Monday, January 15, 2018

B - Cost of science in transition economies

Vuong QH. The (ir)rational consideration of the cost of science in transition economies. Nature Human Behaviour 2018;2(1):
(doi: 10.1038/s41562-017-0281-4)

The perspective paper presents the dilemma that a modern society is facing regarding the demand for ‘better’ cost consideration by scientists, on one hand, and the underestimation of the value that the scientific enterprise contributes to the society, on the other. The cost consideration can also become irrational and serve as an excuse for attacking science, which does more harm to the overall process of societal developments. Besides, the focus on issues of costs in doing science may also be misleading as genuine costs incurred by other failures could be easily compromised on.

B - Experimenter gender and biases

Chapman CC, Benedict C, Schiöth HB. Experimenter gender and replicability in science. Science Advances 2018;4:e1701427
(doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1701427)

This paper investigates how the gender of the experimenter may affect experimental findings. Clinical trials are regularly carried out without any report of the experimenter's gender. Significant biases may lead researchers to conclude that therapeutics or other interventions are either overtreating or undertreating a variety of conditions.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

B - Guidelines to publish observational studies

Rossi A, Benci C, Leventhal P. Guidelines for disclosing the results from observational trials. Medical Writing 2017;26(3):22-28

Publishing results from observational trials can be challenging for scientists and writers.  The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement was the first guideline developed to identify the minimal information that should be included in articles reporting observational and epidemiological research. More than 50 ancillary guidelines tailored to specific needs are now available to assist authors in preparing successful articles on observational studies.

B - Behavioral and social sciences research funding

Kaplan RM, Johnson SB, Kobor PC. NIH behavioral and social sciences research support: 1980-2016. American Psychologist 2017;72(8):808-821
(doi: 10.1037/amp0000222)

Behavioral and social science has often been underfunded at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 1990, the Senate Appropriations Committee, recognizing that behavior may contribute to about half of all premature deaths, recommended that funding for behavioral and social sciences research should be about 10% of the NIH-budget. Data from several sources suggest that this goal has never been realized.

B - Transparency in research publishing

Editorial. Steps towards transparency in research publishing. Nature 2017;549(431)
(doi: 10.1038/549431a)

Progress in the transparency of both research and editorial processes is gathering pace. But as these processes become increasingly open, scientists and editors need to be proactive but also alert to risks. Transparency may give rise to different sorts of bias. For example, some authors do not want to know who autored a positive peer review, so that they can avoid future positive peer review bias themselves.

B - Facial appearance affects science communication

Gheorghiu AI, Callan MJ, Skylark WJ. Facial appearance affects science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2017;114(23):5970-5975
(doi: 10.1073/pnas.1620542114)

This article shows that the science communication process is influenced by the facial appearance of the scientist. It identified the traits that engender interest in a scientist’s work and the perception that they do high-quality work, and showed that these face-based impressions influence both the selection and evaluation of science news, and may bias public attitudes and government actions regarding key scientific issues.

B - Google Scholar normalization

Mingers J, Meyer M. Normalizing Google Scholar data for use in research evaluation. Scientometrics 2017;112(2):1111-1121
(doi: 10.1007/s11192-017-2415-x)

Bibliometric evaluations across disciplines require that the data are normalized to the field as the fields are very different in their citation processes. This paper tests a method for Google Scholar (GS) normalization developed by Bornmann et al. on an alternative set of data involving journal papers, book chapters, and conference papers. The results show that GS normalization is possible although at the moment it requires extensive manual involvement in generating and validating the data.

B - Appeals of rejected manuscripts

Dambha-Miller H. An appealing prospect? A survey into the numbers, outcomes, and editorial policies for appeals of rejected biomedical manuscripts. Learned Publishing 2017;30(3):227-231
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1107)

This article investigated the number of appeals against rejected biomedical manuscripts, their success rates, and the current editorial processes for managing them. Results showed considerable variations in appeal processes amongst journals, with little evidence of any detailed, reproducible, or established appeal policies, that are essential in ensuring that manuscripts are not incorrectly rejected.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

B - Twitter in science

López-Goñi I, Sánchez-Angulo M. Social networks as a tool for science communication and public engagement: focus on Twitter. FEMS Microbiology Letters 2017 Nov. 20
(doi: 10.1093/femsle/fnx246)

A review on the use of Twitter in science and a comment on the authors' experience on using it as a platform for a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) in Spain and Latin America. They propose to extend this strategy to a pan-European Microbiology MOOC in the near future.

B - Publication ethics in health emergencies

Shaw D, Elger BS.  Publication ethics in public health emergencies. Journal of Public Health 2017;39(3):640-643
(doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdw067) 

The authors describe and analyze three issues in publication ethics that are raised when conducting research in health emergencies and disasters: reluctance to share data and samples; loss of individual authorship; and death of authors.

B - Quantity and quality in scientific publishing

Michalska-Smith MJ, Allesina S. And, not or: Quality, quantity in scientific publishing. PLos ONE 2017;12(6):e0178074
(doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178074)

Scientists often perceive a trade-off between quantity and quality on scientific publishing. The authors compared members of the National Academy of Sciences with themselves across years, and used a much larger dataset than previously analized. They found that a member's most highly cited paper in a given year has more citations in more productive years than in less productive years. Their lowest cited paper in a year, on the other hand, has fewer citations in more productive years.

B - New publishing model to avoid CoI

Amigo I, Pascual-Garcia A. Conflicts of interest in scientific publishing. EMBO reports 2017:e201745008
(doi: 10.15252/embr.201745008)

The authors suggest a publishing model that would redistribute funding and the role of different actors - scientists, metric companies, librarians and so on - to maximize the impact of their respective skills for the benefit of science. Research papers and scientific data should be published in several specialized, open and publicly funded storage repositories. Peer review should be self-organized in a centralized and publicly funded peer review platform.

B - Correcting or retracting faulty publications

Teixeira da Silva JA. It may be easier to publish than correct or retract faulty biomedical literature. Croatian Medical Journal 2017;58(1):75-79
(doi: 10.3325/cmj.2017.58.75)

Correcting errors in the literature is generally considered to be a positive academic achievement. In contrast, retracting erroneous or fraudulent work is still viewed in a negative light. Corrections might be embraced as a more natural process in science publishing, especially when errors might be truly erroneous. Such a change in mentality will require a total overhaul of peer communities,

B - Reproducibility and faculty promotion

Flier J. Faculty promotion must assess reproducibility. Nature 2017;549(7671):133
(doi: 10.1038/549133a)

Reproducibility and robustness are under-emphasized when job applicants are evaluated in academic and research institutions and when faculty members are promoted.  Institutions should explicitly seek job candidates who can be frankly self-critical of their work. Evidence of self-scepticism is rarely seen, but this is an essential quality for any scientist. Over time, efforts to increase the ratio of self-reflection to self-promotion may be the best way to improve science.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

B - Web services for authors

Forrester A, Björk B, Tenopir C. New web services that help authors choose journals. Learned Publishing 2017;30(4):281-287
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1112) 

The motivations for an author to choose a journal to submit to are complex. He requires information about multiple characteristics that may be difficult to obtain. This article compares and contrasts the new author-oriented journal comparison tools and services (free and fee-based) that have emerged to help authors find data on journals and publishers.

B - Gender discrimination against women scientists

Sills J. Not just Salk. Science 2017;357(6356):1105-1106
doi: 10.1126/science.aao6221

Three of four senior women scientists at the US Salk Institute for Biological Studies have filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination. These problems are still relevant, and they are not unique to the Salk Institute. Other women scientist raised questions of similar discrimination at their institutions, and some of them face even greater challenges.

B - A lifetime words limit for researchers

Martinson BC. Give reasearchers a lifetime word limit. Nature 2017 Oct 17

Once a researcher's primary role was to share knowledge, now it is to get a publication. The author imagines how rationing the number of publications a scientist could put out might improve the scientific literature. Lifetime limits would create a natural incentive to do research that matters, and would encourage researchers to ensure that research is conducted with the utmost care. Readers and editors would also be able to give the smaller number of articles more attention.

B - What makes a strong editorial board?

Spencer D. What makes a strong editorial board? Editors' Update, Elsevier Connect 2017 Nov 21

The author gives some thoughts about roles and recruitment for editorial board members. The most common function of editorial boards is to provide high-quality reviews, and also act as a third, or trusted "tie-breaker" reviewer. As well as reviewing and suggesting content, the editorial board is also a good source of feedback about the journal's performance, and able to serve as recruiter of good candidates for editorial positions. Comments from some current editors on issues to take into consideration when nominating new editorial board members are provided.

B - Ethical aspects of Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF)

Howard HC, Mascalzoni D, Mabile L, et al. How to responsibly acknowledge research work in the era of big data and biobanks: ethical aspects of the Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF). Journal of Community Genetics 2017 Sep 25:1-8
(doi: 10.1007/s12687-017-0332-6)

There is currently no system that systematically and accurately traces and attributes recognition to researchers and clinicians developing bioresources. This article reviews the objectives and functions of the Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF) initiative including the CoBRA (Citation of BioResources in journal Articles) guideline, and the Open Journal of Bioresources. It also presents results of a small empirical study on stakeholder awareness of the BRIF and an ethical analysis of its ethical aspects.

Monday, December 18, 2017

B - Wikipedia and diffusion of science

Teplitskiy M, Lu G, Duede E. Amplifying the impact of open access: Wikipedia and the diffusion of science. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 2016;68(9):2116-2117)
(doi: 10.1002/asi.23687)

To understand whether Wikipedia draws upon the research that scientists value most, the authors identified the 250 most heavily used journals in each of 26 research fields indexed by the Scopus database, and tested whether topic, academic status, and accessibility make articles from these journals more or less likely to be referenced on Wikipedia. They found that a journal's academic status (impact factor) and accessibility (open access policy) both strongly increase the probability of it being referenced on Wikipedia. These findings provide evidence that a major consequence of open access policies is to significantly amplify the diffusion of science, through an intermediary like Wikipedia, to a broad audience.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

B - Sci-Hub

Novo LAB, Onishi VC. Could Sci-Hub become a quicksand for authors? Information Development 2017;33(3):324-325
(doi: 10.1177/0266666917703638)    
Sci-Hub has shaken the pillars of scholarly publishing, providing free access to millions of paywall-protected scientific articles. Along the way, it has also challenged the hegemony of major publishers and a system propelled by scientometrics. Here the authors posit a scenario in which the myriad of papers offered by Sci-Hub could trigger a sudden flip to gold open-access, dragging authors into an even more restricting paywall.

B - Google Scholar

Halevi G, Moed H, Bar-Ilan J. Suitability of Google Scholar as a source of scientific information and as a source of data for scientific evaluation - Review of the Literature. Journal of Informetrics 2017;11(3):823-834
(doi: 10.1016/j.joi.2017.06.005)  

The authors aimed to review some studies to provide insights into Google Scholar (GS) ability to replace controlled databases in various subject areas. Results show that GS has significantly expanded its coverage through the years which makes it a powerful database of scholarly literature. However, the quality of resources indexed and overall policy still remains known. Caution should be exercised when relying on GS for citations and metrics mainly because it can be easily manipulated and its indexing quality still remains a challenge.

Monday, September 25, 2017

B - Rewards of predatory publications

Pyne D. The rewards of predatory publications at a small business school. Journal of Scholarly Publishing 2017;48(3):137-160
(doi: 10.3138/jsp.48.3.137) 

This study is the first to compare the rewards of publishing in predatory journals with the rewards of publishing in traditional journals. It finds that the majority of faculty with research responsibilities at a small Canadian business school have publications in predatory journals. In terms of financial compensation, these publications produce greater rewards than many non-predatory journal publications. Publications in predatory journals are also positively correlated with receiving internal research awards.

B - A survey on predatory publications

Moher D, Shamseer L, Cobey K, et al. Stop this waste of people, animals and money. Nature 2017;549:23-25

Predatory journals have shoddy reporting and include papers from wealthy nations. The authors selected and examined 200 supposed biomedical predatory journals. Most of the articles came from India, and more than half of the corresponding authors hailed from high- and upper-middle-income countries. Of the 17% of sampled articles that reported a funding source, the most frequently named funder was the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

B - Improving transparency at meetings

Silberberg SD, Crawford DC, Finkelstein R, et al. Shake up conferences. Nature 2017;548:153-154

The role of scientific conferences, where much work gets its first airing, is crucial for communication. Hence greater transparency should be encouraged and embraced by all attendees.
Earlier this year, the group of authors of this article met to hash out what could be done to improve transparency at meetings: for example, emojis, smartphone technologies and revamped guidelines would boost transparency.

B - Science journalism

N. Pitrelli. Science journalism: in search of a new identity. Medical Writing 2017;26(2)

Science journalism is undergoing a major transition due to changes in the relationship between science and society and dissemination via digital and connective technologies. This article presents a number of scenarios and a series of significant results of research that fuel the debate on the future of the information systems dealing with science, technology, and healthcare.

B - Tackling wordiness in medicine and science


B. Every. Writing economically in medicine and science: tips for tackling wordiness. Medical Writing 2017;26(1)

In this article, the author describes three ways for medical writers and editors to tackle wordiness: avoiding  repetition, eliminating redundancy, and minimising purposeless words such as unnecessary qualifiers, weak verbs, and roundabout expressions. An added benefit of limiting word clutter is that it helps reduce the word count to suit publication guidelines.