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.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

B - Scholarly publishing like a bubble

Bariç H, Baždariç K, Glasnoviç A, et al. Why scholarly publishing might be a bubble. Croatian Medical Journal 2017;58(1):1-3
(doi: 10.3325/cmj.2017.58.1)

Scholarly publishing is expanding in all directions, like a bubble. The economy of publishing has many peculiarities: the number of publications, journals, and publishers is constantly on the rise; journals subscription prices have been growing faster than the consumer price index and the inflation rate. The major publishers act as an oligopoly and, occasionally, even monopoly. The number of publications and rising prices are the main but not the only problem. There is also high number of publishers, journals, journals per publisher, predatory journals, authorships per article and per unique author, number of references per paper, self-citated and self-citing rates, and so on. A plausible hypothesis is that the expansion is driven by a market bubble.

B - What is PubMed now?

Anderson K. A confusion of journals - what is PubMed now? The Scholarly Kitchen September 7, 2017

PubMed Central used to be a credentialing system, an online port of the MEDLINE index. This shift of medium quickly made it a search engine, but one built on a manual and highly curated index. Then it was discovered that it is including articles published in journals whose publishers are considered predatory. Although these articles appear in PubMed (often after a delay), the titles are not indexed by Medline and are difficult to find. PubMed’s brand has long been muddled in ways that pass lower-quality works through the system under cover of prestige. This has real consequences.

B - Manuscript submission systems

Hartley J, Cabanac G. The delights, discomforts, and downright furies of the manuscript submission process. Learned Publishing 2017;30(2):167-172
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1092)

The authors described the frustrations that many authors feel when using manuscript submission systems. Undoubtedly these new systems have many benefits, such as the ability to detect plagiarism and fake articles and to speed up the production process. Neverthanless, instructions to authors vary hugely – from none at all to whole handbooks –  online submission systems have not reduced the complexity of submission and may have increased the work of authors. Some publishers are introducing more flexible submission rules that may help authors.

B - Senior scientists victim of predatory journals

Cobey K. Illegitimate journals scam even senior scientists. Nature September 7, 2017;549:7

The author has seen a litany of researchers preyed on by predatory journals, even those who recognize a potential problem can fall victim. She has ideas on how to stop it: better job of educating trainees and faculty members about how to assess a journal's integrity; incentives and resources that will prevent scientists from sending real work to places that will not identify flaws or truly contribute to the scholarly literature.

B - Core competencies for scientific editors

Moher D, Galipeau J, Alam S, et al. Core competencies for scientific editors of biomedical journals: consensus statement. BMC Medicine 2017;15:167
(doi: 10.1186/s12916-017-0927-0)

The authors describe the development of a minimum set of core competencies for scientific editors of biomedical journals. The 14 key core competencies are divided into three major areas, and each competency has a list of associated elements or descriptions of more specific knowledge, skills, and characteristics that contribute to its fulfillment. They aim to provide guidance to scientific publishers and editors of biomedical journals worldwide on the minimum knowledge, skills, and characteristics that are needed to be effective in their role.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

B - Rules on COI

Zliobaité I, Fortelius M. Peer review: revise rules on conflicts of interest. Nature 2016;539(7628):168
(doi: 10.1038/539168a)

According to the authors, definitions of conflicts of interest (COI) in peer review need to be reassessed to reflect modern research practices. This could markedly increase the speed and quality of peer review. For example, many potential reviewers are disqualified under current rules on co-authorship. Co-authors typically have a sound understanding of each other's work and provide frank and constructive feedback. Using them as reviewers avoids settling for candidates who may be too far removed from the topic or not sufficiently senior in the field.

B - Journal peer review data

Lee CJ, Moher D. Promote scientific integrity via journal peer review data. Science 2017;357(6348):256-257
(doi: 10.1126/science.aan4141)

The peer review process both in journals and funding agencies could use more transparency, reporting and accountability. The authors identify incentives that could encourage journals to make their peer review data available to evaluate effectiveness toward achieving concrete measures of quality. This is a collective action problem requiring leadership and investment by publishers. It is time to apply the "trust, but verify" model to journal peer review. The authors suggest revising the Transparency and Openness (TOP) Guidelines, a set of reporting standards.

B - Publishing while female

Hengel E. Publishing while female. Gender differences in peer review scrutiny. Royal Economic Society’s annual conference. October 2016

The author analyzed more than 9,000 article abstracts published in the top four economics journals since 1950. She found that papers written by women are 1-6% more readable than those by men. The most straightforward reason for it is that referees apply higher standards to female-authored papers. Besides the paper found that women's writing gradually improves more over time but men's does not.
Between their first and third published articles, the average readability gap between male and female authors grows by 12%.

Friday, June 16, 2017

B - Manuscript development and publishing

Downey SM, Geraci SA. Manuscript development and publishing: a 5-step approach. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences 2017;353(2):132-136
(doi: 10.1016/j.amjms.2016.12.005)

This article articulates a 5-step approach for developing and publishing successfully a manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal. The authors combine existing tutorials with their collective experience. The 5 steps identified instruct would-be authors to: know their material and determine their audience; outline their manuscript; be ethically vigilant; develop individual sections and submit their manuscript; and respond to reviewers׳ comments.

B - NISO Alternative altmetrics project

Lagace N. NISO Releases recommended practice covering outputs of its multiyear project in alternative assessment metrics. Serials Review 2016;42(4):337-338.
(doi: 10.1080/00987913.2016.1246343)   
NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, announced the publication of its latest Recommended Practice, NISO RP-25-2016, Outputs of the NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics Project, in September 2016 http://www.niso.org/apps/group_public/download.php/17091/NISO%20RP-25-2016%20Outputs%20of%20the%20NISO%20Alternative%20Assessment%20Project.pdf This document is the culmination of a two-phase project initialized in 2013 and designed to support the uptake of altmetrics. To further facilitate adoption of these new assessment measures, the scholarly community developed consensus work via NISO that addresses several areas of the altmetric environment: definitions and use cases; persistent identifiers, output types, and data metrics; and data quality.

B - European Commission OA publishing platform

Banks M. European Commission moves into publishing. Physics World 2017;30(5):6.
Reports that the European Commission is proposing to launch its own open-access publishing platform for papers that emerge from its Horizon 2020 programme.. It would be similar to that launched last year by the Wellcome Trust.  This aims to publish papers quickly with peer review occurring post publication. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has also announced that Gates Open Research will launch later this year. These developments present further options for open-access publishing to those provided by regular journals.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

B - Citation indicators

Davis P. Citation performance indicators - A very short introduction. The Scholarly Kitchen 2017 May 15

This post provides a brief summary of the main citation indicators used today. It is not intended to be comprehensive, nor to opine on which indicator is best. The goal  is simply to highlight their salient strengths and weaknesses. These citation indicators are grouped based on the design of their algorithm: the group Ratio-based indicators is built on the same model as the Impact Factor, by dividing citations counts by document counts; the group Portfolio-based indicators calculates a score based on a ranked set of documents; and the last group Network-based indicators seeks to measure influence within a larger citation network.

B - Should authors suggest peer reviewers?

Teixeira da Silva JA, Al-Khatib A. Should authors be requested to suggest peer reviewers? Science and Engineering Ethics 2017 Feb. 2
(doi: 10.1007/s11948-016-9842-6)

The authors of this paper query the ethics, fairness and validity of the request, by editors, of authors to suggest peer reviewers during the submission process. An author-suggested peer reviewer choice might tempt authors to seek reviewers who might be more receptive or sympathetic to the authors’ message or results, and thus favor the outcome of that paper. Authors should thus not be placed in such a potentially ethically compromising situation, especially as a mandatory condition for submission.

B - Sharing of copyrighted papers

Schiermeier Q. Science publishers try new tack on copyright breaches. Nature 2017;545(7653):145-146
(doi: 10.1038/545145a)

Rise in copyright breaches prompts industry to discuss ways to allow ‘fair sharing’ of articles. Science publishers seem to be changing tack in their approach to researchers who breach copyright. Instead of demanding that scientists or network operators take their papers down, some publishers are clubbing together to create systems for legal sharing of articles — called fair sharing — which could also help them to track the extent to which scientists share paywalled articles online.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

B - Bioethics over the past 40 years

Jin P, Hakkarinen M. Highlights in bioethics through 40 years: a quantitative analysis of top-cited journal articles. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

B - Non-English papers in scholarly communication

Liu W. The changing role of non-English papers in scholarly communication: evidence from Web of Science's three journal citation indexes. Learned Publishing 2017;30(2):115-123
(doi: 10.1002/leap.1089)

Non-English languages are widely used, but their roles in scholarly communication are relatively under-explored. This study shows that English is increasingly being used as the dominating language from natural sciences and social sciences to arts and humanities. However, a large number of non-English papers can be found in some applied disciplines of sciences and social sciences, and non-English papers have consistently played important role in arts and humanities disciplines from the beginning of 1975.

B - Funder interference in addiction research

Miller P, Martino F, Gross S, et al. Funder interference in addiction research: an international survey of authors. Addictive Behaviors 2017;72:100-105
(doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.03.026)

This study investigates funder (e.g. industry, government or charity) interference in addiction science. Interference appears to be common by governments and internationally, and similar proportions of reported interference from commercial and government funders were found. Strategies to increase transparency in the addiction science literature, including mandatory author declarations concerning the role of the funder, are necessary internationally.