bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2021‒07‒18
sixteen papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. Proc Biol Sci. 2021 Jul 14. 288(1954): 20211248
      Preprints are manuscripts posted on a public server that do not yet have formal certification of peer review from a scholarly journal. The increasingly prominent online repositories for these preprints provide a means of rapidly making scientific results accessible to all with an Internet connection. We here describe the catalysis and subsequent development of a successful new process to solicit preprints for consideration for publication in Proceedings B. We present preliminary comparisons between the focal topics and geographic origin of submitting authors of papers submitted in the traditional (non-solicited) route versus solicited preprints. This analysis suggests that the solicitation process seems to be achieving one of the primary goals of the preprint solicitation endeavour: broadening the scope of the papers featured in Proceedings B. We also use an informal survey of the early-career scientists that are or have been involved with the Preprint Editorial Team to find that these scientists view their participation positively with respect to career development and knowledge in their field. The inclusion of early-career researchers from across the world in the preprint solicitation process could also translate into social justice benefits by providing a career-building opportunity and a window into the publishing process for young scientists.
    Keywords:  Proceedings B; Royal Society of London; early-career scientists; peer review; preprint
  2. BMJ Open. 2021 Jul 16. 11(7): e051821
      OBJECTIVE: To compare results reporting and the presence of spin in COVID-19 study preprints with their finalised journal publications.DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.
    SETTING: International medical literature.
    PARTICIPANTS: Preprints and final journal publications of 67 interventional and observational studies of COVID-19 treatment or prevention from the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register published between 1 March 2020 and 30 October 2020.
    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Study characteristics and discrepancies in (1) results reporting (number of outcomes, outcome descriptor, measure, metric, assessment time point, data reported, reported statistical significance of result, type of statistical analysis, subgroup analyses (if any), whether outcome was identified as primary or secondary) and (2) spin (reporting practices that distort the interpretation of results so they are viewed more favourably).
    RESULTS: Of 67 included studies, 23 (34%) had no discrepancies in results reporting between preprints and journal publications. Fifteen (22%) studies had at least one outcome that was included in the journal publication, but not the preprint; eight (12%) had at least one outcome that was reported in the preprint only. For outcomes that were reported in both preprints and journals, common discrepancies were differences in numerical values and statistical significance, additional statistical tests and subgroup analyses and longer follow-up times for outcome assessment in journal publications.At least one instance of spin occurred in both preprints and journals in 23/67 (34%) studies, the preprint only in 5 (7%), and the journal publications only in 2 (3%). Spin was removed between the preprint and journal publication in 5/67 (7%) studies; but added in 1/67 (1%) study.
    CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 preprints and their subsequent journal publications were largely similar in reporting of study characteristics, outcomes and spin. All COVID-19 studies published as preprints and journal publications should be critically evaluated for discrepancies and spin.
    Keywords:  ethics (see Medical Ethics); public health; qualitative research
  3. Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 15. 11(1): 14524
      The ever-increasing competitiveness in the academic publishing market incentivizes journal editors to pursue higher impact factors. This translates into journals becoming more selective, and, ultimately, into higher publication standards. However, the fixation on higher impact factors leads some journals to artificially boost impact factors through the coordinated effort of a "citation cartel" of journals. "Citation cartel" behavior has become increasingly common in recent years, with several instances being reported. Here, we propose an algorithm-named CIDRE-to detect anomalous groups of journals that exchange citations at excessively high rates when compared against a null model that accounts for scientific communities and journal size. CIDRE detects more than half of the journals suspended from Journal Citation Reports due to anomalous citation behavior in the year of suspension or in advance. Furthermore, CIDRE detects many new anomalous groups, where the impact factors of the member journals are lifted substantially higher by the citations from other member journals. We describe a number of such examples in detail and discuss the implications of our findings with regard to the current academic climate.
  4. Front Res Metr Anal. 2021 ;6 678554
      We constructed a survey to understand how authors and scientists view the issues around reproducibility, focusing on interactive elements such as interactive figures embedded within online publications, as a solution for enabling the reproducibility of experiments. We report the views of 251 researchers, comprising authors who have published in eLIFE Sciences, and those who work at the Norwich Biosciences Institutes (NBI). The survey also outlines to what extent researchers are occupied with reproducing experiments themselves. Currently, there is an increasing range of tools that attempt to address the production of reproducible research by making code, data, and analyses available to the community for reuse. We wanted to collect information about attitudes around the consumer end of the spectrum, where life scientists interact with research outputs to interpret scientific results. Static plots and figures within articles are a central part of this interpretation, and therefore we asked respondents to consider various features for an interactive figure within a research article that would allow them to better understand and reproduce a published analysis. The majority (91%) of respondents reported that when authors describe their research methodology (methods and analyses) in detail, published research can become more reproducible. The respondents believe that having interactive figures in published papers is a beneficial element to themselves, the papers they read as well as to their readers. Whilst interactive figures are one potential solution for consuming the results of research more effectively to enable reproducibility, we also review the equally pressing technical and cultural demands on researchers that need to be addressed to achieve greater success in reproducibility in the life sciences.
    Keywords:  interactive figures; open science; replication of experiments; reproducibility; reproducibility in life sciences; reproducibility metrics; reproducibility of computational experiments; reproducibility survey in life sciences
  5. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(7): e0254006
      Based on a communication-centered approach, this article examines how researchers approach societal impact, that is, what they think about societal impact in research governance, what their societal goals are, and how they use communication formats. Hence, this study offers empirical evidence on a group that has received remarkably little attention in the scholarly discourse on the societal impact of research-academic researchers. Our analysis is based on an empirical survey among 499 researchers in Germany conducted from April to June 2020. We show that most researchers regard societal engagement as part of their job and are generally in favor of impact evaluation. However, few think that societal impact is a priority at their institution, and even fewer think that institutional communication departments reach relevant stakeholders in society. Moreover, we show that researchers' societal goals and use of communication formats differ greatly between their disciplines and the types of organization that they work at. Our results add to the ongoing metascientific discourse on the relationship between science and society and offer empirical support for the hypothesis that assessment needs to be sensitive to disciplinary and organizational context factors.
  6. World Neurosurg. 2021 Jul;pii: S1878-8750(21)00388-0. [Epub ahead of print]151 364-369
      Credentialing and certification are essential processes during hiring to ensure that the physician is competent and possesses the qualifications and skill sets claimed. Peer review ensures the continuing evolution of these skills to meet a standard of care. We have provided an overview and discussion of these processes in the United States. Credentialing is the process by which a physician is determined to be competent and able to practice, used to ensure that medical staff meets specific standards, and to grant operative privileges at an institution. Certification is a standardized affirmation of a physician's competence on a nationwide basis. Although not legally required to practice in the United States, many institutions emphasize certification for full privileges on an ongoing basis at a hospital. In the United States, peer review of adverse events is a mandatory prerequisite for accreditation. The initial lack of standardization led to the development of the Health Care Quality Improvement Act, which protects those involved in the peer review process from litigation, and the National Provider Databank, which was established as a national database to track misconduct. A focus on quality improvement in the peer review process can lead to improved performance and patient outcomes. A thorough understanding of the processes of credentialing, certification, and peer review in the United States will benefit neurosurgeons by allowing them to know what institutions are looking for as well and their rights and responsibilities in any given situation. It could also be useful to compare these policies and practices in the United States to those in other countries.
    Keywords:  Certification; Credentialing; Peer review
  7. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(7): e0253538
      Increasing attention is being paid to the operation of biomedical data repositories in light of efforts to improve how scientific data is handled and made available for the long term. Multiple groups have produced recommendations for functions that biomedical repositories should support, with many using requirements of the FAIR data principles as guidelines. However, FAIR is but one set of principles that has arisen out of the open science community. They are joined by principles governing open science, data citation and trustworthiness, all of which are important aspects for biomedical data repositories to support. Together, these define a framework for data repositories that we call OFCT: Open, FAIR, Citable and Trustworthy. Here we developed an instrument using the open source PolicyModels toolkit that attempts to operationalize key aspects of OFCT principles and piloted the instrument by evaluating eight biomedical community repositories listed by the NIDDK Information Network ( Repositories included both specialist repositories that focused on a particular data type or domain, in this case diabetes and metabolomics, and generalist repositories that accept all data types and domains. The goal of this work was both to obtain a sense of how much the design of current biomedical data repositories align with these principles and to augment the dkNET listing with additional information that may be important to investigators trying to choose a repository, e.g., does the repository fully support data citation? The evaluation was performed from March to November 2020 through inspection of documentation and interaction with the sites by the authors. Overall, although there was little explicit acknowledgement of any of the OFCT principles in our sample, the majority of repositories provided at least some support for their tenets.
  8. EMBO Rep. 2021 Jul 16. e52988
      Even if the predominant model of science communication with the public is now based on dialogue, many experts still adhere to the outdated deficit model of informing the public.
  9. Nature. 2021 Jul 12.
    Keywords:  Authorship; Peer review; Publishing
  10. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2021 Jul 14.
      BACKGROUND: The use of social media in orthopaedic surgery and its allied associations has not been studied. There are various associations which are actively engaged in social media platforms to enhance their impact with their users across the globe. We evaluated the social media presence and extent of involvement of orthopaedics journals and their publishing companies, orthopaedics organizations, orthopaedics device firms, and health organizations.MATERIALS AND METHODS: We compiled a global list of orthopaedics journals and publishing companies, orthopaedics organizations, orthopaedics device firms and health organizations affiliated to orthopaedics (USA) through the internet and their reliable online links. All the categories and their contents were screened on various social media networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) in terms of their membership, likes, followers and active participation. Comparable variables were selected and compared.
    RESULTS: Orthopaedics journals corresponding to sports and health were more notable than others on social networking platforms, i.e., British Journal of Sports Medicine and American Journal of Sports Medicine. Medscape, Lancet, and Elsevier being the multispeciality health and information publishing companies have remarkable participation on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Medtronic has maximum followers on all discussed social networking sites. Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota and Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio were more admired than other orthopaedics hospitals on Facebook and Twitter in USA. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons was the most popular society on Facebook and LinkedIn while American Orthopaedics Society for Sports Medicine was most talked about on twitter.
    CONCLUSIONS: Although the active involvement of orthopaedics journals and their publishers is lower than multispecialty publishing companies but increasing trends were found recently. Orthopaedics organisations and device firms were actively involved on social networking while orthopaedics multispeciality health organizations associated with renowned universities have huge likes or followers. The social networking has the potential to flourish these journals and organisations in the near future as large populations over the globe have been actively participating and growing in their numbers exponentially.
    Keywords:  Altmetric; Facebook; LinkedIn; Orthopaedics device firms; Orthopaedics journals; Orthopaedics organizations; Social networking; Twitter
  11. Chem Sci. 2021 Jul 01. 12(25): 8586-8588
      Introducing double-anonymised peer review in Chemical Science. Graphical abstract image adapted from © Shutterstock/M-SUR.
  12. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2021 Jun 18. pii: S1053-0770(21)00521-8. [Epub ahead of print]