The study of science itself is a growing field of research. Also known as meta-science or the science of science, it involves studying the processes and decisions that shape the evolution of scientific research. This collection of articles highlights the breadth of meta-research with articles on topics as diverse as gender bias in peer review, statistical power in clinical trials and the readability of the scientific literature.
Accelerating Scholarly Communication: The Transformative Role of Preprints
Study explores the place of preprints in the research lifecycle from the points of view of researchers, research performing organisations, research funding organisations and preprint servers/service providers.
Citizen Science and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Data from conventional sources cannot fully measure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Here the authors present a roadmap describing how citizen-science data can integrate traditional data and make a significant contribution in support of the SDGs agenda.
Identifying Publications in Questionable Journals in the Context of Performance-based Research Funding
Study finds that the number of publications in open access journals rises every year, while the number of publications in questionable journals decreases from 2012 onwards. Both early career and more senior researchers publish in questionable journals.
Data Sharing at Scale: A Heuristic for Affirming Data Cultures
Addressing the most pressing contemporary social, environmental, and technological challenges will require integrating insights and sharing data across disciplines, geographies, and cultures. Strengthening international data sharing networks will not only demand advancing technical, legal, and logistical infrastructure for publishing data in open, accessible formats; it will also require recognizing, respecting, and learning to work across diverse data cultures. This essay introduces a heuristic for pursuing richer characterizations of the “data cultures” at play in international, interdisciplinary data sharing.
Worldwide Inequality in Access to Full Text Scientific Articles: the Example of Ophthalmology
The problem of access to medical information, particularly in low-income countries, has been under discussion for many years. Paywalls still limit access to approximately 75% of scholarly documents. This study compares the accessibility of recent full text articles in the field of ophthalmology in 27 established institutions located worldwide.
'Is the library open?': Correlating unaffiliated access to academic libraries with open access support
In the context of a growing international focus on open access publishing options and mandates, this paper explores the extent to which the ideals of ‘openness’ are also being applied to physical knowledge resources and research spaces.
Discussion Paper: New Indicators for Open Science and Open Innovation
Established indicators for research and innovation processes do not sufficiently capture the nuances of open science and open innovation. As a result, their opportunities and risks often remain obscure. A new discussion paper therefore makes proposals for the expansion of existing indicators and the development of new ones.
Based on the data collected for the 2019 Big Deals Survey Report, this publication aims to deliver additional transparency of the dynamics of the scholarly publishing market by providing insights and indicators on the costs, publication volumes and timelines of Big Deal contracts.
Dissecting Racial Bias in an Algorithm Used to Manage the Health of Populations
The U.S. health care system uses commercial algorithms to guide health decisions. Obermeyer et al. find evidence of racial bias in one widely used algorithm, such that Black patients assigned the same level of risk by the algorithm are sicker than White patients (see the Perspective by Benjamin). The authors estimated that this racial bias reduces the number of Black patients identified for extra care by more than half.
The State of Open Data 2019 report is the fourth in the series and includes survey results and a collection of articles from global industry experts.It is now the longest running longitudinal study on the subject, which was created in 2016 to examine attitudes and experiences of researchers working with open data - sharing it, reusing it, and redistributing it. This year's survey received a record number of survey participants with around 8,500 responses from the research community. While most trends are encouraging around the adoption and acceptance of open data, the research community is now demanding more enforcement of the mandates that have been adopted by many governments, funders, publishers and institutions around the world.The majority of researchers want funding withheld and penalties for a lack of data sharing.
Engaging Researchers with Data Management: The Cookbook
Effective Research Data Management (RDM) is a key component of research integrity and reproducible research, and its importance is increasingly emphasised by funding bodies, governments, and research institutions around the world. However, many researchers are unfamiliar with RDM best practices, and research support staff are faced with the difficult task of delivering support to researchers across different disciplines and career stages. What strategies can institutions use to solve these problems? Engaging Researchers with Data Management is an invaluable collection of 24 case studies, drawn from institutions across the globe, that demonstrate clearly and practically how to engage the research community with RDM.
Associations Between Industry Involvement and Study Characteristics at the Time of Trial Registration in Biomedical Research
Study investigates whether industry involvement in biomedical research affects trial design. A reduced use of active controls (such as alternate treatment or standard care) was found in trials with industry involvement, which can have the side effect of making results look more favourable than they actually are.
Economic Sanctions and Academia: Overlooked Impact and Long-term Consequences
Sanctions place "invisible barriers" for research by limiting access to necessary resources and curtailing their effective use. This paper presents a national survey of Sudanese academics focused on the impact of 20 years of economic sanctions. It identifies key areas that have been impacted by international sanctions, and highlights how the impact on academia is likely to persist long after they are formally lifted.
Assessing the Impact of a Research Funder's Recommendation to Consider Core Outcome Sets
Background Core outcome sets (COS) have the potential to reduce waste in research by improving the consistency of outcomes measured in trials of the same health condition. However, this reduction in waste will only be realised through the uptake of COS by clinical trialists. Without uptake, the continued development of COS that are not implemented may add to waste in research. Funders of clinical trials have the potential to have an impact on COS uptake by recommending their use to those applying for funding. The aim of our study was to assess the extent to which applicants followed the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) programme's recommendation to search for a COS to include in their clinical trial. Methods and findings We examined the outcomes section and detailed project descriptions of all 95 researcher-led primary research applications submitted to the NIHR HTA between January 2012, when the recommendation to search for a COS was included in the guidance for applicants, and December 2015 for evidence that a search for a COS had taken place and rationale for outcome choice in the absence of COS. A survey of applicants was conducted to further explore their use of COS and choice of outcomes with a response rate of 49%. Nine out of 95 applicants (10%) stated in their application that they had searched the COMET (Core Outcome Measures for Effectiveness Trials) Initiative database for a COS and another nine referred to searching for a COS using another method, e.g. a review of the literature. Of the 77 (81%) applicants that did not mention COMET or COS in their application, eight stated in the survey that they had searched the COMET database and ten carried out a search using another method. Some applicants who did not search for a COS gave reasons for their choice of outcomes including taking advice from patients and the public and choosing outcomes used in previous trials. Conclusion A funding body can have an impact on COS uptake by encouraging trialists to search for a COS. Funders could take further steps by putting processes in place to prompt applicants to be explicit about searching for COS in their application and notifying the funding board if a search has not taken place. The sources of information used by trialists to make decisions about outcomes in the absence of COS may suggest methods of dissemination for COS.
Scientific Output Scales with Resources. A Comparison of US and European Universities
A recent study finds a strong correlation between university revenues and their volume of publications and (field-normalized) citations. These results demonstrate empirically that international rankings are by and large richness measures and, therefore, can be interpreted only by introducing a measure of resources.
Regional, Institutional, and Departmental Factors Associated with Gender Diversity Among BS-level Chemical and Electrical Engineering Graduates
Engineering remains the least gender diverse of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Chemical engineering (ChE) and electrical engineering (EE) are exemplars of relatively high and low gender diversity, respectively. Here, we investigate departmental, institutional, and regional factors associated with gender diversity among BS graduates within the US, 2010-2016. For both fields, gender diversity was significantly higher at private institutions (p < 1x10-6) and at historically black institutions (p < 1x10-5). No significant association was observed with gender diversity among tenure-track faculty, PhD-granting status, and variations in departmental name beyond the standard "chemical engineering" or "electrical engineering". Gender diversity among EE graduates was significantly decreased (p = 8x10-5) when a distinct degree in computer engineering was available; no such association was observed between ChE gender diversity and the presence of biology-associated degrees. States with a highly gender diverse ChE workforce had a significantly higher degree of gender diversity among BS graduates (p = 3x10-5), but a significant association was not observed for EE. State variation in funding of support services for K-12 pupils significantly impacted gender diversity of graduates in both fields (p < 1x10-3), particularly in regards to instructional staff support (p < 5x10-4). Nationwide, gender diversity could not be concluded to be either significantly increasing or significantly decreasing for either field.
The Limitations to Our Understanding of Peer Review
Peer review is embedded in the core of our scholarly knowledge generation systems, conferring legitimacy on research while distributing academic capital and prestige on individuals. Despite its critical importance, it curiously remains poorly understood in a number of dimensions.
A Guide to Applying the Good Publication Practice 3 Guidelines in the Asia-Pacific Region
Numerous recommendations and guidelines aim to improve the quality, timeliness and transparency of medical publications. However, these guidelines use ambiguous language that can be challenging to interpret, particularly for speakers of English as a second language. Cultural expectations within the Asia-Pacific region raise additional challenges and several studies have suggested that awareness and application of ethical publication practices in the Asia-Pacific region is relatively low compared with other regions. However, guidance on applying ethical publication practice guidelines in the Asia-Pacific region is lacking. This commentary aims to improve publication practices in the Asia-Pacific region by providing guidance on applying the 10 principles of the Good Publication Practice 3 (GPP3) guidelines and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) criteria for authorship. Recommendations are provided for encore presentations, applying the ICMJE authorship criteria in the context of regional cultural expectations, and the role of study sponsors and professional medical writers. Ongoing barriers to compliance with guidelines are also highlighted, and additional guidance is provided to support authors submitting manuscripts for publication. The roles of regional journals, regulatory authorities and professional bodies in improving practices are also discussed.
The Future of OA: A Large-scale Analysis Projecting Open Access Publication and Readership
This study analyses OA papers over time. Given existing trends, the authors estimate that by 2025, the declining relevance of closed access articles is likely to change the landscape of scholarly communication in the years to come.
New Report Scopes the Landscape of Future Research Assessment
A new report draws on contributions from more than 3,700 researchers to look at the current research landscape in the UK, including systems of research assessment, and to look ahead at how it may change over the next five to ten years.