bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2021‒06‒27
sixteen papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. Access Microbiol. 2021 ;3(4): 000232
      The Microbiology Society will be launching an open research platform in October 2021. Developed using funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the platform will combine our current sound-science journal, Access Microbiology, with artificial intelligence (AI) review tools and many of the elements of a preprint server. In an effort to improve the rigour, reproducibility and transparency of the academic record, the Access Microbiology platform will host both preprints of articles and their Version of Record (VOR) publications, as well as the reviewer reports, Editor's decision, authors' response to reviewers and the AI review reports. To ensure the platform meets the needs of our community, in February 2020 we conducted focus group meetings with various stakeholders. Using articles previously submitted to Access Microbiology, we undertook testing of a range of potential AI review tools and investigated the technical feasibility and utility of including these tools as part of the platform. In keeping with the open and transparent ethos of the platform, we present here a summary of the focus group feedback and AI review tool testing.
    Keywords:  Wellcome Trust; open research platform; open science; preprints; publishing; society publisher
  2. Nat Hum Behav. 2021 Jun 24.
      In registered reports (RRs), initial peer review and in-principle acceptance occur before knowing the research outcomes. This combats publication bias and distinguishes planned from unplanned research. How RRs could improve the credibility of research findings is straightforward, but there is little empirical evidence. Also, there could be unintended costs such as reducing novelty. Here, 353 researchers peer reviewed a pair of papers from 29 published RRs from psychology and neuroscience and 57 non-RR comparison papers. RRs numerically outperformed comparison papers on all 19 criteria (mean difference 0.46, scale range -4 to +4) with effects ranging from RRs being statistically indistinguishable from comparison papers in novelty (0.13, 95% credible interval [-0.24, 0.49]) and creativity (0.22, [-0.14, 0.58]) to sizeable improvements in rigour of methodology (0.99, [0.62, 1.35]) and analysis (0.97, [0.60, 1.34]) and overall paper quality (0.66, [0.30, 1.02]). RRs could improve research quality while reducing publication bias and ultimately improve the credibility of the published literature.
  3. Res Synth Methods. 2021 Jun 24.
      Cochrane devolves most editorial governance of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), including title prioritization, protocol registration, peer-review, editorial oversight and subsequent review deposition, to specific Cochrane Review Group (CRG) editorial boards. Current Cochrane policy stipulates authors of reviews who are also members of the supporting CRG declare this non-financial conflict of interest and confirm no involvement in the review editorial process. The aim of this cross-sectional analysis was to assess adherence to Cochrane's editorial conflict of interest policy. All 260 published Cochrane reviews (CR) in issues 1 to 6 from 2019 of the CDSR were reviewed. A total of 133 (51.2%, 133/260) of CRs had at least one author that was also listed as an editor in the CRG. Of these, only five (3.8%, 5/133) appropriately declared the conflict according to Cochrane policy. In 6.5% (17/133) CRs, the contact author had a leading editorial position within the CRG and in only four of 17 was this declared according to Cochrane policy. No CR with the contact author who also had a leading editorial position described methods to prevent any potential issues related to this scenario during the editorial process in accordance with Cochrane policy. We propose a specific form to improve the transparency and reliability of editorial conflict of interest reporting in CRs. The suggested form can be adapted to other contexts. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Cochrane reviews; Conflict of Interest; Editorial policy; Publishing
  4. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(6): e0244529
      Attitudes towards open peer review, open data and use of preprints influence scientists' engagement with those practices. Yet there is a lack of validated questionnaires that measure these attitudes. The goal of our study was to construct and validate such a questionnaire and use it to assess attitudes of Croatian scientists. We first developed a 21-item questionnaire called Attitudes towards Open data sharing, preprinting, and peer-review (ATOPP), which had a reliable four-factor structure, and measured attitudes towards open data, preprint servers, open peer-review and open peer-review in small scientific communities. We then used the ATOPP to explore attitudes of Croatian scientists (n = 541) towards these topics, and to assess the association of their attitudes with their open science practices and demographic information. Overall, Croatian scientists' attitudes towards these topics were generally neutral, with a median (Md) score of 3.3 out of max 5 on the scale score. We also found no gender (P = 0.995) or field differences (P = 0.523) in their attitudes. However, attitudes of scientist who previously engaged in open peer-review or preprinting were higher than of scientists that did not (Md 3.5 vs. 3.3, P<0.001, and Md 3.6 vs 3.3, P<0.001, respectively). Further research is needed to determine optimal ways of increasing scientists' attitudes and their open science practices.
  5. Autophagy. 2021 Jun 21. 1-2
      There have been a couple of times when we have reviewed papers that are essentially publishable as initially submitted; the "criticisms" were more along the lines of constructive suggestions that the authors might want to consider when they submitted a revised version of the paper, but those changes were not required. However, a much more common experience is for the authors to receive a series of comments from multiple reviewers. Most of those comments are critical for the authors to address, to ensure that the data in the paper are of sufficient quality and rigor, with adequate controls, to support the stated conclusions. That said, reviewers sometimes make requests, with the best of intentions, which might be reasonably considered as "beyond the scope of the present study". Thus, there needs to be a balance between addressing each and every comment of a review and completing a story even though there are additional avenues and questions that remain unexplored. Sometimes, even after a repeated round(s) of review, such questions linger and may impede acceptance of a worthy study.
    Keywords:  Author; autophagy; lysosome; macroautophagy; publishing; reviewer; stress
  6. Kathmandu Univ Med J (KUMJ). 2020 Oct.-Dec.;18(72):18(72): 423-424
      The concept of open access journals was introduced with the aim to make the scientific articles accessible and visible to all. But a new threat called predatory journals has emerged targeting the young researchers of developing nations. These bogus journals mislead the authors as well as readers in various negative ways. Hence, we should recognize such journals and avoid becoming the prey.
  7. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2021 Jun 24.
      OBJECTIVE: Given the importance of scholarly work in academic medicine, better understanding of the manuscript review process (MRP) is useful for authors, reviewers, and editorial boards. We aim to describe the MRP at the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (JPGN), assess the correlation between editor decisions and reviewer recommendations, and provide transparency to this process.METHODS: All manuscripts submitted in 2018 to JPGN were included in this analysis. Data included reviewers' manuscript scores and recommendations, time spent on each review by reviewers, the editor's rating of the reviewers' reviews, the editor's first decision, and final outcome. Data were collated using the JPGN manuscript submission website, Editorial Manager.
    RESULTS: 1023 manuscripts were submitted to JPGN in 2018 and included in this analysis. Of these, 486 manuscripts had at least two peer reviewers. The recommendations of the two reviewers were in agreement 43% of the time. Intra-class correlation (ICC) between the two reviewers suggests moderate agreement (ICC = 0.40). When both reviewers agreed to Not Reject (289/486), the editor agreed in 93% of cases (269/289). When both reviewers agreed to Reject (55/486), the editor agreed 100% of the time (55/55). The reviewers disagreed in about one-third of submissions (142/486), and the editor recommended to Reject in two-thirds of these cases (95/142). Overall, inter-reviewer agreement strongly correlated with the editor's initial decision (p < 0.001).
    CONCLUSIONS: The editor most often agreed with reviewers' assessments when there was concordance between the two reviewers' recommendations. About a third of peer reviews result in discordant recommendations between the two reviewers.
  8. ALTEX. 2021 06 22.
      Systematic reviews are fast increasing in prevalence in the toxicology and environmental health literature. However, how well these complex research projects are being conducted and reported is unclear. Since editors have an essential role in ensuring the scientific quality of manuscripts being published in their journals, a workshop was convened where editors, systematic review practitioners, and research quality control experts could discuss what editors can do to ensure the systematic reviews they publish are of sufficient scientific quality. Interventions were explored along four themes: setting standards; reviewing protocols; optimising editorial workflows; and measuring the effectiveness of editorial interventions. In total, 58 editorial interventions were proposed. Of these, 26 were shortlisted for being potentially effective, and 5 were prioritized as short-term actions that editors could relatively easily take to improve the quality of published systematic reviews. Recent progress in improving systematic reviews is summarized, and outstanding challenges to further progress are highlighted.
    Keywords:  environmental health; epidemiology; research standards; systematic review; toxicology
  9. Nature. 2020 Jun 24.
    Keywords:  Culture; Peer review; Publishing
  10. Nature. 2021 Jun;594(7864): S49-S51
    Keywords:  Careers; Conferences and meetings; Research management
  11. Trends Parasitol. 2021 Jun 16. pii: S1471-4922(21)00133-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      To curtail the rising tide of antiscience threatening the health and progress of society, scientists are increasingly engaging with the public. Here, we describe our approach to write accessible books based on personal stories as a means to help spread scientific literacy to those who normally do not read science.
    Keywords:  narrative; science and society; science books; science communication; writing
  12. J Invest Dermatol. 2021 Jul;pii: S0022-202X(21)01159-3. [Epub ahead of print]141(7): 1615-1621.e1
      The scientific process depends on social interactions: communication and dissemination of research findings, evaluation and discussion of scientific work, and collaboration with other scientists. Social media, and specifically, Twitter has accelerated the ability to accomplish these goals. We discuss the ways that Twitter is used by scientists and provide guidance on navigating the academic Twitter community.
  13. Nature. 2021 Jun;594(7864): 479
    Keywords:  Astronomy and astrophysics; Imaging; Planetary science; Publishing