Post-publication peer review in biomedical journals: overcoming obstacles and disincentives to knowledge sharing

Authors : Valerie Matarese, Karen Shashok

The importance of post-publication peer review (PPPR) as a type of knowledge exchange has been emphasized by several authorities in research publishing, yet biomedical journals do not always facilitate this type of publication.

Here we report our experience publishing a commentary intended to offer constructive feedback on a previously published article. We found that publishing our comment required more time and effort than foreseen, because of obstacles encountered at some journals.

Using our professional experience as authors’ editors and our knowledge of publication policies as a starting point, we reflect on the probable reasons behind these obstacles, and suggest ways in which journals could make PPPR easier. In addition, we argue that PPPR should be more explicitly valued and rewarded in biomedical disciplines, and suggest how these publications could be included in research evaluations.

Eliminating obstacles and disincentives to PPPR is essential in light of the key roles of post-publication analysis and commentary in drawing attention to shortcomings in published articles that were overlooked during pre-publication peer review.

URL : Post-publication peer review in biomedical journals: overcoming obstacles and disincentives to knowledge sharing


Use of Twitter in Spanish Communication Journals

Authors : Victoria Tur-Viñes, Jesús Segarra-Saavedra, Tatiana Hidalgo-Marí

This is an exploratory study on the Twitter profiles managed by 30 Spanish Communication journals. The aim is to analyse the profile management, to identify the features of the most interactive content, and to propose effective practices motivating strategic management.

The management variables considered were the following: the launch date of the journal and launch of the Twitter profile; published content and frequency of publication; number of publications in 2016; number of Twitter followers.

The identification of the features of the most interactive tweets was performed in a 150-unit sample, taking into consideration the following factors: the number of retweets, likes, type of content (motivation), components forming the content, the date and time of publication, and origin of the publication (internal or unrelated).

The results reveal notable practices and certain deficiencies in the strategic management of social profiles. Twitter represents an innovative opportunity in scientific dissemination, and it establishes an inalienable strategy for creating and maintaining the brand-journal while retaining the need to strengthen followers’ reciprocity. Other potential uses are suggested.

URL : Use of Twitter in Spanish Communication Journals

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Beyond Fact Checking: Reconsidering the Status of Truth of Published Articles

Authors : David Pontille, Didier Torny

Since the 17th century, scientific knowledge has been produced through a collective process, involving specific technologies used to perform experiments, to regulate modalities for participation of peers or lay people, and to ensure validation of the facts and publication of major results.

In such a world guided by the quest for a new kind of truth against previous beliefs various forms of misconduct – from subtle plagiarism to the entire fabrication of data and results – have largely been considered as minimal, if not inexistent.

Yet, some “betrayers of the truth” have been alleged in many fraudulent cases at least from the 1970s onward and the phenomenon is currently a growing concern in many academic corners. Facing numerous alerts, journals have generalized dedicated editorial formats to notify their readers of the emerging doubts affecting articles they had published.

This short piece is exclusively focused on these formats, which consists in “flagging” some articles to mark their problematic status.The visibility given to these flags and policies undermine the very basic components of the economy of science: How long can we collectively pretend that peer-reviewed knowledge should be the anchor to face a “post-truth” world?


Les classements à l’international des revues en SHS

Auteurs/Authors : David Pontille, Didier Torny

Bien que plusieurs classements de revues aient été élaborés dès les années 1970, le caractère inédit de ceux qui ont émergé au cours des années 2000 réside dans leur statut d’instrument de politique publique. C’est le cas de l’Australie, du Brésil, de la France, de la Flandre, de la Norvège, et des Pays-Bas où cette technologie d’évaluation est en vigueur pour certains domaines – notamment en sciences humaines et sociales (SHS).

Dans cet article, nous analysons les modes d’existence de cette technologie d’évaluation spécifique. Bien que la formule générique du « classement de revues » se propage au plan international , différentes versions se développent parallèlement : leurs modalités de production, les valeurs défendues par leurs promoteurs et leurs usagers, aussi bien que leurs formes concrètes sont extrêmement variées.

Nous montrons que l’espace de variations des classements de revues en SHS est toujours bordé par deux options : favoriser une « bonne recherche » qui, sous l’effet d’avantages cumulatifs, risque de conduire à une science (hyper)normale soutenant des dispositions de conformité sociale chez les chercheurs ; encourager l’émergence des communautés minoritaires (linguistiques, disciplinaires, interdisciplinaires) et promouvoir la diversité des méthodes, théories et objets, au risque de mener à des formes de relativisme ou d’archipelisation de la recherche.


Prestigious Science Journals Struggle to Reach Even Average Reliability

Author : Björn Brembs

In which journal a scientist publishes is considered one of the most crucial factors determining their career. The underlying common assumption is that only the best scientists manage to publish in a highly selective tier of the most prestigious journals.

However, data from several lines of evidence suggest that the methodological quality of scientific experiments does not increase with increasing rank of the journal. On the contrary, an accumulating body of evidence suggests the inverse: methodological quality and, consequently, reliability of published research works in several fields may be decreasing with increasing journal rank.

The data supporting these conclusions circumvent confounding factors such as increased readership and scrutiny for these journals, focusing instead on quantifiable indicators of methodological soundness in the published literature, relying on, in part, semi-automated data extraction from often thousands of publications at a time.

With the accumulating evidence over the last decade grew the realization that the very existence of scholarly journals, due to their inherent hierarchy, constitutes one of the major threats to publicly funded science: hiring, promoting and funding scientists who publish unreliable science eventually erodes public trust in science.

URL : Prestigious Science Journals Struggle to Reach Even Average Reliability


Open scientific journals: Emerging practices and approaches

Authors : Andre Luiz Appel, Sarita Albagli, Maria Lucia Maciel

This study aims to show how the concept of openness has been manifested and amplified in the universe of open access scholarly journals, pointing out emerging characteristics and practices linked to processes of submission, evaluation, revision, editing, publishing, editing, distribution, access and use of texts for publication.

We proceeded to an overview and discussion of the pertinent literature and the identification and analysis of open access journals which have addressed the issue, and to the identification and analysis of cases of open access journals which have been adopting innovative practices, based on information on editorial policies available on their websites.

Among the results, we have pointed out aspects of the publications examined, such as the types of licenses used, policies regarding access to research data, publishing formats, charges and alternative metrics of evaluation.

URL : Open scientific journals: Emerging practices and approaches

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L’archivage des revues scientifiques électroniques pour les bibliothèques universitaires en France

Auteur/Author : Lore Metrat

Les résultats de la recherche, quel que soit le domaine d’étude, sont de plus en plus publiés au format numérique. Les grands éditeurs proposent aux bibliothèques des abonnements à des bouquets de revues indispensables aux chercheurs, mais de plus en plus chers.

Ainsi, les bibliothèques universitaires payent des prix élevés sans aucune garantie de conservation. En effet, le paiement des bouquets de revues consiste à obtenir un droit d’accès, ne tenant pas compte de l’archivage de celles-ci.

Si une revue venait à disparaître, l’ensemble de ce qui avait été acheté disparaitrait aussi. Partant de ce constat, l’enjeu réside dans la nécessité d’assurer la conservation des revues de façon pérenne, tout en garantissant leur lisibilité et leur intelligibilité à long terme.

URL : L’archivage des revues scientifiques électroniques pour les bibliothèques universitaires en France

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