bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2022‒03‒06
23 papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. PLoS Biol. 2022 Mar 03. 20(3): e3001572
      The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the limitations of the current scientific publication system, in which serious post-publication concerns are often addressed too slowly to be effective. In this Perspective, we offer suggestions to improve academia's willingness and ability to correct errors in an appropriate time frame.
  2. J Law Med Ethics. 2022 ;50(1): 195-199
      Law journals permit submission of scholarly manuscripts to multiple journals concurrently, but biomedical journals strictly forbid submission of manuscripts to more than one journal at a time. Law journals may then compete for the publication of manuscripts. This article examines whether the single-submission requirement of biomedical journals may constitute restraint of trade in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
    Keywords:  Antitrust; Biomedical Journals; Law Journals; Restraint of Trade; Sherman Act
  3. J Plant Physiol. 2022 Feb 24. pii: S0176-1617(22)00047-5. [Epub ahead of print]271 153661
      Preprint servers allow rapid publication of research findings by eliminating the time gap between submission and publication associated with editorial and peer review of scientific works. Consequently, non-peer-reviewed articles are essentially accessible immediately to researchers and the public. There are many valid justifications for sharing work on preprint servers, such as the ability to collect feedback from the research community and improve work prior to journal submission and a reduced risk of work being "scooped" by competitors. Rapid access to the latest scientific developments can furthermore expedite progress in important research areas. Significant downsides of preprint servers, however, are that the public, including members of the media and policy makers, cannot judge the quality of such non-reviewed publications and that misinformation may be spread. Balancing the good and the bad of preprint servers as opposed to classic peer review, we provide guidance for authors of the Journal of Plant Physiology.
  4. Res Integr Peer Rev. 2022 Mar 04. 7(1): 2
      INTRODUCTION: Allocation of research funds relies on peer review to support funding decisions, and these processes can be susceptible to biases and inefficiencies. The aim of this work was to determine which past interventions to peer review and decision-making have worked to improve research funding practices, how they worked, and for whom.METHODS: Realist synthesis of peer-review publications and grey literature reporting interventions in peer review for research funding.
    RESULTS: We analysed 96 publications and 36 website sources. Sixty publications enabled us to extract stakeholder-specific context-mechanism-outcomes configurations (CMOCs) for 50 interventions, which formed the basis of our synthesis. Shorter applications, reviewer and applicant training, virtual funding panels, enhanced decision models, institutional submission quotas, applicant training in peer review and grant-writing reduced interrater variability, increased relevance of funded research, reduced time taken to write and review applications, promoted increased investment into innovation, and lowered cost of panels.
    CONCLUSIONS: Reports of 50 interventions in different areas of peer review provide useful guidance on ways of solving common issues with the peer review process. Evidence of the broader impact of these interventions on the research ecosystem is still needed, and future research should aim to identify processes that consistently work to improve peer review across funders and research contexts.
    Keywords:  Decision-making in research funding; Grant allocation; Health research; Peer review; Realist synthesis; Research on research
  5. Nature. 2022 Mar;603(7899): 8
    Keywords:  Careers; Peer review; Publishing; Research management
  6. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics. 2022 Feb 28. 15562646221083384
      Systemic efforts have been employed to improve the reproducibility of published findings in psychology. To date, little research has been conducted evaluating how well these efforts work. In an effort to bridge this gap, the current study looked at journal submission requirements intended to encourage authors to engage in best practices for facilitating reproducible science and offers preliminary evidence for their potential efficacy. We calculated reproducibility indices (p-curves) for three randomly selected empirical studies published in each of 23 psychology journals in 2019 and correlated quantitative results from those analyzes with the number of submission requirements for each journal that intended to ensure compliance with best reporting practices. Results indicated a greater number of submission requirements at a given outlet was associated with indices indicating greater likelihood of reproducibility of findings. We frame findings as impetus for future, more extensive, research to identify causal links between submission requirements and reproducibility.
    Keywords:  p-curve; publication; questionable research practices; reproducibility; submission requirements
  7. Am J Ophthalmol. 2022 Feb 25. pii: S0002-9394(22)00075-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      PURPOSE: To investigate the gender gap in first/last authors in vision science and whether gender affects manuscript review times.DESIGN: Observational retrospective database study.
    METHODS: First/last author's gender and country were assigned to 30438 PubMed records (data derived from Q1-Q2 'Ophthalmology' journals for 2016-2020). Using mixed models, the influence of First Author Female (FAF) and Last Author Female (LAF) were evaluated on the manuscripts' review timeline. This analysis was performed globally and in predefined subgroups (English names, Asian names, specific topics). Additionally, the gender GAP was explored by country, journal and research topics.
    RESULTS: The percentages of FAF/LAF were unevenly distributed by country; in the top 30 ophthalmology journals FAF accounted for 40.0±6.7% of the publications while LAF accounted for 27.1±4.9%. Overall, FAF/LAF papers underwent significantly longer times to be reviewed (up to +10 days) and accepted (+5 days). These differences persisted when only English names -easily recognizable worldwide- were considered, but not for Asian names. Delays >1 month to get published were found for FAF in 3 of 4 topics analyzed (e.g. amblyopia).
    CONCLUSIONS: Significant differences were found in both review and acceptance times for FAF or LAF papers. The causes for this are likely multifactorial and could be explained by a combination of gender bias and by women's concerns with being held to higher standards, something that has been previously documented, thereby perhaps delaying the rebuttal to reviewers. Increased awareness of this source of potential bias may assist in the implementation of preventive and corrective measures.
    Keywords:  Authorship; Female; Publishing; Research; Sex factors
  8. J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2022 Mar;66(2): 258-266
      Peer review is a part of high quality care within radiation oncology, designed to achieve the best outcomes for patients. We discuss the importance of and evidence for peer review in clinical practice. The Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) has evolved a Peer Review Assessment Tool (PRAT) since 1999. We report the results of a RANZCR faculty survey conducted in radiation oncology facilities across Australia and New Zealand to guide the 2019 PRAT revision process, and discuss the development and implementation of the 2019 PRAT. Peer-review processes are now mandated as a component of Australian and International Quality Standards. Several practical recommendations might address challenges for effective implementation of peer review process in routine clinical practice. This includes prioritising tumour sites and treatment techniques for peer review within the time and resources constraints of each institution, improving resource allocation, ensuring optimal timing and duration for peer review meetings, and adopting multi-centre virtual peer review meeting where necessary.
    Keywords:  feedback; peer review; quality improvement; radiation oncology; radiotherapy
  9. Psychiatry Res. 2022 Feb 17. pii: S0165-1781(22)00068-3. [Epub ahead of print]310 114454
      Publishing science and scholarly work has long required review by colleagues before appearing in print. Peer review is one of the most important and basic tools for science worth communicating. Currently it seems to be in a crisis, and as a journal editor, I question why, and call for re-allocating time for this important function in academia.
  10. Vet Pathol. 2022 Feb 26. 3009858221082207
    Keywords:  neoplasia; observational study design; oncology; pathology; prognostic markers; reporting guidelines; scientific publishing; surgical pathology; veterinary
  11. Ir J Med Sci. 2022 Mar 03.
      Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are the gold standard study design used to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of healthcare interventions. The reporting quality of RCTs is of fundamental importance for readers to appropriately analyse and understand the design and results of studies which are often labelled as practice changing papers. The aim of this article is to assess the reporting standards of a representative sample of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published between 2019 and 2020 in four of the highest impact factor general medical journals. A systematic review of the electronic database Medline was conducted. Eligible RCTs included those published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association, and British Medical Journal between January 1, 2019, and June 9, 2020. The study protocol was registered on medRxiv ( ). Of a total eligible sample of 498 studies, 50 full-text RCTs were reviewed against the CONSORT 2010 statement and relevant extensions where necessary. The mean adherence to the CONSORT checklist was 90% (SD 9%). There were specific items on the CONSORT checklist which had recurring suboptimal adherence, including in title (item 1a, 70% adherence), randomisation (items 9 and 10, 56% and 30% adherence) and outcomes and estimation (item 17b, 62% adherence). Amongst a sample of RCTs published in four of the highest impact factor general medical journals, there was good overall adherence to the CONSORT 2010 statement. However there remains significant room for improvement in areas such as description of allocation concealment and implementation of randomisation.
    Keywords:  CONSORT; Randomised controlled trial (RCT); Reporting guidelines
  12. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2022 Mar 03. e202114910
      Color is a central element to scientific communication, but its use comes with the responsibility to ensure universally accessible and accurate data presentation. This short Viewpoint Article aims to sensitize the chemical community to the importance of mindful color choices in scientific illustrations.
    Keywords:  color maps; color vision deficiencies; illustrations; open science; rainbow
  13. Neurocrit Care. 2022 Mar 02.
      BACKGROUND: Twitter journal clubs are a modern way of highlighting articles published in a scientific journal. The Neurocritical Care journal (NCC) initiated a bimonthly, Twitter-based, online journal club in 2015 to increase the outreach of its published articles. We hypothesize that articles included in the Neurocritical Care Society Twitter Journal Club (NCSTJC) had greater engagement than other articles published during the same time period. We also investigated the relationship between number of citations and Altmetric score to assess whether the enhanced online activity resulted in higher citations.METHODS: We gathered data in August 2020 on engagement metrics (number of downloads, Altmetric score, relative citation ratio, and number of citations) of all articles published in NCC between 2015 and 2018. Articles were analyzed into two groups: one featured in NCSTJC and the rest that were not (non-NCSTJC1), and the other comprised those that were not in NCSTJC but published under a similar category of articles as NCSTJC (non-NCSTJC2). Results were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and summary measures were used to report the spread. The groups were compared by using the Wilcoxon rank sum test, given that the data were not normally distributed. Spearman's rank correlation was used to assess correlation between Altmetric score and citations for the articles in the NCSTJC and non-NCSTJC groups. For comparison, the top ten cited articles in NCC were analyzed for similar correlations.
    RESULTS: Between 2015 and 2018, NCC published 529 articles, 24 of which were included in the Twitter journal club. A total of 406 articles were published in the same category as the category of articles selected for NCSTJC. The articles discussed as a part of NCSTJC had a statistically significant trend toward a higher number of downloads, Altmetric score, relative citation ratio, and number of citations than rest of the articles published in the journal during the same time period and the rest of the articles published in same categories. Three NCSTJC articles were among the ten most-cited articles published by NCC between 2015 and 2018. We did not find a correlation between Altmetric scores and number of citations in the NCSTJC or non-NCSTJC1 or non-NCSTJC2 group, but there was a strong correlation between these two variables in high performing articles when the top ten cited articles were analyzed.
    CONCLUSIONS: Scientific journals are evolving their social media strategies in attempt to increase the outreach of their articles to the medical community. Platforms such as Twitter journal clubs can enhance such engagement. The long-term influence of such strategies on the impact factor of a medical journal and traditional engagement metrics, such as citations, calls for further research.
    Keywords:  Altmetric; Impact factor; Social media; Twitter; Twitter journal club
  14. Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2022 Feb 24. pii: S2468-7812(22)00039-X. [Epub ahead of print] 102540
  15. Am J Ophthalmol. 2022 Feb 25. pii: S0002-9394(22)00067-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      PURPOSE: To evaluate the rates of ghost and honorary authorship in ophthalmology and to determine risk factors associated with ghost and honorary authorship.DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey METHODS: : Corresponding authors of articles published in Ophthalmology, JAMA Ophthalmology and the American Journal of Ophthalmology from June 2019 to December 2020 were emailed an electronic survey. The rates of ghost and honorary authorship, demographic characteristics of the corresponding authors with and without ghost and honorary authorship, and risk factors for ghost and honorary authorship were evaluated.
    RESULTS: Corresponding authors (n=830) were emailed a survey and 278 total responses were received (34.1%). 227 responses were complete and included for analysis (27.9%). Most respondents (n=206, 90.7%) believed that the ICMJE guidelines for authorship adequately address criteria for authorship. Twenty-seven corresponding authors reported characteristics of their articles that indicated the presence of both ghost and honorary authorship (11.9%; 95% CI 7.7%-16.1%). 115 reported honorary authorship (50.7%; 44.2%-57.2%), and 37 indicated ghost authorship (16.3%; 11.5%-21.1%). Being a resident or fellow corresponding author increased the risk of honorary authorship (OR 11.75; 1.91-231.57, p=0.03). There were no factors that predicted articles having ghost authors.
    CONCLUSIONS: While many authors believe the ICMJE guidelines for authorship comprehensively delineate fair authorship practices, listing authors on scientific publications honorarily and excluding authors who qualify for authorship are relatively common practices in ophthalmological research. Further investigation into the drivers of honorary and ghost authorship practices in ophthalmology, as well as the effectiveness of preventive measures are needed to ensure fair authorship attributions.
  16. PLoS One. 2022 ;17(3): e0263728
      Nondisclosure of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, or otherwise queer (LGBTQA) identities in the workplace is both common and stressful to those who do not disclose. However, we lack direct evidence that nondisclosure of LGBTQA identity affects worker productivity. In two surveys of LGBTQA-identified scientists, we found that those who did not disclose LGBTQA identities in professional settings authored fewer peer-reviewed publications-a concrete productivity cost. In the second survey, which included straight and cisgender participants as a comparison group, we found that LGBTQA participants who disclosed their sexual orientation had publication counts more like non-LGBTQA participants than those who did not disclose, and that all three groups had similar time since first publication given their academic career stage. These results are most consistent with a productivity cost to nondisclosure of LGBTQA identity in professional settings, and suggest a concrete need to improve scientific workplace climates for sexual and gender minorities.
  17. Nature. 2022 Mar;603(7899): 32
    Keywords:  Education; Government; Publishing
  18. Front Sociol. 2022 ;7 836149
    Keywords:  citizen science; co-creation; co-production; open science; participatory research; social innovation
  19. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2022 Feb 23. pii: S1198-743X(22)00095-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      OBJECTIVES: We aimed to assess whether there is an association between the proportion of women editors-in-chief and members of editorial boards in infectious disease (ID) and microbiology journals.METHODS: Our cross-sectional observational study included ID or microbiology journals according to the 2019 Clarivate Journal Citation Reports. Journals' Q ranking, open-access status, number and gender of editors-in-chief and editorial board members were collected from the journals' official websites. We conducted binary gender assignment for each editor using names, pictures, and other online descriptors. Journals with over 100 editorial board members and those with over 25% of board members for which we could not determine the gender, were excluded. Editorial teams with > 50% women were considered women dominant. Univariate and multivariable analyses for women editor dominance were performed.
    RESULTS: Overall, 167 journals were included, with total 6057 editorial members, 1655 (28%) women. Of 214 editors-in-chief, 48 (22%) were women, and only 25% (40/162) of journals had women dominant editor-in-chief personnel. Factors associates with women editor-in-chief dominance in univariate analysis were higher quartile rank, higher impact factor, and open access. Open access journals remined significant in multivariable analysis (odds ratio [OR] 2.521, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.140-5.576, p=0.022). Larger editorial boards were less likely to have women dominance. Women editor-in-chief dominance was significantly associated with women-dominant editorial board.
    CONCLUSIONS: ID and microbiology journals have significantly few women editors-in-chief and editorial board members. Understanding the reasons for this inequality is required as an important step to confront and resolve it.
    Keywords:  Editorial board; Genderequality