Category: Analysis

Bibliometrics: a new threat to zoological taxonomy?

One of the backbones of the life sciences, taxonomy —the science of biodiversity—suffers from multiples impediments, including the use of bibliometric indexes by organizations. These days such indexes play a big role in the scientific decisions. However, what for-profit companies, which own these bibliometric platforms, have to do with science? 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 →

JCR, Kafka, and MAI!

For the second time, the Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências was surprised to find out that about one quarter of the papers of an issue were gone missing from the Jornal Citation Reports platform, a problem that should come to the attention of the publishing and evaluation industry. Some objective ways to appraise the performance of specific volumes or areas of a journal are presented. Read More →

Notice to mariners – times have changed

Open access… and everything. Finally, what happened 20 years ago and felt like a utopia of copyright pirates is becoming irreversible, like a tsunami. Publishers and scientific information cannot ignore the theme of open access, so that they can compete and don’t stay out of this market. Things are changing and there’s no going back. Read More →

Bibliodiversity – What it is and why it is essential to creating situated knowledge [Originally published in the LSE Impact blog in December/2019]

Vibrant scholarly communities are sustained by publishing outlets that allow researchers to address diverse audiences. Whereas, attention is often focused on international publication, much of this work is supported by publications that address national and regional audiences in their own languages. In this post, Elea Giménez Toledo, Emanuel Kulczycki, Janne Pölönen and Gunnar Sivertsen explain the importance of bibliodiversity to sustaining knowledge ecosystems and argue that bibliodiversity is essential to ensuring that the transition to an open book future continues to support the creation of situated knowledge. Read More →

The re-use of qualitative data is an under-appreciated field for innovation and the creation of new knowledge in the social sciences [Originally published in the LSE Impact blog in June/2020]

The value and potential of data re-use and the associated methodology of qualitative secondary analysis (QSA) is often overlooked. Dr Anna Tarrant and Dr Kahryn Hughes propose, that as COVID-19 limits opportunities for qualitative research for the foreseeable future, now, more than ever the social sciences need to address the under-use of existing qualitative data. Read More →

SciELO Books and open access in epidemic times: More important than ever

The COVID-19 pandemic has spelled out the decisive role of open access (OA) to knowledge and scientific evidence. Globally, there is a temporary opening of collections of paid-for books and subscription journals to support overcoming the pandemic. SciELO Books permanently indexes, publishes and disseminates a collection of more than 700 books in OA, contributing to support public and professional policies, the expansion of the university, valuing the academic book, and the disciplines that make intensive use of the book. Read More →

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 →