bims-skolko Biomed News
on Scholarly communication
Issue of 2022‒04‒10
fourteen papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. Nature. 2022 Apr;604(7904): 8
    Keywords:  Databases; Policy; Publishing; Research management
  2. BMJ Open. 2022 Apr 04. 12(4): e059445
      INTRODUCTION: Many predatory journals fail to follow best publication practices. Studies assessing the impact of predatory journals have focused on how these articles are cited in reputable academic journals. However, it is possible that research from predatory journals is cited beyond the academic literature in policy documents and guidelines. Given that research used to inform public policy or government guidelines has the potential for widespread impact, we will examine whether predatory journals have penetrated public policy.METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This is a descriptive study with no hypothesis testing. Policy documents that cite work from the known predatory publisher OMICS will be downloaded from the Overton database. Overton collects policy documents from over 1200 sources worldwide. Policy documents will be evaluated to determine how the predatory journal article is used. We will also extract epidemiological details of the policy documents, including: who funded their development, the discipline the work is relevant to and the name of the organisations producing the policy. The record of scholarly citations of the identified predatory articles will also be examined. Findings will be reported with descriptive statistics using counts and percentages.
    ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: No ethical approval was required for this study since it does not involve human or animal research. Study findings will be discussed at workshops on journalology and predatory publishing and will be disseminated through preprint, peer-reviewed literature and conference presentations.
    Keywords:  EPIDEMIOLOGY; ETHICS (see Medical Ethics); Health policy; Protocols & guidelines
  3. Syst Rev. 2022 Apr 04. 11(1): 57
      BACKGROUND: Honorary authorship refers to the practice of naming an individual who has made little or no contribution to a publication as an author. Honorary authorship inflates the output estimates of honorary authors and deflates the value of the work by authors who truly merit authorship. This manuscript presents the protocol for a systematic review that will assess the prevalence of five honorary authorship issues in health sciences.METHODS: Surveys of authors of scientific publications in health sciences that assess prevalence estimates will be eligible. No selection criteria will be set for the time point for measuring outcomes, the setting, the language of the publication, and the publication status. Eligible manuscripts are searched from inception onwards in PubMed, , and Two calibrated authors will independently search, determine eligibility of manuscripts, and conduct data extraction. The quality of each review outcome for each eligible manuscript will be assessed with a 14-item checklist developed and piloted for this review. Data will be qualitatively synthesized and quantitative syntheses will be performed where feasible. Criteria for precluding quantitative syntheses were defined a priori. The pooled random effects double arcsine transformed summary event rates of five outcomes on honorary authorship issues with the pertinent 95% confidence intervals will be calculated if these criteria are met. Summary estimates will be displayed after back-transformation. Stata software (Stata Corporation, College Station, TX, USA) version 16 will be used for all statistical analyses. Statistical heterogeneity will be assessed using Tau2 and Chi2 tests and I2 to quantify inconsistency.
    DISCUSSION: The outcomes of the planned systematic review will give insights in the magnitude of honorary authorship in health sciences and could direct new research studies to develop and implement strategies to address this problem. However, the validity of the outcomes could be influenced by low response rates, inadequate research design, weighting issues, and recall bias in the eligible surveys.
    SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: This protocol was registered a priori in the Open Science Framework (OSF) link: .
    Keywords:  Contribution disclosure; Gift authorship; Guest authorship; Honorary authorship; ICMJE; Publication ethics; Research integrity; Research transparency; Scientific misconduct; Surveys
  4. Scientometrics. 2022 Mar 25. 1-12
      This study aimed to analyze the content of data availability statements (DAS) and the actual sharing of raw data in preprint articles about COVID-19. The study combined a bibliometric analysis and a cross-sectional survey. We analyzed preprint articles on COVID-19 published on medRxiv and bioRxiv from January 1, 2020 to March 30, 2020. We extracted data sharing statements, tried to locate raw data when authors indicated they were available, and surveyed authors. The authors were surveyed in 2020-2021. We surveyed authors whose articles did not include DAS, who indicated that data are available on request, or their manuscript reported that raw data are available in the manuscript, but raw data were not found. Raw data collected in this study are published on Open Science Framework ( We analyzed 897 preprint articles. There were 699 (78%) articles with Data/Code field present on the website of a preprint server. In 234 (26%) preprints, data/code sharing statement was reported within the manuscript. For 283 preprints that reported that data were accessible, we found raw data/code for 133 (47%) of those 283 preprints (15% of all analyzed preprint articles). Most commonly, authors indicated that data were available on GitHub or another clearly specified web location, on (reasonable) request, in the manuscript or its supplementary files. In conclusion, preprint servers should require authors to provide data sharing statements that will be included both on the website and in the manuscript. Education of researchers about the meaning of data sharing is needed.Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11192-022-04346-1.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; Coronavirus; Data sharing; Open data; Preprint server; SARS-CoV-2
  5. BMC Res Notes. 2022 Apr 05. 15(1): 127
      Journal peer review regulates the flow of ideas through an academic discipline and thus has the power to shape what a research community knows, actively investigates, and recommends to policymakers and the wider public. We might assume that editors can identify the 'best' experts and rely on them for peer review. But decades of research on both expert decision-making and peer review suggests they cannot. In the absence of a clear criterion for demarcating reliable, insightful, and accurate expert assessors of research quality, the best safeguard against unwanted biases and uneven power distributions is to introduce greater transparency and structure into the process. This paper argues that peer review would therefore benefit from applying a series of evidence-based recommendations from the empirical literature on structured expert elicitation. We highlight individual and group characteristics that contribute to higher quality judgements, and elements of elicitation protocols that reduce bias, promote constructive discussion, and enable opinions to be objectively and transparently aggregated.
    Keywords:  Anonymity; DELPHI; Expert elicitation; Peer review; Wisdom of the crowd
  6. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2022 ;9 856102
      To respond to the NIH's policy for rigor and reproducibility in preclinical research, many journals have implemented guidelines and checklists to guide authors in improving the rigor and reproducibility of their research. Transparency in developing detailed prospective experimental designs and providing raw data are essential premises of rigor and reproducibility. Standard peer reviews and journal-specific technical and statistical reviews are critical factors for enhancing rigor and reproducibility. This brief review also shares some experience from Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, an American Heart Association journal, that has implemented several mechanisms to enhance rigor and reproducibility for preclinical research.
    Keywords:  animals; cardiovascular medicine; replicates; statistical analysis; technical review; vascular biology
  7. Am Psychol. 2022 Apr 07.
      The call for greater openness in research data is quickly growing in many scientific fields. Psychology as a field, however, still falls short in this regard. Research is vulnerable to human error, inaccurate interpretation, and reporting of study results, and decisions during the research process being biased toward favorable results. Despite the obligation to share data for verification and the importance of this practice for protecting against human error, many psychologists do not fulfill their ethical responsibility of sharing their research data. This has implications for the accurate and ethical dissemination of specific research findings and the scientific development of the field more broadly. Open science practices provide promising approaches to address the ethical issues of inaccurate reporting and false-positive results in psychological research literature that hinder scientific growth and ultimately violate several relevant ethical principles and standards from the American Psychological Association's (APA's) Ethical Principles of Psychologists Code of Conduct (APA, 2017). Still, current incentive structures in the field for publishing and professional advancement appear to induce hesitancy in applying these practices. With each of these considerations in mind, recommendations on how psychologists can ethically proceed through open science practices and incentive restructuring-in particular, data management, data and code sharing, study preregistration, and registered reports-are provided. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
  8. Nature. 2022 Apr;604(7904): 203-205
    Keywords:  Authorship; Careers; Lab life
  9. Syst Rev. 2022 Apr 04. 11(1): 56
      BACKGROUND: Increasing pressure to publicise research findings and generate impact, alongside an expectation from funding bodies to go beyond publication within academic journals, has generated interest in alternative methods of science communication. Our aim is to describe our experience of using a variety of creative communication tools, reflect on their use in different situations, enhance learning and generate discussion within the systematic review community.METHODS: Over the last 5 years, we have explored several creative communication tools within the systematic review process and beyond to extend dissemination beyond traditional academic mechanisms. Central to our approach is the co-production of a communication plan with potential evidence users which facilitates (i) the identification of key messages for different audiences, (ii) discussion of appropriate tools to communicate key messages and (iii) exploration of avenues to share them. We aim to involve evidence users in the production of a variety of outputs for each research project cognisant of the many ways in which individuals engage with information.
    RESULTS: Our experience has allowed us to develop an understanding of the benefits and challenges of a wide range of creative communication tools. For example, board games can be a fun way of learning, may flatten power hierarchies between researchers and research users and enable sharing of large amounts of complex information in a thought provoking way, but they are time and resource intensive both to produce and to engage with. Conversely, social media shareable content can be quick and easy to produce and to engage with but limited in the depth and complexity of shareable information.
    DISCUSSION: It is widely recognised that most stakeholders do not have time to invest in reading large, complex documents; creative communication tools can be a used to improve accessibility of key messages. Furthermore, our experience has highlighted a range of additional benefits of embedding these techniques within our project processes e.g. opening up two-way conversations with end-users of research to discuss the implications of findings.
    Keywords:  Communication; Dissemination; Science communication
  10. J Vis Commun Med. 2022 Apr 05. 1-10
      Healthcare research is traditionally published in academic papers, coded in scientific language, and locked behind paywalls - an inaccessible form for many. Sharing research results with participants and the public in an appropriate, accessible manner, is an ethical practice directed in research guidance. Evidence-based recommendations for the medium used are scant, but science communication advice advocates principles which may be fulfilled well by the medium of comics. We report a randomised crossover study conducted online, comparing participant preferences for research results shared in the medium of a comic, a traditional lay text summary, and the control approach of a scientific abstract. 1236 respondents read all three summaries and ranked their most and least preferred formats. For the most preferred summary, the comic was chosen by 716 (57.9%), lay summary by 321 (26.0%), and scientific abstract by 199 (16.1%) respondents. For the least preferred summary the scientific abstract was chosen by 614 (49.7%), lay summary by 380 (30.7%) and comic by 242 (19.6%). Review of free-text responses identified key reasons for the majority preferring the comic over the others, which included finding this easier to read and understand, more enjoyable to consume, and more satisfactory as a medium of communication.
    Keywords:  Cartoon; Comics; graphic medicine; medical art and illustration; public engagement; science communication
  11. Soc Stud Sci. 2022 Apr 03. 3063127221079600
      How is objectivity accomplished in laboratory economic experiments? To address this question, this paper focuses on a modest and mundane thing: the written instructions that guide experimental subjects in the lab. In a material-semiotic perspective, these instructions can be understood as text-devices. We follow text-devices 'on the move' from their very writing, through the lab, the review process and out into the journal article. To do so, we analyse 'text-author ensembles', which are journal articles together with practice-oriented interviews with their authors. We show that instructions act not simply as texts, but as experimental instruments that also perform the procedure of experimental economics. They draw together the procedural, material and rhetorical dimensions of experimental work in economics, and link the lab setting to collective validation procedures within the discipline of economics. To achieve this, experimental economists rely on qualitative writing skills refined in collective writing and reviewing practices. These text-devices 'on the move' alert us not only to the role of writing and writing skills in the production of scientific knowledge, but to the role of texts as material and semiotic objects that can produce facts as well as labs and disciplines, and that are key to the accomplishment of objectivity in experimental economics.
    Keywords:  economics; experiments; laboratory; performativity; texts