Weekend reads: How to speed up peer review; the whipsaw of science news headlines; data-sharing stance sparks resignation request
The week at Retraction Watch featured more fallout from a citation-boosting episode, and a look at when animal research becomes unnecessary and cruel. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:
- A new study finds that “prior co-authorship relations have a large and significant influence on manuscript handling times, speeding up the editorial decision on average by 19 days.” (Scientometrics)
- “It often feels as though today’s health headlines are some scientific version of Mad Libs,” write our cofounders in STAT. “And now there’s a study that provides evidence for that hunch.”
- An editor for an American Psychological Association journal is asked to resign after he says he will start rejecting papers by authors who won’t share the underlying data. (Gautam Naik, Nature)
- Brian Wansink, the head of Cornell’s Food and Brand lab, is under renewed scrutiny amid allegations of data irregularities and duplicate publications. (Chris Chambers & Pete Etchells, The Guardian) See our previous coverage here.
- What happens to rejected manuscripts? “Only 10% of the rejected manuscripts were eventually published in a journal that was indexed in the Web of Science, although most of the rejected manuscripts were published elsewhere,” according to a new study of one journal. The results, say the authors, suggest “that peer review could contribute to increasing the quality even of rejected manuscripts.” (Scientometrics)
- Does earth science need its own PubPeer? asks Gavin Schmidt. (RealClimate)
- “It’s easy to forget – or never consider – this naïve perspective once fraud becomes uncontested.” Alexa Tullett provides more of the harrowing backstory behind a recent retraction. (via Rolf Zwaan)
- “[A]uthors infringe copyright most of the time not because they are not allowed to self-archive, but because they use the wrong version, which might imply their lack of understanding of copyright policies and/or complexity and diversity of policies.” A new paper in Scientometrics examines how well researchers comply with copyright laws when using ResearchGate. (sub req’d)
- U.S. senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) reach across the aisle to co-author a paper in a medical journal. Warren got to be corresponding author.
- Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives introduce the Scientific Integrity Act to support the “open exchange of data and findings.” (Kerry Grens, The Scientist)
- “These actions are heinous and should be fully investigated and prosecuted.” A reporter who was once fired from The Intercept for faking quotes and sources is arrested for making bomb threats.
- “Garfield spoke out against the use of the impact factor as a shorthand way to rank publications, researchers, or institutions.” The Institute For Scientific Information’s founder dies, aged 91. (The Scientist)
- “Replication is a crucial part of science, but ‘auto-replications’ put researchers under great pressure to find a certain result.” (Neuroskeptic, Discover)
- “It is possible that a real yawn is necessary to stimulate the observer tortoise.” This study may seem banal, but it heralds uncertainty about the reproducibility of yawning research, says Daniel Engber. (Slate)
- “Does single blind peer review hinder newcomers?” asks a new study. (Scientometrics)
- In the current atmosphere of fake science news and predatory journals, Asbjørn Jokstad discusses how a new journal can launch responsibly. (Clinical and Experimental Dental Research)
- “If [a finding] is true, but it’s only true with one cell line, and it has to be in a Boston zip code, and the Red Sox won the night before, it may be true, but it’s not very robust.” Notable quotes from this year’s AAAS meeting. (Tracy Vence, The Scientist)
- Given the incentive structures some researchers have to work with, does the choice to publish in predatory journals actually make sense? asks David Crotty (The Scholarly Kitchen)
- Discussions of misconduct in the STAP stem cell case happened on Twitter before they happened in newspapers, according to a new study. (Journal of Internet Medial Research)
- In response to feedback, Chemistry of Materials clarifies and simplifies its policy on accepting manuscripts that have been published on preprint servers.
- Journal clubs aren’t just for labs and conference rooms anymore: See how they flourish in the virtual realm. (American Journal of Kidney Diseases, sub req’d)
- Peer reviewers are difficult to find, often fail to deliver reviews on time, and their reports are not always helpful. These systematic problems are sorely in need of solutions, say Michael E. Rose & Willem H. Boshoff. (The Conversation)
- Neuroscientist Niko Kriegeskorte conducts all of his peer review in the open, in hopes of improving scientific evaluation. (Anna Vlasits, Wired)
- Dhaka University fires two professors for long term absences, but demotes a third for plagiarism. (The Daily Star)
- The article processing charge market “is currently complex, with variable pricing, discounts, and other additional charges contributing to institutional costs,” according to a new paper.
- Text mining “can add checks and balances that promote responsible research practices and can provide significant benefits for the biomedical research enterprise,” says Halil Kilicoglu in a new preprint. (bioRxiv)
- On average, these systematic reviews took 67 weeks to complete. (BMJ Open)
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