Comparing quality of reporting between preprints and peer-reviewed articles in the biomedical literature | bioRxiv

Abstract:  Preprint usage is growing rapidly in the life sciences; however, questions remain on the relative quality of preprints when compared to published articles. An objective dimension of quality that is readily measurable is completeness of reporting, as transparency can improve the reader’s ability to independently interpret data and reproduce findings. In this observational study, we compared random samples of articles published in bioRxiv and in PubMed-indexed journals in 2016 using a quality of reporting questionnaire. We found that peer-reviewed articles had, on average, higher quality of reporting than preprints, although this difference was small. We found larger differences favoring PubMed in subjective ratings of how clearly titles and abstracts presented the main findings and how easy it was to locate relevant reporting information. Interestingly, an exploratory analysis showed that preprints with figures and legends embedded within text had reporting scores similar to PubMed articles. These differences cannot be directly attributed to peer review or editorial processes, as manuscripts might already differ before submission due to greater uptake of preprints by particular research communities. Nevertheless, our results show that quality of reporting in preprints in the life sciences is within a similar range as that of peer-reviewed articles, albeit slightly lower on average, supporting the idea that preprints should be considered valid scientific contributions. An ongoing second phase of the project is comparing preprints to their own published versions in order to more directly assess the effects of peer review.

 

 

Comparing quality of reporting between preprints and peer-reviewed articles in the biomedical literature | bioRxiv

Abstract:  Preprint usage is growing rapidly in the life sciences; however, questions remain on the relative quality of preprints when compared to published articles. An objective dimension of quality that is readily measurable is completeness of reporting, as transparency can improve the reader’s ability to independently interpret data and reproduce findings. In this observational study, we compared random samples of articles published in bioRxiv and in PubMed-indexed journals in 2016 using a quality of reporting questionnaire. We found that peer-reviewed articles had, on average, higher quality of reporting than preprints, although this difference was small. We found larger differences favoring PubMed in subjective ratings of how clearly titles and abstracts presented the main findings and how easy it was to locate relevant reporting information. Interestingly, an exploratory analysis showed that preprints with figures and legends embedded within text had reporting scores similar to PubMed articles. These differences cannot be directly attributed to peer review or editorial processes, as manuscripts might already differ before submission due to greater uptake of preprints by particular research communities. Nevertheless, our results show that quality of reporting in preprints in the life sciences is within a similar range as that of peer-reviewed articles, albeit slightly lower on average, supporting the idea that preprints should be considered valid scientific contributions. An ongoing second phase of the project is comparing preprints to their own published versions in order to more directly assess the effects of peer review.

 

 

Perspectives From Authors and Editors in the Biomedical Disciplines on Predatory Journals: Survey Study | Journal of Medical Internet Research

Abstract:  Background: Predatory journals fail to fulfill the tenets of biomedical publication: peer review, circulation, and access in perpetuity. Despite increasing attention in the lay and scientific press, no studies have directly assessed the perceptions of the authors or editors involved.

Objective: Our objective was to understand the motivation of authors in sending their work to potentially predatory journals. Moreover, we aimed to understand the perspective of journal editors at journals cited as potentially predatory.

Methods: Potential online predatory journals were randomly selected among 350 publishers and their 2204 biomedical journals. Author and editor email information was valid for 2227 total potential participants. A survey for authors and editors was created in an iterative fashion and distributed. Surveys assessed attitudes and knowledge about predatory publishing. Narrative comments were invited.

Results: A total of 249 complete survey responses were analyzed. A total of 40% of editors (17/43) surveyed were not aware that they were listed as an editor for the particular journal in question. A total of 21.8% of authors (45/206) confirmed a lack of peer review. Whereas 77% (33/43) of all surveyed editors were at least somewhat familiar with predatory journals, only 33.0% of authors (68/206) were somewhat familiar with them (P<.001). Only 26.2% of authors (54/206) were aware of Beall’s list of predatory journals versus 49% (21/43) of editors (P<.001). A total of 30.1% of authors (62/206) believed their publication was published in a predatory journal. After defining predatory publishing, 87.9% of authors (181/206) surveyed would not publish in the same journal in the future.

Conclusions: Authors publishing in suspected predatory journals are alarmingly uninformed in terms of predatory journal quality and practices. Editors’ increased familiarity with predatory publishing did little to prevent their unwitting listing as editors. Some suspected predatory journals did provide services akin to open access publication. Education, research mentorship, and a realignment of research incentives may decrease the impact of predatory publishing.

Publisher Liaison, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine

“Responsibilities

Serve as a Technical Information Specialist responsible to coordinate the review and selection of materials, develop and maintain related processes, and contribute to policy formulation for a premier biomedical citation database and journal archive.
Interpret and communicate NLM policies to high level publishers’ representatives, organizations, and information centers in the U.S. and worldwide.
Provide technical consultation and support to facilitate the provision of biomedical information through NLM services.
Serves as a technical expert on journal publishing trends and scholarly communication issues .
Independently prepare written correspondence, reports, and news announcements to explain or publicize NLM’s policies for the review, selection, indexing and archiving of biomedical literature.
Coordinate and actively contribute to the meetings of the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC), a U.S. government federal advisory committee responsible for reviewing and recommending journals for inclusion in MEDLINE….”

Low income countries have the highest percentages of open access publication: A systematic computational analysis of the biomedical literature

Abstract:  Open access publication rates have been steadily increasing over time. In spite of this growth, academics in low income settings struggle to gain access to the full canon of research literature. While the vast majority of open access repositories and funding organizations with open access policies are based in high income countries, the geographic patterns of open access publication itself are not well characterized. In this study, we developed a computational approach to better understand the topical and geographical landscape of open access publications in the biomedical research literature. Surprisingly, we found a strong negative correlation between country per capita income and the percentage of open access publication. Open access publication rates were particularly high in sub-Saharan Africa, but vastly lower in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and East Asia and the Pacific. These effects persisted when considering papers only bearing authors from within each region and income group. However, papers resulting from international collaborations did have a higher percentage of OA than single-country papers, and inter-regional collaboration increased OA publication for all world regions. There was no clear relationship between the number of open access policies in a region and the percentage of open access publications in that region. To understand the distribution of open access across topics of biomedical research, we examined keywords that were most enriched and depleted in open access papers. Keywords related to genomics, computational biology, animal models, and infectious disease were enriched in open access publications, while keywords related to the environment, nursing, and surgery were depleted in open access publications. This work identifies geographic regions and fields of research that could be priority areas for open access advocacy. The finding that open access publication rates are highest in sub-Saharan Africa and low income countries suggests that factors other than open access policy strongly influence authors’ decisions to make their work openly accessible. The high proportion of OA resulting from international collaborations indicates yet another benefit of collaborative research. Certain applied fields of medical research, notably nursing, surgery, and environmental fields, appear to have a greater proportion of fee-for-access publications, which presumably creates barriers that prevent researchers and practitioners in low income settings from accessing the literature in those fields.

Enhancing Scientific Reproducibility through Transparent Reporting – A Workshop : Health and Medicine Division

“An ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is convening a public workshop to discuss the current state of transparency in reporting pre-clinical biomedical research (e.g., disclosure of the availability and location of data, materials, analysis, and methodology) and to explore the possibility of improving the harmonization of guidelines across journals and funding agencies so that biomedical researchers propose and report data in a consistent manner. This workshop is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Cell Press, The Lancet, and Nature Research.

WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES:

Highlight current efforts by researchers, institutions, funders, and journals to increase transparency in proposing and reporting pre-clinical biomedical research;
Discuss journal and funder assessments of researchers’ adherence to reporting guidelines, including a discussion of the effectiveness of checklists;
Consider lessons learned from field-specific best practices for increased transparency in reporting rigor elements (i.e., research design, methodology, analysis, interpretation and reporting of results) that are generalizable across biomedical research domains;
Discuss opportunities for improving the consistency of reporting guidelines and requirements for rigor and transparency by journals, funders, and institutions across the biomedical research lifecycle; and
Consider approaches to compare reporting of rigor elements proposed in grant applications to those included in publications.

The committee will plan and organize the workshop, develop the agenda, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate or identify moderators for the discussions. The agenda will include a panel discussion on facilitating the development of consistent guidelines (e.g. a common set of minimal reporting standards) that could be applied across journals and funders to increase transparency in proposing and reporting biomedical research.

A proceedings of the presentations and discussions at the workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines….”

ORION Call for Novel Co-creation Initiatives | ORION Open Science

“The ORION project is launching a funding call for novel co-creation initiatives to open up research in life sciences and biomedicine. This call will provide funding of up to 100,000€ for a project that brings together a variety of different participants from across a range of sectors to co-create a new project or product based around life sciences research….

Projects should follow Open Science and RRI [Responsible Research & Innovation] principles….”

ORION Call for Novel Co-creation Initiatives | ORION Open Science

“The ORION project is launching a funding call for novel co-creation initiatives to open up research in life sciences and biomedicine. This call will provide funding of up to 100,000€ for a project that brings together a variety of different participants from across a range of sectors to co-create a new project or product based around life sciences research….

Projects should follow Open Science and RRI [Responsible Research & Innovation] principles….”

medRxiv.org – the preprint server for Health Sciences

“medRxiv (pronounced “med-archive”) is a free online archive and distribution server for complete but unpublished manuscripts (preprints) in the medical, clinical, and related health sciences. Preprints are preliminary reports of work that have not been peer-reviewed. They should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

medRxiv was founded by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), a not-for-profit research and educational institution, Yale University, and BMJ, a global healthcare knowledge provider. The server is owned and operated by CSHL. medRxiv provides a platform for researchers to share, comment, and receive feedback on their work prior to journal publication. medRxiv aims to improve the openness and accessibility of scientific findings, enhance collaboration among researchers, document provenance of ideas, and inform ongoing and planned research through more timely reporting of completed research. medRxiv is a non-profit community resource and is not linked to any one publisher or journal….”