Following our How to Peer Review series, BioMed Central’s Research Integrity Group has put together a quiz to test your knowledge on what can sometimes be a tricky task.
The quiz helps you navigate through some of the scenarios you might face when peer reviewing an article. For example, what to do when faced with a potential conflict of interest, and how to respond to an author contacting you personally.
When you accept the invitation to review a manuscript, are you truly confident in the advice you provide? Take the quiz to test yourself and maybe learn a bit more about how to be the best peer reviewer.
The results of a recent survey of 22,000 authors conducted by Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave Macmillan have found an increase in confidence in open access.
In the natural sciences (science, technology, medical or STM), 27% of respondents in this year’s survey said “I am concerned about perceptions of the quality of OA publications”, this is a significant decrease compared to the 40% who said this in the 2014 survey. This is an encouraging sign of the continued growth in confidence in the open access model.
The four main factors that authors considered when deciding where to publish were: reputation of the journal, relevance of journal content, quality of peer review and the journal’s impact factor. A full break down of the data gathered as part of the survey can be found here, and is further explained here.
In a blog post, Kam Arkinstall, Blogs Manager at BioMed Central, discussed the findings in the context of the quality of open access publications and the systems BioMed Central has put in place to ensure the integrity of its journals.
On July 20, the new open access policy of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) came into force. The policy contains five key provisions, which are designed to ensure openness by default, consistency across the IDRC’s research outputs, flexibility for their grantees, and scientific rigor.
“We know that open access (OA) articles tend to be more widely-read than subscription-based articles and that developing-country researchers rely more on OA journals than do those from developed countries,” said Naser Faruqui, Director of IDRC’s Technology and Innovation Program, in a blog post for BioMed Central.
“Most scholarly journals, whether OA or subscription, are peer reviewed and recent research shows that OA journals are approaching the same scientific impact and quality as subscription journals, particularly for those funded by article processing charges.”
The IDRC’s grant agreements will reflect the new policy, and require recipients to document their compliance in their final reports. Approval of subsequent grants will depend on compliance with policy. The organization has developed resources to support and educate their staff and grant recipients on the changes, including help in identifying high quality open access journals.
Stripes might not offer protection for animals living in groups, according to research published in Frontiers in Zoology. Humans playing a computer game captured striped targets more easily than uniform grey targets when multiple targets were present. This contradicts assumptions that stripes evolved to make it difficult to capture animals, such as zebra, moving in a group.
When targets were presented individually, horizontally striped targets were more easily captured than targets with vertical or diagonal stripes. Surprisingly, stripes served no benefit when multiple targets were presented at once, despite the prediction that stripes should be particularly effective in a group scenario. This could be due to how different stripe orientations interact with motion perception, where an incorrect reading of a target’s speed helps the predator to catch its prey.
In other news, research published in BMC Medicine found that male doctors have nearly two and half times increased odds of having medico-legal action taken against them than their female counterparts.
The medical profession, along with medical regulators, and medical educationalists, now need to work together to identify and understand the underlying causal factors resulting in a sex difference in the experience of medico-legal action.
One well drawn graph or diagram can speak volumes about the way an experiment was carried out, how the data were analyzed, or sample identity and size. A poorly thought-out figure on the other hand can confuse and mislead – and more fundamentally, can expose poor study design.
In a new editorial series “What is wrong with this picture?”, BMC Biology explores some common ways that figures can mislead or obscure information — including problems with axis scaling, color schemes, and statistical tests.
“From my own experience as a PhD researcher, I know it can be challenging to produce compelling figures, particularly in the face of ever more complex data generated in cutting-edge research,” said Emma Saxon, Assistant Editor at the journal, in her blog post about the new series.
“In this series, we suggest some specific solutions to the problems we present, which we hope will be particularly useful as a guide to early stage researchers.”
Earlier this year, Genome Biologypublished a thought provoking piece by Mick Watson from The Roslin Institute about what science should be vs. the way it is actually carried out.
Watson quotes a definition of open science as: the practice of making everything in the discovery process fully and openly available, creating transparency and driving further discovery by allowing others to build on existing work.
“When I read such definitions, I think ‘but isn’t that just science?’ Sadly not,” he says.
Watson goes on to point out that the things researchers and academics may strive towards, such as making research freely available, easy access to all raw data, and methods clearly laid out, are extras. He puzzles over how we’ve managed to create a society where closed science is the norm and open science is considered the revolutionary idea.
He then goes on to explain the six commonly accepted pillars of open science: open data, open access, open methodology, open source, open peer review, and open education, before concluding that open science is not a movement. With the changes in scientific publishing, it will be the future.
“If you walked through an English deer park in July you would probably hear the peaceful sounds of songbirds. But in late September, the air is filled with the deep, rasping groans of male deer calling in the build up to the frenzied mating period known as the rut.”
So says Benjamin Pitcher, co-author on research recently published inBMC Evolutionary Biology. The study found that fallow deer bucks listen to the calls of rival males and use the information to ‘size up’ their competition.
Dr Pitcher explains more in this guest blog, looking at how and why they groan, and revealing the fascinating finding that low-pitched groans are seen as more threatening.
BMC series Editor drop-in sessions in London and New York
The BMC-series journals are now running drop-in sessions for Editors in our London and New York offices. These take place on the first Thursday of each month in London and the first Thursday of every other month (six per year) in New York, and are for anyone who is located in either of these two cities or who happens to be in the area at the time and would like to come in and meet us.
We will try and ensure that you are able to meet the most appropriate person for your role, i.e. the in-house Editor or Executive Editor for your journal, but if this is not possible then another member of the team will be on hand to meet you and talk about your journal specifically or BioMed Central as a whole. Our office locations are here in London and here in New York.
It was great to meet our Editors during the first two sessions in July and August. For anyone wishing to come into the London office for a meeting, please make an appointment by contacting Paul Lambert, Editorial Board Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org. For New York please contact Christopher Morrey, Senior Editor, at email@example.com.
ver historia personal en: www.cerasale.com.ar [dado de baja por la Cancillería Argentina por temas políticos, propio de la censura que rige en nuestro medio]//
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