bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2021‒05‒02
twenty-five papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. Vet Pathol. 2021 Apr 28. 3009858211011943
      Veterinary pathologists are key contributors to multidisciplinary biomedical research. However, they are occasionally excluded from authorship in published articles despite their substantial intellectual and data contributions. To better understand the potential origins and implications of this practice, we identified and analyzed 29 scientific publications where the contributing pathologist was excluded as an author. The amount of pathologist-generated data contributions were similar to the calculated average contributions for authors, suggesting that the amount of data contributed by the pathologist was not a valid factor for their exclusion from authorship. We then studied publications with pathologist-generated contributions to compare the effects of inclusion or exclusion of the pathologist as an author. Exclusion of the pathologist from authorship was associated with significantly lower markers of rigor and reproducibility compared to articles in which the pathologist was included as author. Although this study did not find justification for the exclusion of pathologists from authorship, potential consequences of their exclusion on data quality were readily detectable.
    Keywords:  authorship; pathologist; pathology; reproducibility; research; rigor
  2. Front Psychol. 2021 ;12 649915
      Despite growing awareness of the benefits of large-scale open access publishing, individual researchers seem reluctant to adopt this behavior, thereby slowing down the evolution toward a new scientific culture. We outline and apply a goal-directed framework of behavior causation to shed light on this type of behavioral reluctance and to organize and suggest possible intervention strategies. The framework explains behavior as the result of a cycle of events starting with the detection of a discrepancy between a goal and a status quo and the selection of behavior to reduce this discrepancy. We list various factors that may hinder this cycle and thus contribute to behavioral reluctance. After that, we highlight potential remedies to address each of the identified barriers. We thereby hope to point out new ways to think about behavioral reluctances in general, and in relation to open access publishing in particular.
    Keywords:  behavioral reluctance; goal-directed; intervention; meta-research; open access publishing
  3. Aesthet Surg J. 2021 Apr 25. pii: sjab205. [Epub ahead of print]
  4. Biopreserv Biobank. 2021 Feb 11.
      Background: The lack of incentives has been described as the rate-limiting step for data sharing. Currently, the evaluation of scientific productivity by academic institutions and funders has been heavily reliant upon the number of publications and citations, raising questions about the adequacy of such mechanisms to reward data generation and sharing. This article provides a systematic review of the current and proposed incentive mechanisms for researchers in biomedical sciences and discusses their strengths and weaknesses. Methods: PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were queried for original research articles, editorials, and opinion articles on incentives for data sharing. Articles were included if they discussed incentive mechanisms for data sharing, were applicable to biomedical sciences, and were written in English. Results: Although coauthorship in return for the sharing of data is common, this might be incompatible with authorship guidelines and raise concerns over the ability of secondary analysts to contest the proposed research methods or conclusions that are drawn. Data publication, citation, and altmetrics have been proposed as alternative routes to credit data generators, which could address these disadvantages. Their primary downsides are that they are not well-established, it is difficult to acquire evidence to support their implementation, and that they could be gamed or give rise to novel forms of research misconduct. Conclusions: Alternative recognition mechanisms need to be more commonly used to generate evidence on their power to stimulate data sharing, and to assess where they fall short. There is ample discussion in policy documents on alternative crediting systems to work toward Open Science, which indicates that that there is an interest in working out more elaborate metascience programs.
    Keywords:  coauthorship; data sharing; ethics; incentives; science policy
  5. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2021 Apr 29.
      Medical writers are non-authors who may make major contributions to the preparation of a manuscript. We assessed the prevalence, affiliation, and role of medical writers in dermatology randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in 2019 in the top 7 medical and top 10 dermatology journals. Medical writers were identified in 39/83 trials (47%), all of which were exclusively industry-funded trials (39/47, prevalence 83%). Most studies stated their role as "medical writing support" and/or "editorial assistance" (35/39, 90%) but when more information was provided, four studies specified first draft preparation (50% of RCTs in general medical and 1.3% of RCTs in dermatology journals). Medical writers are common in dermatology trials but their role is often vaguely stated. In April 2020 the BJD and Clinical and Experimental Dermatology adopted CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy), which describes contributions of authors and may help clarify who writes trial manuscripts.
  6. J Bone Miner Res. 2021 Apr 26.
      The journals of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research (JBMR) and its sister journal JBMR Plus) recognize peer review, whether pre- or post-publication, as an essential guard of scientific integrity and rigor that shapes academic discourse in our field. In this Perspective, we present a vision and philosophy of peer review in a rapidly changing publishing landscape. We emphasize the importance of journal peer reviewers as active players in shaping collegial behavior in the musculoskeletal research community and provide information about benefits and resources available for reviewers and reviewers-in-training. Publishing is becoming increasingly transparent, bringing benefits to authors, to reviewers, and to the scientific community at large. We discuss new initiatives such as transparent peer review and preprint servers, the ways they are changing scientific publishing, and how JBMR is responding to broaden the impact of musculoskeletal research. We emphasize the need to change any perception of peer reviewers as gatekeepers to viewing them as shepherds, who partner with authors and editors in the publishing endeavor. Promoting access, transparency and collegiality in the way we assess science in our community will elevate its quality, clarify its communication, and increase its societal impact.
  7. Ecol Lett. 2021 Apr 27.
      Peer-review and subject-matter editing is the backbone of scientific publishing. However, early-career researchers (ECRs) are given few opportunities to participate in the editorial process beyond reviewing articles. Thus, a disconnect exists: science needs high-quality editorial talent to conduct, oversee and improve the publishing process, yet we dedicate few resources to building editorial talent nor giving ECRs formal opportunities to influence publishing from within. ECRs can contribute to the publishing landscape in unique ways given their insight into new and rapidly developing publishing trends (e.g. open science). Here, we describe a two-way fellowship model that gives ECRs a "seat" at the editorial table of a field-leading journal. We describe both the necessary framework and benefits that can stem from editorial fellowships for ECRs, editors, journals, societies, and the ​broader scientific community.
    Keywords:  editorial fellowship; open science; scientific publishing; society journals; ​Early career researcher
  8. Scientometrics. 2021 Apr 18. 1-20
      Preprints promote the open and fast communication of non-peer reviewed work. Once a preprint is published in a peer-reviewed venue, the preprint server updates its web page: a prominent hyperlink leading to the newly published work is added. Linking preprints to publications is of utmost importance as it provides readers with the latest version of a now certified work. Yet leading preprint servers fail to identify all existing preprint-publication links. This limitation calls for a more thorough approach to this critical information retrieval task: overlooking published evidence translates into partial and even inaccurate systematic reviews on health-related issues, for instance. We designed an algorithm leveraging the Crossref public and free source of bibliographic metadata to comb the literature for preprint-publication links. We tested it on a reference preprint set identified and curated for a living systematic review on interventions for preventing and treating COVID-19 performed by international collaboration: the COVID-NMA initiative ( The reference set comprised 343 preprints, 121 of which appeared as a publication in a peer-reviewed journal. While the preprint servers identified 39.7% of the preprint-publication links, our linker identified 90.9% of the expected links with no clues taken from the preprint servers. The accuracy of the proposed linker is 91.5% on this reference set, with 90.9% sensitivity and 91.9% specificity. This is a 16.26% increase in accuracy compared to that of preprint servers. We release this software as supplementary material to foster its integration into preprint servers' workflows and enhance a daily preprint-publication chase that is useful to all readers, including systematic reviewers. This preprint-publication linker currently provides day-to-day updates to the biomedical experts of the COVID-NMA initiative.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; Data linking; Living systematic review; Preprint; Publication
  9. Biochem Med (Zagreb). 2021 Jun 15. 31(2): 020201
      Introduction: While early commenting on studies is seen as one of the advantages of preprints, the type of such comments, and the people who post them, have not been systematically explored.Materials and methods: We analysed comments posted between 21 May 2015 and 9 September 2019 for 1983 bioRxiv preprints that received only one comment on the bioRxiv website. The comment types were classified by three coders independently, with all differences resolved by consensus.
    Results: Our analysis showed that 69% of comments were posted by non-authors (N = 1366), and 31% by the preprints' authors themselves (N = 617). Twelve percent of non-author comments (N = 168) were full review reports traditionally found during journal review, while the rest most commonly contained praises (N = 577, 42%), suggestions (N = 399, 29%), or criticisms (N = 226, 17%). Authors' comments most commonly contained publication status updates (N = 354, 57%), additional study information (N = 158, 26%), or solicited feedback for the preprints (N = 65, 11%).
    Conclusions: Our results indicate that comments posted for bioRxiv preprints may have potential benefits for both the public and the scholarly community. Further research is needed to measure the direct impact of these comments on comments made by journal peer reviewers, subsequent preprint versions or journal publications.
    Keywords:  comment; peer review; preprint; preprints as topic; scientific misconduct
  10. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2021 Apr 21. pii: S0190-9622(21)00889-6. [Epub ahead of print]
    Keywords:  authorship; ethical education; ethics; mentorship; publications; role model
  11. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2021 Apr 29.
      I would like to start by thanking our readers, peer reviewers, editors and authors for a very busy and successful couple of years. When the pandemic hit us in March 2020, we all had to alter the way in which we worked, and whilst the processes at our journal remained unchanged the volume of work changed precipitously. We had a 45% increase in submissions, many related to COVID, and to aid the global relief effort, Wiley (our publisher) has made these articles freely available. Our impact factor is slowly increasing and we hope that the COVID papers will help to increase it further. We have also added an Instagram account to our social media group to increase our reach.
  12. Nature. 2021 Apr 29.
    Keywords:  Authorship; Careers; Funding; Peer review; Research management
  13. Tob Control. 2021 Apr 28. pii: tobaccocontrol-2020-056003. [Epub ahead of print]
      Litigation forced the dissolution of three major tobacco industry-funded organisations because of their egregious role in spreading scientific misinformation. Yet in 2017, a new scientific organisation-the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW)-was launched, funded entirely by tobacco corporation Philip Morris International (PMI). Experts fear FSFW similarly serves to benefit its funder's scientific and political agenda. We present three case studies of FSFW's publishing practices to explore: whether FSFW and its affiliates are acting with scientific integrity in their attempts to publish research; how conflicts of interest (COI) are governed in the journals FSFW targets; whether scientific publishing needs to be better protected from the tobacco industry in light of this, and if so, how. FSFW and its grantees have resorted to repeated obfuscation when publishing their science. FSFW staff have failed to act transparently and arguably have sought control over editorial processes (at times facilitated by PR firm, Ruder Finn). FSFW-funded organisations (including its Italian 'Centre of Excellence') and researchers affiliated with FSFW (including those working as editors and peer-reviewers) have failed to disclose their links to FSFW and PMI. While journals also failed to apply their COI policies, including on tobacco industry-funded research, the findings highlight that such policies are almost entirely dependent on researchers fully declaring all potential COIs. The paper explores ways to address these problems, including via standardised reporting of COI and funding in journals; journal policies prohibiting publication of tobacco industry-funded science; development of an author-centric database of financial interests; and legally mandated tobacco industry financial contributions to fund science on new tobacco and nicotine products.
    Keywords:  harm reduction; surveillance and monitoring; tobacco industry
  14. Minerva Dent Oral Sci. 2021 Apr 28.
      OBJECTIVES: To make a quantitative assessment of the impact of predatory publishing has on a single author over a year, analyzing the number of invitations, the subject areas of the inviting journals and their characteristics.METHODS: An analysis of all invitations to publication, received during 12 months, was carried out in order to analyze their number, the area of specialization, the presence in reputable databases, publication criteria and presence in the Beall's list.
    RESULTS: A total of 864 invitations had been received at the end of the 12 months, all with open access policies. Ninety-nine were from journals not on Beall's list. Eight were indexed on reputable databases. The thematic areas were distributed as follows: 370 dental, 346 medical, 122 unspecified subject, 26 non-medical.
    CONCLUSIONS: Predatory publishing is spreading in dentistry. Poor-quality articles and, at the same time, loss of potentially valuable researches could seriously pollute the scientific evidence that founds dental clinical practice.
  15. Entropy (Basel). 2021 Apr 16. pii: 468. [Epub ahead of print]23(4):
      Proper peer review and quality of published articles are often regarded as signs of reliable scientific journals. The aim of this study was to compare whether the quality of statistical reporting and data presentation differs among articles published in 'predatory dental journals' and in other dental journals. We evaluated 50 articles published in 'predatory open access (OA) journals' and 100 clinical trials published in legitimate dental journals between 2019 and 2020. The quality of statistical reporting and data presentation of each paper was assessed on a scale from 0 (poor) to 10 (high). The mean (SD) quality score of the statistical reporting and data presentation was 2.5 (1.4) for the predatory OA journals, 4.8 (1.8) for the legitimate OA journals, and 5.6 (1.8) for the more visible dental journals. The mean values differed significantly (p < 0.001). The quality of statistical reporting of clinical studies published in predatory journals was found to be lower than in open access and highly cited journals. This difference in quality is a wake-up call to consume study results critically. Poor statistical reporting indicates wider general lower quality in publications where the authors and journals are less likely to be critiqued by peer review.
    Keywords:  data presentation; dental research; meta-research; publications; statistical reporting
  16. Adv Med Educ Pract. 2021 ;12 383-392
      Background: The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors has published clear guidelines on the authorship of scientific papers. It is the research team's responsibility to review and ensure those guidelines are met. Authorship ethics and practices have been examined among healthcare professionals or among particular health science students such as medical students. However, there is limited evidence to assess the knowledge of authorship roles and practices among health science students.Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study to assess the knowledge of authorship guidelines practices among health science students at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A survey was developed and distributed. It covered several domains, including demographic characteristics, participant's knowledge and attitude of authorship practices, knowledge and experience with ghost and guest authorships, and knowledge of institutional authorship policies. Moreover, a score was computed to reflect the respondents' knowledge about authorship practices.
    Results: Among the 321 participants who agreed to take the survey, two-thirds agreed with and supported that multi-authored articles' credit allocation should be based on the most significant contribution and contributions to the manuscript writing. Almost 47% agreed that team relationships would influence authorship allocation. The majority of the participants were not aware of their institutional research and publication policies. Also, around 50% of participants were not aware of guest or ghost authorships. Finally, the knowledge score about authorship credits, allocation, contribution, order, and guidelines was higher among students who were assigned as corresponding authors and those who were aware of their institutional authorship guidelines and policies.
    Conclusion: In conclusion, our findings suggest that health science students may have limited knowledge about authorship guidelines and unethical behaviors involved in a scientific publication. Universities and research centers should make more efforts to raise the awareness of health science students regarding authorship guidelines while ensuring that they comply with those guidelines.
    Keywords:  education; ethics; knowledge; publications; research article
  17. J Korean Neurosurg Soc. 2021 Apr 29.
      Every researcher wants their research to gain more recognition, and this desire is achieved by publishing their article in a journal with higher impact. It is very important to get researchers interested in the Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society (JKNS). Therefore, the first goal was to promote the publication of papers in our journal. To do this, a table of contents was sent out, and the citation ranking was announced every 2 months. Several efforts have been made to publish good papers. Foreign speakers, who were invited to a conference hosted by the Korean Neurosurgical Society were contacted and politely requested to write a paper addressing their recent research. Domestic and international researchers highly renowned in their fields were also contacted to submit their novel works to our journal. The journal impact factor of our journal has continued to rise for the last 3 years and reached 1.376 in 2019. It can be said that the JKNS is now competitive with other international neurosurgery journals. These achievements were not due to the efforts of the editorial boards alone. This was because our society members have submitted very good papers, and because many of our members have cited the papers published in our journal. We believe that this will continue in the future. The next step of evolution of the JKNS has begun, and this is the beginning of another great development.
    Keywords:  Journal impact factor; Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society; Publications
  18. Medicina (B Aires). 2021 ;81(2): 214-223
      In the present work we use text mining as a treatment tool for a large scientific database, with the aim of obtaining new information about all the publications signed by Argentine authors and indexed until 2019, in the area of life sciences. More than 75 000 articles were analysed, published in around 5000 media, signed by about 186 000 authors with a workplace in Argentina or in collaborations with Argentine laboratories. Using automated tools that were developed ad hoc, the text of around 70 800 abstracts was analysed, seeking, through non-supervised digital detection, the main topics addressed by the authors, and the relationship with health problems in Argentina and their treatment. Results are also presented regarding the number of publications per year, the journals that have published them, and their authors and collaborations. These results, together with the predictions that were obtained, could become a useful tool to optimize the management of resources dedicated to basic and clinical research.
    Keywords:  Argentina; scientific publications; text mining