Tag Archives: scientific communication

Replication, Communication, and the Population Dynamics of Scientific Discovery

Many published research results are false (Ioannidis, 2005), and controversy continues over the roles of replication and publication policy in improving the reliability of research. Addressing these problems is frustrated by the lack of a formal framework that jointly represents hypothesis formation, replication, publication bias, and variation in research quality. We develop a mathematical model of scientific discovery that combines all of these elements.

This model provides both a dynamic model of research as well as a formal framework for reasoning about the normative structure of science. We show that replication may serve as a ratchet that gradually separates true hypotheses from false, but the same factors that make initial findings unreliable also make replications unreliable. The most important factors in improving the reliability of research are the rate of false positives and the base rate of true hypotheses, and we offer suggestions for addressing each. Our results also bring clarity to verbal debates about the communication of research.

Surprisingly, publication bias is not always an obstacle, but instead may have positive impacts—suppression of negative novel findings is often beneficial. We also find that communication of negative replications may aid true discovery even when attempts to replicate have diminished power. The model speaks constructively to ongoing debates about the design and conduct of science, focusing analysis and discussion on precise, internally consistent models, as well as highlighting the importance of population dynamics.

URL : Replication, Communication, and the Population Dynamics of Scientific Discovery

DOI : 10.1371/journal.pone.0136088

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29 août 2015 · 12 h 43 min

Dataverse 4.0: Defining Data Publishing

 The research community needs reliable, standard ways to make the data produced by scientific research available to the community, while getting credit as data authors. As a result, a new form of scholarly publication is emerging: data publishing. Data pubishing – or making data long-term accessible, reusable and citable – is more involved than simply providing a link to a data file or posting the data to the researchers web site.

In this paper, we define what is needed for proper data publishing and describe how the open-source Dataverse software helps define, enable and enhance data publishing for all.

URL : http://scholar.harvard.edu/mercecrosas/publications/dataverse-4-defining-data-publishing

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27 août 2015 · 20 h 45 min

Open Science in Poland 2014 : A Diagnosis

The process of producing and distributing scientific knowledge has been undergoing significant changes recently, termed collectively as “opening” of science. The changes were begun with the development of new technologies, but their dynamics was also influenced by the features of scholary communication and the social role of scientific research, as well as its institutional and political context. The basic aspect of Open Science is Open Access to scientific literature and data, but openness can also concern other elements of science, such
as conducting, evaluating, disseminating and using research and its findings.

The open models were initially implemented locally, as a “grassroot” movement, but with time a need arose for a more systematic approach, especially in strategies and policies of institutions responsible for research and funding, both state-owned and international bodies. In Poland such strategies and policies are yet to be developed, and the basic condition to be fulfilled is establishing a diagnosis of the current state of openness in the Polish science sector. The present report is an attempt to draw such a diagnosis.

URL : http://microblogging.infodocs.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Szprot2015.pdf

Alternative location : http://pon.edu.pl/index.php/nasze-publikacje?pubid=16

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25 août 2015 · 12 h 28 min

Too much of a good thing? An observational study of prolific authors

Introduction

Researchers’ productivity is usually measured in terms of their publication output. A minimum number of publications is required for some medical qualifications and professional appointments. However, authoring an unfeasibly large number of publications might indicate disregard of authorship criteria or even fraud. We therefore examined publication patterns of highly prolific authors in 4 medical specialties.

Methods

We analysed Medline publications from 2008–12 using bespoke software to disambiguate individual authors focusing on 4 discrete topics (to further reduce the risk of combining publications from authors with the same name and affiliation). This enabled us to assess the number and type of publications per author per year.

Results

While 99% of authors were listed on fewer than 20 publications in the 5-year period, 24 authors in the chosen areas were listed on at least 25 publications in a single year (i.e., >1 publication per 10 working days). Types of publication by the prolific authors varied but included substantial numbers of original research papers (not simply editorials or letters).

Conclusions

Institutions and funders should be alert to unfeasibly prolific authors when measuring and creating incentives for researcher productivity.

URL : Too much of a good thing? An observational study of prolific authors

DOI : https://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1154

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25 août 2015 · 11 h 59 min

A New Ranking Scheme for the Institutional Scientific Performance

We propose a new performance indicator to evaluate the productivity of research institutions by their disseminated scientific papers. The new quality measure includes two principle components: the normalized impact factor of the journal in which paper was published, and the number of citations received per year since it was published. In both components, the scientific impacts are weighted by the contribution of authors from the evaluated institution.

As a whole, our new metric, namely, the institutional performance score takes into account both journal based impact and articles specific impacts. We apply this new scheme to evaluate research output performance of Turkish institutions specialized in astronomy and astrophysics in the period of 1998-2012. We discuss the implications of the new metric, and emphasize the benefits of it along with comparison to other proposed institutional performance indicators.

URL : http://arxiv.org/abs/1508.03713

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24 août 2015 · 15 h 18 min