The effect of bioRxiv preprints on citations and altmetrics

Authors : Nicholas Fraser, Fakhri Momeni, Philipp Mayr, Isabella Peters

A potential motivation for scientists to deposit their scientific work as preprints is to enhance its citation or social impact, an effect which has been empirically observed for preprints in physics, astronomy and mathematics deposited to arXiv. In this study we assessed the citation and altmetric advantage of bioRxiv, a preprint server for the biological sciences.

We retrieved metadata of all bioRxiv preprints deposited between November 2013 and December 2017, and matched them to articles that were subsequently published in peer-reviewed journals. Citation data from Scopus and altmetric data from were used to compare citation and online sharing behaviour of bioRxiv preprints, their related journal articles, and non-deposited articles published in the same journals.

We found that bioRxiv-deposited journal articles received a sizeable citation and altmetric advantage over non-deposited articles. Regression analysis reveals that this advantage is not explained by multiple explanatory variables related to the article and its authorship.

bioRxiv preprints themselves are being directly cited in journal articles, regardless of whether the preprint has been subsequently published in a journal. bioRxiv preprints are also shared widely on Twitter and in blogs, but remain relatively scarce in mainstream media and Wikipedia articles, in comparison to peer-reviewed journal articles.


Bibliothèques universitaires et intégrité scientifique : quels apports, quelles limites ?

Auteur/Author : Mélissa Defond

L’intégrité scientifique est au coeur de la validité et de la qualité des productions scientifiques. Il s’agit d’un enjeu majeur du monde de la recherche, et un nombre croissant de dispositifs sont en place dans les universités françaises pour répondre aux défis qu’il pose.

Quelle est la place des bibliothèques universitaires dans ce monde de l’intégrité, qui semble si lié aux opérateurs de la recherche ? Que peuvent-elles apporter à la question de l’intégrité scientifique, et quelles sont les limites de leur intervention ?

Nous sommes actuellement à un moment crucial, avec de nombreuses occasions à saisir pour les bibliothèques universitaires afin de se faire une place dans une culture de l’intégrité.

URL : Bibliothèques universitaires et intégrité scientifique : quels apports, quelles limites ?

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L’open data au prisme des Communs : enjeux éthiques et professionnels en bibliothèque

Author : Paul Villa

Depuis octobre 2018, la loi pour une République numérique a inscrit dans le marbre une politique d’open data. L’open data est fondé sur trois pilier : la citoyenneté, l’économie et l’innovation technologique.

Or, les pratiques et les initiatives autour de l’ouverture des données possèdent une proximité certaine avec la philosophie des Communs. Réfléchir à l’open data à la lumière des Communs, c’est mettre en avant les points de convergence entre ces deux concepts et montrer comment les enjeux concernant les données, qu’elles soient publiques ou de recherche, sont impactés.

De plus, l’open data transforme radicalement l’éthique et les missions de la fonction publique. Les bibliothèques, tant publiques qu’universitaires, possèdent une expertise et une expérience concernant les données : elles peuvent donc être l’un des acteurs principaux de ce changement.

Ces questions permettent de réfléchir aux enjeux stratégiques, aux nouveaux services et aux nouvelles compétences professionnelles des bibliothécaires.

URL : L’open data au prisme des Communs : enjeux éthiques et professionnels en bibliothèque

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

Authors : Clarissa F. D. Carneiro, Victor G. S. Queiroz, Thiago C. Moulin, Carlos A. M. Carvalho, Clarissa B. Haas, Danielle Rayêe, David E. Henshall, Evandro A. De-Souza, Felippe Espinelli, Flávia Z. Boos, Gerson D. Guercio, Igor R. Costa, Karina L. Hajdu, Martin Modrák, Pedro B. Tan, Steven J. Burgess, Sylvia F. S. Guerra, Vanessa T. Bortoluzzi, Olavo B. Amara

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.

URL : Comparing quality of reporting between preprints and peer-reviewed articles in the biomedical literature


Literature practices: processes leading up to a citation

Authors : Nikolai Klitzing, Rink Hoekstra, Jan-Willem Strijbos


Literature practices represent the process leading up to the citation of a source, and consist of the selection, reading and citing of sources. The purpose of this paper is to explore possible factors that might influence researchers during this process and discover possible consequences of researchers’ citation behaviours.


In this exploratory study, various factors which could influence literature practices were explored via a questionnaire amongst 112 researchers. Participants were first authors of articles published in 2016 in one of five different journals within the disciplines of experimental psychology, educational sciences and social psychology. Academic positions of the participants ranged from PhD student to full professor.


Frequencies and percentages showed that researchers seemed to be influenced in their literature practices by various factors, such as editors suggesting articles and motivation to cite.

Additionally, a high percentage of researchers reported taking shortcuts when citing articles (e.g. using secondary citations and reading selectively). Logistic regression did not reveal a clear relationship between academic work experience and research practices.

Practical implications

Seeing that researchers seem to be influenced by a variety of factors in their literature practices, the scientific community might benefit from better citation practices and guidelines in order to provide more structure to the process of literature practices.


This paper provides first insights into researchers’ literature practices. Possible reasons for problems with citation accuracy and replicating research findings are highlighted. Opportunities for further research on the topic of citation behaviours are presented.


AccessLab: Workshops to broaden access to scientific research

Authors : Amber G. F. Griffiths, Ivvet Modinou, Clio Heslop, Charlotte Brand, Aidan Weatherill, Kate Baker, Anna E. Hughes, Jen Lewis, Lee de Mora, Sara Mynott, Katherine E. Roberts, David J. Griffiths, Iain Hrynaszkiewicz​, Natasha Simons​, Azhar Hussain​,​ Simon Goudie

AccessLabs are workshops with two simultaneous motivations, achieved through direct citizen-scientist pairings: (1) to decentralise research skills so that a broader range of people are able to access/use scientific research, and (2) to expose science researchers to the difficulties of using their research as an outsider, creating new open access advocates.

Five trial AccessLabs have taken place for policy makers, media/journalists, marine sector participants, community groups, and artists. The act of pairing science academics with local community members helps build understanding and trust between groups at a time when this relationship appears to be under increasing threat from different political and economic currents in society.

Here, we outline the workshop motivations, format, and evaluation, with the aim that others can build on the methods developed.

URL : AccessLab: Workshops to broaden access to scientific research


Developing a research data policy framework for all journals and publishers

Authors : Iain Hrynaszkiewicz​, Natasha Simons​, Azhar Hussain​,​ Simon Goudie

More journals and publishers – and funding agencies and institutions – are introducing research data policies. But as the prevalence of policies increases, there is potential to confuse researchers and support staff with numerous or conflicting policy requirements.

We define and describe 14 features of journal research data policies and arrange these into a set of six standard policy types or tiers, which can be adopted by journals and publishers to promote data sharing in a way that encourages good practice and is appropriate for their audience’s perceived needs.

Policy features include coverage of topics such as data citation, data repositories, data availability statements, data standards and formats, and peer review of research data.

These policy features and types have been created by reviewing the policies of multiple scholarly publishers, which collectively publish more than 10,000 journals, and through discussions and consensus building with multiple stakeholders in research data policy via the Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation Interest Group of the Research Data Alliance.

Implementation guidelines for the standard research data policies for journals and publishers are also provided, along with template policy texts which can be implemented by journals in their Information for Authors and publishing workflows.

We conclude with a call for collaboration across the scholarly publishing and wider research community to drive further implementation and adoption of consistent research data policies.

URL : Developing a research data policy framework for all journals and publishers

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