bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2020‒11‒15
twenty-four papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. Account Res. 2020 Nov 12.
    Anson IG, Moskovitz C.
      Text recycling, sometimes called "self-plagiarism," is the reuse of material from one's own existing documents in a newly created work. Over the past decade, text recycling has become an increasingly debated practice in research ethics, especially in science and technology fields. Little is known, however, about researchers' actual text recycling practices. We report here on a computational analysis of text recycling in published research articles in STEM disciplines. Using a tool we created in R, we analyze a corpus of 400 published articles from 80 federally-funded research projects across eight disciplinary clusters. According to our analysis, STEM research groups frequently recycle some material from their previously published articles. On average, papers in our corpus contained about three recycled sentences per article, though a minority of research teams (around 15%) recycled substantially more content. These findings were generally consistent across STEM disciplines. We also find evidence that researchers superficially alter recycled prose much more often than recycling it verbatim. Based on our findings, which suggest that recycling some amount of material is normative in STEM research writing, researchers and editors would benefit from more appropriate and explicit guidance about what constitutes legitimate practice and how authors should report the presence of recycled material.
    Keywords:  STEM; engineering; plagiarism; publication ethics; research ethics; science; self-plagiarism; text recycling
  2. PLoS Comput Biol. 2020 Nov;16(11): e1008390
    Romano JD, Moore JH.
      Papers describing software are an important part of computational fields of scientific research. These "software papers" are unique in a number of ways, and they require special consideration to improve their impact on the scientific community and their efficacy at conveying important information. Here, we discuss 10 specific rules for writing software papers, covering some of the different scenarios and publication types that might be encountered, and important questions from which all computational researchers would benefit by asking along the way.
  3. J Transl Med. 2020 Nov 10. 18(1): 425
    Forero DA, Lopez-Leon S, Perry G.
      Publishing articles in international scientific journals is the primary method for the communication of validated research findings and ideas. Journal articles are commonly used as a major input for evaluations of researchers and institutions. Few articles have been published previously about the different aspects needed for writing high-quality articles. In this manuscript, we provide an updated and brief guide for the multiple dimensions needed for writing manuscripts in the health and biological sciences, from current, international and interdisciplinary perspectives and from our expertise as authors, peer reviewers and editors. We provide key suggestions for writing major sections of the manuscript (e.g. title, abstract, introduction, methods, results and discussion), for submitting the manuscript and bring an overview of the peer review process and  of the post-publication impact of the articles.
    Keywords:  Abstracting and indexing; Biological science disciplines; Peer review; Publications; Writing
  4. Optom Vis Sci. 2020 Nov;97(11): 915-916
    Twa MD.
  5. Arch Bronconeumol. 2020 Oct 22. pii: S0300-2896(20)30390-2. [Epub ahead of print]
    Dal-Ré R, Morell F.
  6. Rheumatol Int. 2020 Nov 07.
    Ahmed S, Mohini .
    Keywords:  COVID-19; Medical journals; Peer review; Publishing ethics
  7. J Neurosurg. 2020 Nov 13. pii: 2020.6.JNS20902. [Epub ahead of print] 1-9
    Mahajan UV, Wadhwa H, Fatemi P, Xu S, Shan J, Benzil DL, Zygourakis CC.
      OBJECTIVE: Publications are key for advancement within academia. Although women are underrepresented in academic neurosurgery, the rates of women entering residency, achieving board certification, and publishing papers are increasing. The goal of this study was to assess the current status of women in academic neurosurgery publications. Specifically, this study sought to 1) survey female authorship rates in the Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS [not including JNS: Spine or JNS: Pediatrics]) and Neurosurgery from 2010 to 2019; 2) analyze whether double-blind peer review (started in Neurosurgery in 2011) altered female authorship rates relative to single-blind review (JNS); and 3) evaluate how female authorship rates compared with the number of women entering neurosurgery residency and obtaining neurosurgery board certification.METHODS: Genders of the first and last authors for JNS and Neurosurgery articles from 2010 to 2019 were obtained. Data were also gathered on the number and percentage of women entering neurosurgery residency and women obtaining American Board of Neurological Surgeons (ABNS) certification between 2010 and 2019.
    RESULTS: Women accounted for 13.4% (n = 570) of first authors and 6.8% (n = 240) of last authors in JNS and Neurosurgery publications. No difference in rates of women publishing existed between the two journals (first authors: 13.0% JNS vs 13.9% Neurosurgery, p = 0.29; last authors: 7.3% JNS vs 6.0% Neurosurgery, p = 0.25). No difference existed between women first or last authors in Neurosurgery before and after initiation of double-blind review (p = 0.066). Significant concordance existed between the gender of first and last authors: in publications with a woman last author, the odds of the first author being a woman was increased by twofold (OR 2.14 [95% CI 1.43-3.13], p = 0.0001). Women represented a lower proportion of authors of invited papers (8.6% of first authors and 3.1% of last authors were women) compared with noninvited papers (14.1% of first authors and 7.4% of last authors were women) (first authors: OR 0.576 [95% CI 0.410-0.794], p = 0.0004; last authors: OR 0.407 [95% CI 0.198-0.751], p = 0.001). The proportion of women US last authors (7.4%) mirrors the percentage of board-certified women neurosurgeons (5.4% in 2010 and 6.8% in 2019), while the percentage of women US first authors (14.3%) is less than that for women entering neurosurgical residency (11.2% in 2009 and 23.6% in 2018).
    CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of female authorship in the neurosurgical literature. The authors found that single- versus double-blind peer review did not impact female authorship rates at two top neurosurgical journals.
    Keywords:  ABNS; ABNS = American Board of Neurological Surgery; American Board of Neurological Surgery; JNS = Journal of Neurosurgery; authorship; female; gender; neurosurgery; publication; residency
  8. Transfus Clin Biol. 2020 11;pii: S1246-7820(20)30126-9. [Epub ahead of print]27(4): 201-202
    Garraud O.
  9. Behav Res Methods. 2020 Nov 11.
    Towse JN, Ellis DA, Towse AS.
      Open data-sharing is a valuable practice that ought to enhance the impact, reach, and transparency of a research project. While widely advocated by many researchers and mandated by some journals and funding agencies, little is known about detailed practices across psychological science. In a pre-registered study, we show that overall, few research papers directly link to available data in many, though not all, journals. Most importantly, even where open data can be identified, the majority of these lacked completeness and reusability-conclusions that closely mirror those reported outside of Psychology. Exploring the reasons behind these findings, we offer seven specific recommendations for engineering and incentivizing improved practices, so that the potential of open data can be better realized across psychology and social science more generally.
    Keywords:  Meta-research; Open science; Public data sharing; Reproducibility; Transparency
  10. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2020 Nov 13. pii: ocaa260. [Epub ahead of print]
    Cole CL, Sengupta S, Rossetti Née Collins S, Vawdrey DK, Halaas M, Maddox TM, Gordon G, Dave T, Payne PRO, Williams AE, Estrin D.
      Digital medical records have enabled us to employ clinical data in many new and innovative ways. However, these advances have brought with them a complex set of demands for healthcare institutions regarding data sharing with topics such as data ownership, the loss of privacy, and the protection of the intellectual property. The lack of clear guidance from government entities often creates conflicting messages about data policy, leaving institutions to develop guidelines themselves. Through discussions with multiple stakeholders at various institutions, we have generated a set of guidelines with 10 key principles to guide the responsible and appropriate use and sharing of clinical data for the purposes of care and discovery. Industry, universities, and healthcare institutions can build upon these guidelines toward creating a responsible, ethical, and practical response to data sharing.
    Keywords:  data sharing; electronic medical records; intellectual property; policy; privacy
  11. J R Soc Med. 2020 Nov;113(11): 433-443
    Bradley SH, DeVito NJ, Lloyd KE, Richards GC, Rombey T, Wayant C, Gill PJ.
      In recent years there has been increasing awareness of problems that have undermined trust in medical research. This review outlines some of the most important issues including research culture, reporting biases, and statistical and methodological issues. It examines measures that have been instituted to address these problems and explores the success and limitations of these measures. The paper concludes by proposing three achievable actions which could be implemented to deliver significantly improved transparency and mitigation of bias. These measures are as follows: (1) mandatory registration of interests by those involved in research; (2) that journals support the 'registered reports' publication format; and (3) that comprehensive study documentation for all publicly funded research be made available on a World Health Organization research repository. We suggest that achieving such measures requires a broad-based campaign which mobilises public opinion. We invite readers to feedback on the proposed actions and to join us in calling for their implementation.
    Keywords:  Research and publication ethics; statistics and research methods
  12. Proc Assoc Inf Sci Technol. 2020 ;57(1): e295
    Alemneh DG, Hawamdeh S, Chang HC, Rorissa A, Assefa S, Helge K.
      The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of transparency, open, and timely access to information. Open Access (OA) has the potential to increase the exposure and use of not only published research but also authoritative and reliable information. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacted the work of journalists, scientists, and doctors while ordinary citizens are seeking trusted information sources and the truth about the new virus. Government and private institutions worldwide are reacting to the new situation where researchers, educators, students, and staff are trying to adjust to remote teaching and learning as well as telecommuting. In March 2020, a message from the White House was sent to the Scholarly Publishing Community asking them to make all COVID-19 papers openly available and machine readable. Considering the evolving and unresolved issues around OA and scholarly communications, together with the UN 2030 Agenda (a plan of action for sustainable, universal development), this panel brings together diverse perspectives to review the current landscape of OA and shed light on the role it plays in such crises. The panel will also discuss the future implications and impact of the pandemic in the overall advancement of scholarship in general.
    Keywords:  digital scholarship; open access; scholarly communication
  13. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Nov 12. pii: gkaa994. [Epub ahead of print]
    Ferguson C, Araújo D, Faulk L, Gou Y, Hamelers A, Huang Z, Ide-Smith M, Levchenko M, Marinos N, Nambiar R, Nassar M, Parkin M, Pi X, Rahman F, Rogers F, Roochun Y, Saha S, Selim M, Shafique Z, Sharma S, Stephenson D, Talo' F, Thouvenin A, Tirunagari S, Vartak V, Venkatesan A, Yang X, McEntyre J.
      Europe PMC ( is a database of research articles, including peer reviewed full text articles and abstracts, and preprints - all freely available for use via website, APIs and bulk download. This article outlines new developments since 2017 where work has focussed on three key areas: (i) Europe PMC has added to its core content to include life science preprint abstracts and a special collection of full text of COVID-19-related preprints. Europe PMC is unique as an aggregator of biomedical preprints alongside peer-reviewed articles, with over 180 000 preprints available to search. (ii) Europe PMC has significantly expanded its links to content related to the publications, such as links to Unpaywall, providing wider access to full text, preprint peer-review platforms, all major curated data resources in the life sciences, and experimental protocols. The redesigned Europe PMC website features the PubMed abstract and corresponding PMC full text merged into one article page; there is more evident and user-friendly navigation within articles and to related content, plus a figure browse feature. (iii) The expanded annotations platform offers ∼1.3 billion text mined biological terms and concepts sourced from 10 providers and over 40 global data resources.
  14. PLoS One. 2020 ;15(11): e0241972
    Martin C, MacDonald BH.
      Today, many science communicators are using social media to share scientific information with citizens, but, as research has shown, fostering conversational exchanges remains a challenge. This largely qualitative study investigated the communication strategies applied by individual scientists and environmental non-governmental organizations on Twitter and Instagram to determine whether particular social media practices encourage two-way conversations between science communicators and citizens. Data from Twitter and Instagram posts, interviews with the communicators, and a survey of audience members were triangulated to identify emergent communication strategies and the resulting engagement; provide insight into why particular practices are employed by communicators; and explain why audiences choose to participate in social media conversations with communicators. The results demonstrate that the application of interpersonal communication strategies encourage conversational engagement, in terms of the number of comments and unique individuals involved in conversations. In particular, using selfies (images and videos), non-scientific content, first person pronoun-rich captions, and responding to comments result in the formation of communicator-audience relationships, encouraging two-way conversations on social media. Furthermore, the results indicate that Instagram more readily supports the implementation of interpersonal communication strategies than Twitter, making Instagram the preferred platform for promoting conversational exchanges. These findings can be applicable to diverse communicators, subjects, audiences, and environments (online and offline) in initiatives to promote awareness and understanding of science.
  15. Int J Surg. 2020 Nov 09. pii: S1743-9191(20)30771-8. [Epub ahead of print]
    Agha RA, Franchi T, Sohrabi C, Mathew G, Kerwan A, .
      INTRODUCTION: The SCARE Guidelines were first published in 2016 and were last updated in 2018. They provide a structure for reporting surgical case reports and are used and endorsed by authors, journal editors and reviewers, in order to increase robustness and transparency in reporting surgical cases. They must be kept up to date in order to drive forwards reporting quality. As such, we have updated these guidelines via a DELPHI consensus exercise.METHODS: The updated guidelines were produced via a DELPHI consensus exercise. Members were invited from the previous DELPHI group, as well as editorial board member and peer reviewers of the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports. The expert group completed an online survey to indicate their agreement with proposed changes to the checklist items.
    RESULTS: 54 surgical experts agreed to participate and 53 (98%) completed the survey. The responses and suggested modifications were incorporated to the 2018 guideline. There was a high degree of agreement amongst the SCARE Group, with all SCARE Items receiving over 70% scores 7-9.
    CONCLUSION: A DELPHI consensus exercise was completed, and an updated and improved SCARE Checklist is now presented.
    Keywords:  SCARE; case report; guideline; surgery