bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2019‒12‒22
23 papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society


  1. BMJ. 2019 12 16. 367 l6573
    Lerchenmueller MJ, Sorenson O, Jena AB.
      OBJECTIVES: Women remain underrepresented on faculties of medicine and the life sciences more broadly. Whether gender differences in self presentation of clinical research exist and may contribute to this gender gap has been challenging to explore empirically. The objective of this study was to analyze whether men and women differ in how positively they frame their research findings and to analyze whether the positive framing of research is associated with higher downstream citations.DESIGN: Retrospective observational study.
    DATA SOURCES: Titles and abstracts from 101 720 clinical research articles and approximately 6.2 million general life science articles indexed in PubMed and published between 2002 and 2017.
    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Analysis of article titles and abstracts to determine whether men and women differ in how positively they present their research through use of terms such as "novel" or "excellent." For a set of 25 positive terms, we estimated the relative probability of positive framing as a function of the gender composition of the first and last authors, adjusting for scientific journal, year of publication, journal impact, and scientific field.
    RESULTS: Articles in which both the first and last author were women used at least one of the 25 positive terms in 10.9% of titles or abstracts versus 12.2% for articles involving a male first or last author, corresponding to a 12.3% relative difference (95% CI 5.7% to 18.9%). Gender differences in positive presentation were greatest in high impact clinical journals (impact factor >10), in which women were 21.4% less likely to present research positively. Across all clinical journals, positive presentation was associated with 9.4% (6.6% to 12.2%) higher subsequent citations, and in high impact clinical journals 13.0% (9.5% to 16.5%) higher citations. Results were similar when broadened to general life science articles published in journals indexed by PubMed, suggesting that gender differences in positive word use generalize to broader samples.
    CONCLUSIONS: Clinical articles involving a male first or last author were more likely to present research findings positively in titles and abstracts compared with articles in which both the first and last author were women, particularly in the highest impact journals. Positive presentation of research findings was associated with higher downstream citations.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l6573
  2. Oral Dis. 2019 Dec 17.
    Almaqrami BS, Hua F, Liu Y, He H.
      OBJECTIVES: To study whether specific recommendations aimed at reducing avoidable research waste were included in the author instructions of leading dental journals.METHOD: We identified 109 peer-reviewed and original research-oriented dental journals that were indexed in the MEDLINE and/or SCIE database in 2018. Two authors extracted independently information regarding the endorsement of reporting guidelines (RGs), ICMJE recommendations, trial or systematic review registration, as well as open access (OA) and data sharing policies.
    RESULT: All 109 journals provided online "instructions to authors", among which 64 journals (58.7%) mentioned RGs. The ICMJE recommendations were endorsed by 74 journals (67.9%), trial and systematic review registration were mentioned by 48 (44.0%) and 6 (5.5%) of the journals, respectively. In terms of open access, most journals stated they were Hybrid OA (82.0 %), Direct OA (15.4%); while data sharing policy was recommended by 32 (29.4%) journals. Statistical analyses suggest that these policies were more frequently mentioned by SCIE-indexed journals, higher-impact journals, and journals that endorsed the ICMJE recommendations.
    CONCLUSION: Reporting guidelines, OA and data sharing are important tools for enhancing research communication, translation and the reduction of avoidable research waste. However, currently they are not widely endorsed by dental journals.
    Keywords:  avoidable research waste; data sharing; open access; reporting guideline
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/odi.13257
  3. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2019 Nov 09. pii: S0022-5223(19)32489-4. [Epub ahead of print]
    Noruzi A, Takkenberg JJM, Kayapa B, Verhemel A, Gadjradj PS.
      BACKGROUND: Honorary authorship (HA) refers to enlisted authors who did not make sufficient contributions to a paper according to the guidelines, as defined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). This study assessed the proportion of, and factors associated with, HA in cardiothoracic surgical literature in 2017.METHODS: Five cardiothoracic surgery journals were selected based on their impact factors in 2017 for evaluation of HA. Articles were included in the analysis if there was more than 1 listed author and if there was an available E-mail address of the corresponding author. All corresponding authors received an invitation to fill out our survey regarding their paper in 2017.
    RESULTS: In total, 1511 authors opened the invitation, resulting in a total of 590 respondents (28.9%); 77.1% of all authors were aware of the ICMJE guidelines and 47.0% were aware of the general issue of HA. A total of 367 (62.7%) authors stated that at least one of the coauthors had performed solely nonauthorship tasks, whereas 148 (25.3%) authors stated that they believed that their article contained at least one honorary author. Having a senior member who was automatically included on all submitted manuscripts and not being aware of the general issue of HA were associated with significantly greater odds of having HA.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that, despite the high awareness of the ICMJE guidelines, there is a large discrepancy in perceived HA and guideline-based HA. The authors plead for a better understanding and implementation of the guidelines in a more transparent authorship system.
    Keywords:  ICMJE guidelines; authorship; honorary
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2019.10.104
  4. BMJ. 2019 12 19. 367 l6460
    Barnett A, Mewburn I, Schroter S.
      OBJECTIVE: To determine whether researchers are submitting manuscripts and peer reviews to BMJ journals out of hours and whether this has changed over time.DESIGN: Observational study of research manuscripts and peer reviews submitted between 2012 and 2019 for which an author's address could be geocoded.
    SETTING: Online BMJ submission systems for two large general medical journals.
    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Manuscript and peer review submissions on weekends, on national holidays, and by hour of day (to determine early mornings and late nights). Logistic regression was used to estimate the probability of manuscript and peer review submissions on weekends or holidays.
    RESULTS: The analyses included more than 49 000 manuscript submissions and 76 000 peer reviews. Little change over time was seen in the average probability of manuscript or peer review submissions occurring on weekends or holidays. The levels of out of hours work were high, with average probabilities of 0.14 to 0.18 for work on the weekends and 0.08 to 0.13 for work on holidays compared with days in the same week. Clear and consistent differences were seen between countries. Chinese researchers most often worked at weekends and at midnight, whereas researchers in Scandinavian countries were among the most likely to submit during the week and the middle of the day.
    CONCLUSION: The differences between countries that are persistent over time show that a "culture of overwork" is a literal thing, not just a figure of speech.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l6460
  5. PLoS One. 2019 ;14(12): e0225883
    Christensen G, Dafoe A, Miguel E, Moore DA, Rose AK.
      This study estimates the effect of data sharing on the citations of academic articles, using journal policies as a natural experiment. We begin by examining 17 high-impact journals that have adopted the requirement that data from published articles be publicly posted. We match these 17 journals to 13 journals without policy changes and find that empirical articles published just before their change in editorial policy have citation rates with no statistically significant difference from those published shortly after the shift. We then ask whether this null result stems from poor compliance with data sharing policies, and use the data sharing policy changes as instrumental variables to examine more closely two leading journals in economics and political science with relatively strong enforcement of new data policies. We find that articles that make their data available receive 97 additional citations (estimate standard error of 34). We conclude that: a) authors who share data may be rewarded eventually with additional scholarly citations, and b) data-posting policies alone do not increase the impact of articles published in a journal unless those policies are enforced.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225883
  6. EMBO Rep. 2019 Dec 20. e49775
    Nimpf S, Keays DA.
      Negative data and refutations are a crucial element of the scientific process. But it needs solid arguments to convince editors and reviewers to publish negative results.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.201949775
  7. PeerJ. 2019 ;7 e8247
    Silbiger NJ, Stubler AD.
      Background: Peer reviewed research is paramount to the advancement of science. Ideally, the peer review process is an unbiased, fair assessment of the scientific merit and credibility of a study; however, well-documented biases arise in all methods of peer review. Systemic biases have been shown to directly impact the outcomes of peer review, yet little is known about the downstream impacts of unprofessional reviewer comments that are shared with authors.Methods: In an anonymous survey of international participants in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, we investigated the pervasiveness and author perceptions of long-term implications of receiving of unprofessional comments. Specifically, we assessed authors' perceptions of scientific aptitude, productivity, and career trajectory after receiving an unprofessional peer review.
    Results: We show that survey respondents across four intersecting categories of gender and race/ethnicity received unprofessional peer review comments equally. However, traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM fields were most likely to perceive negative impacts on scientific aptitude, productivity, and career advancement after receiving an unprofessional peer review.
    Discussion: Studies show that a negative perception of aptitude leads to lowered self-confidence, short-term disruptions in success and productivity and delays in career advancement. Therefore, our results indicate that unprofessional reviews likely have and will continue to perpetuate the gap in STEM fields for traditionally underrepresented groups in the sciences.
    Keywords:  Intersectionality; Peer review; STEM; Underrepresented minorities
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.8247
  8. EMBO Rep. 2019 Dec 20. e49794
    Hunter P.
      Publish and read deals are a step forward for open access, but the devil is in the details as it does not resolve the problem of affordability for all authors.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.201949794
  9. Nature. 2019 Dec;576(7787): 499-501
    Woolston C.
      
    Keywords:  Authorship; Careers; Publishing
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-03842-4
  10. J Paediatr Child Health. 2019 Dec;55(12): 1504-1505
    Trombetta A.
      
    Keywords:  editorial difficulties; humour; papers
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.14570
  11. J Med Toxicol. 2019 Dec 18.
    Neumann N.
      
    Keywords:  Commentary; JMT fellow editor in training; Peer review
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13181-019-00751-w
  12. Nature. 2019 Dec;576(7787): S70-S72
    Gewin V.
      
    Keywords:  Conferences and meetings; Lab life
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-03851-3
  13. Nature. 2019 Dec;576(7787): 342-343
      
    Keywords:  Epidemiology; Publishing; Stem cells; Volcanology
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-03837-1
  14. Nature. 2019 Dec;576(7787): 346-347
    Cyranoski D.
      
    Keywords:  Funding; Policy; Publishing
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-03770-3
  15. BMJ Open. 2019 Dec 19. 9(12): e025511
    de Barra M, Scott C, Johnston M, De Bruin M, Scott N, Matheson C, Bond C, Watson M.
      INTRODUCTION: Scientific progress and translation of evidence into practice is impeded by poorly described interventions. The Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) was developed to specify the minimal intervention elements that should be reported.OBJECTIVES: (1) To assess the extent to which outpatient pharmacy interventions were adequately reported. (2) To examine the dimension(s) across which reporting quality varies. (3) To examine trial characteristics that predict better reporting.
    METHODS: The sample comprised 86 randomised controlled trials identified in a Cochrane review of the effectiveness of pharmacist interventions on patient health outcomes. Duplicate, independent application of a modified 15-item TIDieR checklist was undertaken to assess the intervention reporting. The reporting/non-reporting of TIDieR items was analysed with principal component analysis to evaluate the dimensionality of reporting quality and regression analyses to assess predictors of reporting quality RESULTS: In total, 422 (40%) TIDieR items were fully reported, 395 (38%) were partially reported and 231 (22%) were not reported. A further 242 items were deemed not applicable to the specific trials. Reporting quality loaded on one component which accounted for 26% of the variance in TIDieR scores. More recent trials reported a slightly greater number of TIDieR items (0.07 (95% CI 0.02 to 0.13) additional TIDieR items per year of publication). Trials reported an 0.09 (95% CI 0.04 to 0.14) additional TIDieR items per unit increase in impact factor (IF) of the journal in which the main report was published.
    CONCLUSIONS: Most trials lacked adequate intervention reporting. This diminished the applied and scientific value of their research. The standard of intervention reporting is, however, gradually increasing and appears somewhat better in journals with higher IFs. The use of the TIDieR checklist to improve reporting could enhance the utility and replicability of trials, and reduce research waste.
    Keywords:  checklist; clinical trials as topic/standards; pharmacy/standards; reproducibility of results; research report/standards
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025511
  16. Patient. 2019 Dec 16.
    Hollin IL, Craig BM, Coast J, Beusterien K, Vass C, DiSantostefano R, Peay H.
      BACKGROUND: Formative qualitative research is foundational to the methodological development process of quantitative health preference research (HPR). Despite its ability to improve the validity of the quantitative evidence, formative qualitative research is underreported.OBJECTIVE: To improve the frequency and quality of reporting, we developed guidelines for reporting this type of research. The guidelines focus on formative qualitative research used to develop robust and acceptable quantitative study protocols and corresponding survey instruments in HPR.
    METHODS: In December 2018, a steering committee was formed as a means to accumulate the expertise of the HPR community on the reporting guidelines (21 members, seven countries, multiple settings and disciplines). Using existing guidelines and examples, the committee constructed, revised, and refined the guidelines. The guidelines underwent beta testing by three researchers, and further revisions to the guidelines were made based on their feedback as well as on comments from members of the International Academy of Health Preference Research (IAHPR) and the editorial board of The Patient: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research.
    RESULTS: The guidelines have five components: introductory material (4 domains), methods (12), results/findings (2), discussion (2), and other (2). They are concordant with existing guidelines, published examples, beta-testing results, and expert comments.
    CONCLUSIONS: Publishing formative qualitative research is a necessary step toward strengthening the foundation of any quantitative study, enhancing the relevance of its preference evidence. The guidelines should aid researchers, reviewers, and regulatory agencies and promote transparency within HPR more broadly.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s40271-019-00401-x
  17. J Adv Nurs. 2019 Dec 20.
    Watson R, Xue C.
      Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a history of thousands of years in China and is officially sanctioned by the government as a treatment option for Chinese citizens alongside, what we will refer to here as western medicine, which is also very well developed in China. In the west, TCM is becoming increasingly popular with some people who become worried about the efficacy and side-effects of western medicine.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.14297
  18. BMC Public Health. 2019 Dec 16. 19(1): 1685
    Khor GL, Shariff ZM.
      The purpose of this correspondence is to express our disappointment with the coverage of the BMC Public Health supplement: Vol 19 (4) titled "Health and Nutritional Issues Among Low Income Population in Malaysia", which neglected to include the fundamental health and nutrition issues that are adversely affecting the lives and livelihood of the indigenous peoples. The Supplement comprised 21 papers. Two of these papers included indigenous peoples as study subjects. These two papers addressed peripheral, albeit important health issues, namely visual impairment and quality of life, and not the persistent and rising health concerns impacting this population. We will provide evidence from research and reports to justify our critique that the Supplement missed the opportunity to spotlight on the serious extent of the health and nutritional deprivations of the indigenous peoples of Malaysia. As researchers of the indigenous peoples, we ought to lend our voice to the "silenced minority" by highlighting their plight in the media including scientific journals.
    Keywords:  Food security; Health; Indigenous peoples; Low-income; Malaysia; Nutrition; Orang Asli
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8055-8