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Q&A Linda Beaumont: Journals should take action against toxic peer reviews – Nature Index (Gemma Conroy | August 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 8, 2019
 

Keep it constructive.

Learning to accept criticism is an important skill for researchers navigating the peer-review process. But what happens when the feedback is unhelpful, rude or downright toxic?

Linda Beaumont, an ecologist at Macquarie University in Australia, is no stranger to a harsh review.

“One reviewer of a submission bluntly wrote, ‘I can’t believe the authors used this approach. This paper shouldn’t be published,’” says Beaumont. “Two sentences. I was gobsmacked.”

But when one of her PhD students received a similarly cutting review, Beaumont knew it was time to speak out.

In August 2019, she published a comment in Nature calling for clear ethical guidelines for peer-reviewers. She adds that editors have a role to play in addressing damaging feedback before it reaches the authors.

Nature Index spoke to Beaumont about how peer reviewers can keep their feedback constructive, and how authors should respond when they don’t.

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Technological Support for Peer Review Innovations – Scholarly Kitchen (Jessica Polka | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on August 24, 2019
 

The design of critical infrastructure determines what its users can do, and when. For example, the New York City subway system carries 1.7 billion passengers annually, shapes centers of residential and commercial activity, and enables a vibrant culture with its late night service.

Incredibly, it does this with a signaling system that predates World War II that forces trains to be spaced far apart from one another, limiting capacity and causing delays. Upgrading the signaling system is necessary to meet current demands, but it is estimated to cost tens of billions of dollars and would require closing stations on nights and weekends, harming New Yorkers who depend on these services. Thus, the radical (but ultimately necessary) upgrade has been delayed in favor of putting out more urgent fires, for example track damage caused by hurricane Sandy.

Similarly, journal management systems and publishing platforms act as essential infrastructure for scholarly communication. While more nimble than a metropolitan transport network, they nevertheless face challenges in balancing needs for both urgent fixes and aspirational developments. Over the long term, their supported features can shape the nature of scholarly communication, restricting or inspiring innovation.

Peer review innovation

Interest is mounting in modernizing peer review. In just the last year, a variety of new platforms and initiatives have launched: BioMed Central’s In Review, a Wiley, ScholarOne, and Publons collaboration, and independent peer review services linked from both Europe PMC (see the “External Links” tab of these results) and bioRxiv (see the section on “Preprint discussion sites” in this example).

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Fudged research results erode people’s trust in experts – The Conversation (Gavin Moodie | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on August 11, 2019
 

Reports of research misconduct have been prominent recently and probably reflect wider problems of relying on dated integrity protections.

The recent reports are from Retraction Watch, which is a blog that reports on the withdrawal of articles by academic journals. The site’s database reports that journals have withdrawn a total of 247 papers with an Australian author going back to the 1980s.

This compares with 324 papers withdrawn with Canadian authors, 582 from the UK and 24 from New Zealand. Australian retractions are 1.2% of all retractions reported on the site, a fraction of Australia’s 4% share of all research publications.

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Knowledge and motivations of researchers publishing in presumed predatory journals: a survey (Papers: Kelly D Cobey, et al | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 27, 2019
 

Abstract
Objectives
To develop effective interventions to prevent publishing in presumed predatory journals (ie, journals that display deceptive characteristics, markers or data that cannot be verified), it is helpful to understand the motivations and experiences of those who have published in these journals.

Design
An online survey delivered to two sets of corresponding authors containing demographic information, and questions about researchers’ perceptions of publishing in the presumed predatory journal, type of article processing fees paid and the quality of peer review received. The survey also asked six open-ended items about researchers’ motivations and experiences.

Participants
Using Beall’s lists, we identified two groups of individuals who had published empirical articles in biomedical journals that were presumed to be predatory.

Results
Eighty-two authors partially responded (~14% response rate (11.4%[44/386] from the initial sample, 19.3%[38/197] from second sample) to our survey. The top three countries represented were India (n=21, 25.9%), USA (n=17, 21.0%) and Ethiopia (n=5, 6.2%). Three participants (3.9%) thought the journal they published in was predatory at the time of article submission. The majority of participants first encountered the journal via an email invitation to submit an article (n=32, 41.0%), or through an online search to find a journal with relevant scope (n=22, 28.2%). Most participants indicated their study received peer review (n=65, 83.3%) and that this was helpful and substantive (n=51, 79.7%). More than a third (n=32, 45.1%) indicated they did not pay fees to publish.

Conclusions
This work provides some evidence to inform policy to prevent future research from being published in predatory journals. Our research suggests that common views about predatory journals (eg, no peer review) may not always be true, and that a grey zone between legitimate and presumed predatory journals exists. These results are based on self-reports and may be biased thus limiting their interpretation.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial

Cobey KD, Grudniewicz A, Lalu MM, et al Knowledge and motivations of researchers publishing in presumed predatory journals: a survey. BMJ Open 2019;9:e026516. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-026516
Publisher (Open Access): https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/3/e026516

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