The advantages of UK Biobank’s open access strategy for health research

Authors : Megan Conroy, Jonathan Sellors, Mark Effingham, Thomas J. Littlejohns, Chris Boultwood, Lorraine Gillions, Cathie L.M. Sudlow, Rory Collins, Naomi E. Allen

Ready access to health research studies is becoming more important as researchers, and their funders, seek to maximise the opportunities for scientific innovation and health improvements.

Large‐scale population‐based prospective studies are particularly useful for multidisciplinary research into the causes, treatment and prevention of many different diseases. UK Biobank has been established as an open‐access resource for public health research, with the intention of making the data as widely available as possible in an equitable and transparent manner.

Access to UK Biobank’s unique breadth of phenotypic and genetic data has attracted researchers worldwide from across academia and industry. As a consequence, it has enabled scientists to perform world‐leading collaborative research.

Moreover, open access to an already deeply characterized cohort has encouraged both public and private sector investment in further enhancements to make UK Biobank an unparalleled resource for public health research and an exemplar for the development of open access approaches for other studies.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1111/joim.12955

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

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000258

Scientific misconduct and accountability in teams

Authors : Katrin Hussinger, Maikel Pellens

Increasing complexity and multidisciplinarity make collaboration essential for modern science. This, however, raises the question of how to assign accountability for scientific misconduct among larger teams of authors. Biomedical societies and science associations have put forward various sets of guidelines. Some state that all authors are jointly accountable for the integrity of the work.

Others stipulate that authors are only accountable for their own contribution. Alternatively, there are guarantor type models that assign accountability to a single author. We contribute to this debate by analyzing the outcomes of 80 scientific misconduct investigations of biomedical scholars conducted by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

We show that the position of authors on the byline of 184 publications involved in misconduct cases correlates with responsibility for the misconduct. Based on a series of binary regression models, we show that first authors are 38% more likely to be responsible for scientific misconduct than authors listed in the middle of the byline (p<0.01). Corresponding authors are 14% more likely (p<0.05).

These findings suggest that a guarantor-like model where first authors are ex-ante accountable for misconduct is highly likely to not miss catching the author responsible, while not afflicting too many bystanders.

URL : Scientific misconduct and accountability in teams

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0215962

Intellectual contributions meriting authorship: Survey results from the top cited authors across all science categories

Authors : Gregory S. Patience, Federico Galli, Paul A. Patience, Daria C. Boffito

Authorship is the currency of an academic career for which the number of papers researchers publish demonstrates creativity, productivity, and impact. To discourage coercive authorship practices and inflated publication records, journals require authors to affirm and detail their intellectual contributions but this strategy has been unsuccessful as authorship lists continue to grow.

Here, we surveyed close to 6000 of the top cited authors in all science categories with a list of 25 research activities that we adapted from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) authorship guidelines.

Responses varied widely from individuals in the same discipline, same level of experience, and same geographic region. Most researchers agreed with the NIH criteria and grant authorship to individuals who draft the manuscript, analyze and interpret data, and propose ideas.

However, thousands of the researchers also value supervision and contributing comments to the manuscript, whereas the NIH recommends discounting these activities when attributing authorship.

People value the minutiae of research beyond writing and data reduction: researchers in the humanities value it less than those in pure and applied sciences; individuals from Far East Asia and Middle East and Northern Africa value these activities more than anglophones and northern Europeans.

While developing national and international collaborations, researchers must recognize differences in peoples values while assigning authorship.

URL : Intellectual contributions meriting authorship: Survey results from the top cited authors across all science categories

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0198117

“No comment”?: A study of commenting on PLOS articles

Authors : Simon Wakeling, Peter Willett, Claire Creaser, Jenny Fry, Stephen Pinfield, Valerie Spezi, Marc Bonne, Christina Founti, Itzelle Medina Perea

Article commenting functionality allows users to add publically visible comments to an article on a publisher’s website. As well as facilitating forms of post-publication peer review, for publishers of open-access mega-journals (large, broad scope, OA journals that seek to publish all technically or scientifically sound research) comments are also thought to serve as a means for the community to discuss and communicate the significance and novelty of the research, factors which are not assessed during peer review.

In this paper we present the results of an analysis of commenting on articles published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS), publisher of the first and best-known mega-journal PLOS ONE, between 2003 and 2016.

We find that while overall commenting rates are low, and have declined since 2010, there is substantial variation across different PLOS titles. Using a typology of comments developed for this research we also find that only around half of comments engage in an academic discussion of the article, and that these discussions are most likely to focus on the paper’s technical soundness.

Our results suggest that publishers have yet to encourage significant numbers of readers to leave comments, with implications for the effectiveness of commenting as a means of collecting and communicating community perceptions of an article’s importance.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0165551518819965

Plurality in multi-disciplinary research: multiple institutional affiliations are associated with increased citations

Authors : Paul Sanfilippo​, Alex W. Hewitt, David A. Mackey

Background

The institutional affiliations and associated collaborative networks that scientists foster during their research careers are salient in the production of high-quality science. The phenomenon of multiple institutional affiliations and its relationship to research output remains relatively unexplored in the literature.

Methods

We examined 27,612 scientific articles, modelling the normalized citation counts received against the number of authors and affiliations held.

Results

In agreement with previous research, we found that teamwork is an important factor in high impact papers, with average citations received increasing concordant with the number of co-authors listed.

For articles with more than five co-authors, we noted an increase in average citations received when authors with more than one institutional affiliation contributed to the research.

Discussion

Multiple author affiliations may play a positive role in the production of high-impact science. This increased researcher mobility should be viewed by institutional boards as meritorious in the pursuit of scientific discovery.

URL : Plurality in multi-disciplinary research: multiple institutional affiliations are associated with increased citations

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5664

Is together better? Examining scientific collaborations across multiple authors, institutions, and departments

Authors : Lovenoor Aulck, Kishore Vasan, Jevin West

Collaborations are an integral part of scientific research and publishing. In the past, access to large-scale corpora has limited the ways in which questions about collaborations could be investigated. However, with improvements in data/metadata quality and access, it is possible to explore the idea of research collaboration in ways beyond the traditional definition of multiple authorship.

In this paper, we examine scientific works through three different lenses of collaboration: across multiple authors, multiple institutions, and multiple departments. We believe this to be a first look at multiple departmental collaborations as we employ extensive data curation to disambiguate authors’ departmental affiliations for nearly 70,000 scientific papers.

We then compare citation metrics across the different definitions of collaboration and find that papers defined as being collaborative were more frequently cited than their non-collaborative counterparts, regardless of the definition of collaboration used.

We also share preliminary results from examining the relationship between co-citation and co-authorship by analyzing the extent to which similar fields (as determined by co-citation) are collaborating on works (as determined by co-authorship).

These preliminary results reveal trends of compartmentalization with respect to intra-institutional collaboration and show promise in being expanded.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1809.04093