bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2020‒08‒23
28 papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society


  1. Eur J Public Health. 2020 Aug 20. pii: ckaa169. [Epub ahead of print]
    Allebeck P, Wallin AS.
      
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckaa169
  2. PLoS One. 2020 ;15(8): e0237804
    Peebles E, Scandlyn M, Hesp BR.
      INTRODUCTION: Peer review is a volunteer process for improving the quality of publications by providing objective feedback to authors, but also presents an opportunity for reviewers to seek personal reward by requesting self-citations. Open peer review may reduce the prevalence of self-citation requests and encourage author rebuttal over accession. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of self-citation requests and their inclusion in manuscripts in a journal with open peer review.METHODS: Requests for additional references to be included during peer review for articles published between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2018 in BMC Medicine were evaluated. Data extracted included total number of self-citations requested, self-citations that were included in the final published manuscript and manuscripts that included at least one self-citation, and compared with corresponding data on independent citations.
    RESULTS: In total, 932 peer review reports from 373 manuscripts were analysed. At least one additional citation was requested in 25.9% (n = 241) of reports. Self-citation requests were included in 44.4% of reports requesting additional citations (11.5% of all reports). Requests for self-citation were significantly more likely than independent citations to be incorporated in the published manuscript (65.1% vs 52.1%; chi-square p = 0.003). At the manuscript level, when requested, self-citations were incorporated in 76.6% of manuscripts (n = 72; 19.3% of all manuscripts) compared with 68.5% of manuscripts with independent citation requests (n = 102; 27.3% of manuscripts). A significant interaction was observed between the presence of self-citation requests and the likelihood of any citation request being incorporated (100% incorporation in manuscripts with self-citation requests alone versus 62.7-72.2% with any independent citation request; Fisher's exact test p<0.0005).
    CONCLUSIONS: Requests for self-citations during the peer review process are common. The transparency of open peer review may have the unexpected effect of encouraging authors to incorporate self-citation requests by disclosing peer reviewer identity.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0237804
  3. BMJ Open. 2020 Aug 20. 10(8): e035058
    Severin A, Martins J, Heyard R, Delavy F, Jorstad A, Egger M.
      OBJECTIVES: To examine whether the gender of applicants and peer reviewers and other factors influence peer review of grant proposals submitted to a national funding agency.SETTING: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).
    DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of peer review reports submitted from 2009 to 2016 using linear mixed effects regression models adjusted for research topic, applicant's age, nationality, affiliation and calendar period.
    PARTICIPANTS: External peer reviewers.
    PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURE: Overall score on a scale from 1 (worst) to 6 (best).
    RESULTS: Analyses included 38 250 reports on 12 294 grant applications from medicine, architecture, biology, chemistry, economics, engineering, geology, history, linguistics, mathematics, physics, psychology and sociology submitted by 26 829 unique peer reviewers. In univariable analysis, male applicants received more favourable evaluation scores than female applicants (+0.18 points; 95% CI 0.14 to 0.23), and male reviewers awarded higher scores than female reviewers (+0.11; 95% CI 0.08 to 0.15). Applicant-nominated reviewers awarded higher scores than reviewers nominated by the SNSF (+0.53; 95% CI 0.50 to 0.56), and reviewers from outside of Switzerland more favourable scores than reviewers affiliated with Swiss institutions (+0.53; 95% CI 0.49 to 0.56). In multivariable analysis, differences between male and female applicants were attenuated (+0.08; 95% CI 0.04 to 0.13) whereas results changed little for source of nomination and affiliation of reviewers. The gender difference increased after September 2011, when new evaluation forms were introduced (p=0.033 from test of interaction).
    CONCLUSIONS: Peer review of grant applications at SNSF might be prone to biases stemming from different applicant and reviewer characteristics. The SNSF abandoned the nomination of peer reviewers by applicants. The new form introduced in 2011 may inadvertently have given more emphasis to the applicant's track record. We encourage other funders to conduct similar studies, in order to improve the evidence base for rational and fair research funding.
    Keywords:  epidemiology; organisational development; statistics & research methods
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035058
  4. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2020 Sep;33(9): 455-456
      
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1097/01.ASW.0000694252.55935.8d
  5. Sci Total Environ. 2020 Aug 08. pii: S0048-9697(20)34955-X. [Epub ahead of print]748 141426
    Provencher JF, Covernton GA, Moore RC, Horn DA, Conkle JL, Lusher AL.
      Plastic is a ubiquitous contaminant of the Anthropocene. The highly diverse nature of microplastic pollution means it is not a single contaminant, but a suite of chemicals that include a range of polymers, particle sizes, colors, morphologies, and associated contaminants. Microplastics research has rapidly expanded in recent years and has led to an overwhelming consideration in the peer-reviewed literature. While there have been multiple calls for standardization and harmonization of the research methods used to study microplastics in the environment, the complexities of this emerging field have led to an exploration of many methods and tools. While different research questions require different methods, making standardization often impractical, it remains import to harmonize the outputs of these various methodologies. We argue here that in addition to harmonized methods and quality assurance practices, journals, editors and reviewers must also be more proactive in ensuring that scientific papers have clear, repeatable methods, and contribute to a constructive and factual discourse on plastic pollution. This includes carefully considering the quality of the manuscript submissions and how they fit into the larger field of research. While comparability and reproducibility is critical in all fields, we argue that this is of utmost importance in microplastics research as policy around plastic pollution is being developed in real time alongside this evolving scientific field, necessitating the need for rigorous examination of the science being published.
    Keywords:  Environmental contaminants; Harmonization; Peer-review; Plastic pollution; Standardization
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141426
  6. Am J Ophthalmol. 2020 Aug 12. pii: S0002-9394(20)30433-5. [Epub ahead of print]
    Bakri SJ, Shah SM.
      PURPOSE: To describe the phenomenon of predatory publishing, its impact on the field of ophthalmology, and specific characteristics associated with predatory journals for authors to review prior to selecting a journal for submission of scientific work.DESIGN: Descriptive editorial article METHODS: Literature review of currently published literature regarding the topic.
    RESULTS: Predatory publishing has had a significant impact on the quality of literature in the scientific world, funding opportunities across countries and institutions, and on individual physician and scientist careers. There are a significant number of predatory journals in ophthalmology, but fewer than in other specialties.
    CONCLUSION: We must raise awareness about the existence of predatory publishing within ophthalmology, and must individually act to limit contributing to its growth by critically appraising each publisher and journal prior to submitting our scientific work.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2020.08.009
  7. Nature. 2020 Aug 21.
    Guglielmi G.
      
    Keywords:  Language; Publishing
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-020-02466-3
  8. Microbes Infect. 2020 Aug 12. pii: S1286-4579(20)30142-8. [Epub ahead of print]
    Egbert N, Goodall CE, McCullough JL, Smith TC.
      Science and medical professionals are often looked to as experts in the event of a health crisis, but relatively few have received formal training in science communication. We provide a brief review of the current outbreak situation and suggestions for engaging in reliable, effective science communication online.
    Keywords:  coronavirus; epidemic; misinformation; science communication
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.micinf.2020.07.004
  9. Account Res. 2020 Aug 20.
    Grey A, Portch R, Gaby A, Grey H, Bolland M.
      During evaluation of the integrity of 172 clinical trial publications, we identified 138 unique trial registration documents linked to 157 publications. 88 (64%) registrations were retrospective. Discrepancies in key trial characteristics - ethics oversight, study timeline, study location, participant number and sample size - between 68 registration documents and their linked publications were reported to journals, publishers and a national regulatory body. Subsequently, revisions to 119/138 registration documents were lodged at the registry website, a median (IQR) of 44 (32-56) months after initial registration. Revisions were made to 56 of the 68 registration documents included in the report: there was a median of 8 (IQR 6-9) changes per document. 79-93% of revised documents contained ≥1 alteration to the primary outcome(s), the secondary outcome(s), and the participant inclusion/exclusion criteria. Changes in each of study location, study timeline, participant age, sample size and randomization method were made in ≥33% of revised documents. Eight months after journals, publishers and the regulatory body were apprised of the revisions, none of the affected publications has been corrected with an editorial notice, expression of concern, or retraction. These results call into question whether regulators and publishers regard trial registration documents as helpful in ensuring publication integrity.
    Keywords:  Research integrity; clinical trials; publishing ethics; trial registration
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/08989621.2020.1813580
  10. J Dent. 2020 Aug 14. pii: S0300-5712(20)30198-6. [Epub ahead of print] 103452
    Faggion CM, Pandis N, Cardoso GC, Rodolfo B, Morel LL, Moraes RR.
      OBJECTIVE: Detailed information on potential conflict of interest (COI) and sponsorship is pivotal for the adequate understanding and appropriate interpretation of the reported study results. The reporting of COI and sponsorship and any potential associations with study characteristics in publications of all dental journals with impact factor was examined.METHODS: The Web of Science database was searched, in March 2019, for articles published from February 28, 2018 to March 1, 2019. A random a sample of 1000 articles in English was selected. Two independent authors extracted the following article characteristics: type of article, dental field, number of authors, country/continent affiliation of the first author, dental journal, journal impact factor, number of citations, Altmetric score, type of COI and sponsorship. Disagreements during data extraction were resolved by discussion and consensus. Descriptive statistics were calculated for the selected variables and multinomial logistic regression was implemented to assess the association between COI, sponsorship, and the other variables.
    RESULTS: 3% of dental publications declared a COI, whereas in 32.5% of publications the presence of COI was unclear. The most prevalent type of COI was financial (n = 26). Non-profit organizations funded 37.2% of the articles, while the sponsorship for 40.4% articles was unclear. Regression analysis showed that publications reporting COI had greater odds of receiving sponsorship from for profit sources.
    CONCLUSIONS: Sponsorship and COI information seem to be underreported in dental journals. Efforts should be made by authors, journals, and publishers to provide more comprehensive information to allow the reader to understand the potential impact of sponsorship and COI on study results.
    Keywords:  Conflict of interest; medical ethics; publishing
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2020.103452
  11. Heart. 2020 Aug 21. pii: heartjnl-2020-316519. [Epub ahead of print]
    Anderson JM, Wright B, Rauh S, Tritz D, Horn J, Parker I, Bergeron D, Cook S, Vassar M.
      OBJECTIVES: It has been suggested that biomedical research is facing a reproducibility issue, yet the extent of reproducible research within the cardiology literature remains unclear. Thus, our main objective was to assess the quality of research published in cardiology journals by assessing for the presence of eight indicators of reproducibility and transparency.METHODS: Using a cross-sectional study design, we conducted an advanced search of the National Library of Medicine catalogue for publications in cardiology journals. We included publications published between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2019. After the initial list of eligible cardiology publications was generated, we searched for full-text PDF versions using Open Access, Google Scholar and PubMed. Using a pilot-tested Google Form, a random sample of 532 publications were assessed for the presence of eight indicators of reproducibility and transparency.
    RESULTS: A total of 232 eligible publications were included in our final analysis. The majority of publications (224/232, 96.6%) did not provide access to complete and unmodified data sets, all 229/232 (98.7%) failed to provide step-by-step analysis scripts and 228/232 (98.3%) did not provide access to complete study protocols.
    CONCLUSIONS: The presentation of studies published in cardiology journals would make reproducing study outcomes challenging, at best. Solutions to increase the reproducibility and transparency of publications in cardiology journals is needed. Moving forward, addressing inadequate sharing of materials, raw data and key methodological details might help to better the landscape of reproducible research within the field.
    Keywords:  research approaches; statistics and study design
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1136/heartjnl-2020-316519
  12. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2020 08 18. 140(11):
    Hagve M.
      
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.4045/tidsskr.20.0118
  13. J Public Health Policy. 2020 Aug 21.
    Mheidly N, Fares J.
      The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a complementary infodemic, whereby various outlets and digital media portals shared false information and unsourced recommendations on health. In addition, journals and authors published a mass of academic articles at a speed that suggests a non-existent or a non-rigorous peer review process. Such lapses can promote false information and adoption of health policies based on misleading data. Reliable information is vital for designing and implementing preventive measures and promoting health awareness in the fight against COVID-19. In the age of social media, information travels wide and fast, emphasizing a need for accurate data to be corroborated swiftly and for preventing misleading information from wide dissemination. Here, we discuss the implications of the COVID-19 infodemic and explore practical ways to leverage health communication strategies to overcome it. We propose the "Infodemic Response Checklist" as a comprehensive tool to overcome the challenges posed by the current and any future infodemics.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; Communication; Infodemic; Infodemic Response Checklist; Pandemic; Peer review; Science; Social media
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1057/s41271-020-00247-w
  14. Pathology. 2020 Aug 16. pii: S0031-3025(20)30881-3. [Epub ahead of print]
    Delahunt B, Neill B, Burnett JR, Scolyer RA.
      
    Keywords:  CiteScore; Impact Factor; publication metrics
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pathol.2020.07.002
  15. Med J Aust. 2020 Aug 18.
    Teixeira da Silva JA.
      
    Keywords:  Cultural competency; Education, public health; Ethics; Ethics, professional; Ethics, research; History of science; Library, medical; Medical errors; Medical misconduct; Medicine in literature; Public policy; Publishing
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.5694/mja2.50738
  16. J Interprof Care. 2020 Aug 18. 1-7
    Thistlethwaite JE, Anderson E.
      The aim of this paper is to help writers at all levels improve their likelihood of success in having papers accepted by academic peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Interprofessional Care. We discuss the importance of reading both in your own discipline and also more widely across disciplines and fields of study. There are sections on the attributes of good authors, how to choose a journal, types of articles that are published and the structure of these, the contrast between research and evaluation, and how to plan a paper. We stress the importance of reading and complying with a journal's author guidelines and answering the 'so what' question by the end of the article. There is more detail about the main elements of a paper and what should be included in the introduction, methods, results (findings) and discussion to improve the quality of the reporting. As well as content we also focus on the style of writing. We finish with a discussion of the submission and review processes, why papers may be rejected and how to manage decisions on papers. Dissemination of scholarly work is paramount to the advancement of the interprofessional field; we invite authors to consider our advice and in so doing help strengthen the quality and rigor of interprofessional scholarship.
    Keywords:  Research; dissemination; evaluation; interprofessional evaluation; interprofessional research; scholarship; writing
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/13561820.2020.1798899
  17. Account Res. 2020 Aug 19.
    Faggion C.
      Meta-research aims to research the process of research itself, and as such, it can be used to study threats to research integrity and potentially better understand them. This commentary assesses the prevalence of meta-research studies published in medical ethics journals to understand their representation. The retrieved articles were organized by meta-research area: methods, reporting, reproducibility, evaluation, and incentives. An analysis of articles published in the last two years in the 16 highest ranked medical ethics journals suggests that meta-research studies seemed to be not well represented in these journals. In this sample, less than 2% of the articles were classified as meta-research studies. Furthermore, some meta-research areas such as reproducibility and incentives are relatively unexplored currently in medical ethics journals. This commentary discusses the meaning of the specific meta-research areas and provide some examples of articles in medical research ethics that fit into each meta-research area. As a conclusion of this commentary, some action should be taken to encourage more meta-research publications in medical ethics journals for their potential to advance medical ethics science.
    Keywords:  Medical ethics; bioethics; biomedical ethics; conflict of interest; methods; scientific misconduct
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/08989621.2020.1813033
  18. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2020 Sep-Oct;86(5):86(5): 609
      [This corrects the article DOI: 10.4103/ijdvl.IJDVL_704_20].
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.4103/0378-6323.287444
  19. Wilderness Environ Med. 2020 Aug 18. pii: S1080-6032(20)30124-1. [Epub ahead of print]
    Pollock NW.
      
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2020.07.001