bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2020‒12‒20
twenty papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. Eur J Public Health. 2020 Dec 11. 30(6): 1230-1232
      The influence of harmful commodity industries on health research has heightened concerns around author financial conflicts of interest (FCOIs) in public health journals (PHJs), with little discussion of potential editorial, i.e., editor and reviewer, FCOIs. In this analysis of 20 prominent PHJs, detailed disclosure requirements, the inclusion of timeframes, and policy accessibility were found lacking in editorial, compared with author, FCOI policies. Disclosure forms were employed in 32% of PHJs for authors but not for editors or reviewers. Recusal policies were similar for reviewers (68%) and editors (60%). Strengthening editorial FCOI policies will increase the integrity of PHJs' editorial processes.
  2. Nature. 2019 Dec 13.
    Keywords:  Careers; Communication; Lab life
  3. Transl Oncol. 2020 Dec 14. pii: S1936-5233(20)30477-0. [Epub ahead of print]14(2): 100985
      We propose a new process for peer review of multidisciplinary journal submissions called 'segmented peer review'. The current translational research environment increasingly requires complex and multidisciplinary studies that span multiple distinct specialties within a single paper. Such papers present logistic and practical barriers to effective peer review. To address these barriers, papers undergoing segmented peer review require authors to explicitly i) identify each of the areas of expertise required to review the paper, ii) direct each reviewer to the relevant portions of the manuscript, and iii) suggest in-field reviewers. This segmentation of the paper is then followed by a 'segmented peer review request' tailored to the expertise of each potential reviewer, with a request to confine his / her review to those 'in-scope' aspects of the paper, while de-emphasizing any optional 'out-of-scope' comments. Each reviewer indicates the fitness for publication, or suitability for revision, of their particular segment of the manuscript. The segmented peer review process is completed when the editors integrate the segmented peer reviews. We propose segmented peer review as a fit-for-purpose process with tangible advantages for authors, reviewers, and journal editors. It should reduce the specific barriers to publication inherent in the evaluation of multidisciplinary research efforts.
    Keywords:  Multidisciplinary; Peer-review; Translational research
  4. Anaesth Crit Care Pain Med. 2020 Dec;pii: S2352-5568(20)30261-7. [Epub ahead of print]39(6): 745-746
    Keywords:  Citation; Impact factor; Publication; Social media; Twitter
  5. Cureus. 2020 Nov 09. 12(11): e11403
      OBJECTIVES: We aimed to determine publication trends in leading clinical research journals (impact factor >20) during the rise of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and to check for an increase in publication times of non-COVID-19 original research articles.METHODS: We collected publication data from five print-based medical journals and one online journal--JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet (Lancet), The New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, The BMJ (BMJ), and BMC Medicine (BMC Med)--for the December 2019 through May 2020 period. We categorized each article as either "COVID-19-related" or "non-COVID-19-related". When available, we further extracted data on submission-to-acceptance dates and acceptance-to-publication dates for original research articles for the January through July 2019 and January through July 2020 periods. We compared the time from submission to publication for non-COVID-19 original research articles during the two periods and tested for statistical significance with a one-tailed Wilcoxon rank-sum test.
    RESULTS: We found that non-COVID-19-related articles began decreasing in volume as COVID-19-related articles increased. In BMJ and Lancet, the COVID-19-related articles began overtaking the non-COVID-19-related articles in number during April and May 2020. However, COVID-19-related primary research articles only began consistently appearing in journal issues during May 2020. Only BMJ and BMC Med publicly recorded complete data regarding their publication timelines. After removing outliers, we found that the mean time from submission to publication for articles published in BMJ from January through July 2019 was 204 days (median: 194 days; IQR: 163-236), and from January through July 2020 was 223 days (median: 218 days; IQR: 177-261) (p=0.04). In BMC Med, the mean time from submission to publication from February through July 2019 was 153 days (median: 150 days; IQR: 123-181), and from February through July 2020 was 163 days (median: 157 days; IQR: 132-191) (p=0.06).  Conclusion: We discovered a steadily increasing trend in the percentage of COVID-19-related articles and a concomitant decreasing trend in the percentage of non-COVID-19-related articles published in high-impact print journals during the period from December 2019 through May 2020. For non-COVID-19-related articles published in BMJ, we found a statistically significant increase upon comparing the submission-to-publication times for the period from January through July 2020 with the submission-to-publication times for the period from January through July 2019.
    Keywords:  corona virus disease 2019; covid 19; pandemics; publication bias; publication ethics; publication trends; research and publishing; research trends
  6. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2020 Dec 17. pii: dkaa506. [Epub ahead of print]
      The urgent need to develop effective therapeutics and disseminate information from clinical studies has led to data from clinical trials being made available by alternate methods prior to peer-reviewed publication, including press releases, social media and pre-print papers. While this allows clinicians more open access to these data, a trust has to be placed with the investigators releasing these data without the availability of scientifically rigorous peer review. The examples of results from trials studying dexamethasone and hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 have had contrasting outcomes, including the potential for significant numbers of lives saved with the early release of results from the RECOVERY trial studying dexamethasone contrasting with unsubstantiated data being presented from trials studying hydroxychloroquine. Clinicians and researchers must maintain a healthy scepticism when reviewing results prior to peer-reviewed publication, but also consider when these opportunities may allow for early implementation of potentially lifesaving interventions for people infected with COVID-19.
  7. Glob Health Med. 2020 Apr 30. 2(2): 56-59
      In the face of COVID-19, the scientific community has rapidly come together to address this outbreak in an open and collaborative manner to support the global response to this outbreak by rapidly sharing and highlighting research data and relevant findings. COVID-19 research is being published at a furious pace. Over 6,000 articles have been published as of 20 April 2020, and at least 15 online resource centers/websites for COVID-19 have been created by publishers to enable fast and free access to the latest research, evidence, and data available. Moreover, many evidence-based guidelines for COVID-19 have been issued based on academic articles and summaries of the experiences of frontline medical personnel. Various academic medical associations are also actively sharing information and providing technical support. As an example, 93 guides/proposals/responses to COVID-19 have been issued so far by 50 medical associations in Japan. However, few publications and national situation reports have provided information on the number of infected healthcare workers (HCWs). More publications and national situation reports are urgently needed to provide scientific information to devise specific infection prevention and control measures in order to protect HCWs from infection.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; guideline; healthcare worker; publication; sharing data
  8. Strahlenther Onkol. 2020 Dec 18.
      PURPOSE: To evaluate the reviewing behaviour in the German-speaking countries in order to provide recommendations to increase the attractiveness of reviewing activity in the field of radiation oncology.METHODS: In November 2019, a survey was conducted by the Young DEGRO working group (jDEGRO) using the online platform "eSurveyCreator". The questionnaire consisted of 29 items examining a broad range of factors that influence reviewing motivation and performance.
    RESULTS: A total of 281 responses were received. Of these, 154 (55%) were completed and included in the evaluation. The most important factors for journal selection criteria and peer review performance in the field of radiation oncology are the scientific background of the manuscript (85%), reputation of the journal (59%) and a high impact factor (IF; 40%). Reasons for declining an invitation to review include the scientific background of the article (60%), assumed effort (55%) and a low IF (27%). A double-blind review process is preferred by 70% of respondents to a single-blind (16%) or an open review process (14%). If compensation was offered, 59% of participants would review articles more often. Only 12% of the participants have received compensation for their reviewing activities so far. As compensation for the effort of reviewing, 55% of the respondents would prefer free access to the journal's articles, 45% a discount for their own manuscripts, 40% reduced congress fees and 39% compensation for expenses.
    CONCLUSION: The scientific content of the manuscript, reputation of the journal and a high IF determine the attractiveness for peer reviewing in the field of radiation oncology. The majority of participants prefer a double-blind peer review process and would conduct more reviews if compensation was available. Free access to journal articles, discounts for publication costs or congress fees, or an expense allowance were identified to increase attractiveness of the review process.
    Keywords:  Impact factor; Peer review; Publication; Radiation oncology; Scientific publishing
  9. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2020 09;pii: S1548-5595(20)30119-1. [Epub ahead of print]27(5): 418-426
      The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has spread exponentially throughout the world in a short period, aided by our hyperconnected world including global trade and travel. Unlike previous pandemics, the pace of the spread of the virus has been matched by the pace of publications, not just in traditional journals, but also in preprint servers. Not all publication findings are true, and sifting through the firehose of data has been challenging to peer reviewers, editors, as well as to consumers of the literature, that is, scientists, healthcare workers, and the general public. There has been an equally exponential rise in the public discussion on social media. Rather than decry the pace of change, we suggest the nephrology community should embrace it, making deposition of research into preprint servers the default, encouraging prepublication peer review more widely of such preprint studies, and harnessing social media tools to make these actions easier and seamless.
    Keywords:  Blog posts; COVID-19; Critical appraisal; Peer review; Preprints; Twitter
  10. AACN Adv Crit Care. 2020 Dec 15. 31(4): 371-379
      Graduate students complete papers for course requirements, doctor of nursing practice and master's projects, and doctoral dissertations. The valuable information contained in these school papers may be appropriate for publication in professional journals. Graduate students must learn the key differences between school paper and journal article styles. Using this critical information, students can revise their school papers in journal style and achieve a successful publication that contributes to the literature and, ultimately, to the care of patients and their families.
    Keywords:  graduate school papers; graduate student papers; journal articles; journal manuscripts; journal publishing
  11. Front Microbiol. 2020 ;11 589025
      The University of British Columbia has developed a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) that engages students in authentic molecular microbiology research. This capstone course is uniquely built around an open-access online undergraduate research journal entitled Undergraduate Journal of Experimental Microbiology and Immunology (UJEMI). Students work in teams to derive an original research question, formulate a testable hypothesis, draft a research proposal, carry out experiments in the laboratory, and publish their results in UJEMI. The CURE operates in a feed forward manner whereby student-authored UJEMI publications drive research questions in subsequent terms of the course. Progress toward submission of an original manuscript is scaffolded using a series of communication assignments which facilitate formative development. We present a periodic model of our CURE that guides students through a research cycle. We review two ongoing course-based projects to highlight how UJEMI publications prime new research questions in the course. A journal-driven CURE represents a broadly applicable pedagogical tool that immerses students in the process of doing science.
    Keywords:  STEM-science technology engineering mathematics; course-based undergraduate research experience; curriculum; molecular microbiology; pedagogy; scientific enculturation; undergraduate research journal
  12. Hist Sci. 2020 Dec 16. 73275320970831
      The growing number of known plants, and the need repeatedly to correct their names and their taxonomic attributions, demanded strategies for combining the static nature of a printed book with the fluctuating nature of the information it contained. From the second half of the seventeenth century botanists increasingly relied on publishing multiple updated editions of a book instead of attempting to correct, polish, and thus delay the appearance of a manuscript until, in the author's opinion, it was finished. Provisional by nature, iterative books offered a solution. They were transient, open-ended and open to intervention, whether by one or multiple authors. Taking as an example the posthumous publication of orphaned material and manuscripts, a widespread phenomenon in eighteenth-century botany, this essay will focus on the sequence of iterative books that were published during the first half of the eighteenth century, based on the herbaria and papers left behind by the German botanist Paul Hermann (1646-95).
    Keywords:  Eighteenth-century botany; Johannes Burman; Paul Hermann; William Sherard; history of scientific publishing; history of the book; posthumous publishing
  13. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2020 Oct 05. pii: D5490. [Epub ahead of print]164
      This commentary discusses the increase of the number of finished PhD-theses in the Netherlands among young medical doctors. I discuss their motivation, engagement, the lack of mentoring and the mental health symptoms that are highly prevalent among Dutch PhD students in university medical centers. As a consequence, the abovementioned factors may have a detrimental impact on the validity and integrity of research results. Furthermore, I discuss how the current academic hierarchy is shaping academic careers and dictating publication practices. PhD students are pivotal in fulfilling academic dreams of seniors by writing a considerable number of publications that help senior researchers increase their scientific output, advance their careers and help them to get tenured. I suggest that we should invest in sufficient, effective and responsible supervision and mentoring and should train our supervisors to become a responsible role model for their PhD students. For this we need different performance indicators, and more time and skills for seniors to invest in PhD students. As a result, supervisors will become more equipped and engaged in responsible supervision.
  14. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2020 Dec 12.
      BACKGROUND: Even though considered as studies with high methodological power, many RCTs in paediatric dentistry do not have essential quality items in their design, development and report, making results' reliability questionable, replication challenging to conduct, wasting time, money and efforts, and even exposing the participants to research for no benefit.AIM: We addressed the main topics related to transparency in clinical research, with an emphasis in paediatric dentistry.
    DESIGN: We searched for all controlled clinical trials published from January 2019 up to July 2020 in the three paediatric dentistry journals with high journal Impact Factor, indexed on Medline. These papers were assessed for transparency according to Open Science practices and regarding reporting accuracy using some items required by CONSORT.
    RESULTS: 53.6% of the studies declared registration, 75% had sample size calculation, 98.2% reported randomisation, and from those, 65.4% explained the randomisation method. Besides that, no study shared their data, and 6.8% were published in open access format.
    CONCLUSIONS: Unfortunately, a large proportion of RCTs in paediatric dental research show a lack of transparency and reproducibility.
    Keywords:  Behaviour; Community paediatric dentistry; Dental education