Author: Lilian Nassi-calò

Editors opine on editorial policy and aspects of peer review

Peer review varies widely between journals and disciplines. A study recently published in eLife aimed to assess the posture of journal editors from five disciplines on their way of conducting peer review. The results suggest that peer review remains largely a closed practice, with some challenges from an ethical point of view. Read More →

How effective are funding mandate for open access?

Plan S, launched in Europe late 2018 to accelerate the transition to open access starting in January 2020, imposes open access mandates to all publicly funded research. But would such mandates really be effective in promoting open access? A study showed that the results vary greatly among disciplines and funders. However, between the gold route and the green route, two-thirds of the articles are, in fact, available for reading. Read More →

The path to reproducibility tests is through Registered Reports

The need to reproduce research results for the sake of science transparency and credibility goes through numerous challenges. An article published in Nature indicates that, in order to obtain better results from reproducibility tests, it is important to establish protocols in agreement with the authors of the original study and to align expectations. Registered Reports, submitted to peer review before the experimental stage of the study, present themselves as a promising solution for successful reproducibility tests. Read More →

Posting preprints before peer review is associated with increased visibility and citation of published articles

The communication of research results through preprints has been increasing significantly, as by the increasing number of manuscripts deposited on bioRxiv, the preprint server for biology and life sciences. However, only a small fraction of the research papers indexed in PubMed started as preprints in bioRxiv. But what would undecided authors about preprints say if they knew that articles that have associated preprints have a 49% higher Altmetric index and 36% more citations? This is what shows a recent study published in eLife. Read More →

A look at peer review of grant proposals

The scholarly peer review tracking platform Publons has launched the Grant Review in Focus on project assessment and identification for funding. Four thousand and seven hundred researchers were interviewed as well as data extracted from Web of Science. Read More →

Promoting and accelerating research data sharing

The State of Open Data 2018 report surveyed researchers from all continents on the motives, habits, knowledge, and practices of data sharing. The results, compared to the 2016 and 2017 reports, provide relevant information on the evolution of open research data around the world as well as how to strengthen this practice in academia so that it achieves the expected results. Read More →

Potential advantages and disadvantages in the publication of reviews

Publishing peer reviews is a growing trend in scholarly communication, for the sake of transparency and as a practice associated to open science. There are, however, advantages and disadvantages that should be considered by journal editors when adopting this peer review modality. Read More →

Open peer review: Publishing peer review reports influences referee behavior?

A pilot study was conducted with five Elsevier journals in different areas of knowledge on the effects of publishing peer review reports of 9,220 articles submitted between 2010 and 2017. The main findings of the study suggest that the publication of reviews does not influence or compromise the peer review work. The authors were unable to detect any significant effect on the readiness to perform the evaluation, content and outcome of the recommendations, nor on the time taken to perform the evaluation. However, only 8.1% of the referees agreed to disclose their identity as authors of the review reports. Read More →

eLife tests out an innovative approach in peer review

The journal eLife is conducting an innovative experiment by accepting all articles sent to peer review after initial screening. To test the feasibility of an even more participative peer review process, authors will be able to control the decision whether to publish (or not) their articles and how they will respond to reviewers’ comments. By breaking with the paradigms of the author-editor-reviewer relationship, eLife aims to promote a constructive dialogue between the parties and reduce the burden of the journals’ prestige in research evaluation. Read More →

Authorship criteria preserve scholarly communication integrity

The increasing demand for transparency and openness in research and its communication aims to increase the reliability and reproducibility of published results. The attribution of authorship, due to its relevance in the academic processes of evaluation and reward, requires commitment, transparency and clearly defined rules. A group of researchers comprised of scholars, research institutions, funding agencies, publishers and scientific societies developed a taxonomy with 14 categories to classify authors’ contributions. Linking the categories of this taxonomy to the author’s persistent digital identifier (ORCID) and article metadata allows to track authors’ contributions through their publications and their careers. Read More →

Radiography of open access academic publishing and its bibliometric indicators

How does open access publishing evolves over time? Is it true that open access papers get more citations? Is open access increasing due to institutional or government mandates or at the initiative of authors themselves? To answer these and other questions, the US National Science Foundation commissioned Science-Metrix a detailed study on open access academic publishing, considering the gold route and the green route, the influence of the areas and the behavior of the research leading countries over the last decade. Here are the results. Read More →

The (pre) history of biology preprints

Some terms used currently with certain familiarity give us the false impression of having been coined in the light of the latest technology and inextricably linked to the Internet. Preprints repository is one such example. It seems impossible to devise a way of storing preliminary versions of scientific papers in a non-virtual space, let alone sharing them with as many stakeholders as possible otherwise than electronically. For that is exactly what happened in the unlikely year of 1961, when the NIH began circulating printed biology preprints to a list of subscribers in an experiment called the Information Exchange Groups. Read More →

Peer review: journal recommendation to reviewers

Despite undergoing transformations to become more sustainable, fast, and efficient, peer review is the process that contributes to increasing the quality and reliability of scholarly communication. Few journals, however, provide their reviewers with detailed instructions on how to carry out this assessment in accordance with their editorial policy, which reduces the effectiveness and efficiency of the process. Read More →

The editors’ role on peer review: how to identify bad referees

A theoretical peer-review model assesses the effects of referees’ unethical conduct on approving and rejecting articles and how journal editors can mitigate this behavior. What is at stake is the reliability, transparency and efficiency of pre-publication peer review. Read More →

The myopia of bibliometric indicators

The use of bibliometric indicators in science evaluation is a ubiquitous practice, despite the fact that there is no unequivocal relationship between citations and scientific quality, impact or merit. A recent study showed that the indiscriminate use of these indicators may hinder the publication of innovative research results, delaying the development of science. Read More →