bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2021‒02‒07
twenty-nine papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. BMJ Open. 2021 Feb 01. 11(2): e047107
      OBJECTIVE: To estimate the financial costs paid by individual medical researchers from meeting the article processing charges (APCs) levied by open access journals in 2019.DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis.
    DATA SOURCES: Scopus was used to generate two random samples of researchers, the first with a senior author article indexed in the 'Medicine' subject area (general researchers) and the second with an article published in the ten highest-impact factor general clinical medicine journals (high-impact researchers) in 2019. For each researcher, Scopus was used to identify all first and senior author original research or review articles published in 2019. Data were obtained from Scopus, institutional profiles, Journal Citation Reports, publisher databases, the Directory of Open Access Journals, and individual journal websites.
    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Median APCs paid by general and high-impact researchers for all first and senior author research and review articles published in 2019.
    RESULTS: There were 241 general and 246 high-impact researchers identified as eligible for our study. In 2019, the general and high-impact researchers published a total of 914 (median 2, IQR 1-5) and 1471 (4, 2-8) first or senior author research or review articles, respectively. 42% (384/914) of the articles from the general researchers and 29% (428/1471) of the articles from the high-impact medical researchers were published in fully open access journals. The median total APCs paid by general researchers in 2019 was US$191 (US$0-US$2500) and the median total paid by high-impact researchers was US$2900 (US$0-US$5465); the maximum paid by a single researcher in total APCs was US$30115 and US$34676, respectively.
    CONCLUSIONS: Medical researchers in 2019 were found to have paid between US$0 and US$34676 in total APCs. As journals with APCs become more common, it is important to continue to evaluate the potential cost to researchers, especially on individuals who may not have the funding or institutional resources to cover these costs.
    Keywords:  health economics; health policy; medical journalism
  2. F1000Res. 2020 ;9 1027
      Background: The work of journal editors is essential to producing high-quality literature, and editing can be a very rewarding career; however, the profession may not be immune to gender pay gaps found in many professions and industries, including academia and clinical medicine. Our study aimed to quantify remuneration for journal editors from core clinical journals, determine if a gender pay gap exists, and assess if there are remuneration differences across publishing models and journal characteristics. Methods: We completed an online survey of journal editors with substantial editing roles including section editors and editors-in-chief, identified from the Abridged Index Medicus "Core Clinical" journals in MEDLINE. We analyzed information on demographics, editing income, and journal characteristics using a multivariable partial proportional odds model for ordinal logistic regression. Results: There were 166 survey respondents (response rate of 9%), which represented editors from 69 of 111 journals (62%). A total of 140 fully completed surveys were analyzed (95 males and 45 females); 50 (36%) editors did not receive remuneration for editorial work. No gender pay gap and no difference in remuneration between editors who worked in subscription-based publishing vs. open access journals were detected. Editors who were not primarily health care providers were more likely to have higher editing incomes (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.18-7.46). Editors who worked more than 10 hours per week editing earned more than those who worked 10 hours or less per week (adjusted OR 16.7, 95%CI 7.02-39.76). Conclusions: We were unable to detect a gender pay gap and a difference in remuneration between editors who worked in subscription-based publishing and those in open access journals. More than one third of editors surveyed from core clinical journals did not get remunerated for their editing work.
    Keywords:  Income; Journal; Medical Journalism; Peer review; Publishing
  3. Methods Protoc. 2021 Feb 03. pii: 12. [Epub ahead of print]4(1):
      Although peer review is considered one of the main pillars of modern science, experimental methods and protocols seem to be not a rigorous subject of this process in many papers. Commercial equipment, test kits, labeling kits, previously published concepts, and standard protocols are often considered to be not worth a detailed description or validation. Even more disturbing is the extremely biased citation behavior in this context, which sometimes leads to surrogate citations to avoid low-impact journals, preprints, or to indicate traditional practices. This article describes some of these surprising habits and suggests some measures to avoid the most unpleasant effects, which in the long term may undermine the credibility of science as a whole.
    Keywords:  citation; documentation; experiment; peer review; references; replication crisis; reproducibility crisis; scientific publication; trust; validation
  4. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(2): e0246427
      BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has yielded an unprecedented quantity of new publications, contributing to an overwhelming quantity of information and leading to the rapid dissemination of less stringently validated information. Yet, a formal analysis of how the medical literature has changed during the pandemic is lacking. In this analysis, we aimed to quantify how scientific publications changed at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional bibliometric study of published studies in four high-impact medical journals to identify differences in the characteristics of COVID-19 related publications compared to non-pandemic studies. Original investigations related to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 published in March and April 2020 were identified and compared to non-COVID-19 research publications over the same two-month period in 2019 and 2020. Extracted data included publication characteristics, study characteristics, author characteristics, and impact metrics. Our primary measure was principal component analysis (PCA) of publication characteristics and impact metrics across groups.
    RESULTS: We identified 402 publications that met inclusion criteria: 76 were related to COVID-19; 154 and 172 were non-COVID publications over the same period in 2020 and 2019, respectively. PCA utilizing the collected bibliometric data revealed segregation of the COVID-19 literature subset from both groups of non-COVID literature (2019 and 2020). COVID-19 publications were more likely to describe prospective observational (31.6%) or case series (41.8%) studies without industry funding as compared with non-COVID articles, which were represented primarily by randomized controlled trials (32.5% and 36.6% in the non-COVID literature from 2020 and 2019, respectively).
    CONCLUSIONS: In this cross-sectional study of publications in four general medical journals, COVID-related articles were significantly different from non-COVID articles based on article characteristics and impact metrics. COVID-related studies were generally shorter articles reporting observational studies with less literature cited and fewer study sites, suggestive of more limited scientific support. They nevertheless had much higher dissemination.
  5. Arthroscopy. 2021 Feb;pii: S0749-8063(20)31270-6. [Epub ahead of print]37(2): 425-426
      When one considers that as many as 2.5 million scientific articles are published each year, it is likely that more than a few contain errors. Probably, most go undetected. In theory, scientific literature is self-correcting, and the truth will eventually be revealed. However, to maintain the integrity of our literature, it is best to correct errors. Fortunately, when it comes to an errant citation, most scientific citations provide background, and errors in background citations should not change the conclusion of a study. However, for systematic reviews that quantitatively synthesize published research findings in a meta-analysis, an error in (or retraction of) an included citation will affect the study results. Such errors require correction, revision of the meta-analysis, and electronic attachment of the notation to the publication.
  6. JACC Basic Transl Sci. 2021 Jan;6(1): 78-85
      Cognitive bias consists of systematic errors in thinking due to human processing limitations or inappropriate mental models. Cognitive bias occurs when intuitive thinking is used to reach conclusions about information rather than analytic (mindful) thinking. Scientific progress is delayed when bias influences the dissemination of new scientific knowledge, as it has with the role of human leucocyte antigen antibodies and antibody-mediated rejection in cardiac transplantation. Mitigating strategies can be successful but involve concerted action by investigators, peer reviewers, and editors to consider how we think as well as what we think.
    Keywords:  AMR, antibody-mediated rejection; COVID-19, coronavirus disease-2019; HLA, human leucocyte antigen; analytic thinking; antibody-mediated rejection; cardiac transplantation; cognitive bias; debiasing strategies; human leucocyte antigen antibodies; intuitive thinking; publication bias
  7. J Nurs Educ. 2021 Feb 01. 60(2): 111-115
      BACKGROUND: The author was asked to teach a new PhD course, Developing Literature Reviews. The course objective is to have students prepare a structured (e.g., integrative, systematic) literature review manuscript that is suitable for publication submission.METHOD: Course pedagogy and materials were created, including a novel literature review manuscript template. The template served as a guide for communicating essential section components of a rigorous and reproducible literature review manuscript and allowed for an iterative process and efficient faculty-student evaluation system to simulate the peer-review process. To measure student outcomes, standardized course evaluations were reviewed, and the number of students who were successful in disseminating manuscripts was recorded.
    RESULTS: Students' standardized course evaluations were high. Eighteen students published integrative or systematic literature reviews as first author. Eleven students have presented peer-reviewed abstracts at scientific conferences.
    CONCLUSION: The template successfully facilitates PhD student dissemination. The Doctor of Nursing Practice student pedagogy may also benefit from the template. [J Nurs Educ. 2021;60(2):111-115.].
  8. Nature. 2021 Feb;590(7844): 36
    Keywords:  Peer review; Publishing
  9. Pharm Pract (Granada). 2021 Jan-Mar;19(1):19(1): 2284
      Scholarly publishing is in a crisis, with the many stakeholders complaining about different aspects of the system. Authors want fast publication times, high visibility and publications in high-impact journals. Readers want freely accessible, high-quality articles. Peer reviewers want recognition for the work they perform to ensure the quality of the published articles. However, authors, peer reviewers, and readers are three different roles played by the same group of individuals, the users of the scholarly publishing system-and this system could work based on a collaborative publishing principle where "nobody pays, and nobody gets paid".
    Keywords:  Cooperative Behavior; Open Access Publishing; Peer Review; Periodicals as Topic; Research
  10. Nature. 2021 Feb;590(7844): 36
    Keywords:  Machine learning; Publishing; Software
  11. Nature. 2021 Feb 03.
    Keywords:  Bioinformatics; Databases; Genomics
  12. Span J Psychol. 2021 Feb 05. 24 e7
      We surveyed 348 Psychology and Education researchers within Spain, on issues such as their perception of a crisis in Science, their confidence in the quality of published results, and the use of questionable research practices (QRP). Their perceptions regarding pressure to publish and academic competition were also collected. The results indicate that a large proportion of the sample of Spanish academics think there is a crisis in Science, mainly due to a lack of economic investment, and doubts the quality of published findings. They also feel strong pressure to publish in high impact factor journals and a highly competitive work climate.
    Keywords:  false positives; questionable research practices; replication; scientific integrity; survey
  13. Enferm Intensiva. 2021 Jan-Mar;32(1):pii: S1130-2399(21)00016-X. [Epub ahead of print]32(1): 1-2
  14. Endocrinology. 2021 Mar 01. pii: bqaa225. [Epub ahead of print]162(3):
      This Perspective presents comments intended for junior researchers by Carol A. Lange, Editor-in-Chief, Endocrinology, and Stephen R. Hammes, former Editor-in-Chief, Molecular Endocrinology, and former co-Editor-in-Chief, Endocrinology.PRINCIPAL POINTS: 1. Know when you are ready and identify your target audience.2. Select an appropriate journal.3. Craft your title and abstract to capture your key words and deliver your message.4. Tell a clear and impactful story.5. Review, polish, and perfect your manuscript.
    Keywords:  abstract; editing; impact factor; manuscript; peer-review; publish; title
  15. Res Integr Peer Rev. 2021 Feb 01. 6(1): 2
      BACKGROUND: Scientists communicate progress and exchange information via publication and presentation at scientific meetings. We previously showed that text similarity analysis applied to Medline can identify and quantify plagiarism and duplicate publications in peer-reviewed biomedical journals. In the present study, we applied the same analysis to a large sample of conference abstracts.METHODS: We downloaded 144,149 abstracts from 207 national and international meetings of 63 biomedical conferences. Pairwise comparisons were made using eTBLAST: a text similarity engine. A domain expert then reviewed random samples of highly similar abstracts (1500 total) to estimate the extent of text overlap and possible plagiarism.
    RESULTS: Our main findings indicate that the vast majority of textual overlap occurred within the same meeting (2%) and between meetings of the same conference (3%), both of which were significantly higher than instances of plagiarism, which occurred in less than .5% of abstracts.
    CONCLUSIONS: This analysis indicates that textual overlap in abstracts of papers presented at scientific meetings is one-tenth that of peer-reviewed publications, yet the plagiarism rate is approximately the same as previously measured in peer-reviewed publications. This latter finding underscores a need for monitoring scientific meeting submissions - as is now done when submitting manuscripts to peer-reviewed journals - to improve the integrity of scientific communications.
    Keywords:  Conference presentations; Duplication; Plagiarism; Salami publication; Text similarity
  16. Sci Adv. 2021 Jan;pii: eabd0299. [Epub ahead of print]7(2):
      Scholarly journals are often blamed for a gender gap in publication rates, but it is unclear whether peer review and editorial processes contribute to it. This article examines gender bias in peer review with data for 145 journals in various fields of research, including about 1.7 million authors and 740,000 referees. We reconstructed three possible sources of bias, i.e., the editorial selection of referees, referee recommendations, and editorial decisions, and examined all their possible relationships. Results showed that manuscripts written by women as solo authors or coauthored by women were treated even more favorably by referees and editors. Although there were some differences between fields of research, our findings suggest that peer review and editorial processes do not penalize manuscripts by women. However, increasing gender diversity in editorial teams and referee pools could help journals inform potential authors about their attention to these factors and so stimulate participation by women.
  17. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2021 Feb 06.
      Fraudulent papers from paper mills are a serious threat to the entire scientific community. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology has become the target of a massive attack of fraudulent papers originating from paper mills. This editorial highlights 20 important features we observed with paper mills and explains how the journal is responding to this serious threat to restore the integrity of science. Hopefully, this editorial is also helpful for editors of other scientific journals.
    Keywords:  Fake data; Paper mills; Raw data; Scientific fraud; Scientific integrity
  18. J Korean Med Sci. 2021 Feb 01. 36(5): e41
      Infographics are pictorial representations of information intended to disseminate information quickly and clearly. Their use has increased in the past decade due to wider and easy access to technology. Infographics are being increasingly used for public advisories, disseminating protocols for healthcare professionals, and post-publication promotion of research. Due to their potential to rapidly reach a vast audience, these have gained larger importance during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Two key aspects determine the quality of infographics, content and visual appeal. In this brief, the authors attempt to delineate the key aspects of designing an infographic, and the freeware that they may have at their disposal for creating informative, appealing, and useful infographics.
    Keywords:  Health Personnel; Infographics; Pandemics; Publications; Publishing
  19. BMJ Evid Based Med. 2021 Feb 01. pii: bmjebm-2020-111489. [Epub ahead of print]
      Clinicians and lay people tend to overestimate the effectiveness of a treatment when only the relative effect is presented, particularly if the relative effect is large, but the absolute effect is small. In recognition of this problem, item 17b of The Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) 2010 statement stipulates authors present both absolute and relative effects for binary outcomes in randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Adherence to item 17b and the effect of differing levels of CONSORT endorsement by journals on adherence is not well known. We assessed the extent to which item 17b is adhered to in 258 RCTs published in five leading medical journals (Annals of Internal Medicine, BMJ, JAMA, The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine) between January and December 2019 that all endorsed the CONSORT statement to varying degrees. Only 53 of 258 (20.5%; 95% CI 15.8% to 26.0%) included studies adhered fully to item 17b. Proportional adherence was higher in journals that endorsed the statement more strictly (BMJ and JAMA, 47.4% [34.0% to 61.0%]) compared with journals less strict in their endorsement (NEJM and Ann Intern Med, 12.2% [7.0% to 19.3%]; The Lancet, 14.1% [7.3% to 23.8%]). Journals that only recommend author adherence to CONSORT had a greater proportion of studies reporting only relative effects in the main results section (62.6%) and abstract (64.2%) compared with journals that require authors to submit a completed checklist (24.6% and 29.8%, respectively). The majority of RCTs (79.5%) with binary primary outcomes published in five leading medical journals during 2019 do not report both absolute and relative effect estimates as per item 17b of the CONSORT guideline despite its universal endorsement. Differences in adherence were observed between journals that endorsed the CONSORT statement to differing extents.
    Keywords:  evidence-based practice
  20. F1000Res. 2020 ;9 1265
      This article presents a vision for a scholarly communication research infrastructure for social sciences and humanities (SSH). The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the pressing need to access research outputs without the traditional economic and temporal barriers. This article explores the current scholarly communication landscape, assessing the reasons for the slower uptake of open access in SSH research. The authors discuss such frontiers as commercial interests, sources of academic prestige and discipline-specific genres. This article defines and discusses the key areas in which a research infrastructure can play a vital role in making open scholarly communication a reality in SSH: (1) providing a federated and easy access to scattered SSH outputs; (2) supporting publication and dissemination of discipline-specific genres (e.g. monographs, critical editions); (3) providing help with evaluation and quality assurance practices in SSH; (4) enabling  scholarly work in national languages, which is significant for local communities; (5) being governed by researchers and for researchers as a crucial factor for productive, useful and accessible services; (6) lastly, considering the needs of other stakeholders involved in scholarly communication, such as publishers, libraries, media, non-profit organisations, and companies. They conclude that a scholarly-driven, inclusive, dedicated infrastructure for the European Research Area is needed in order to advance open science in SSH and to address the issues tackled by SSH researchers at a structural and systemic level.
    Keywords:  SSH; open access; open science; research infrastructure; scholarly communication
  21. Zhonghua Gan Zang Bing Za Zhi. 2021 Jan 20. 29(1): 1-2
    Keywords:  Message; Plan; Review
  22. Res Synth Methods. 2021 Feb 01.
      BACKGROUND: The author should give careful consideration to the study eligibility criteria of SRs and follow it after review protocol development to reduce the possibility of manipulation of inclusion. Our aim was to investigate the prevalence of differences in study eligibility criteria between non-Cochrane SRs and their pre-registered protocols on PROSPERO, and determined what changes were involved as well as whether those changes were explained.METHODS: We searched the protocols registered on PROSPERO platform in the year of 2018 and then selected these protocols which full-text have been published up to June 9th 2020. A random sample (n=100) was included. Published full-texts were identified through the protocol's final publication citation. The following five key components of study eligibility criteria were compared: participants, intervention(s)/exposure(s), comparator(s), types of study design, and outcome(s).
    RESULTS: 90% of included SRs exhibited differences in study eligibility criteria, and 59/90 altered in no less than 2 key components. Only one SR reported and explained the rationale for changes to the individual key component (the definition of exposure). The "Outcome(s)" exhibited the greatest variation, with changes in 61% of the SRs. The "Comparator(s)/control" exhibited the smallest variation, with changes in 20% of the SRs.
    CONCLUSIONS: Differences in study eligibility criteria between the non-Cochrane SRs and their protocols registered on PROSPERO were widespread but were seldom explained. Authors themselves, PROSPERO platform, as well as peer-review journals and their peer reviewers should play a role in further improving transparency. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  23. Nat Methods. 2021 Feb;18(2): 115