How Open Source Software Contributors Are Accelerating Biomedicine

“Each day, hundreds of thousands of scientists use open source software to advance biology and medicine, from studying cells in a microscope image to understanding how genes behave in healthy cells. Open source software underpins much of modern scientific research — providing reproducibility, transparency, and opportunities for collaboration. The impact of these tools is on par with some of the most cited papers in science in terms of reuse and adoption, yet even the most widely-used research software often lacks dedicated funding.

Our Essential Open Source Software for Science (EOSS) program was created to support these efforts — from software maintenance to growth, development, and community engagement for open source tools that are critical to science. We asked nine grantees from the first cycle of the EOSS program what drives them to create tools and how their commitment to open source moves science forward….”

Predatory journals: no definition, no defence

“The consensus definition reached was: “Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.” …”

How to add academic journal articles to PubMed: An overview for publishers

“If you work with journals in the biomedical or life sciences, getting the articles you publish added to PubMed to make them more discoverable is likely one of your top goals. But, you may be wondering how to go about it.

We caught up with PubMed Central (PMC) Program Manager Kathryn Funk to get answers to some of the most common questions that we hear from journal publishers about PubMed and the related literature databases at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), MEDLINE and PMC. Read on to learn more about how the PubMed database works and how to apply to have a journal included in MEDLINE or PMC in order to make its articles searchable via PubMed….”

The NIH public access policy did not harm biomedical journals

Abstract:  The United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) imposed a public access policy on all publications for which the research was supported by their grants; the policy was drafted in 2004 and took effect in 2008. The policy is now 11 years old, yet no analysis has been presented to assess whether in fact this largest-scale US-based public access policy affected the vitality of the scholarly publishing enterprise, as manifested in changed mortality or natality rates of biomedical journals. We show here that implementation of the NIH policy was associated with slightly elevated mortality rates and mildly depressed natality rates of biomedical journals, but that birth rates so exceeded death rates that numbers of biomedical journals continued to rise, even in the face of the implementation of such a sweeping public access policy.

 

“Assessing Data Management Needs of Bioengineering and Biomedical Faculty” by Christie A. Wiley and Margaret H. Burnette

Abstract:  Objectives: This study explores data management knowledge, attitudes, and practices of bioengineering and biomedical researchers in the context of the National Institutes of Health-funded research projects. Specifically, this study seeks to answer the following questions:

What is the nature of biomedical and bioengineering research on the Illinois campus and what kinds of data are being generated?
To what degree are biomedical and bioengineering researchers aware of best practices for data management and what are the actual data management behaviors?
What aspects of data management present the greatest challenges and frustrations?
To what degree are biomedical and bioengineering researchers aware of data sharing opportunities and data repositories, and what are their attitudes towards data sharing?
To what degree are researchers aware of campus services and support for data management planning, data sharing, and data deposit, and what is the level of interest in instruction in these areas?

 

Methods: Librarians on the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign campus conducted semi-structured interviews with bioengineering and biomedical researchers to explore researchers’ knowledge of data management best practices, awareness of library campus services, data management behavior and challenges managing research data. The topics covered during the interviews were current research projects, data types, format, description, campus repository usage, data-sharing, awareness of library campus services, data reuse, the anticipated impact of health on public and challenges (interview questions are provided in the Appendix).

Results: This study revealed the majority of researchers explore broad research topics, various file storage solutions, generate numerous amounts of data and adhere to differing discipline-specific practices. Researchers expressed both familiarity and unfamiliarity with DMP Tool. Roughly half of the researchers interviewed reported having documented protocols for file names, file backup, and file storage. Findings also suggest that there is ambiguity about what it means to share research data and confusion about terminology such as “repository” and “data deposit”. Many researchers equate publication to data sharing.

Conclusions: The interviews reveal significant data literacy gaps that present opportunities for library instruction in the areas of file organization, project workflow and documentation, metadata standards, and data deposit options. The interviews also provide invaluable insight into biomedical and bioengineering research in general and contribute to the authors’ understanding of the challenges facing the researchers we strive to support.

“Assessing Data Management Needs of Bioengineering and Biomedical Faculty” by Christie A. Wiley and Margaret H. Burnette

Abstract:  Objectives: This study explores data management knowledge, attitudes, and practices of bioengineering and biomedical researchers in the context of the National Institutes of Health-funded research projects. Specifically, this study seeks to answer the following questions:

What is the nature of biomedical and bioengineering research on the Illinois campus and what kinds of data are being generated?
To what degree are biomedical and bioengineering researchers aware of best practices for data management and what are the actual data management behaviors?
What aspects of data management present the greatest challenges and frustrations?
To what degree are biomedical and bioengineering researchers aware of data sharing opportunities and data repositories, and what are their attitudes towards data sharing?
To what degree are researchers aware of campus services and support for data management planning, data sharing, and data deposit, and what is the level of interest in instruction in these areas?

 

Methods: Librarians on the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign campus conducted semi-structured interviews with bioengineering and biomedical researchers to explore researchers’ knowledge of data management best practices, awareness of library campus services, data management behavior and challenges managing research data. The topics covered during the interviews were current research projects, data types, format, description, campus repository usage, data-sharing, awareness of library campus services, data reuse, the anticipated impact of health on public and challenges (interview questions are provided in the Appendix).

Results: This study revealed the majority of researchers explore broad research topics, various file storage solutions, generate numerous amounts of data and adhere to differing discipline-specific practices. Researchers expressed both familiarity and unfamiliarity with DMP Tool. Roughly half of the researchers interviewed reported having documented protocols for file names, file backup, and file storage. Findings also suggest that there is ambiguity about what it means to share research data and confusion about terminology such as “repository” and “data deposit”. Many researchers equate publication to data sharing.

Conclusions: The interviews reveal significant data literacy gaps that present opportunities for library instruction in the areas of file organization, project workflow and documentation, metadata standards, and data deposit options. The interviews also provide invaluable insight into biomedical and bioengineering research in general and contribute to the authors’ understanding of the challenges facing the researchers we strive to support.

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.