Rapid publications risk the integrity of science in the era of COVID-19 | BMC Medicine | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

Preprint manuscripts, rapid publications and opinion pieces have been essential in permitting the lay press and public health authorities to preview data relating to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including the range of clinical manifestations and the basic epidemiology early on in the pandemic. However, the rapid dissemination of information has highlighted some issues with communication of scientific results and opinions in this time of heightened sensitivity and global concern.

Main text

Rapid publication of COVID-19 literature through expedited review, preprint publications and opinion pieces are important resources for the medical scientific community. Yet the risks of unverified information loom large in times when the healthcare community is desperate for information. Information that has not been properly vetted, or opinion pieces without solid evidence, may be used to influence public health policy decisions. We discuss three examples of unverified information and the consequences in this time of high anxiety surrounding COVID-19.

Conclusions

In an era when information can be widely and swiftly disseminated, it is important to ensure that the scientific community is not an inadvertent source of misinformation. This will require a multimodal approach, with buy-in from editors, publishers, preprint servers, authors and journalists. The landscape of medical publications has changed, and a collaborative approach is required to maintain a high standard of scientific communications.

Rapid publications risk the integrity of science in the era of COVID-19 | BMC Medicine | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

Preprint manuscripts, rapid publications and opinion pieces have been essential in permitting the lay press and public health authorities to preview data relating to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including the range of clinical manifestations and the basic epidemiology early on in the pandemic. However, the rapid dissemination of information has highlighted some issues with communication of scientific results and opinions in this time of heightened sensitivity and global concern.

Main text

Rapid publication of COVID-19 literature through expedited review, preprint publications and opinion pieces are important resources for the medical scientific community. Yet the risks of unverified information loom large in times when the healthcare community is desperate for information. Information that has not been properly vetted, or opinion pieces without solid evidence, may be used to influence public health policy decisions. We discuss three examples of unverified information and the consequences in this time of high anxiety surrounding COVID-19.

Conclusions

In an era when information can be widely and swiftly disseminated, it is important to ensure that the scientific community is not an inadvertent source of misinformation. This will require a multimodal approach, with buy-in from editors, publishers, preprint servers, authors and journalists. The landscape of medical publications has changed, and a collaborative approach is required to maintain a high standard of scientific communications.

The costly prestige ranking of scholarly journals | Ravnetrykk

Abstract:  The prestige ranking of scholarly journals is costly to science and to society. Researchers’ payoff in terms of career progress is determined largely from where they publish their findings, and less from the content of their scholarly work. This fact creates perverted incentives for the researchers. Valuable research time is spent in trying to satisfy reviewers and editors, rather than spending their time in the most productive direction. This in turn leads to unnecessary long time from research findings are made until they become public. This costly system is upheld by the scholarly community itself. Scholars supply the journals with time, serving as reviewers and editors without any paycheck asked, even though the bulk of scientific journals are published by big commercial enterprises enjoying super profit margins. The super profit results from expensive licensing deals with the scholarly institutions. The free labour offered, on top of the payment for the licensing deals, should be viewed as part of the payment to these publishers – a payment in kind. Why not use this as a negotiating chip towards the publishers? If a publisher asks more than acceptable for a licensing deal, rather than walk away with no deal, the scholarly institutions could pull out all the free labour offered by reviewers and editors.

 

The Dutch Consortia/Elsevier Contract: The Real Risks – Community-Owned Infrastructure

“In December, SPARC assessed an institutional agreement that a Dutch national academic consortia and Elsevier were in the process of negotiating. At the time, we were responding to leaks in the press, which were largely confirmed by the subsequent release of the terms of a framework agreement between the Dutch consortia and the publisher. Last week, the parties announced the official terms of the agreement.

As a quick recap, we originally noted five concerns:

Danger of linking publishing and data contracts into a “Bigger Deal”
A deal structure inhibiting competition in data analytics services
The implications of the resulting reduced competition on customer leverage
The creation of a monopoly (or quasi-monopoly) on data analytics resulting in the loss of diversity in academic assessment
The risks that the deal’s structure, if replicated, would pose to the overall health of the scholarly publishing ecosystem

While some new details have emerged since SPARC released our initial analysis, none of them materially change our conclusions….”

The open scholarship ecosystem faces collapse; it’s also our best hope for a more resilient future | Impact of Social Sciences

“The COVID-19 pandemic is significantly impacting universities and higher education institutions, reducing budgets and presenting new design challenges that will fundamentally alter how research and scholarship operate. Economic volatility is also constraining support for key systems and services that the academy relies on, especially those that are community-led. Kaitlin Thaney argues that there’s a need to converge on community-controlled open scholarship projects, to both meet the demands of the moment, and build a more resilient system for scholarly communication for future crisis situations, and invites readers to participate in planning how such systems can be maintained….

Openness is going to be more radically accepted (even demanded) than ever before post-crisis.

Many key pieces of scholarly research landscape are at risk of going out of business or consolidating by the end of the year. Looking ahead 12-18 months, there is a real threat of infrastructure collapse, the severity and downstream effects of which are not yet fully known at this time.

The current state of funding and resourcing will force institutions to do more with less and to think beyond their walls about shared models of financing….”

The open scholarship ecosystem faces collapse; it’s also our best hope for a more resilient future | Impact of Social Sciences

“The COVID-19 pandemic is significantly impacting universities and higher education institutions, reducing budgets and presenting new design challenges that will fundamentally alter how research and scholarship operate. Economic volatility is also constraining support for key systems and services that the academy relies on, especially those that are community-led. Kaitlin Thaney argues that there’s a need to converge on community-controlled open scholarship projects, to both meet the demands of the moment, and build a more resilient system for scholarly communication for future crisis situations, and invites readers to participate in planning how such systems can be maintained….

Openness is going to be more radically accepted (even demanded) than ever before post-crisis.

Many key pieces of scholarly research landscape are at risk of going out of business or consolidating by the end of the year. Looking ahead 12-18 months, there is a real threat of infrastructure collapse, the severity and downstream effects of which are not yet fully known at this time.

The current state of funding and resourcing will force institutions to do more with less and to think beyond their walls about shared models of financing….”

Animals | Free Full-Text | Evidence for Citation Networks in Studies of Free-Roaming Cats: A Case Study Using Literature on Trap–Neuter–Return (TNR)

“When awareness on social media is concerned, OA is a significant advantage. All 10 papers ranked most highly on the basis of social media communications are…OA, as opposed to none on the most highly cited list and four on the list of high citation rate.”

The Pandemic Claims New Victims: Prestigious Medical Journals

Two major study retractions in one month have left researchers wondering if the peer review process is broken.