Category: Analysis

Why does reform of scientific communication seem so difficult and slow?

The world faces global problems for which science is needed as part of the solution. Yet the scientific communication system is not nearly as quick and open as necessary for efficient worldwide collaboration. The powers that are in a position to reform the system are too timid. Will crises like COVID-19 shake them awake? Read More →

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak highlights serious deficiencies in scholarly communication [Originally published in the LSE Impact blog in March/2020]

As research and government responses to the COVID-19 outbreak escalate in the face of a global public health crisis, Vincent Larivière, Fei Shu and Cassidy R. Sugimoto reflect on efforts to make research on this subject more widely available. Arguing that a narrow focus on research published in high ranking journals predominantly in English has impeded research efforts, they suggest that the renewed emphasis on carrying out open research on the virus presents an opportunity to reassess how research and scholarly communication systems serve the public good. Read More →

What do researchers think about their cultural work environment?

Policies, incentives, evaluation processes, leadership approaches… are they undermining scientific research? A quantitative online survey of more than 4,200 researchers conducted by the Wellcome Trust foundation of the United Kingdom seems to show clear evidence that there are widespread problems in the research culture. Those who finance, publish, evaluate or conduct research can now use this evidence as a starting point to implement solutions. However, are these human management problems with scientific research staff different from other fields of activity, such as work or sports? 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 →

CRediT Check – Should we welcome tools to differentiate the contributions made to academic papers? [Originally published in LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog in January/2020]

Elsevier is the latest in a lengthening list of publishers to announce their adoption for 1,200 journals of the CASRAI Contributor Role Taxonomy (CRediT). Authors of papers in these journals will be required to define their contributions in relation to a predefined taxonomy of 14 roles. In this post, Elizabeth Gadd weighs the pros and cons of defining contributorship in a more prescriptive fashion and asks whether there is a risk of incentivising new kinds of competitive behaviour and forms of evaluation that doesn’t benefit researchers. Read More →

Peer review is not just quality control, it is part of the social infrastructure of research [Originally published in LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog in June/2019]

The purpose of peer review is often portrayed as being a simple ‘objective’ test of the soundness or quality of a research paper. However, it also performs other functions primarily through linking and developing relationships between networks of researchers. In this post, Flaminio Squazzoni explores these interconnections and argues that to understand peer review as simply an exercise in quality control is to be blind to the historical, political and social dimensions of peer review. Read More →

Working to the rule – How bibliometric targets distorted Italian research [Originally published in LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog in November/2019]

As Goodhart’s law states: “when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure”. Using bibliometrics to measure and assess researchers has become increasingly common, but does implementing these policies therefore devalue the metrics they are based on? In this post Alberto Baccini, Giuseppe De Nicolao and Eugenio Petrovich, present evidence from a study of Italian researchers revealing how the introduction of bibliometric targets into the Italian academy has changed the way Italian academics cite and use the work of their colleagues. 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 →

Google Scholar, Web of Science or Scopus, which gives us better indexing coverage?

Recent analysis of the indexing coverage of the Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus databases shows that higher values do not always mean higher quality or better indexing, as the inclusion of more lower-quality or lower-impact documents may reflect in other aspects of the analysis and, depending on the type of assessment, it should be necessary to eliminate certain types of documents from the citation count. Read More →

Transparency: What Can One Learn from a Trove of Invoices? [Originally published in the Scholarly Kitchen blog in November/2019]

A new dataset from the Gates Foundation offers insights into author choices and APC pricing. Read More →

Accelerating scholarly communication via preprints

There are more than 60 preprint servers worldwide. It seems to be a trend, but the model still has problems and unresolved issues, both in terms of digital preservation and financing and collaboration of its technological solutions. It would be important for funding agencies to find out how to support these proposals. Read More →

How to write an academic review? [Originally published in DADOS’ blog in July/2019]

The purpose of this post is to outline what a reviewer should consider before writing an assessment. In it, we discuss issues such as the importance of writing reviews, the types of possible reviews, what to do when detecting a conflict of interest, etc. Read More →

Journal Indexing: Core standards and why they matter [Originally published in LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog in August/2019]

The ways in which journals are indexed online is essential to how they can be searched for and found. Inclusion in certain indexes is also closely linked to quality assessment, with research funders often requiring their grantees to publish in outlets listed in certain indexes. In this post Danielle Padula explains the importance of good journal indexing and how journals that apply key standards can increase the reach and impact of their publications. Read More →

Open Science and the new research communication modus operandi – Part II

The adopting process of open science modus operandi involves all phases, actors, and political and institutional research instances. In research projects, openness is organized and pervasive throughout the entire research cycle. This post provides an overview of the openness process, content, and research outcomes in light of the SciELO Program’s priority lines of action. It is divided into two parts. See Part I here. Read More →

Open Science and the new research communication modus operandi – Part I

The adopting process of open science modus operandi involves all phases, actors, and political and institutional research instances. In research projects, openness is organized and pervasive throughout the entire research cycle. This post provides an overview of the openness process, content, and research outcomes in light of the SciELO Program’s priority lines of action. It is divided into two parts. See Part II here. Read More →