bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2020‒03‒22
twenty-two papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. BMJ Open. 2020 Mar 19. 10(3): e035114
    Speich B, Schroter S, Briel M, Moher D, Puebla I, Clark A, Maia Schlüssel M, Ravaud P, Boutron I, Hopewell S.
      INTRODUCTION: Transparent and accurate reporting is essential for readers to adequately interpret the results of a study. Journals can play a vital role in improving the reporting of published randomised controlled trials (RCTs). We describe an RCT to evaluate our hypothesis that asking peer reviewers to check whether the most important and poorly reported CONsolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) items are adequately reported will result in higher adherence to CONSORT guidelines in published RCTs.METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Manuscripts presenting the primary results of RCTs submitted to participating journals will be randomised to either the intervention group (peer reviewers will receive a reminder and short explanation of the 10 most important and poorly reported CONSORT items; they will be asked to check if these items are reported in the submitted manuscript) or a control group (usual journal practice). The primary outcome will be the mean proportion of the 10 items that are adequately reported in the published articles. Peer reviewers and manuscript authors will not be informed of the study hypothesis, design or intervention. Outcomes will be assessed in duplicate from published articles by two data extractors (at least one blinded to the intervention). We will enrol eligible manuscripts until a minimum of 83 articles per group (166 in total) are published.
    ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This pragmatic RCT was approved by the Medical Sciences Interdivisional Research Ethics Committee of the University of Oxford (R62779/RE001). If this intervention is effective, it could be implemented by all medical journals without requiring large additional resources at journal level. Findings will be disseminated through presentations in relevant conferences and peer-reviewed publications. This trial is registered on the Open Science Framework (
    Keywords:  medical education & training; protocols & guidelines; quality in healthcare; statistics & research methods
  2. Gen Psychiatr. 2020 ;33(1): e100149
    Sherry CE, Pollard JZ, Tritz D, Carr BK, Pierce A, Vassar M.
      Background: Reproducibility is a cornerstone of scientific advancement; however, many published works may lack the core components needed for study reproducibility.Aims: In this study, we evaluate the state of transparency and reproducibility in the field of psychiatry using specific indicators as proxies for these practices.
    Methods: An increasing number of publications have investigated indicators of reproducibility, including research by Harwicke et al, from which we based the methodology for our observational, cross-sectional study. From a random 5-year sample of 300 publications in PubMed-indexed psychiatry journals, two researchers extracted data in a duplicate, blinded fashion using a piloted Google form. The publications were examined for indicators of reproducibility and transparency, which included availability of: materials, data, protocol, analysis script, open-access, conflict of interest, funding and online preregistration.
    Results: This study ultimately evaluated 296 randomly-selected publications with a 3.20 median impact factor. Only 107 were available online. Most primary authors originated from USA, UK and the Netherlands. The top three publication types were cohort studies, surveys and clinical trials. Regarding indicators of reproducibility, 17 publications gave access to necessary materials, four provided in-depth protocol and one contained raw data required to reproduce the outcomes. One publication offered its analysis script on request; four provided a protocol availability statement. Only 107 publications were publicly available: 13 were registered in online repositories and four, ten and eight publications included their hypothesis, methods and analysis, respectively. Conflict of interest was addressed by 177 and reported by 31 publications. Of 185 publications with a funding statement, 153 publications were funded and 32 were unfunded.
    Conclusions: Currently, Psychiatry research has significant potential to improve adherence to reproducibility and transparency practices. Thus, this study presents a reference point for the state of reproducibility and transparency in Psychiatry literature. Future assessments are recommended to evaluate and encourage progress.
    Keywords:  Sampling studies; research design; retrospective studies; sample size
  3. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2020 Mar 20.
    Hansell Keehan K, Gaffney MC, Zucker IH.
      The present study was undertaken to address the concern that author compliance with American Physiological Society (APS) journal Instructions to Authors for data presentation in manuscript figures is inadequate. Common instances of non-compliance are omitted molecular weight markers for immunoblots and bar graphs lacking individual data points. The American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology (AJP-Heart and Circ) editorial team designed a program to assess figure data presentation in submitted manuscripts. The intended outcome was to improve author compliance with APS data presentation guidelines and to improve overall rigor and reproducibility in articles published in AJP-Heart and Circ. The AJP-Heart and Circ team invited 37 peer reviewers to participate in a Figure Reviewer project (FRp). Over a period of five months, 32 first revision manuscripts were enrolled in the FRp. Each manuscript was reviewed by the original peer reviewers and an additional Figure Reviewer (FR). Post peer review, corresponding authors and FRs were surveyed for insight into their experiences. Of the 32 corresponding authors invited, 20 (63%) responded to the survey. In response to the survey, 100% of respondents stated that peer review was performed in a timely fashion, despite the additional FR. When asked if the FR experience had any effect on how one would present data in manuscript figures in future submissions, 65% of authors and 83% of FRs said yes. In addition, 63% of authors responding agreed that the overall quality of their figures was improved after revising based on FR comments. This exercise resulted in improved compliance with APS data presentation guidelines and changed attitudes among both authors and reviewers as to the need for consistent and clear data presentation in manuscript figures.
    Keywords:  data presentation; guidelines; peer review; rigor and reproducibility
  4. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2020 Mar 17.
    Wofsy D.
      Publication bias undermines the principle of scientific integrity. As generally understood, publication bias refers to selective reporting of positive trial results and non-reporting of negative results. However, subtler forms of publication bias also constitute a threat to a balanced understanding of trial results. The anifrolumab story constitutes an illustrative case in point.
  5. Heliyon. 2020 Mar;6(3): e03551
    Pourret O, Hursthouse A, Irawan DE, Johannesson K, Liu H, Poujol M, Tartèse R, van Hullebusch ED, Wiche O.
      Open Access (OA) describes the free, unrestricted access to and re-use of research articles. Recently, a new wave of interest, debate, and practice surrounding OA publishing has emerged. In this paper, we provide a simple overview of the trends in OA practice in the broad field of geochemistry. Characteristics of the approach such as whether or not an article processing charge (APC) exists, what embargo periods or restrictions on self-archiving' policies are in place, and whether or not the sharing of preprints is permitted are described. The majority of journals have self-archiving policies that allow authors to share their peer reviewed work via green OA without charge. There is no clear relationship between journal impact and APC. The journals with the highest APC are typically those of the major commercial publishers, rather than the geochemistry community themselves. The rise in OA publishing has potential impacts on the profiles of researchers and tends to devolve costs from organizations to individuals. Until the geochemistry community makes the decision to move away from journal-based evaluation criteria, it is likely that such high costs will continue to impose financial inequities upon research community. However, geochemists could more widely choose legal self-archiving as an equitable and sustainable way to disseminate their research.
    Keywords:  Article processing charge; Biogeochemistry; Biogeoscience; Catchment geochemistry; Earth sciences; Environmental geochemistry; Fossil geochemistry; Geochemistry; Green route; Hydrochemistry; Information science; Isotope geochemistry; Open access; Petroleum geochemistry; Repository; Trace element geochemistry
  6. Mediterr J Rheumatol. 2018 Dec;29(4): 184-186
    Gasparyan AY, Kitas GD.
    Keywords:  digital tools; open access; periodicals as topic; publishing; quality control; rheumatology
  7. Eur Heart J. 2020 Mar 21. 41(12): 1230-1231
    Camm CF.
  8. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2020 Mar;pii: S1701-2163(20)30014-1. [Epub ahead of print]42(3): 237-238
    Tulandi T, Hines K.
  9. Indian J Public Health. 2020 Jan-Mar;64(1):64(1): 86-89
    Pawar VJ, Jawade J.
      The impact of scholarly journals has increased with invent of Internet due to improved access, faster dissemination, and ease of searching a variety of publications. With the increasing trend of research, open access (OA) publishing has increased intensely over the last few years. The core intent of OA is faster dissemination of research by making it available to readers free of cost. However, some publishers exploited this novel idea for their own benefit. Beall termed them as predatory publishers/journals. In this article, authors have made efforts to understand the predatory publishers/journal, reasons behind their upsurge, their modus operandi, their common targets, and the points which will help readers to identify them. The aim of this article is to expose facts behind the predatory journal and to create awareness among not only budding researchers but also faculty members, authors, and editors about the threat predatory journals carry toward scientific world and to their own curricula.
    Keywords:  Open access journals; predatory journals; predatory publishers
  10. Eur Ann Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Dis. 2020 Mar 12. pii: S1879-7296(20)30057-0. [Epub ahead of print]
    Laccourreye O, Maisonneuve H.
  11. Nurs Sci Q. 2020 Apr;33(2): 109
    Parse RR.
    Keywords:  integrity in science-making; manuscripts; quantitative and qualitative research; scientific rigor
  12. BMC Med Ethics. 2020 Mar 18. 21(1): 22
    Rahman H, Ankier S.
      While there has been much discussion of how the scientific establishment's culture can engender research misconduct and scientific irreproducibility, this has been discussed much less frequently with respect to the medical profession. Here the authors posit that a lack of self-criticism, an encouragement of novel scientific research generated by the recruitment policies of the UK Royal Training Colleges along with insufficient training in the sciences are core reasons as to why research misconduct and dishonesty prevail within the medical community. Furthermore, the UK General Medical Council's own data demonstrates a historic inattentiveness to the ease with which doctors can engage in research misconduct. Suggestions are made as to how these issues can be investigated and alternative incentives for career advancement are adumbrated.
    Keywords:  History of medicine; Medical ethics; Royal College of Physicians; Scientific reproducibility; Sociology of the medical profession
  13. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2020 Feb 14. pii: S0022-5223(20)30411-6. [Epub ahead of print]
    Kwon JH, Denlinger CE.
  14. Chem Sci. 2020 Feb 28. 11(8): 2277-2301
    Day AE, Corbett P, Boyle J.
      The Royal Society of Chemistry is committed to investigating and addressing the barriers and biases which face women in the chemical sciences. The cornerstone of this is a thorough analysis of data regarding submissions, review and citations for Royal Society of Chemistry journals from January 2014 until July 2018, since the number and impact of publications and citations are an important factor when seeking research funding and for the progression of academic career. We have applied standard statistical techniques to multiple data sources to perform this analysis, and have investigated whether interactions between variables are significant in affecting various outcomes (author gender; reviewer gender; reviewer recommendations and submission outcome) in addition to considering variables individually. By considering several different data sources, we found that a baseline of approximately a third of chemistry researchers are female overall, although this differs considerably with Chemistry sub-discipline. Rather than one dominant bias effect, we observe complex interactions and a gradual trickle-down decrease in this female percentage through the publishing process and each of these female percentages is less than the last: authors of submissions; authors of RSC submissions which are not rejected without peer review; authors of accepted RSC publications; authors of cited articles. The success rate for female authors to progress through each of these publishing stages is lower than that for male authors. There is a decreasing female percentage when progressing through from first authors to corresponding authors to reviewers, reflecting the decreasing female percentage with seniority in Chemistry research observed in the "Diversity landscape of the chemical sciences" report. Highlights and actions from this analysis form the basis of an accompanying report to be released from the Royal Society of Chemistry.
  15. Evol Psychol. 2020 Jan-Mar;18(1):18(1): 1474704920912640
    Altay S, Mercier H.
      Selecting good sources of information is a critical skill to navigate our highly social world. To evaluate the epistemic reputation of potential sources, the main criterion should be the relevance of the information they provide us. In two online experiments (N = 801), we found that receivers are more thankful toward, deem more competent, and are more likely to request information in the future from sources of more relevant messages-if they know the message to be accurate or deem it plausible. To prevent sources from presenting information as more relevant than it is in order to improve their reputation, receivers lower the reputation of sources sending messages that are more relevant-if-true, if they know the message to be inaccurate. Our research sheds light on the reputational trade-offs involved in choosing what information to communicate and helps explain transmission patterns such as rumors diffusion.
    Keywords:  advice taking; communication; competence; impression management; relevance; reputation; rumor; source
  16. Medicina (Kaunas). 2020 Mar 12. pii: E123. [Epub ahead of print]56(3):
    Aliukonis V, Poškutė M, Gefenas E.
      Controversies related to the concept and practice of responsible authorship and its misuse have been among the most prominent issues discussed in the recent literature on research integrity. Therefore, this paper aims to address the factors that lead to two major types of unethical authorship, namely, honorary and ghost authorship. It also highlights negative consequences of authorship misuse and provides a critical analysis of different authorship guidelines, including a recent debate on the amendments of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship definition. Empirical studies revealed that honorary authorship was the most prevalent deviation from the responsible authorship standards. Three different modalities of honorary authorship were distinguished: gift authorship, guest authorship, and coercive authorship. Prevalence of authorship misuse worldwide and in Europe was alarmingly high, covering approximately one third of all scientific publications. No significant differences were reported in authorship misuse between different health research disciplines. The studies conducted in North America highlighted the most effective means to cope with unethical authorship. These were training in publishing ethics, clear authorship policies developed by medical schools, and explicit compliance with the authorship criteria required by the medical journals. In conclusion, more empirical research is needed to raise awareness of the high prevalence of authorship misuse among scientists. Research integrity training courses, including publication ethics and authorship issues should be integrated into the curricula for students and young researchers in medical schools. Last but not least, further discussion on responsible authorship criteria and practice should be initiated.
    Keywords:  authorship; authorship misuse; ghost authorship; honorary authorship; publication ethics; research integrity
  17. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2020 Mar;pii: S1701-2163(20)30015-3. [Epub ahead of print]42(3): 239-240
    Tulandi T, Hines K.