Risk of Bias in Reports of In Vivo Research: A Focus for Improvement

The reliability of experimental findings depends on the rigour of experimental design. Here we show limited reporting of measures to reduce the risk of bias in a random sample of life sciences publications, significantly lower reporting of randomisation in work published in journals of high impact, and very limited reporting of measures to reduce the risk of bias in publications from leading United Kingdom institutions. Ascertainment of differences between institutions might serve both as a measure of research quality and as a tool for institutional efforts to improve research quality.

URL : Risk of Bias in Reports of In Vivo Research: A Focus for Improvement

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002273

The role of arXiv, RePEc, SSRN and PMC in formal scholarly communication

Purposes 

The four major Subject Repositories (SRs), arXiv, Research Papers in Economics (RePEc), Social Science Research Network (SSRN) and PubMed Central (PMC), are all important within their disciplines but no previous study has systematically compared how often they are cited in academic publications. In response, this article reports an analysis of citations to SRs from Scopus publications, 2000 to 2013.

Design/methodology/approach

Scopus searches were used to count the number of documents citing the four SRs in each year. A random sample of 384 documents citing the four SRs was then visited to investigate the nature of the citations.

Findings

Each SR was most cited within its own subject area but attracted substantial citations from other subject areas, suggesting that they are open to interdisciplinary uses. The proportion of documents citing each SR is continuing to increase rapidly, and the SRs all seem to attract substantial numbers of citations from more than one discipline.

Research limitations/implications

Scopus does not cover all publications, and most citations to documents found in the four SRs presumably cite the published version, when one exists, rather than the repository version.

Practical implications

SRs are continuing to grow and do not seem to be threatened by Institutional Repositories (IRs) and so research managers should encourage their continued use within their core disciplines, including for research that aims at an audience in other disciplines.

Originality/value

This is the first simultaneous analysis of Scopus citations to the four most popular SRs.

URL : http://www.yorku.ca/lixuemei/The_role_of_subject_repositories_AslibPreprint.docx

Regional and Global Science: Latin American and Caribbean publications in the SciELO Citation Index and the Web of Science

We compare the visibility and performance of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) publications in the Core collection indexes included in the Web of Science (WoS) — Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Arts & Humanities Citation Index — and the Scielo Citation Index (SciELO CI) which was integrated into the larger WoS platform in 2014.

The purpose of this comparison is to contribute to our understanding of the communication of scientific knowledge produced in Latin America and the Caribbean, and to provide some reflections on the potential benefits of the articulation of regional indexing exercises into WoS for a better understanding of geographic and disciplinary contributions.

How is the regional level of ScieLO CI related to the global one of WoS? In WoS, LAC authors are integrated at the global level in international networks; for example, as postdocs. In SciELO CI, south-south collaboration is more central, and the focus is shifted towards social problems. The articulation of SciELO into WoS may improve the international standardization (for example, of referencing) in the regional journals, but comes at the price of losing independence of the journal inclusion criteria.

URL : http://arxiv.org/abs/1510.02453

Does Quantity Make a Difference? The importance of publishing many papers

Do highly productive researchers have significantly higher probability to produce top cited papers? Or does the increased productivity in science only result in a sea of irrelevant papers as a perverse effect of competition and the increased use of indicators for research evaluation and accountability focus? We use a Swedish author disambiguated data set consisting of 48,000 researchers and their WoS-publications during the period of 2008 2011 with citations until 2014 to investigate the relation between productivity and production of highly cited papers. As the analysis shows, quantity does make a difference.

URL : http://arxiv.org/abs/1510.01871

Retrospective analysis of the quality of reports by author-suggested and non-author-suggested reviewers in journals operating on open or single-blind peer review models

Objectives

To assess whether reports from reviewers recommended by authors show a bias in quality and recommendation for editorial decision, compared with reviewers suggested by other parties, and whether reviewer reports for journals operating on open or single-blind peer review models differ with regard to report quality and reviewer recommendations.

Design

Retrospective analysis of the quality of reviewer reports using an established Review Quality Instrument, and analysis of reviewer recommendations and author satisfaction surveys.

Setting

BioMed Central biology and medical journals. BMC Infectious Diseases and BMC Microbiology are similar in size, rejection rates, impact factors and editorial processes, but the former uses open peer review while the latter uses single-blind peer review. The Journal of Inflammation has operated under both peer review models.

Sample

Two hundred reviewer reports submitted to BMC Infectious Diseases, 200 reviewer reports submitted to BMC Microbiology and 400 reviewer reports submitted to the Journal of Inflammation.

Results

For each journal, author-suggested reviewers provided reports of comparable quality to non-author-suggested reviewers, but were significantly more likely to recommend acceptance, irrespective of the peer review model (p<0.0001 for BMC Infectious Diseases, BMC Microbiology and the Journal of Inflammation). For BMC Infectious Diseases, the overall quality of reviewer reports measured by the Review Quality Instrument was 5% higher than for BMC Microbiology (p=0.042). For the Journal of Inflammation, the quality of reports was the same irrespective of the peer review model used.

Conclusions

Reviewers suggested by authors provide reports of comparable quality to non-author-suggested reviewers, but are significantly more likely to recommend acceptance. Open peer review reports for BMC Infectious Diseases were of higher quality than single-blind reports for BMC Microbiology. There was no difference in quality of peer review in the Journal of Inflammation under open peer review compared with single blind.

URL : Retrospective analysis of the quality of reports by author-suggested and non-author-suggested reviewers in journals operating on open or single-blind peer review models

DOI : 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008707

La protection des données de lecture des livres numériques en bibliothèques aux États-Unis et en France : Étude comparative de la perception des bibliothécaires

Quels sont les livres les plus lus ? Quels sont les thèmes les plus recherchés dans une encyclopédie numérique ? Au bout de combien de pages les lecteurs décident-ils d’acheter/emprunter ou abandonner l’ouvrage sélectionné ? Autant de questions auxquelles des réponses précises et chiffrées peuvent dorénavant être apportées.

De par leur offre de livres numériques et le prêt de liseuses/tablettes, les bibliothèques confrontent leurs usagers à cet environnement et donc, indirectement, à la collecte des données de lecture.

Les bibliothèques n’ont-elles pourtant pas pour rôle de permettre aux lecteurs de s’informer et d’avoir accès à tous types de documents de manière anonyme, sans avoir peur d’être jugé ou surveillé ? Ce rôle risquerait-il d’être menacé par la collecte et l’exploitation des données de lecture ?

Pour tenter d’apporter une réponse à ces questions, une définition des données de lecture et une description de leurs caractéristiques seront tout d’abord proposées. Les dangers, mais également les opportunités que représentent la collecte et l’exploitation des données de lecture par les éditeurs commerciaux, les agrégateurs, les gouvernements et les bibliothèques, ainsi que leurs implications sur la vie privée des lecteurs seront ensuite analysés. Une étude des contextes français et états-unien du livre numérique sera également effectuée, axée sur quatre thématiques : le marché de l’e-book dans sa globalité, ainsi que les pratiques de lecture numérique ; le paysage des livres numériques en bibliothèques; l’avis des internautes concernant la protection de leurs données sur le web ; et les aspects légaux relatifs à la protection des données et de la vie privée.

Pour chacun des deux pays, les différentes actions déjà entreprises par les gouvernements, les associations professionnelles et les bibliothécaires pour lutter contre la collecte et la diffusion des données de lecture, seront ensuite décrites.

Dans le but de connaître la perception des professionnels de l’information concernant cette thématique, les résultats d’une enquête quantitative menée auprès des bibliothécaires français et états-uniens seront présentés. Enfin, le rôle des bibliothèques pour la protection des données de lecture sera récapitulé, tandis que des recommandations pratiques à l’usage des bibliothécaires seront proposées, ces suggestions ayant pour but de guider les professionnels souhaitant s’engager à protéger l’anonymat de l’utilisation de leurs livres numériques.

A multi-institutional study of the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of post-secondary students

In some educational settings, the cost of textbooks approaches or even exceeds the cost of tuition. Given limited resources, it is important to better understand the impacts of free open educational resources (OER) on student outcomes. Utilizing digital resources such as OER can substantially reduce costs for students. The purpose of this study was to analyze whether the adoption of no-cost open digital textbooks significantly predicted students’ completion of courses, class achievement, and enrollment intensity during and after semesters in which OER were used. T

his study utilized a quantitative quasi-experimental design with propensity-score matched groups to examine differences in outcomes between students that used OER and those who did not. The demographics of the initial sample of 16,727 included 4909 students in the treatment condition with a pool of 11,818 in the control condition. There were statistically significant differences between groups, with most favoring students utilizing OER.

URL : http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12528-015-9101-x