bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2020‒01‒26
fifteen papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2020 Jan 22. 1-4
    Raniga SB.
      OBJECTIVE. The objective of the study was to evaluate and categorize the decline-to-review response to a manuscript review invitation that would allow American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) editorial staff to improve the peer review process and to reduce manuscript turnaround time. MATERIALS AND METHODS. This retrospective analysis included 9366 decline-to-review responses received by AJR editorial staff between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2017 (a 3-year period). The responses were sorted into six broad categories: no reason given, reviewer was overcommitted (with academic or personal commitments), manuscript was not in an area of the reviewer's expertise, the reviewer had already committed to a simultaneous AJR manuscript review, the reviewer claimed a conflict of interest, and miscellaneous and otherwise not listed reasons. RESULTS. The 9366 declined reviews were declined according to six general categories: no reason (3251, 34.7%), overcommitted (4629, 49.4%), not an area of expertise (1181, 12.6%), simultaneous AJR manuscript review (235, 2.5%), conflict of interest (55, 0.6%), and miscellaneous (15, 0.2%). CONCLUSION. The analyzed data provide a valuable insight for AJR editorial staff and reviewers to further improve the peer review process. The results and subsequent actions could help to reduce decline-to-review responses, which will help shorten the manuscript turnaround time and contribute to a timely decision on manuscripts for authors.
    Keywords:  decline to review; manuscript turnaround time; peer review
  2. Res Integr Peer Rev. 2020 ;5 2
    Skopec M, Issa H, Reed J, Harris M.
      Background: Descriptive studies examining publication rates and citation counts demonstrate a geographic skew toward high-income countries (HIC), and research from low- or middle-income countries (LMICs) is generally underrepresented. This has been suggested to be due in part to reviewers' and editors' preference toward HIC sources; however, in the absence of controlled studies, it is impossible to assert whether there is bias or whether variations in the quality or relevance of the articles being reviewed explains the geographic divide. This study synthesizes the evidence from randomized and controlled studies that explore geographic bias in the peer review process.Methods: A systematic review was conducted to identify research studies that explicitly explore the role of geographic bias in the assessment of the quality of research articles. Only randomized and controlled studies were included in the review. Five databases were searched to locate relevant articles. A narrative synthesis of included articles was performed to identify common findings.
    Results: The systematic literature search yielded 3501 titles from which 12 full texts were reviewed, and a further eight were identified through searching reference lists of the full texts. Of these articles, only three were randomized and controlled studies that examined variants of geographic bias. One study found that abstracts attributed to HIC sources elicited a higher review score regarding relevance of the research and likelihood to recommend the research to a colleague, than did abstracts attributed to LIC sources. Another study found that the predicted odds of acceptance for a submission to a computer science conference were statistically significantly higher for submissions from a "Top University." Two of the studies showed the presence of geographic bias between articles from "high" or "low" prestige institutions.
    Conclusions: Two of the three included studies identified that geographic bias in some form was impacting on peer review; however, further robust, experimental evidence is needed to adequately inform practice surrounding this topic. Reviewers and researchers should nonetheless be aware of whether author and institutional characteristics are interfering in their judgement of research.
    Keywords:  Geographic bias; Narrative synthesis; Randomized controlled trials; Systematic review
  3. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2020 Jan 16.
    Heinrich S.
      PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Science and its public perception are compromised by scientific fraud and predatory journals, and also by the general erosion of the meaning of truth in the so-called post-truth era. These developments have significant influence on scientific medicine and their impact on the public discourse. The purpose of this article is to show how fake science, and also the uncritical dissemination of compromised results in public and social media, threatens scientific medicine.RECENT FINDINGS: As social media rises to the preferred source of information of ever larger parts of the modern societies, the dissemination of falsified scientific results within the communities is almost unstoppable. With growing numbers of predatory journals and repetitive cases of fake science, the risk of publication of false results increases. Due to the underlying mechanisms of the post-truth era and social media, these compromised results find their way to the public discourse and continue to be disseminated even when they were, beyond all doubt, proven to be a lie. In medical sciences, dissemination of falsified results directly threats health and life of patients.
    SUMMARY: In the post-truth era, publication of false results in predatory journals and by fraudulent authors become even more dangerous for the health and life of patients, as their dissemination via new social media is nearly unstoppable and in the public perception truth is losing its meaning. The scientific community has implemented specific counter-measures to minimize the chances of false results being published. However, it is even more important that every participant in the scientific process assumes the responsibility according to his or her role. An orientation towards the values that have constituted and formed science is helpful in fulfilling this responsibility.
  4. Perspect Behav Sci. 2019 Mar;42(1): 59-75
    Tincani M, Travers J.
      The "replication crisis" describes recent difficulties in replicating studies in various scientific fields, most notably psychology. The available evidence primarily documents replication failures for group research designs. However, we argue that contingencies of publication bias that led to the "replication crisis" also operate on applied behavior analysis (ABA) researchers who use single-case research designs (SCRD). This bias strongly favors publication of SCRD studies that show strong experimental effect, and disfavors publication of studies that show less robust effect. The resulting research literature may unjustifiably inflate confidence about intervention effects, limit researchers' ability to delineate intervention boundary conditions, and diminish the credibility of our science. To counter problems of publication bias in ABA, we recommend that journals that publish SCRD research establish journal standards for publication of noneffect studies; that our research community adopt open sharing of SCRD protocols and data; and that members of our community routinely publish systematic literature reviews that include gray (i.e., unpublished) research.
    Keywords:  Applied behavior analysis; Behavior science; File drawer effect; Publication bias; Replication; Single-case design
  5. Lancet Neurol. 2020 Feb;pii: S1474-4422(19)30481-8. [Epub ahead of print]19(2): 101
    The Lancet Neurology .
  6. Palliat Med. 2020 Jan 23. 269216319897536
    Walshe C, Ahmed F, Preston N.
      BACKGROUND: Research is important internationally, impacting on health service provision and patient benefit. Journals play an important dissemination role, but there may be geographical bias, potentially affecting access to evidence.AIM: To understand if there is a relationship between the continent of journals and that of contributing authors.
    DESIGN: Bibliometric analysis of journal citation report data (June 2018). Odds ratio of association of an author being from region, region of journal publication, publication model and the number of papers.
    SETTING: Journals specialising in palliative care research, with an impact factor above the median impact factor for their most common indexing category.
    RESULTS: Five journals: three published in Europe (Palliative Medicine, BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care, and BMC Palliative Care) and two in North America (Journal of Pain and Symptom Management and Journal of Palliative Medicine). Authors were from 30+ countries, but mostly North America (54.18%) or Europe (27.94%). Preliminary sensitivity tests show that the odds of an author being from a North American institution increase 16.4 times (p < 0.01; 95% confidence interval: 12.9, 20.8) if the region of journal publication is North America. The odds of an author being from a European institution is 14.0 times (p < 0.01; 95% confidence interval: 10.9, 17.9) higher if the region of journal publication is Europe.
    CONCLUSION: Publishers, editors and authors are concentrated in North America or Europe. North American authors are more present in North American journals and European authors in European journals. This polarised approach, if replicated across readerships, may lead to research waste, duplication, and be sub-optimal for healthcare development.
    Keywords:  Publication bias; editorial policies; palliative care; publications as topic; publishing
  7. BMJ Evid Based Med. 2020 Jan 24. pii: bmjebm-2019-111296. [Epub ahead of print]
    Cashin AG, Bagg MK, Richards GC, Toomey E, McAuley JH, Lee H.
      Scientific progress requires transparency and openness. The ability to critique, replicate and implement scientific findings depends on the transparency of the study design and methods, and the open availability of study materials, data and code. Journals are key stakeholders in supporting transparency and openness. This study aimed to evaluate 10 highest ranked pain journals' authorship policies with respect to their support for transparent and open research practices. Two independent authors evaluated the journal policies (as at 27 May 2019) using three tools: the self-developed Transparency and Openness Evaluation Tool, the Centre for Open Science (COS) Transparency Factor and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) requirements for disclosure of conflicts of interest. We found that the journal policies had an overall low level of engagement with research transparency and openness standards. The median COS Transparency Factor score was 3.5 (IQR 2.8) of 29 possible points, and only 7 of 10 journals' stated requirements for disclosure of conflicts of interest aligned fully with the ICMJE recommendations. Improved transparency and openness of pain research has the potential to benefit all that are involved in generating and using research findings. Journal policies that endorse and facilitate transparent and open research practices will ultimately improve the evidence base that informs the care provided for people with pain.
    Keywords:  pain management; statistics & research methods
  8. Sci Eng Ethics. 2020 Jan 24.
    Pan SJ, Chou C.
      In 2014, SAGE Publications retracted 60 articles authored by Taiwanese researchers due to suspected peer-review fraud. This scandal led to the resignation of the Minister of Education at the time since he coauthored several retracted works. Issues regarding the lack of transparent decision-making processes regarding authorship were further disclosed. Motivated by the scandal, we believe that this is one of the first empirical studies of questionable authorship practices (QAPs) in East Asian academia; we investigate Taiwanese researchers' perceptions of QAPs. To meet this purpose, a self-reported survey was developed. Four hundred and three local researchers, including research faculty (e.g., professors), postdoctoral researchers, and Ph.D. students, participated in the survey. Four major findings resulted. First, the underlying causes of Taiwanese doctoral students' engagement in QAPs were attributable to their desire to achieve particular academic-related successes and their feeling of reciprocal obligation to support other researchers. Second, the underlying motives for Taiwanese research associates' (i.e., research faculty and postdoctoral fellows) engagement in QAPs were attributable to their attempts to achieve particular career successes and of the desire to consolidate their professional networks. Third, the participants generally agreed that QAPs had a long history among local academics but were rarely reported. Fourth, participants' backgrounds (i.e., research discipline, academic rank, and type of affiliations) had significant effects on their responses regarding particular authorship issues; however, their gender did not have a significant effect. QAPs are a critical issue in Taiwanese academia; therefore, we discussed the implications of the current findings including subsequent instruction and future research.
    Keywords:  Authorship; Cultural ethics; Publication ethics; Questionable research practices; Research integrity
  9. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2020 Feb;214(2): 235-236
    Berquist TH.
  10. Account Res. 2020 Jan 24.
    Hosseini M, Lewis J.
      The practice of assigning authorship for a scientific publication tends to raise two normative questions: 1) 'who should be credited as an author?'; 2) 'who should not be credited as an author but should still be acknowledged?'. With the publication of the revised version of The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (ECCRI), standard answers to these questions have been called into question. This article examines the ways in which the ECCRI approaches these two questions and compares these approaches to standard definitions of 'authorship' and 'acknowledgment' in guidelines issued by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME). In light of two scenarios and the problems posed by these kinds of 'real-world' examples, we recommend specific revisions to the content of the ECCRI in order not only to provide a more detailed account of the tasks deserving of acknowledgment, but to improve the Code's current definition of authorship.
    Keywords:  accountability; acknowledgment; authorship; credit; ethics; responsibility
  11. Sci Eng Ethics. 2020 Jan 24.
    Bruton SV, Medlin M, Brown M, Sacco DF.
      As concern over the use of questionable research practices (QRPs) in academic science has increased over the last couple of decades, some reforms have been implemented and many others have been debated and recommended. While many of these proposals have merit, efforts to improve scientific practices are more likely to succeed when they are responsive to the prevailing views and concerns of scientists themselves. To date, there have been few efforts to solicit wide-ranging input from researchers on the topic of needed reforms. This article is a qualitative report of responses from federally funded scientists to the question of what should be done to address the problem of QRPs in their disciplines. Overall, participants were concerned about how institutional and career-oriented incentives encourage the use of QRPs. Compared to previous recommendations, participants had surprisingly little confidence in the ability of ethics training to improve research integrity.
    Keywords:  Ethical motivation; Qualitative research; Questionable research practices; Research ethics; Research integrity
  12. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2020 Jan 23.
    Panda S.
  13. Perspect Behav Sci. 2019 Mar;42(1): 13-31
    Hales AH, Wesselmann ED, Hilgard J.
      The ability to independently verify and replicate observations made by other researchers is a hallmark of science. In this article, we provide an overview of recent discussions concerning replicability and best practices in mainstream psychology with an emphasis on the practical benefists to both researchers and the field as a whole. We first review challenges individual researchers face in producing research that is both publishable and reliable. We then suggest methods for producing more accurate research claims, such as transparently disclosing how results were obtained and analyzed, preregistering analysis plans, and publicly posting original data and materials. We also discuss ongoing changes at the institutional level to incentivize stronger research. These include officially recognizing open science practices at the journal level, disconnecting the publication decision from the results of a study, training students to conduct replications, and publishing replications. We conclude that these open science practices afford exciting low-cost opportunities to improve the quality of psychological science.
    Keywords:  Meta-analysis; Preregistration; Replication; Reproducibility
  14. BMJ Open. 2020 Jan 22. 10(1): e034666
    Strzebonska K, Wasylewski MT, Zaborowska L, Riedel N, Wieschowski S, Strech D, Waligora M.
      OBJECTIVES: To establish the rates of publication and reporting of results for interventional clinical trials across Polish academic medical centres (AMCs) completed between 2009 and 2013. We aim also to compare the publication and reporting success between adult and paediatric trials.DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.
    SETTING: AMCs in Poland.
    PARTICIPANTS: AMCs with interventional trials registered on
    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Results reporting on and publishing via journal publication.
    RESULTS: We identified 305 interventional clinical trials registered on, completed between 2009 and 2013 and affiliated with at least one AMC. Overall, 243 of the 305 trials (79.7%) had been published as articles or posted their summary results on Results were posted within a year of study completion and/or published within 2 years of study completion for 131 trials (43.0%). Dissemination by both posting and publishing results in a timely manner was achieved by four trials (1.3%).
    CONCLUSIONS: Our cross-sectional analysis revealed that Polish AMCs fail to meet the expectation for timely disseminating the findings of all interventional clinical trials. Delayed dissemination and non-dissemination of trial results negatively affects decisions in healthcare.
    Keywords:  clinical trials; health policy; medical ethics