bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2021‒08‒22
thirty-two papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. Biochem Med (Zagreb). 2021 Oct 15. 31(3): 030201
      A predatory journal could be provisionally defined as one masquerading as a genuine academic publication but offer little, if any, rigorous peer review. Predatory journals or publishers place a focus on maximising financial profit, as opposed to regulated dissemination of scientific advancements. As a result, authors can often get their work published in such journals with little scrutiny on quality. Although generally warned against and discouraged, universally practiced sanctions against researchers' submission to and publication in predatory journals are not common. Predatory publishing thus remains prevalent, particularly in places where academic success is measured by the quantity rather than quality of publication output, which feeds the journal's business model that thrives upon significant market demand. However, such an undesirable enterprise has the potential to flood the scientific literature with unsound research that could be misleadingly perceived as authoritative. This may result in or add to the confusion of policy makers and the layperson, consequentially bringing disrepute to science and all parties involved. Here, we argue that wilfully submitting one's manuscript to a predatory journal may constitute an active act of avoidance of rigorous peer review of one's work. If such is the intention, it would be a questionable research practice and could be considered an, albeit covert, form of scientific misconduct. If labelled as such, and with institutional and funding rules erected to discourage the practice, predatory publishing could be effectively put out of business through diminishing the consumer demand.
    Keywords:  falsification; predatory journals; predatory publishing; research misconduct; scientific misconduct
  2. J Evid Based Dent Pract. 2021 Jun;pii: S1532-3382(21)00014-2. [Epub ahead of print]21(2): 101539
      OBJECTIVE: to identify characteristics of presumed predatory (PP) journals, presumed legitimate open access (PLOA) journals, and presumed legitimate subscription (PLS) journals published in dentistry.METHODS: We assessed presumed predatory (PP), presumed legitimate open access (PLOA) and presumed legitimate subscription (PLS) journals using indicators reported in the literature consisting of 29 items in the form of questions in a cross-sectional setting. The indicators formed the basis for the 13 salient characteristics of PP journals that were used to generate scores. Greater scores would imply that the journal was more likely to be predatory compared to lower score journals. Associations between predatory score and journal type were examined using the non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis test, and classification to the 3 groups based on the article characteristics was implemented using the random forest approach.
    RESULTS: From the 580 potentially eligible journals, 431 dental journals were included: 226 PP (52%), 111 (26%) PLOA, and 94 (22%) PLS. There were significant differences in the predatory score among the three groups; PP journals had the highest mean score and PLS journals the lowest mean score. Mention or reporting to be indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) database and journals´website with distorted or blurry images were the most influential variables for accurate classification into a predatory category or not.
    CONCLUSIONS: The present study found that some specific characteristics such as distorted images and grammatical errors are more prominent in PP dental journals.
    Keywords:  Conflict of interest; Editorial policies; Medical ethics; Methods; Open access publishing; Peer review; Publishing
  3. Wellcome Open Res. 2021 ;6 156
      Many conferences and in-person meetings have transitioned to virtual platforms in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we share strategies and lessons learned from organizing an international virtual unconventional conference, or 'unconference'. The event focused on how early career researchers can advocate for systemic improvements in scientific publishing and research culture. The virtual unconference had three main components: (1) a virtual networking event, (2) asynchronous virtual brainstorming, and (3) a virtual open space, where participants could join or lead in-depth discussions. The unconference format was participant-driven and encouraged dialogue and collaboration between 54 attendees from 20 countries on six continents. Virtual brainstorming allowed participants to contribute to discussions at times that were convenient for them. Activity was consistently high throughout the 48 hours of virtual brainstorming and continued into the next day. The results of these discussions are collaboratively summarized in a paper entitled Empowering Early Career Researchers to Improve Science, co-authored by the unconference participants . We hope that this method report will help others to organize asynchronous virtual unconferences, while also providing new strategies for participant-driven activities that could be integrated into conventional virtual conferences.
    Keywords:  conference; unconference; virtual brainstorming; virtual platform
  4. J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2021 Jun 23. 33(8): 573-575
      ABSTRACT: Scholarship forms the scientific basis of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) practice. Although the number of manuscripts from APRNs has grown, the vast majority of APRNs do not publish works that affect practice, education, research, or policy. Many APRNs are unaware of resources, such as a writing coach and an editor, that facilitate producing publishable scholarship. This article describes the similarities and differences of the two resources.
  5. J Nurs Scholarsh. 2021 Aug 16.
      PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which academic promotion and tenure (APT) criteria and guidelines in schools of nursing recognize predatory publishing. This assessment included an analysis of APT documents looking specifically for guidance about predatory publications by faculty in schools of nursing.DESIGN: This study used a cross-sectional, descriptive design and was conducted in 2020.
    METHODS: A mixed methods approach was used to collect data from two sources. Data were extracted from APT documents for 92 research-intensive universities found online and specifically focused on documents for universities and for schools of nursing in the United States. Interviews were conducted with a subsample of academic administrators (n = 10) from selected schools.
    FINDINGS: The majority (57%; n = 50) of APT documents reviewed addressed quality of the journals in which faculty publish. However, very nonspecific terms, such as "high quality" or "peer reviewed" were used. None of the documents reviewed (n = 88) included any reference to predatory journals. Deans who were interviewed validated the analysis of the APT documents. While most deans reported faculty were aware of predatory journals and the risks of publishing in them, formal guidelines for consequences for publishing in predatory journals were not developed or available.
    CONCLUSION: This study examined how schools of nursing in research-intensive universities address the issue of predatory journals. APT criteria do not provide guidance to faculty and promotion and tenure committees about issues related to predatory publications as low-quality publication outlets. Recommendations for APT committees, mentors, and faculty are provided.
    CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Clinicians rely on researchers, many of whom are faculty, to publish rigorous studies that produce evidence they can translate into practice. One measure of the quality of a study's findings is where the paper is published and reflects the level of peer review it has been through. Faculty who publish in predatory journals may not have had their work reviewed by experts; evidence produced may or may not be adequate for translation to guide nursing practice.
    Keywords:  faculty publications; predatory journals; promotion and tenure guidelines
  6. BMJ Health Care Inform. 2021 Aug;pii: e100392. [Epub ahead of print]28(1):
    Keywords:  BMJ health informatics; consumer health informatics; health communication; health literacy; patient-centred care
  7. CBE Life Sci Educ. 2021 Sep;20(3): ar46
      Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) engage students in authentic research experiences in a course format and can sometimes result in the publication of that research. However, little is known about student-author perceptions of CURE publications. In this study, we examined how students perceive they benefit from authoring a CURE publication and what they believe is required for authorship of a manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal. All 16 students who were enrolled in a molecular genetics CURE during their first year of college participated in semistructured interviews during their fourth year. At the time of the interviews, students had been authors of a CURE publication for a year and a half. Students reported that they benefited personally and professionally from the publication. Students had varying perceptions of what is required for authorship, but every student thought that writing the manuscript was needed, and only two mentioned needing to approve the final draft. Additionally, we identified incomplete conceptions that students had about CURE publications. This work establishes student-perceived benefits from CURE publications and highlights the need for authorship requirements to be explicitly addressed in CUREs.
  8. FEBS J. 2021 Aug;288(16): 4728-4729
      With the current issue of The FEBS Journal, we are introducing a new category of invited review article contributions on Emerging Methods and Technologies. These articles provide an overview and discussion of recent, emerging methods that significantly advance and improve research efforts in the different fields of molecular and cellular research of our The FEBS Journal authors and readers. Deputy Editorial Manager Manuel Breuer and our Emerging Methods and Technologies Commissioning Editor Eric Chevet introduce the series.
  9. J Taibah Univ Med Sci. 2021 Aug;16(4): 477-481
      Preprints are typically crude precursors of peer-reviewed papers that are placed almost immediately, save for some superficial screening, on an open-access repository to allow the information to reach readers quickly, circumventing the long-drawn process typically associated with processing in peer-reviewed journals. For early-career researchers who might be enthusiastic about obtaining some recognition for their efforts, or wanting open and public input about their work, preprints are certainly a useful publication choice. However, if health-related data and information have not been carefully scrutinised, they may pose a risk and may even serve as a source of public health misinformation. Surging growth and competition among preprint servers, coupled with a massive volume of COVID-19-related preprints, mainly on bioRxiv and medRxiv, as well as select indexing now being tested on PubMed, suggests that preprints are being increasingly used in the biomedical sciences. Stronger and more robust ethical policies are needed to screen preprints before they are released to the public, and even if this implies a slight delay in publication, it may increase academics' trust in this form of scientific information and communication. Clear and stringent ethical policies need to be urgently introduced by ethics groups such as COPE and the ICMJE, whose many member journals allow preprints to be posted before traditional peer review. Stringent ethical guidelines that treat misconduct equally in preprints and peer-reviewed papers will boost the integrity of academic publishing.
    Keywords:  Ethics policies; Health policies; Peer review; bioRxiv; medRxiv
  10. Nat Hum Behav. 2021 Aug 16.
      Previous surveys of the literature have shown that reports of statistical analyses often lack important information, causing lack of transparency and failure of reproducibility. Editors and authors agree that guidelines for reporting should be encouraged. This Review presents a set of Bayesian analysis reporting guidelines (BARG). The BARG encompass the features of previous guidelines, while including many additional details for contemporary Bayesian analyses, with explanations. An extensive example of applying the BARG is presented. The BARG should be useful to researchers, authors, reviewers, editors, educators and students. Utilization, endorsement and promotion of the BARG may improve the quality, transparency and reproducibility of Bayesian analyses.
  11. J Clin Orthop Trauma. 2021 Oct;21 101531
      Purpose: To facilitate decision-making in authorship positions, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editor (ICMJE) developed a guideline that stipulates criteria authors should meet in order to merit authorship. Authors who did not meet these criteria and still enlisted as authors, are called 'honorary' authors. In this study, the prevalence and characteristics of honorary authorship (HA) is assessed in the field of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.Methods: A survey was distributed among corresponding authors of articles published in 2019 in six Orthopedics-dedicated journals.
    Results: 479 of the 1392 approached authors responded, leading to a response rate of 34.4%. 91.6% of the respondents were aware of the ICMJE guidelines, whereas 67.8% were aware of the issue of HA. Overall, the prevalence of guideline-based HA was 41.9%, while the prevalence of self-perceived HA was 14.7%. Having a senior member automatically enlisted as author on the departments, was associated with a higher rate of guideline-based HA (OR 5.03) and self-perceived HA (OR 3.31).
    Conclusions: The prevalence of HA in the field of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is high, but comparable to other medical fields. Transparency in authorship decision-making is crucial to maintain liability in scientific articles.
    Keywords:  Honorary authorship; Honorary authorship, HA; ICMJE-Guidelines; Orthopedics; the International Committee of Medical Journal Editor, ICMJE
  12. Account Res. 2021 Aug 16.
      Preregistration is the practice of publicly publishing plans on central components of the research process before access to, or collection, of data. Within the context of the replication crisis, open science practices like preregistration have been pivotal in facilitating greater transparency in research. However, such practices have been applied nearly exclusively to basic academic research, with rare consideration of the relevance to applied and consultancy-based research. This is particularly problematic as such research is typically reported with very low levels of transparency and accountability despite being disseminated as influential grey literature to inform practice. Evidence-based practice is best served by an appreciation of multiple sources of quality evidence, thus the current review considers the potential of preregistration to improve both the accessibility and credibility of applied research towards more rigorous evidence-based practice. The current three-part review outlines, first, the opportunities of preregistration for applied research, and second, three barriers - practical challenges, stakeholder roles, and the suitability of preregistration. Last, this review makes four recommendations to overcome these barriers and maximise the opportunities of preregistration for academics, industry, and the structures they are held within - changes to preregistration templates, new types of templates, education and training, and recognition and structural changes.
    Keywords:  Accountability; Applied Research; Grey Literature; Open Science; Preregistration; Transparency
  13. BMJ Open. 2021 Aug 18. 11(8): e049228
      OBJECTIVES: To explore the impact of data-sharing initiatives on the intent to share data, on actual data sharing, on the use of shared data and on research output and impact of shared data.ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: All studies investigating data-sharing practices for individual participant data (IPD) from clinical trials.
    SOURCES OF EVIDENCE: We searched the Medline database, the Cochrane Library, the Science Citation Index Expanded and the Social Sciences Citation Index via Web of Science, and preprints and proceedings of the International Congress on Peer Review and Scientific Publication. In addition, we inspected major clinical trial data-sharing platforms, contacted major journals/publishers, editorial groups and some funders.
    CHARTING METHODS: Two reviewers independently extracted information on methods and results from resources identified using a standardised questionnaire. A map of the extracted data was constructed and accompanied by a narrative summary for each outcome domain.
    RESULTS: 93 studies identified in the literature search (published between 2001 and 2020, median: 2018) and 5 from additional information sources were included in the scoping review. Most studies were descriptive and focused on early phases of the data-sharing process. While the willingness to share IPD from clinical trials is extremely high, actual data-sharing rates are suboptimal. A survey of journal data suggests poor to moderate enforcement of the policies by publishers. Metrics provided by platforms suggest that a large majority of data remains unrequested. When requested, the purpose of the reuse is more often secondary analyses and meta-analyses, rarely re-analyses. Finally, studies focused on the real impact of data-sharing were rare and used surrogates such as citation metrics.
    CONCLUSIONS: There is currently a gap in the evidence base for the impact of IPD sharing, which entails uncertainties in the implementation of current data-sharing policies. High level evidence is needed to assess whether the value of medical research increases with data-sharing practices.
    Keywords:  health informatics; information management; information technology
  14. SICOT J. 2021 ;7 E1
      Every time a paper is submitted to the journal, we realize the effort and amount of work it takes for performing the study, writing, formatting, and submitting the paper for peer review. However, how many of these papers are suitable for publication? Medical writing considerations, including an understandable text that does not confuse reading, formality, and ethics in writing, should be kept in mind when preparing and writing a paper to be submitted for publication to a journal. This editorial note offers useful advice for the authors submitting their papers to a journal on what to keep in mind before submission, how to prepare a quality submission, how to win the editor for their paper to avoid rejection, and how to make it to the review process and maybe to get published. It is our belief that these tips and advice on medical writing apply to any author and any journal.
    Keywords:  Authorship; Instructions to authors; Medical writing; Outline; Submission
  15. Nature. 2021 Aug 18.
    Keywords:  Communication; Education; Language; Machine learning; Media
  16. Clin Trials. 2021 Aug 18. 17407745211038524
      BACKGROUND/AIMS: Over the past decade, numerous data sharing platforms have been launched, providing access to de-identified individual patient-level data and supporting documentation. We evaluated the characteristics of prominent clinical data sharing platforms, including types of studies listed as available for request, data requests received, and rates of dissemination of research findings from data requests.METHODS: We reviewed publicly available information listed on the websites of six prominent clinical data sharing platforms: Biological Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center,, Project Data Sphere, Supporting Open Access to Researchers-Bristol Myers Squibb, Vivli, and the Yale Open Data Access Project. We recorded key platform characteristics, including listed studies and available supporting documentation, information on the number and status of data requests, and rates of dissemination of research findings from data requests (i.e. publications in a peer-reviewed journals, preprints, conference abstracts, or results reported on the platform's website).
    RESULTS: The number of clinical studies listed as available for request varied among five data sharing platforms: Biological Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center (n = 219), (n = 2,897), Project Data Sphere (n = 154), Vivli (n = 5426), and the Yale Open Data Access Project (n = 395); Supporting Open Access to Researchers did not provide a list of Bristol Myers Squibb studies available for request. Individual patient-level data were nearly always reported as being available for request, as opposed to only Clinical Study Reports (Biological Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center = 211/219 (96.3%); = 2884/2897 (99.6%); Project Data Sphere = 154/154 (100.0%); and the Yale Open Data Access Project = 355/395 (89.9%)); Vivli did not provide downloadable study metadata. Of 1201 data requests listed on, Supporting Open Access to Researchers-Bristol Myers Squibb, Vivli, and the Yale Open Data Access Project platforms, 586 requests (48.8%) were approved (i.e. data access granted). The majority were for secondary analyses and/or developing/validating methods ( = 262/313 (83.7%); Supporting Open Access to Researchers-Bristol Myers Squibb = 22/30 (73.3%); Vivli = 63/84 (75.0%); the Yale Open Data Access Project = 111/159 (69.8%)); four were for re-analyses or corroborations of previous research findings ( = 3/313 (1.0%) and the Yale Open Data Access Project = 1/159 (0.6%)). Ninety-five (16.1%) approved data requests had results disseminated via peer-reviewed publications ( = 61/313 (19.5%); Supporting Open Access to Researchers-Bristol Myers Squibb = 3/30 (10.0%); Vivli = 4/84 (4.8%); the Yale Open Data Access Project = 27/159 (17.0%)). Forty-two (6.8%) additional requests reported results through preprints, conference abstracts, or on the platform's website ( = 12/313 (3.8%); Supporting Open Access to Researchers-Bristol Myers Squibb = 3/30 (10.0%); Vivli = 2/84 (2.4%); Yale Open Data Access Project = 25/159 (15.7%)).
    CONCLUSION: Across six prominent clinical data sharing platforms, information on studies and request metrics varied in availability and format. Most data requests focused on secondary analyses and approximately one-quarter of all approved requests publicly disseminated their results. To further promote the use of shared clinical data, platforms should increase transparency, consistently clarify the availability of the listed studies and supporting documentation, and ensure that research findings from data requests are disseminated.
    Keywords:  Clinical trials; data sharing; transparency
  17. J Hist Biol. 2021 Aug 20.
      In the space of four years, from 1826 to 1829, the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal published three anonymous articles seemingly advocating doctrines inspired by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. Decades of scholarship have initially attributed the most outspoken of the three articles, the 1826 "Observations on the Nature and Importance of Geology," to Robert Grant, and subsequently to Robert Jameson, thanks to a critical reassessment by James Secord (1991). More recently, scholars have also ascribed to Jameson an article published in 1829, "Of the Continuity of the Animal Kingdom by Means of Generation from the First Ages of the World to the Present Times." A third short contribution, the 1827 "Of the Changes which Life has Experienced on the Globe" has been credited to the Franco-German Ami Boué. Research undertaken over several years has led to the identification of the three authors hiding behind the veil of anonymity. They were not the ones scholars have agreed upon, nor were they really "Lamarckians." The discussion of the ways in which the three texts reached Edinburgh broadens our understanding of the daily working practices of contemporary periodicals and of the networks of circulation of texts at the Continental level. Finally, when considered within their proper conceptual and social context, the three articles throw light on the many ways in which, during the 1820s, European amateurs, naturalists, and journalists debated the succession of life forms throughout the history of the Earth.
    Keywords:  Alexandre Bertrand; André d’Audebard de Férussac; Evolution; Jean-Baptiste Lamarck; Periodicals; Robert Jameson; Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire
  18. Can Bull Med Hist. 2021 Aug 17. e513022021
      This article provides context for three studies about early 20th-century medical cases in the geographically distributed humanitarian aid organization founded by Wilfred Grenfell in pre-Confederation Newfoundland and Labrador. It situates these studies within historiographical and theoretical approaches to case histories and their publication by medical practitioners, the background for research on the clinical records of the Grenfell organization's main hospital, and the history behind specific case information for coastal patients. While the cases examined cohere through their organizational origin, the authors of these three studies reveal sometimes unexpected representations of the patient in text and illustration. In these ways, both this introductory article and the following three studies emphasize the enduring appeal of narrative approaches to case writing while also pointing to the evolving ethics of publishing medical reports for general readers and scholars. Together they invite renewed attention to the representation of medical cases in publications that increasingly are available globally in internet collections.
    Keywords:  Grenfell mission; Newfoundland and Labrador; Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador; case reports; mission Grenfell; médecine narrative; narrative medicine; publication; publishing; études de cas
  19. JAMA Surg. 2021 Aug 18.
      Importance: The reporting of race provides transparency to the representativeness of data and helps inform health care disparities. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) developed recommendations to promote quality reporting of race; however, the frequency of reporting continues to be low among most medical journals.Objective: To assess the frequency as well as quality of race reporting among publications from high-ranking broad-focused surgical research journals.
    Design, Setting, and Participants: A literature review and bibliometric analysis was performed examining all human-based primary research articles published in 2019 from 7 surgical journals: JAMA Surgery, Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Annals of Surgery, Surgery, American Journal of Surgery, Journal of Surgical Research, and Journal of Surgical Education. The 5 journals that stated they follow the ICMJE recommendations were analyzed against the 2 journals that did not explicitly claim adherence.
    Main Outcomes and Measures: Measured study outcomes included race reporting frequency and use of the ICMJE recommendations for quality reporting of race.
    Results: A total of 2485 publications were included in the study. The mean (SD) frequency of reporting of race and ethnicity in publications of ICMJE vs non-ICMJE journals was 32.8% (8.4) and 32.0% (20.9), respectively (P = .72). Adherence to ICMJE recommendations for reporting race was more frequent in ICMJE journals than non-ICMJE journals (mean [SD] of 73.1% [17.8] vs 37.0% [10.2]; P < .001).
    Conclusions and Relevance: The frequency of race and ethnicity reporting among surgical journals is low. A journal's statement of adherence to ICMJE recommendations did not affect the frequency of race and ethnicity reporting; however, there was an increase in the use of ICMJE quality metrics. These findings suggest the need for increased and more standardized reporting of racial and ethnic demographic data among surgical journals.
  20. Nature. 2021 Aug;596(7872): 323
    Keywords:  Planetary science; Publishing; SARS-CoV-2