bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2021‒08‒08
twenty-nine papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. Nature. 2021 Aug;596(7871): 165
    Keywords:  Communication; Society
  2. Nature. 2021 Aug 02.
    Keywords:  Public health; Publishing; Research data; SARS-CoV-2
  3. Neuroinformatics. 2021 Aug 04.
      The past decade has seen accelerating movement from data protectionism in publishing toward open data sharing to improve reproducibility and translation of biomedical research. Developing data sharing infrastructures to meet these new demands remains a challenge. One model for data sharing involves simply attaching data, irrespective of its type, to publisher websites or general use repositories. However, some argue this creates a 'data dump' that does not promote the goals of making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR). Specialized data sharing communities offer an alternative model where data are curated by domain experts to make it both open and FAIR. We report on our experiences developing one such data-sharing ecosystem focusing on 'long-tail' preclinical data, the Open Data Commons for Spinal Cord Injury ( ODC-SCI was developed with community-based agile design requirements directly pulled from a series of workshops with multiple stakeholders (researchers, consumers, non-profit funders, governmental agencies, journals, and industry members). ODC-SCI focuses on heterogeneous tabular data collected by preclinical researchers including bio-behaviour, histopathology findings and molecular endpoints. This has led to an example of a specialized neurocommons that is well-embraced by the community it aims to serve. In the present paper, we provide a review of the community-based design template and describe the adoption by the community including a high-level review of current data assets, publicly released datasets, and web analytics. Although is in its late beta stage of development, it represents a successful example of a specialized data commons that may serve as a model for other fields.
    Keywords:  Data sharing; FAIR; community repository; data reuse; neurotrauma; spinal cord injury
  4. Emerg Med Australas. 2021 Aug 05.
      OBJECTIVE: Language that implies a conclusion not supported by the evidence is common in the medical literature. The hypothesis of the present study was that medical journal publications are more likely to use misleading language for the interpretation of a demonstrated null (i.e. chance or not statistically significant) effect than a demonstrated real (i.e. statistically significant) effect.METHODS: This was an observational study of the medical literature with a systematic sampling method. Articles published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine over the last two decades were eligible. The language used around the P-value was assessed for misleadingness (i.e. either suggesting an effect existed when a real effect did not exist or vice versa).
    RESULTS: There were 228 unique manuscripts examined, containing 400 statements interpreting a P-value proximate to 0.05. The P-value was between 0.036 and 0.050 for 303 (75.8%) statements and between 0.050 and 0.064 for 97 (24.3%) statements. Forty-four (11%) of the statements were misleading. There were 40 (41.2%) false-positive sentences, implying statistical significance when the P-value was >0.05, and four (1.3%) false-negative sentences, implying no statistical significance when the P-value <0.05 (relative risk 31.2; 95% confidence interval 11.5-85.1; P < 0.0001). The proportion of included manuscripts containing at least one misleading sentence was 16.2% (95% confidence interval 12.0-21.6).
    CONCLUSIONS: Among a random selection of sentences in prestigious journals describing P-values close to 0.05, 1 in 10 are misleading (n = 44, 11%) and this is more prevalent when the P-values are above 0.05 compared to below 0.05. Caution is advised for researchers, clinicians and editors to align with the context and purpose of P-values.
    Keywords:  P-value; ethics in publishing; statistical significance
  5. Pain. 2021 Aug 03.
      ABSTRACT: Several different reporting biases cited in scientific literature have raised concerns about the overestimation of effects and the subsequent potential impact on the practice of evidence-based medicine and human health. Up to 7-8% of the population experiences neuropathic pain, and established treatment guidelines are based predominately on published, clinical trial results. Therefore, we examined published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of first-line drugs for neuropathic pain and assessed the relative proportions with statistically significant (i.e., positive) and non-significant (i.e., negative) results and their rates of citation. We determined the relationships between reported study outcome and the frequency of their citations with journal impact factor, sample size, time to publication after study completion, and study quality metrics. We also examined the association of study outcome with maximum study drug dosage and conflict of interest. We found that of 107 published RCTs, 68.2% reported a statistically significant outcome regarding drug efficacy for chronic peripheral and central neuropathic pain. Positive studies were cited nearly twice as often as negative studies in the literature (P=0.01), despite similar study sample size, quality metrics, and publication in journals with similar impact factors. The time to publication, journal impact factor, and conflict of interest did not differ statistically between positive and negative studies. Our observations that negative and positive RCTs were published in journals with similar impact at comparable time-lags after study completion are encouraging. However, the citation bias for positive studies could affect the validity and generalization of conclusions in literature and potentially influence clinical practice.
  6. Front Neurol. 2021 ;12 693937
      Background: Spin refers to reporting practices that could distort the interpretation and mislead readers by being more optimistic than the results justify, thereby possibly changing the perception of clinicians and influence their decisions. Because of the clinical importance of accurate interpretation of results and the evidence of spin in other research fields, we aim to identify the nature and frequency of spin in published reports of tinnitus randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and to assess possible determinants and effects of spin. Methods: We searched PubMed systematically for RCTs with tinnitus-related outcomes published from 2015 to 2019. All eligible articles were assessed on actual and potential spin using prespecified criteria. Results: Our search identified 628 studies, of which 87 were eligible for evaluation. A total of 95% of the studies contained actual or potential spin. Actual spin was found mostly in the conclusion of articles, which reflected something else than the reported point estimate (or CI) of the outcome (n = 34, 39%) or which was selectively focused (n = 49, 56%). Linguistic spin ("trend," "marginally significant," or "tendency toward an effect") was found in 17% of the studies. We were not able to assess the association between study characteristics and the occurrence of spin due to the low number of trials for some categories of the study characteristics. We found no effect of spin on type of journal [odds ratio (OR) -0.13, 95% CI -0.56-0.31], journal impact factor (OR 0.17, 95% CI -0.18-0.51), or number of citations (OR 1.95, CI -2.74-6.65). Conclusion: There is a large amount of spin in tinnitus RCTs. Our findings show that there is room for improvement in reporting and interpretation of results. Awareness of different forms of spin must be raised to improve research quality and reduce research waste.
    Keywords:  SPIN; methods; quality; randomized controlled trial; tinnitus
  7. Ann Transl Med. 2021 Jun;9(11): 918
      Background: The Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (STARD) statement has been updated in 2015. Many diagnostic test accuracy (DTA) studies have been published in medical laboratory journals, but their adherence to the updated STARD statement remains unknown.Methods: We searched the PubMed database to verify studies published in 4 laboratory journals, including Clinical Chemistry, Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Clinica Chimica Acta, and Clinical Biochemistry, in 2019. DTA studies were identified and their adherence to the STARD statement was assessed.
    Results: A total of 45 studies were included in this analysis. Overall, 18 out of 34 STARD items were reported. The items (adherence rate) of sample size estimation (4%), adverse events (9%), protocol (9%), registration (16%), missing value (22%), indeterminate results (18%), and cross-tabulation (22%) were the most frequently unreported items.
    Conclusions: Adherence to the STARD statement in DTA articles published in laboratory medicine seems as yet unsatisfactory. Our study emphasizes the necessity to improve the reporting quality of DTA studies published in medical laboratory journals.
    Keywords:  STARD statement; diagnostic test accuracy (DTA); laboratory medicine
  8. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2021 Jan-Apr;25(1):25(1): 193-194
      The fraudulent behaviour of predatory journals/conferences through E-mail solicitations and author's perspective in unknowingly becoming victims of predatory publishing scheme, by being unaware of the fact that the journals in which they are involved are possibly predatory are highlighted here.
    Keywords:  Predatory; conferences; unsolicited
  9. Aesthet Surg J. 2021 Aug 02. pii: sjab305. [Epub ahead of print]
      Traditionally there has been a collaboration between scientists and industry contributing to the development of new drugs, biologics, and medical devices. Conflict-of-interest (COI) may develop amongst surgeons and academic researchers especially during the process of refinement of techniques and the marketing and sale of devices. Dramatic examples of COI occurred over the last fifty years leading to strict regulations designed to reduce COI at research institutions. Action taken by the International Association of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) created COI guidelines to help authors and editors to ensure clear, reproducible, and unbiased medical articles. The Physicians Payments Sunshine Act was designed to increase transparency of financial relationships between physicians and industry. However, there are instances where authors and scientists are not obligated to fully disclose their COI. Only direct payments are required to be reported, not indirect payments to faculty at large academic institutions, allowing some to take advantage of the exceptions to the disclosure requirements while others must disclose payment for their work effort. Based on prominent scandals, regulations aimed at reducing industry influence in research and publication may fail to recognize the potential benefits of collaboration and produce a narrow-minded view of trust. Where should an editorial board or an academic institution draw the line?
  10. Account Res. 2021 Aug 04.
      Academic chemists in Ph.D. granting institutions in the United States were surveyed on the time and effort they spend on peer reviews and how they rate themselves as reviewers. Thirty percent of the respondents reviewed 16 or more papers yearly. This seemingly high number is consistent with the number of papers some scientists publish and the rough estimate of two-to-three reviews are obtained per manuscript submission. Approximately 30% of the respondents reported they spent two hours or less per review; that 60% rate themselves as strong or very strong reviewers; that the youngest reviewers are more likely to be compulsive in their reviewing; and that respondents who spend more time on reviews complete fewer reviews per year. Sixty percent of the respondents categorized themselves as strong or very strong reviewers, suggesting that most scientists see reviewing papers as an essential component of their professional responsibilities. These ratings suggest an opportunity to improve peer review quality. Good citizenship within the scientific community suggests that each scientist should review ca. two - three times as many papers each year as they submit, and that reviewers need to see reviewing as 'providing to others what authors hope reviewers will provide to them.'
    Keywords:  Responsible conduct of research; peer review; survey
  11. JSLS. 2021 Jul-Sep;25(3):pii: e2021.00034. [Epub ahead of print]25(3):
      Background and objective: Words of estimative probability are used in medical writing. Authors know the number they intend the word to mean, readers do not. The objective of this study is to assess the variability of words having numeric meaning to medical doctors.Design: A survey of 131 American trained MD's and DO's was done regarding their interpretation of 27 commonly used words of the estimative probability they placed on each word.
    Methods: Statistical assessments were done to evaluate specific word meaning as a number or range to physicians and compared to each other's interpretation.
    Results: For 19 of the 27 words had a 30% +/- (60% variance) of interpretation. Twenty-five of the 27 had less than 38% agreement on numeric meaning. Only two words had more than 74% numeric agreement.
    Conclusion: Words of estimative probability have widely varied interpretations to physicians. This makes interpretation of those words incomprehensible for scientific meaning resulting in communication without comprehension.
    Keywords:  Ambiguous; Bias; Communication; Estimate; Probability
  12. Prev Sci. 2021 Aug 06.
      Clearinghouses are influential repositories of information on the effectiveness of social interventions. To identify which interventions are "evidence-based," clearinghouses review intervention evaluations using published standards of evidence that focus primarily on internal validity and causal inferences. Open science practices can improve trust in evidence from evaluations on the effectiveness of social interventions. Including open science practices in clearinghouse standards of evidence is one of many efforts that could increase confidence in designations of interventions as "evidence-based." In this study, we examined the policies, procedures, and practices of 10 federal evidence clearinghouses that review preventive interventions-an important and influential subset of all evidence clearinghouses. We found that seven consider at least one open science practice when evaluating interventions: replication (6 of 10 clearinghouses), public availability of results (6), investigator conflicts of interest (3), design and analysis transparency (3), study registration (2), and protocol sharing (1). We did not identify any policies, procedures, or practices related to analysis plan registration, data sharing, code sharing, material sharing, and citation standards. We provide a framework with specific recommendations to help federal and other evidence clearinghouses implement the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines. Our proposed "TOP Guidelines for Clearinghouses" includes reporting whether evaluations used open science practices, incorporating open science practices in their standards for receiving "evidence-based" designations, and verifying that evaluations used open science practices. Doing so could increase the trustworthiness of evidence used for policy making and support improvements throughout the evidence ecosystem.
    Keywords:  Clearinghouse; Evidence standards; Open science; Reproducibility; Research transparency
  13. Arthroscopy. 2021 Aug;pii: S0749-8063(21)00524-7. [Epub ahead of print]37(8): 2598-2599
      Infographics are an evolving medium within the orthopaedic literature and support engagement of a broad audience than traditional scientific articles. Arthroscopy infographics have been published monthly since January 2019 on a range of topics relevant to the readership. Citation numbers have long been used as a metric for quality and relevance of a scientific article, although alternative metrics (altmetrics) are now available to quantify the online activity related to scholarly content. Altmetrics are defined as "metrics and qualitative data that are complementary to traditional, citation-based metrics," and the altmetric attention score depends on 3 main factors: volume (number of "mentions"), sources (e.g. newspaper, blog, tweet), and author (source of the "mention", e.g. physician vs journal). Recent research links altmetric scores to citation gains. Infographics are a tool for expanding, educating, and increasing the breadth of medical journal readership.
  14. Acad Med. 2021 Aug 03.
      PURPOSE: Innovation articles have their own submission category and guidelines in health professions education (HPE) journals, which suggests innovation might be a unique genre of scholarship. Yet, the requirements for innovation submissions vary among journals, suggesting ambiguity about the core content of this type of scholarship. To reduce this ambiguity, the researchers conducted a systematic overview to identify key features of innovation articles and evaluate their consistency in use across journals. Findings from this review may have implications for further development of innovation scholarship within HPE.METHOD: In this systematic overview, conducted in 2020, the researchers identified 13 HPE journals with innovation-type articles and used content analysis to identify key features from author guidelines and publications describing what editors look for in innovation articles. The researchers then audited a sample of 39 innovation articles (3 from each journal) published in 2019 to determine presence and consistency of 12 innovation features within and across HPE journals. Audit findings informed the researchers' evaluation of innovation as a genre in HPE.
    RESULTS: Findings show variability of innovation feature presence within and across journals. On average, articles included 7.8 of the 12 innovation features (SD 2.1, range 3-11). The most common features were description of: how the innovation was implemented (92%), a problem (90%), what was new or novel (79%), and data or outcomes (77%). On average, 5.5 (SD 1.5) out of 12 innovation features were consistently used in articles within each journal.
    CONCLUSIONS: The authors identified common features of innovation article-types based on journal guidelines, but there was variability in presence and consistency of these features, suggesting HPE innovations are in an emerging state of genre development. The authors discuss potential reasons for variability within this article-type and highlight the need for further discussion among authors, editors, and reviewers to improve clarity.
  15. Nature. 2021 Aug 02.
    Keywords:  Communication; Journalism; Society
  16. Sci Total Environ. 2021 Jul 22. pii: S0048-9697(21)04316-3. [Epub ahead of print]798 149243
      Let's imagine that you have just finished writing a scientific paper. The paper is well-structured and clearly written, and you are proud of it. Now is the time to submit it to a peer-reviewed journal and see what your colleagues think of it. You are now entering the peer-review publishing system, which is overseen by journal editors. Dealing with these editors is a skill that can be acquired like any other. Here is some advice on dealing with the peer-review system and with editors. This advice is based on my years of experience as an associate editor of an American Chemical Society journal. I have also submitted and revised hundreds of papers in my career and have reviewed hundreds more. (Google my name for details.) Thus, I have learned how to deal with editors from both sides.
    Keywords:  How to be a reviewer; Responding to reviewer comments; Selecting a journal; The cover letter
  17. J Neurosurg. 2021 Aug 06. pii: 2021.1.JNS204257. [Epub ahead of print] 1-5
      OBJECTIVE: Scientific productivity, as assessed by publication volume, is a common metric by which the academic neurosurgical field assesses its members. The number of authors per peer-reviewed article has been observed to increase over time across a broad range of medical specialties. This study provides an update to this trend in the neurosurgical literature.METHODS: All publications from January 1, 1980, to April 30, 2020, were queried from four neurosurgical journals: Neurosurgery, Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS), JNS: Pediatrics, and JNS: Spine. Publication information was acquired from the National Center for Biotechnology Information Entrez database and reconciled with the Scopus database. Publication type was limited to articles and excluded editorials, letters, and reviews. The number of authors and affiliation counts were determined based on structured abstract fields provided in the two databases.
    RESULTS: Between January 1, 1980, and April 30, 2020, the overall increase in author count for the four neurosurgical journals was 0.12 to 0.18 authors per year (p < 0.001). For Neurosurgery, the mean (SD) author count increased from 2.81 (1.4) in 1980-1985 to 7.97 (4.92) in 2016-2020 (p < 0.001). For the JNS, the mean (SD) author count increased from 2.82 (1.04) in 1980-1985 to 7.6 (3.65) in 2016-2020 (p < 0.001). The percentage of articles with more than 10 authors increased from 0.2% to 22.3% in Neurosurgery and from 1.9% to 17.5% in JNS. Only 28% of the author count variation was explained by an increasing number of institutional or departmental affiliations.
    CONCLUSIONS: Author counts for peer-reviewed articles in neurosurgical academic journals have increased significantly during the past 4 decades, with large increases in the numbers of articles with more than 10 authors in the past 5 years. A total of 28% of the variation in this increase can be explained by an increase in multiinstitutional or multidepartmental studies.
    Keywords:  authorship creep; authorship growth; increasing author count
  18. Psychol Res. 2021 Aug 06.
      Psychologische Forschung started as a journal "für Psychologie und ihre Grenzgebiete" and became strongly associated with the Berlin school of Gestalt psychology. Parallel to the fate of that school, the Journal was discontinued after 1938 and re-appeared only 1949. A number of years with variable and broad editorial boards and without a clear profile followed. In 1974 the Journal switched to English as the first German psychology journal and became Psychological Research. Gradually and without any abrupt changes-as indicated e.g. by analyses of citing and cited journals-the current profile as "An International Journal of Perception, Attention, Memory, and Action" was developed. During the last one to two decades the number of papers, the number of contributing countries, and the impact increase.
  19. Nature. 2021 Aug;596(7870): 35
    Keywords:  Authorship; Funding; Publishing; Sustainability
  20. Indian J Psychol Med. 2021 May;43(3): 241-245
      Background: Despite exponential growth in Indian research, Indian journals have low impact factors. A previous study by one of the authors (CA) of this paper showed that articles published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry (IJP) under-referenced previously published relevant papers in the same journal. Based on this, we decided to investigate the citation characteristics of contemporary scientific articles published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine (IJPM).Methods: The citation characteristics of scientific articles published in 2018 (Vol 40, issues 1-6) in the IJPM were examined to determine how well the authors cited relevant articles published during the past ten years in the IJPM and the IJP.
    Results: There were 145 and 142 citation-worthy articles in the IJPM and the IJP, respectively; of these, 85.5% and 65.5%, respectively, had not been cited.
    Conclusions: Authors publishing in the IJPM under-reference previous relevant research published in the IJPM and IJP. This suggests unawareness of, deliberate disregard of, or even disdain for prior Indian research in the field. Additionally, if Indian researchers do not cite previous Indian research in the field published in Indian journals, the citation metrics of Indian journals will not grow.
    Keywords:  Impact factor; Indian Journal of Psychiatry; Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine; Indian psychiatry; Indian research; citation indices
  21. Int J Paleopathol. 2021 Aug 03. pii: S1879-9817(21)00066-8. [Epub ahead of print]34 217-222
      OBJECTIVES: The aim is to provide an overview of the nature of the content of palaeopathology articles in the International Journal of Paleopathology during the first ten years of publication (2011-2020), and to compare these results with those from other similar journals.METHODS: The method used is bibliometry of International Journal of Paleopathology plus nine other periodicals publishing in the field of osteoarchaeology / palaeopathology. In these ten journals, 2513 publications in human osteology are reviewed of which 1032 are devoted specifically or substantially to palaeopathology.
    RESULTS: International Journal of Paleopathology has attracted a large number of palaeopathology publications, but this has not been at the expense of extant journals. Its appearance appears to have coincided with an expansion of the discipline, and it may also act as a focus for publication for articles that would not previously have found a venue. Its output is distinctive from other journals assessed, with greater emphasis on review articles (including those focusing on method and theory in palaeopathology) and, especially, on case reports.
    SIGNIFICANCE: International Journal of Paleopathology acts as a focal point for publications from diverse areas of the field. The connection with the Paleopathology Association provides a conduit by which outcomes of debates within the profession concerning future priorities for the field (e.g. development of method and theory; the status of the case report within the discipline) can be reflected in journal policy.
    LIMITATIONS: Palaeopathology and other osteoarchaeology articles are published in venues other than those analysed in the current work.
    Keywords:  Case report; Method; Population study; Publication analysis; Review article; Theory
  22. Am J Surg. 2021 Jul 24. pii: S0002-9610(21)00418-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Women account for 19 % of practicing surgeons in the United States, with representation decreasing with higher academic rank. Less is known about the proportion of women in editorial leadership positions at surgical journals. The objective of this study was to examine gender representation among editorial leadership at high-impact surgical journals.METHODS: The five journals with the highest impact factors in general, cardiothoracic, plastics, otolaryngology, orthopedics, urology, vascular, and neurosurgery were identified. Data were abstracted on the proportion of women editors-in-chief (EIC) and editorial board members between 2010 and 2020 to determine how these demographics changed over time.
    RESULTS: Multiple fields had no women EIC over the past decade (orthopedics, urology, cardiothoracic, neurosurgery). In all other fields, women were a minority of EIC. In 2020, women made up 7.9 % of EIC and 11.1 % of editorial boards in surgical journals.
    CONCLUSIONS: Women remain under-represented among leadership at high-impact surgical journals, with varying improvement over the past decade among different subspecialties.
    Keywords:  Academic surgery; Disparities; Editorial board; Gender
  23. Nature. 2021 Aug 04.
    Keywords:  Careers; Publishing; Scientific community
  24. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(8): e0255849
      References are employed in most academic research papers to give credits and to reflect scholarliness. With the upsurge in academic publications in recent decades, we are curious to know how the number of references cited per research article has changed across different disciplines over that time. The results of our study showed significant linear growth in reference density in eight disciplinary categories between 1980 and 2019 indexed in Web of Science. It appears that reference saturation is not yet in sight. Overall, the general increase in the number of publications and the advanced accessibility of the Internet and digitized documents may have promoted the growth in references in certain fields. However, the seemingly runaway tendency should be well appreciated and objectively assessed. We suggest that authors focus on their research itself rather than on political considerations during the process of writing, especially the selection of important references to cite.
  25. IBRO Neurosci Rep. 2021 Dec;11 52-55
      The pressures of the ethos of "publish or perish" in academia has led to a multitude of issues for science and scientists. In this paper, we argue that the existentialist philosophy concept of authenticity would be useful for scientists to prevent issues of reproducibility, data manipulation, fraud, and mentorship. We highlight some major caveats and call for policies to prevent them. Overall, we propose a way for scientists to ensure they do not succumb to the pressures of a career in science.
    Keywords:  Existentialism; Publish or Perish; Rent-seeking behavior