the subject matter is often recommended for drafting a well-structured hypothesis article. An analysis of influential hypotheses, presented in this article, particularly Strachan's hygiene hypothesis with global implications in the field of immunology and allergy, points to the need for properly interpreting and testing new suggestions. Envisaging the ethical implications of the hypotheses should be considered both by authors and journal editors during the writing and publishing process.
    Keywords:  Bibliographic Databases; Hypothesis; Impact; Peer Review; Research Ethics; Writing
  10. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2019 ;pii: S1807-59322019000100318. [Epub ahead of print]74 e1403
    Leite DFB, Padilha MAS, Cecatti JG.
      A sophisticated literature review (LR) can result in a robust dissertation/thesis by scrutinizing the main problem examined by the academic study; anticipating research hypotheses, methods and results; and maintaining the interest of the audience in how the dissertation/thesis will provide solutions for the current gaps in a particular field. Unfortunately, little guidance is available on elaborating LRs, and writing an LR chapter is not a linear process. An LR translates students' abilities in information literacy, the language domain, and critical writing. Students in postgraduate programs should be systematically trained in these skills. Therefore, this paper discusses the purposes of LRs in dissertations and theses. Second, the paper considers five steps for developing a review: defining the main topic, searching the literature, analyzing the results, writing the review and reflecting on the writing. Ultimately, this study proposes a twelve-item LR checklist. By clearly stating the desired achievements, this checklist allows Masters and Ph.D. students to continuously assess their own progress in elaborating an LR. Institutions aiming to strengthen students' necessary skills in critical academic writing should also use this tool.
  11. Mol Biol Cell. 2019 Dec 01. 30(25): 3013-3014
    Baum B.
      Peer review can seem like a barrier we have to scale in order to publish. In this Perspective, we ask what would happen if, instead, the focus of peer review was to help everyone in the field improve the quality of their papers.
  12. Health Res Policy Syst. 2019 Nov 25. 17(1): 88
    Graham ID, McCutcheon C, Kothari A.
      Research co-production is about doing research with those who use it. This approach to research has been receiving increasing attention from research funders, academic institutions, researchers and even the public as a means of optimising the relevance, usefulness, usability and use of research findings, which together, the argument goes, produces greater and more timely impact. The papers in this cross BMC journal collection raise issues about research co-production that, to date, have not been fully considered and suggest areas for future research for advancing the science and practice of research co-production. These papers address some gaps in the literature, make connections between subfields and provide varied perspectives from researchers and knowledge users.
    Keywords:  Integrated knowledge translation; collaborative research; engaged scholarship; participatory research; research co-production
  13. J Radiol Prot. 2019 Nov 29.
    Brandl A, Tschurlovits M.
      As scientists and professionals, we have been trained to present (lecture) in front of an audience of similarly instructed peers, we subject our manuscripts to peer-review, and we mentor the next generation of radiological protection professionals to adopt the same methods of data and information transfer we equate with "scientific communication." The scientific community clearly has developed effective and efficient means to share progress in a given field of study. However, current efforts to improve our success in achieving public understanding of our most important and pertinent conclusions, and in communicating the "risks" associated with low or moderate exposures to ionising radiation indicate the realisation that we have not been similarly successful in our interactions with the general public. We may be getting close to having exhausted our examples, comparisons, and metaphors. We realise that effective communication in radiological protection necessitates more than the transfer of information to the audience. Rather than concentrating solely on the source, the speaker, we also need to take into account the receiver, the audience. In addition to optimising speaker and presentation attributes, effective communication needs to address barriers to listening as well. We propose for the community's communication strategies to develop and include tools which allow us to communicate across a wide range of individual needs, attitudes, and interests in the audience. Effective communication in radiological protection needs to be tailored to the individuals in the audience to open channels for our transfer of information; it needs to "catch" and "capture" the audience for active listening. We first need to justify to the audience "why" they should consider "our facts," before we can expect them to trust our recommendations on "how" to respond to a given situation. Symbols and narratives then can help with the retention of the information received by the audience.
    Keywords:  professional communication; public understanding; risk communication; stakeholder engagement
  14. Sci Eng Ethics. 2019 Nov 29.
    Satalkar P, Perneger T, Shaw D.
      The aim of this paper is to analyze the attitudes and reactions of researchers towards an authorship claim made by a researcher in a position of authority who has not made any scientific contribution to a manuscript or helped to write it. This paper draws on semi-structured interviews conducted with 33 researchers at three seniority levels working in biomedicine and the life sciences in Switzerland. This manuscript focuses on the analysis of participants' responses when presented with a vignette describing an authorship assignment dilemma within a research group. The analysis indicates that researchers use a variety of explanations and arguments to justify inclusion of what guidelines would describe as honorary or guest authorship. Fuzzy parameters such as "substantial contribution" lead to varied interpretation and consequently convenient application of authorship guidelines in practice. Factors such as the culture of the research group, the values and practice shaped by the research leaders, the hierarchy and relative (perceived) positions of power within research institutions, and the importance given to publications as the currency for academic success and growth tend to have a strong influence on authorship practice. Unjustified authorship assignment practices can be reduced to some extent by creating empowering research cultures where each researcher irrespective of his/her career stage feels empowered to confidently raise concerns without fearing adverse impact on their professional lives. However, individual researchers and research institutions currently have limited influence on established methods for evaluating academic success, which is primarily based on the number of high impact publications.
    Keywords:  Authorship assignment; Guest authorship; Qualitative research; Research integrity; Switzerland