bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2019‒12‒08
eighteen papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society


  1. Elife. 2019 Dec 06. pii: e52646. [Epub ahead of print]8
    Fu DY, Hughey JJ.
      Preprints in biology are becoming more popular, but only a small fraction of the articles published in peer-reviewed journals have previously been released as preprints. To examine whether releasing a preprint on bioRxiv was associated with the attention and citations received by the corresponding peer-reviewed article, we assembled a dataset of 74,239 articles, 5,405 of which had a preprint, published in 39 journals. Using log-linear regression and random-effects meta-analysis, we found that articles with a preprint had, on average, a 49% higher Altmetric Attention Score and 36% more citations than articles without a preprint. These associations were independent of several other article- and author-level variables (such as scientific subfield and number of authors), and were unrelated to journal-level variables such as access model and Impact Factor. This observational study can help researchers and publishers make informed decisions about how to incorporate preprints into their work.
    Keywords:  computational biology; none; systems biology
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.52646
  2. Trials. 2019 Dec 02. 20(1): 669
    Jerčić Martinić-Cezar I, Marušić A.
      BACKGROUND: Open access (OA) journals are becoming a publication standard for health research, but it is not clear how they differ from traditional subscription journals in the quality of research reporting. We assessed the completeness of results reporting in abstracts of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in these journals.METHODS: We used the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials Checklist for Abstracts (CONSORT-A) to assess the completeness of reporting in abstracts of parallel-design RCTs published in subscription journals (n = 149; New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Lancet) and OA journals (n = 119; BioMedCentral series, PLoS journals) in 2016 and 2017.
    RESULTS: Abstracts in subscription journals completely reported 79% (95% confidence interval [CI], 77-81%) of 16 CONSORT-A items, compared with 65% (95% CI, 63-67%) of these items in abstracts from OA journals (P < 0.001, chi-square test). The median number of completely reported CONSORT-A items was 13 (95% CI, 12-13) in subscription journal articles and 11 (95% CI, 10-11) in OA journal articles. Subscription journal articles had significantly more complete reporting than OA journal articles for nine CONSORT-A items and did not differ in reporting for items trial design, outcome, randomization, blinding (masking), recruitment, and conclusions. OA journals were better than subscription journals in reporting randomized study design in the title.
    CONCLUSION: Abstracts of randomized controlled trials published in subscription medical journals have greater completeness of reporting than abstracts published in OA journals. OA journals should take appropriate measures to ensure that published articles contain adequate detail to facilitate understanding and quality appraisal of research reports about RCTs.
    Keywords:  CONSORT for Abstracts; Open access publishing; Randomized controlled trial; Reporting guidelines; Subscription journals
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-019-3781-x
  3. ESMO Open. 2019 ;4(6): e000580
    Richtig G, Richtig E, Böhm A, Oing C, Bozorgmehr F, Kruger S, Kiesewetter B, Zielinski C, Berghoff AS.
      Introduction: Predatory journals harm the integrity of science as principles of 'good scientific practice' are bypassed by omitting a proper peer-review process. Therefore, we aimed to explore the awareness of predatory journals among oncologists.Methods: An online survey among oncologists working in Germany or Austria of various professional surroundings was conducted between October 2018 and April 2019.
    Results: One hundred and eighty-eight participants (55 women (29.2%), 128 men (68.1%)) completed the questionnaire. 41 (21.8%) participants indicated to work in a hospital, 24 (12.8%) in private practice and 112 (59.6%) in a university hospital. 98.9% of participants indicated to actively read scientific articles and consider them in clinical decision-making (96.3%). 90.4% of participants indicated to have scientific experience by publishing papers in journals with peer-review system. The open-access system was known by 170 (90.4%), predatory journals by 131 (69.7%) and Beall's list by 52 participants (27.7%). Predatory journals were more likely to be known by participants with a higher number of publications (p<0.001), with more high-impact publications (p=0.005) and with recent publications (p<0.001). Awareness of predatory journals did not correlate with gender (p=0.515) or translation of scientific literature into clinical practice (p=0.543).
    Conclusions: The problematic topic of 'predatory journals' is still unknown by a considerable amount of oncologist, although the survey was taken in a cohort of oncologists with scientific experience. Dedicated educational initiatives are needed to raise awareness of this problem and to aid in the identification of predatory journals for the scientific oncology community.
    Keywords:  influence; knowledge; oncologist; oncology; predatory journals; survey
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2019-000580
  4. BMC Med Ethics. 2019 Dec 05. 20(1): 94
    Wu Y, Howarth M, Zhou C, Hu M, Cong W.
      BACKGROUND: Ethical considerations play a prominent role in the protection of human subjects in clinical research. To date the disclosure of ethical protection in clinical research published in the international nursing journals has not been explored. Our research objective was to investigate the reporting of ethical approval and informed consent in clinical research published in leading international nursing journals.METHODS: This is a retrospective observational study. All clinical research published in the five leading international nursing journals from the SCI Journal Citation Reports between 2015 and 2017 were retrieved to evaluate for evidence of ethical review.
    RESULTS: A total of 2041 citations have been identified from the contents of all the five leading nursing journals that were published between 2015 and 2017. Out of these, 1284 clinical studies have been included and text relating to ethical review has been extracted. From these, most of prospective clinical studies (87.5%) discussed informed consent. Only half of those (52.9%) reported that written informed consent had been obtained; few (3.6%) reported oral consent, and few (6.8%) used other methods such as online consent or completion and return of data collection (such as surveys) to denote assent. Notably, 36.2% of those did not describe the method used to obtain informed consent and merely described that "consent was obtained from participants or participants agreed to join in the research". Furthermore, whilst most of clinical studies (93.7%) mentioned ethical approval; 92.5% of those stated the name of ethical committee and interestingly, only 37.1% of those mentioned the ethical approval reference. The rates of reporting ethical approval were different between different study type, country, and whether financial support was received (all P < 0.05).
    CONCLUSION: The reporting of ethics in leading international nursing journals demonstrates progress, but improvement of the transparency and the standard of ethical reporting in nursing clinical research is required.
    Keywords:  Clinical research; Ethical approval; Informed consent; Nursing journal; Research ethics
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12910-019-0431-5
  5. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Dec;98(49): e18099
    Zhang J, Han L, Shields L, Tian J, Wang J.
      OBJECTIVE: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) was released as a standard of reporting systematic reviewers (SRs). However, not all SRs adhere completely to this standard. This study aimed to evaluate the reporting quality of SRs published in the Cochrane Library and paper-based journals.METHODS: The SRs which evaluate the effectiveness of nursing interventions in 2016 were identified via PubMed. The reporting quality of selected articles was evaluated using the PRISMA checklist. For comparison, we divided these articles into Cochrane review (CR) and non-Cochrane review (NCR). Based on the satisfaction of the applicable criteria, each article is assigned an accumulated score and a total percentage score.
    RESULTS: Overall, 41.7% articles were concentrated in 19.0 to 22.5 points which represent the moderate quality, 22% articles were high quality. There were still 36.5% articles with low quality. The mean PRISMA score was 20.54 ± 2.367 for CRs, and 18.81 ± 2.536 for NCRs. Although no significant difference was exit between overall CR and NCR scores, there were differences between items 1, 5, 8, 16, 23. Analysis indicated that CR was significantly associated with the overall PRISMA score.
    CONCLUSION: Compliance of CR and NCR with PRISMA checklist exhibited different strengths and weaknesses. Our study underscores that nursing researchers should pay more attention to comprehensive reporting of SRs in nursing to follow the PRISMA statement.
    IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING AND/OR HEALTH POLICY: Nursing researchers who participate in SRs should follow the latest Cochrane Handbook to prepare such study. Meanwhile, the PRISMA statement should be followed strictly to report SRs, so as to improve the quality of SRs.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000018099
  6. J Clin Epidemiol. 2019 Dec 03. pii: S0895-4356(19)30849-2. [Epub ahead of print]
    Lundh A, Rasmussen K, Østengaard L, Boutron I, Stewart LA, Hróbjartsson A.
      OBJECTIVE: To identify and summarise 1) appraisal tools and other guides which address conflicts of interest in medical research studies; and 2) top journals with policies on managing conflicts of interest in journal papers.STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: Systematic review. We searched bibliographic databases, other sources and websites of 30 top medical journals. Two authors selected documents and extracted data.
    RESULTS: We included 27 appraisal tools. None were designed specifically for addressing conflicts of interest and they included only 1-2 short items on conflicts of interest. We also included eight other types of guides. Of 27 appraisal tools, 23 addressed study funding and 19 authors' conflicts of interest. Nine tools addressed availability of conflicts of interest information, 13 reported conflicts of interest, and five influence from conflicts of interest. Twelve of 30 top journals had conflicts of interest managing policies (beyond disclosure). One journal restricted non-research papers (e.g. editorials) to authors without financial conflicts of interest and ten only restricted under certain circumstances.
    CONCLUSION: Appraisal tools that address conflicts of interest typically do so superficially and rarely address how conflicts of interest may influence studies. Less than half of top medical journals have explicit policies on managing conflicts of interest.
    Keywords:  Conflicts of interest; Critical appraisal tools; Industry funding; Journal policies; Medical journals; Systematic review
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2019.12.005
  7. Eur J Clin Invest. 2019 Dec 01. e13190
    Vorland CJ, Brown AW, Ejima K, Mayo-Wilson E, Valdez D, Allison DB.
      The Self-Correction Norm. Science is often described as 'self-correcting'. Correction of scientific errors is vital, but it does not occur spontaneously. Rather, correction depends on individual scientists behaving in accordance with the self-correction norm (1). Some authors have suggested that failure to correct certain errors be considered scientific misconduct (2). But when serious errors are found, our experience suggests that corrections are not always expeditious, thorough, clear, and open. Herein, we address journals' distinctive roles in correcting peer-reviewed scientific literature. The scientific community needs key individuals, including journal editors, to facilitate the correction process and to adjudicate disagreements in the field.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/eci.13190
  8. Trends Ecol Evol. 2019 Nov 18. pii: S0169-5347(19)30296-4. [Epub ahead of print]
    Ward-Fear G, Pauly GB, Vendetti JE, Shine R.
      The sociopolitical nature of research is changing and so must our protocols for authorship. Citizen scientists are often excluded from authorship because they cannot meet rigid journal criteria. To address this, we propose a new concept: allowing nonprofessional scientists to be credited as authors under a collective identity ('group coauthorship').
    Keywords:  citizen science; community science; group coauthorship; research ethics; traditional ecological knowledge
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2019.10.007
  9. Gac Med Mex. 2019 ;155(6): 635-640
    Hernández-Vargas A, Pérez-Manjarrez FE, Mendiola-Pastrana IR, López-Ortiz E, López-Ortiz G.
      One of the skills that is more in need to be strengthened in the medical area is the dissemination of knowledge. For this reason, it is necessary to provide elements that promote training in scientific writing. Identifying the most common problems when writing medical original articles for publication will provide useful resources that should contribute to the generation of knowledge. There are multiple reasons that intervene for an original article not to be accepted in a medical journal, among which failure to follow instructions for authors and methodological, design and structural problems stand out. However, the aspect that most influences and that is seldom pointed out, is inadequate writing of research manuscripts, which becomes evident in the different sections that make up manuscripts. All the above-mentioned factors are the responsibility of the authors, and therefore must be taken care of properly. The purpose of this article is to identify the most common mistakes when writing original medical manuscripts, which, if avoided, will increase the possibility for research papers to be accepted for publication.
    Keywords:  Artículo de revista; Journal article; Manuscripts; Manuscritos; Peer review; Publicación; Publication; Rechazo; Rejection; Revisión por pares
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.24875/GMM.19005172
  10. Psychol Methods. 2019 Dec 02.
    Friese M, Frankenbach J.
      Science depends on trustworthy evidence. Thus, a biased scientific record is of questionable value because it impedes scientific progress, and the public receives advice on the basis of unreliable evidence that has the potential to have far-reaching detrimental consequences. Meta-analysis is a technique that can be used to summarize research evidence. However, meta-analytic effect size estimates may themselves be biased, threatening the validity and usefulness of meta-analyses to promote scientific progress. Here, we offer a large-scale simulation study to elucidate how p-hacking and publication bias distort meta-analytic effect size estimates under a broad array of circumstances that reflect the reality that exists across a variety of research areas. The results revealed that, first, very high levels of publication bias can severely distort the cumulative evidence. Second, p-hacking and publication bias interact: At relatively high and low levels of publication bias, p-hacking does comparatively little harm, but at medium levels of publication bias, p-hacking can considerably contribute to bias, especially when the true effects are very small or are approaching zero. Third, p-hacking can severely increase the rate of false positives. A key implication is that, in addition to preventing p-hacking, policies in research institutions, funding agencies, and scientific journals need to make the prevention of publication bias a top priority to ensure a trustworthy base of evidence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1037/met0000246
  11. Indian J Med Ethics. 2019 Oct-Dec;4 (NS)(4):4 (NS)(4): 288-293
    Bhar RH, John D.
      This paper examines the issues related to conflict of interest (COI) in generation and dissemination of evidence from systematic reviews and its influence on evidence in developing public health policy. Several examples exist on COI in the health and nutrition field due to the influence of private corporations and funding institutions. COI is an important factor contributing to publication bias in primary studies because of dynamics such as delayed publication, suppression of negative findings, and falsifying of data, thus influencing systematic review findings. Systematic review findings have also been found to be biased because of financial and/or non-financial COI. A set of recommendations, such as increased government funding towards research, explicit COI policies in journals, clinical trial data transparency, and methodological guidelines, including COI compliance while conducting and reporting systematic reviews, is proposed. The government has a larger role in regulating COI in production and reporting of evidence and its use in public policy decision-making.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.20529/IJME.2019.058
  12. EMBO Rep. 2019 Dec 05. 20(12): e49663
    Lemberger T, Pulverer B.
      EMBO Press and ASAPbio launch Review Commons, a platform to provide authors with journal-independent peer review of their manuscripts and preprints.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.201949663
  13. EMBO J. 2019 Dec 02. 38(23): e103998
    Pulverer B, Lemberger T.
      The EMBO Journal has extended its Transparent Process beyond journal confines to post referee comments alongside preprint versions of papers and to partner with Review Commons, a pre-journal peer-review platform for Refereed Preprints in the life sciences.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.15252/embj.2019103998