Saturday, October 22, 2016

N - Changes at eLife

eLife, the open-access journal supported by three major research funders (, has announced that it will start charging from 2017. Since its launch in 2012, the journal has had no charges, supported entirely by grants from the funders. The ‘publication fee’ will be $2500. The move is explained in an editorial in the journal, and follows the announcement in June 2016 of continuing investment by the founding organisations. The journal has also announced a partnership with to create an annotation ‘layer’ for eLife.

N - Nature data policy

From September 2016, all research papers accepted for publication in Nature and 12 other Nature journals will have to include a statement on access to the study’s data. e policy, announced in an editorial in Nature will require a statement reporting the availability of the "minimal data set necessary to interpret, replicate and build on the findings reported in the paper" along with details about publicly available data sets and reasons for any access restrictions.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

B - Challenges in altmetrics

Haustein, S. Grand challenges in altmetrics: heterogeneity, data quality and dependencies. Scientometrics 2016;108(1):413-423
(doi: 10.1007/s11192-016-1910-9)

This paper focuses on the current challenges for altmetrics. Heterogeneity, data quality and particular dependencies are identified as the three major issues and discussed in detail with an emphasis on past developments in bibliometrics. The heterogeneity of altmetrics reflects the diversity of the acts and online events, most of which take place on social media platforms. Data quality issues become apparent in the lack of accuracy, consistency and replicability of various altmetrics, which is largely affected by the dynamic nature of social media events. Furthermore altmetrics are shaped by technical possibilities.

B - OA publication fees in Germany

Jahn N, Tullney M. A study of institutional spending on open access publication fees in Germany. PeerJ 2016;4:e2323
(doi: 10.7717/peerj.2323)

This study examines how much German universities and research organisations spent on open access publication fees. According to self-reported cost data from the Open APC initiative, this type of support has grown over the years. Comparing these expenditure with those from Austria and the UK, German open access funding is focused primarily on fully open access journals, raising important questions about hybrid open access journals as a publication venue.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

B - Truth in science publishing

Südhof TC. Truth in science publishing: a personal perspective. PLoS Biology 2016;14(8):e1002547
(doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002547)

Emerging flaws in the integrity of the peer review system are largely responsible for the validity of published scientific results.. Distortions in peer review are driven by economic forces and enabled by a lack of accountability of journals, editors, and authors. One approach to restoring trust may be to establish basic rules that render peer review more transparent, such as publishing the reviews and monitoring not only the track records of authors but also of editors and journals.

B - A COPE perspective on publishing ethical issues

Pierson CA. Avoiding ethics pitfalls in publishing: a perspective from COPE. Oral Diseases 2016 July 12
(doi: 10.1111/odi.12539)

Throughout its history, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) has provided a forum for discussion about ethical issues related to all aspects of scholarly publishing and developed resources to assist those who write, review, and edit scholarly work. This concise review provides examples of ethical issues related to authoring, reviewing, and editing scholarly manuscripts from the perspective of COPE.

B - Authorship of clinical trial documents

Billiones R. Authorship of clinical trial documents. Medical Writing 2016;25(1):33-35

Authorship of clinical trial documents such as clinical study protocols, clinical study reports, investigator’s brochures and inform ed consent forms has not yet been given much attention. This article looks at the common practices of authorship attribution and signing off on these documents and examines the ICH guidelines.

B - Researchers under cyber attacks

Dadkhah M, Borchardt G, Maliszewski T. Fraud in academic publishing: researchers under cyber attacks. The American Journal of Medicine 2016
(doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2016.08.030)

Day by day, researchers receive new suspicious emails in their inboxes. In this short communication the authors review current cyber threats in academic publishing and try to present general guidelines for authors.

B - Publishing elite against impact factor

Callaway E. Beat it, impact factor! Publishing elite turns against controversial metric. Nature 2016;535(7611):210-211

Senior staff at societies and leading journals want to end inappropriate use of impact factor. They say that the measure is a broad-brush indicator of a journal's output and it should not be used as a proxy for the quality of any single article or its authors.


B - Ethical medical communications

Smalley S. Staying ahead of the game in the changing arena of ethical medical communications - Viewpoint of a freelance medical writer. Medical Writing 2016;25(2):13-17

Good publication practices as well as guidelines, regulations, codes of practice, and other guidelines governing pharmaceutical-HCP interactions and promotion of medicines play an important role in professional and ethical medical communication. It is essential for those working in the medical communications sector to stay informed of evolving guidance. 

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

B - Content and phrasing in titles

Kerans ME, Murray A, Sabatè S. Content and phrasing in titles of original research and review articles in 2015: range of practice in four clinical journals. Publications 2016;4(2),11
(doi: 10.3390/publications402011)

This study aimed to learn more about titles in clinical medicine today and to develop an efficient, reliable way to study titles over time and on the fly—for quick application by authors, manuscript editors, translators and instructors. It compared content and form in titles from two general medical journals—the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and the British Medical Journal—and two anesthesiology journals (the European Journal of Anaesthesiology and Anesthesiology). Significant content differences were found.

B - Photoshopping science

Patterson K. Is photoshopping science universally wrong? The Conversation June 1, 2016

Photoshop has become a proprietary eponym for image manipulation, and manipulation of scientific images is universally unethical. Scientists rely on a vast array of technologies to capture, measure, test, display and communicate their research. Raw scientific data needs to be detected or discovered and then the data often needs to be transformed, or manipulated into a comprehensible form. There are detailed guidelineson what is considered appropriate vs inappropriate image manipulation techniques.

B - Readability of academic blogs

Hartley J, Cabanac G. Are two authors better than one? Can writing in pairs affect the readability of academic blogs? Scientometrics 2016

The literature on academic writing suggests that writing in pairs leads to more readable papers than writing alone. The authors wondered whether academic blog posts written alone or in pairs would vary in style: they found no differences in average sentence length between single- and co-authored posts. However, the posts written in pairs were slightly less readable than the single-authored posts, which challenges the current view on the advantages of writing in pairs.

B - Ghostwriting in drug marketing

Matheson A. Ghostwriting: the importance of definition and its place in contemporary drug marketing. BMJ 2016;354:i4578
(doi: 10.1136/bmj.i4578)

During the past decade, the pharmaceutical publications industry has campaigned to persuade medicine, journals, ethicists, and the media that it is opposed to ghostwriting. Yet ghostwriting remains widespread in industry financed medical journal literature. The author describes how the pharmaceutical publications industry seeks to legitimise ghostwriting by changing its definition while deflecting attention from wider marketing practices in academic publishing.

Friday, September 23, 2016

B - Self-citation rates higher for men

Singh Chawla D. Self-citation rates higher for men. Nature 2016;535:212

Men cite their own papers 56% more than women on average, according to an analysis of 1.5 million studies published between 1779 and 2011. The analysis looked at papers across disciplines in the digital library JSTOR and found that men’s self-citation rate had risen to 70% more than women’s over the past two decades, despite an increase of women in academia in recent years. According to the study authors, men view their abilities more positively than women do and face fewer societal penalties for self-promotion than do women.

B - OA bibliography

Bailey CW, Jr. Transforming scholarly publishing through open access: a bibliography. Digital Scholarship 2010

This publication with over 1,100 references provides in-depth coverage of published journal articles, books, and other textual works about the open access movement. Many references have links to freely available copies of included works.

B - PhD thesis: being more open

Burrough-Boenisch J. PhD thesis: being more open about PhD papers. Nature 2016;536:274
(doi: 10.1038/536274b)

In the Netherlands, a PhD thesis is published before the viva voce exam with an ISBN identifier and is later posted online. Advantages over the traditional monograph thesis include: it is quick and easy to write; feedback from the papers' reviewers can be instructive; and students attain a presence in the international science community before graduation. The author of this Letter also suggests that the thesis itself could contain a statement of all assistance received.

B - Predatory journals

Beall J. Best practices for scholarly authors in the age of predatory journals. Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England 2016;98(2):77-79
(doi: 10.1308/rcsann.2016.0056)

The author discusses one recent phenomenon that has arisen from the open access movement: that of ‘predatory publishers’. These are individuals or companies that use the open access financial system (author pays, rather than library subscribes) to defraud authors and readers by promising reputable publishing platforms but delivering nothing of the sort. They frequently have imaginary editorial boards, do not operate any peer review or quality control, are unclear about payment requirements. The author manages a blog site that names publishers and journals that he has identified as predatory, the Beall's lists.

B - Gold OA sustainability

Mellon Foundation. Pay it forward. Investigating a sustainable model of open access article processing charges for large North American research institutions. 185p.

A major study conducted by the University of California, Davis, and the California Digital Library, the Pay-It-Forward project, addressed the financial ramifications for the types of research institutions whose affiliated scholars generate a preponderance of the scholarly literature. It investigated the financial sustainability of the OA gold model, in which journal publishers charge authors an article processing charge (APC) to generate revenue instead of subscriptions. The project has collected data on journal budgets and expenditures, publishing costs and APCs, attitudes about Gold OA of publishers and authors at various career stages, and authorship patterns at our institutions.

B - Data exchange standards for peer review

Paglione LD, Lawrence RN. Data exchange standards to support and acknowledge peer-review activity. Learned Publishing 2015;328:309-316
(doi: 10.1087/20150411)

A Working Group on Peer Review Service, facilitated by CASRAI, was created to develop a data model and citation standard for peer-review activity that can be used to support both existing and new review models. Standardized citation structures for reviews can enable the inclusion of peer-review activity in personal recognition and evaluation

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

N - invited reproducibility paper

The journal Information Systems has introduced a new article type: the invited reproducibility paper. Directly addressing the lack of reproducibility in science, the journal, published by Elsevier, is inviting authors to co-author a report of a verified reproduced experiment. All code and data is made available on Mendeley Data. You can read more on the Elsevier Connect blog.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

N - Springer Nature research data policies

Springer Nature is introducing a set of standardised research data policies, aiming to have "the most comprehensive and inclusive research data policy of any large publisher". Aiming where possible to harmonise policies across many journals, while recognising the different data sharing needs and expectations of different communities, Springer Nature has opted for a modular set of policies and an implementation strategy. There are four main types of policy: (1) data sharing encouraged; (2) evidence of data sharing encouraged; (3) statements of data sharing required; (4) data sharing and peer review of data required. The policies are explained on the SpringerOpen Blog.

N - Dutch research misconduct and reproducibility funds

The Dutch government has committed €8 million to explore research misconduct and reproduce key studies. As reported by Times Higher Education, all researchers in the Netherlands will be questioned about their possible involvement in research misconduct or 'sloppy science', and a fund will be set up for replication of research that has influenced policy or gained media attention.

N - How Can I Share It?

How Can I Share it? ( is an initiative of the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM), launched in May 2016. A long-standing STM working group has been exploring the effects of scholarly collaboration networks (SCNs), such as ResearchGate, Mendeley, Readcube and many others. The working group developed a set of voluntary principles for article sharing, endorsed by many publishers and SCNs, and the new site aims to provide practical information on all aspects of sharing articles.

N - Badges for books

Altmetric has enabled Badges for Books, for displaying how much attention a published book and its individual chapters have received. The badges are linked to ISBNs and record mentions in mainstream media, policy documents, reference managers, blogs, social media, and peer review platforms. The service launched on the Routledge Handbooks Online platform.

N - WAME professionalism code of conduct

The World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) has developed a professional code of conduct for medical journal editors. The code of conduct covers six areas: research integrity; personal development; policies and behaviour; editorial independence; best practice; and relevance. The code was created following discussions at WAME's 2015 International Conference for Medical Journal Editors.