10 Jul 2007

Journalology roundup #9

Mentors of tomorrow. "Everyone knows bad peer review when they come across it — but too few are nurturing good referees".

Physicians and researchers have different needs. "Alex Williamson is publishing director at the BMJ Group, the publishing arm of the British Medical Association (BMA). We ask her about the role of journals in clinical medicine". A pity to see the BMJ Group being ambivalent about open access, especially as the BMJ is a good example of a high-profile medical journal publishing open access research.

Is physics the new biomedicine? "A new set of physics and maths journals are planned for BioMed Central. Siân Harris finds out why this open-access publisher is branching out from biomedical sciences". All about the launch of Chemistry Central and PhysMath Central.

Researcher accused of breaching research ethics faces GMC. "A former senior lecturer at the UK Institute of Psychiatry repeatedly breached research ethics guidelines and lied to study sponsors while building an international reputation as a leading researcher, according to charges laid by the General Medical Council. The GMC's fitness to practise committee heard that Tonmoy Sharma, who left the Institute of Psychiatry as a clinical senior lecturer in 2001, falsely claimed to have sought and received approval from ethics committees for several studies. He is also accused of recruiting patients by telephone without informing their carers; offering financial inducements to research subjects; breaching agreed research protocols; lying in a job application; posing as a professor; and in one case threatening a patient with withdrawal of treatment if she left a study".

PLoS journal retracts phylogenetics paper. "Computational Biology journal pulls paper about estimating the accuracy of phylogenetic trees, in what colleagues deem an exemplary process".

New site pits 'published' vs. 'posted'. "Nature Precedings raises questions over the value of sharing findings before submitting to peer review".

Search skills needed for new Web world. "Consumers now regularly go to the Web to look for medical information or to gain from the experience of people with similar ailments. They also take that information to their doctors, who have to contend with this new found influence on their patient relationships (whether they actually appreciate it or not!). And now even doctors are using Web searches more, sometimes for fairly sophisticated diagnostic reasons. However, all of this makes several basic assumptions: that people basically know what they want, even if they don't know the details, and that they basically know how to go about getting it from the Web. Au contraire, at least according to a couple of recent articles in the online journal BMC Medicine. One points to a study of Swiss people -- generally considered a very literate and knowledgeable lot -- that concluded there is a "consistent and dramatic" lack of knowledge in the general public about medical matters. The other is about a project that examined the search skills of people trying to get medical information from the Web, and found them lacking".

Copyright and research: an academic publisher’s perspective. "As a publisher working on the legal and rights’ side of the business at present, but who used to be a Commissioning Editor responsible for research books in the Humanities, the author finds himself sympathetic to the needs of academic authors and keen to find ways of ensuring that their copyright interests are adequately protected"... "A full-scale tilt into unrestricted Open Access would be too big a shift. Someone has to pay, and it can be argued that the current mildly regulated framework which ‘publisher-controlled’ copyright represents does the job quite well: of keeping the economics in equilibrium". Peter Suber has commented.

Retrovirology editorial compares impact factors and H-factors.

Reviewing Reviewers. "This weekend I have been poring over statistics provided by a journal for which I do some editorial work. In addition to data related to how the journal is doing (impact factor, ranking among journals in related fields etc.), there are also lists of reviewers: who did reviews, how many each has done, and how long the reviews took. It's amazing to contemplate these lists, first of all because they are a testament to the huge amount of work reviewers do in the name of 'professional service'. I have done my share of complaining about reviews of my own manuscripts, so it's good to be reminded from time to time that, despite some unethical and rude reviewers, the system of peer review is an impressive thing in terms of its scope and time involved".

Do scientists really believe in open science? "I am writing this post as a collection of the current status and opinions of “Open Science”. The main reason being I have a new audience; I am working for the CARMEN e-Neuroscience project. This has exposed me, first hand, to a domain of the life-sciences to which data sharing and publicly exposing methodologies has not been readily adopted, largely it is claimed due to the size of the data in question and sensitive privacy issues".

Clinical trial results often overstate benefits of treatment. "Failings in the way that clinical trials are designed and presented may lead doctors to overstate the benefit of treatments, experts warned last week. The conference on clinical trials, organised by the James Lind Alliance and the Lancet and held at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, also heard that key groups of participants were often excluded from clinical studies and as a result were denied the benefits of evidence based medicine. Stephen Holgate, professor of immunopharmacology at Southampton University, said that children and elderly people were "especially neglected" in this area".

For free or for fee? Dilemma of small scientific journals. "Biomedical publishing is becoming increasingly dominated by multinational companies, advertising research articles at the international market, presenting them electronically through web-based services, and distributing them to readers-consumers. It seems that they will soon become the sole publishers for the majority of biomedical journals. In the past decade, however, we witnessed a quiet revolution in the whole structure of scientific communication, influenced by new technologies and initiatives such as Open Access, PubMedCentral, PLoS, and BioMedCentral. The Croatian Medical Journal (CMJ) has recently been approached by two major publishing companies and offered to become one of the journals in their group. The editorial decision was to join neither of the publishers".

Journal of Biology celebrates its fifth anniversary. Hidden away in a table in this editorial is the calculation of the 'unofficial impact factor' for J Biol for 2005 - 20.1. Not bad, if I say so myself...

Free is not open. The CMAJ congratulated its former editors for the launch of Open Medicine - and got the response that, thanks all the same, but you're not open access.

Free medical textbooks. The 'Flying Publisher' describes their project to publish free medical textbooks.

Biomedical Journals and Global Poverty: Is HINARI a Step Backwards? "Our experience in Peru with the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI), an initiative managed by the World Health Organization that helps promote access to scientific information by providing free (or low cost) online access to major science journals, is not as accessible as hoped for and, in fact, is getting worse".

No comments: