Peer Review Bias: A Critical Review

Authors : Samir Haffar, Fateh Bazerbachi, M. Hassan Murad

Various types of bias and confounding have been described in the biomedical literature that can affect a study before, during, or after the intervention has been delivered.

The peer review process can also introduce bias. A compelling ethical and moral rationale necessitates improving the peer review process. A double-blind peer review system is supported on equipoise and fair-play principles.

Triple- and quadruple-blind systems have also been described but are not commonly used. The open peer review system introduces “Skin in the Game” heuristic principles for both authors and reviewers and has a small favorable effect on the quality of published reports.

In this exposition, we present, on the basis of a comprehensive literature search of PubMed from its inception until October 20, 2017, various possible mechanisms by which the peer review process can distort research results, and we discuss the evidence supporting different strategies that may mitigate this bias.

It is time to improve the quality, transparency, and accountability of the peer review system.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2018.09.004

La recherche interventionnelle en santé : divers engagements dans la production collaborative de connaissances

Auteur/Author : Philippe Terral

En prenant pour terrain d’enquête un domaine de recherche interdisciplinaire et collaboratif émergeant dans le secteur de la santé, les Recherches Interventionnelles en Santé des Populations (RISP), cette contribution se propose de considérer les diverses formes d’engagement dans la production de ce type de connaissances.

Sont ainsi repérées quatre figures d’engagement (afficher, éprouver, persévérer et figer) qui rendent compte de modes de coordination plus ou moins maximalistes entre les acteurs de ces recherches, en lien avec différentes conceptions et pratiques de la diffusion et de la circulation des connaissances.

L’enquête se base sur trois grands types de données : des observations ethnographiques de RISP ainsi que des congrès et réunions de groupes d’experts produisant des réflexions sur ce type de recherches, des analyses d’écrits (articles, rapports, lettres d’information…) sur les RISP et des entretiens (12) avec les principaux experts du domaine.

URL : https://journals.openedition.org/rfsic/4581

Adapting data management education to support clinical research projects in an academic medical center

Author : Kevin B. Read

Background

Librarians and researchers alike have long identified research data management (RDM) training as a need in biomedical research. Despite the wealth of libraries offering RDM education to their communities, clinical research is an area that has not been targeted.

Clinical RDM (CRDM) is seen by its community as an essential part of the research process where established guidelines exist, yet educational initiatives in this area are unknown.

Case Presentation

Leveraging my academic library’s experience supporting CRDM through informationist grants and REDCap training in our medical center, I developed a 1.5 hour CRDM workshop.

This workshop was designed to use established CRDM guidelines in clinical research and address common questions asked by our community through the library’s existing data support program.

The workshop was offered to the entire medical center 4 times between November 2017 and July 2018. This case study describes the development, implementation, and evaluation of this workshop.

Conclusions

The 4 workshops were well attended and well received by the medical center community, with 99% stating that they would recommend the class to others and 98% stating that they would use what they learned in their work.

Attendees also articulated how they would implement the main competencies they learned from the workshop into their work.

For the library, the effort to support CRDM has led to the coordination of a larger institutional collaborative training series to educate researchers on best practices with data, as well as the formation of institution-wide policy groups to address researcher challenges with CRDM, data transfer, and data sharing.

URL : Adapting data management education to support clinical research projects in an academic medical center

DOI : https://dx.doi.org/10.5195%2Fjmla.2019.580

Open science precision medicine in Canada: Points to consider

Authors : Palmira Granados Moreno, Sarah E. Ali-Khan, Benjamin Capps, Timothy Caulfield, Damien Chalaud, Aled Edwards, E. Richard Gold, Vasiliki Rahimzadeh, Adrian Thorogood, Daniel Auld, Gabrielle Bertier, Felix Breden, Roxanne Caron, Priscilla M.D.G. César, Robert Cook-Deegan, Megan Doerr, Ross Duncan, Amalia M. Issa, Jerome Reichman, Jacques Simard, Derek So, Sandeep Vanamala, Yann Joly

Open science can significantly influence the development and translational process of precision medicine in Canada. Precision medicine presents a unique opportunity to improve disease prevention and healthcare, as well as to reduce health-related expenditures.

However, the development of precision medicine also brings about economic challenges, such as costly development, high failure rates, and reduced market size in comparison with the traditional blockbuster drug development model.

Open science, characterized by principles of open data sharing, fast dissemination of knowledge, cumulative research, and cooperation, presents a unique opportunity to address these economic challenges while also promoting the public good.

The Centre of Genomics and Policy at McGill University organized a stakeholders’ workshop in Montreal in March 2018. The workshop entitled “Could Open be the Yellow Brick Road to Precision Medicine?” provided a forum for stakeholders to share experiences and identify common objectives, challenges, and needs to be addressed to promote open science initiatives in precision medicine.

The rich presentations and exchanges that took place during the meeting resulted in this consensus paper containing key considerations for open science precision medicine in Canada.

Stakeholders would benefit from addressing these considerations as to promote a more coherent and dynamic open science ecosystem for precision medicine.

URL : Open science precision medicine in Canada: Points to consider

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1139/facets-2018-0034

 

Predatory publications in evidence syntheses

Authors : Amanda Ross-White, Christina M. Godfrey, Kimberley A. Sears, Rosemary Wilson

Objectives

The number of predatory journals is increasing in the scholarly communication realm. These journals use questionable business practices, minimal or no peer review, or limited editorial oversight and, thus, publish articles below a minimally accepted standard of quality.

These publications have the potential to alter the results of knowledge syntheses. The objective of this study was to determine the degree to which articles published by a major predatory publisher in the health and biomedical sciences are cited in systematic reviews.

Methods

The authors downloaded citations of articles published by a known predatory publisher. Using forward reference searching in Google Scholar, we examined whether these publications were cited in systematic reviews.

Results

The selected predatory publisher published 459 journals in the health and biomedical sciences. Sixty-two of these journal titles had published a total of 120 articles that were cited by at least 1 systematic review, with a total of 157 systematic reviews citing an article from 1 of these predatory journals.

Discussion

Systematic review authors should be vigilant for predatory journals that can appear to be legitimate. To reduce the risk of including articles from predatory journals in knowledge syntheses, systematic reviewers should use a checklist to ensure a measure of quality control for included papers and be aware that Google Scholar and PubMed do not provide the same level of quality control as other bibliographic databases.

 

 

Tracking the popularity and outcomes of all bioRxiv preprints

Authors : Richard J. Abdill, Ran Blekhman

Researchers in the life sciences are posting their work to preprint servers at an unprecedented and increasing rate, sharing papers online before (or instead of) publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Though the popularity and practical benefits of preprints are driving policy changes at journals and funding organizations, there is little bibliometric data available to measure trends in their usage.

Here, we collected and analyzed data on all 37,648 preprints that were uploaded to bioRxiv.org, the largest biology-focused preprint server, in its first five years. We find that preprints on bioRxiv are being read more than ever before (1.1 million downloads in October 2018 alone) and that the rate of preprints being posted has increased to a recent high of more than 2,100 per month.

We also find that two-thirds of bioRxiv preprints posted in 2016 or earlier were later published in peer-reviewed journals, and that the majority of published preprints appeared in a journal less than six months after being posted.

We evaluate which journals have published the most preprints, and find that preprints with more downloads are likely to be published in journals with a higher impact factor. Lastly, we developed Rxivist.org, a website for downloading and interacting programmatically with indexed metadata on bioRxiv preprints.

URL : Tracking the popularity and outcomes of all bioRxiv preprints

Alternative location : https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2019/01/13/515643

Open access medical journals: Benefits and challenges

Authors : Jenny Z.Wang, Aunna Pourang, Barbara Burrall

The world of medical science literature is ever increasingly accessible via the Internet. Open access online medical journals, in particular, offer access to a wide variety of useful information at no cost.

In addition, they provide avenues for publishing that are available to health care providers of all levels of training and practice. Whereas costs are less with the publishing of online open access journals, fewer resources for funding and technical support also exist.

A recent rise in predatory journals, which solicit authors but charge high fees per paper published and provide low oversight, pose other challenges to ensuring the credibility of accessible scientific literature.

Recognizing the value and efforts of legitimate open access online medical journals can help the reader navigate the over 11,000 open access journals that are available to date.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clindermatol.2018.09.010