Negative Effects of “Predatory” Journals on Global Health Research

Authors : Diego A. Forero, Marilyn H. Oermann, Andrea Manca, Franca Deriu, Hugo Mendieta-Zerón, Mehdi Dadkhah, Roshan Bhad, Smita N. Deshpande, Wei Wang, Myriam Patricia Cifuentes

Predatory journals (PJ) exploit the open-access model promising high acceptance rate and fast track publishing without proper peer review. At minimum, PJ are eroding the credibility of the scientific literature in the health sciences as they actually boost the propagation of errors.

In this article, we identify issues with PJ and provide several responses, from international and interdisciplinary perspectives in health sciences.

Authors, particularly researchers with limited previous experience with international publications, need to be careful when considering potential journals for submission, due to the current existence of large numbers of PJ.

Universities around the world, particularly in developing countries, might develop strategies to discourage their researchers from submitting manuscripts to PJ or serving as members of their editorial committees.

URL : Negative Effects of “Predatory” Journals on Global Health Research

DOI : http://doi.org/10.29024/aogh.2389

Health sciences libraries’ subscriptions to journals: expectations of general practice departments and collection-based analysis

Authors : David Barreau, Céline Bouton, Vincent Renard, Jean-Pascal Fournier

Objective

The aims of this study were to (i) assess the expectations of general practice departments regarding health sciences libraries’ subscriptions to journals and (ii) describe the current general practice journal collections of health sciences libraries.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was distributed electronically to the thirty-five university general practice departments in France. General practice departments were asked to list ten journals to which they expected access via the subscriptions of their health sciences libraries.

A ranked reference list of journals was then developed. Access to these journals was assessed through a survey sent to all health sciences libraries in France. Adequacy ratios (access/need) were calculated for each journal.

Results

All general practice departments completed the survey. The total reference list included 44 journals. This list was heterogeneous in terms of indexation/impact factor, language of publication, and scope (e.g., patient care, research, or medical education).

Among the first 10 journals listed, La Revue Prescrire (96.6%), La Revue du Praticien–Médecine Générale (90.9%), the British Medical Journal (85.0%), Pédagogie Médicale (70.0%), Exercer (69.7%), and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (62.5%) had the highest adequacy ratios, whereas Family Practice (4.2%), the British Journal of General Practice (16.7%), Médecine (29.4%), and theEuropean Journal of General Practice (33.3%) had the lowest adequacy ratios.

Conclusions:

General practice departments have heterogeneous expectations in terms of health sciences libraries’ subscriptions to journals. It is important for librarians to understand the heterogeneity of these expectations, as well as local priorities, so that journal access meets users’ needs.

URL : Health sciences libraries’ subscriptions to journals: expectations of general practice departments and collection-based analysis

DOI : https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2018.282

Authorial and institutional stratification in open access publishing: the case of global health research

Authors : Kyle Siler, Stefanie Haustein, Elise Smith, Vincent Larivière, Juan Pablo Alperin

Using a database of recent articles published in the field of Global Health research, we examine institutional sources of stratification in publishing access outcomes. Traditionally, the focus on inequality in scientific publishing has focused on prestige hierarchies in established print journals.

This project examines stratification in contemporary publishing with a particular focus on subscription vs. various Open Access (OA) publishing options.

Findings show that authors working at lower-ranked universities are more likely to publish in closed/paywalled outlets, and less likely to choose outlets that involve some sort of Article Processing Charge (APCs; gold or hybrid OA).

We also analyze institutional differences and stratification in the APC costs paid in various journals. Authors affiliated with higher-ranked institutions, as well as hospitals and non-profit organizations pay relatively higher APCs for gold and hybrid OA publications.

Results suggest that authors affiliated with high-ranked universities and well-funded institutions tend to have more resources to choose pay options with publishing. Our research suggests new professional hierarchies developing in contemporary publishing, where various OA publishing options are becoming increasingly prominent.

Just as there is stratification in institutional representation between different types of publishing access, there is also inequality within access types.

URL : Authorial and institutional stratification in open access publishing: the case of global health research

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4269

Faculty Attitudes toward Open Access and Scholarly Communications: Disciplinary Differences on an Urban and Health Science Campus

Authors : Jere Odell, Kristi Palmer, Emily Dill

Access to scholarship in the health sciences has greatly increased in the last decade. The adoption of the 2008 U.S. National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy and the launch of successful open access journals in health sciences have done much to move the exchange of scholarship beyond the subscription-only model.

One might assume, therefore, that scholars publishing in the health sciences would be more supportive of these changes. However, the results of this survey of attitudes on a campus with a large medical faculty show that health science respondents were uncertain of the value of recent changes in the scholarly communication system.

URL : Faculty Attitudes toward Open Access and Scholarly Communications: Disciplinary Differences on an Urban and Health Science Campus

DOI : http://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2169

 

What do we know about grant peer review in the health sciences?

Authors : Susan Guthrie, Ioana Ghiga, Steven Wooding

Background

Peer review decisions award >95% of academic medical research funding, so it is crucial to understand how well they work and if they could be improved.

Methods

This paper summarises evidence from 105 relevant papers identified through a literature search on the effectiveness and burden of peer review for grant funding.

Results

There is a remarkable paucity of evidence about the overall efficiency of peer review for funding allocation, given its centrality to the modern system of science. From the available evidence, we can identify some conclusions around the effectiveness and burden of peer review.

The strongest evidence around effectiveness indicates a bias against innovative research. There is also fairly clear evidence that peer review is, at best, a weak predictor of future research performance, and that ratings vary considerably between reviewers. There is some evidence of age bias and cronyism.

Good evidence shows that the burden of peer review is high and that around 75% of it falls on applicants. By contrast, many of the efforts to reduce burden are focused on funders and reviewers/panel members.

Conclusions

We suggest funders should acknowledge, assess and analyse the uncertainty around peer review, even using reviewers’ uncertainty as an input to funding decisions. Funders could consider a lottery element in some parts of their funding allocation process, to reduce both burden and bias, and allow better evaluation of decision processes.

Alternatively, the distribution of scores from different reviewers could be better utilised as a possible way to identify novel, innovative research. Above all, there is a need for open, transparent experimentation and evaluation of different ways to fund research.

This also requires more openness across the wider scientific community to support such investigations, acknowledging the lack of evidence about the primacy of the current system and the impossibility of achieving perfection.

URL : What do we know about grant peer review in the health sciences?

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.11917.1