Last week today

Last week was peer review week which we didn’t pay attention to in any way. Our sister blog, however, did. They wrote a post about peer review form the student perspective and why it is important for them. Peer review week is sort of like Open Access week at the end of October each year. The point is to emphasize the central role peer review plays in scientific communication, shine light on the work reserchers (reviewers) and editors at journals do, share best practice and even highlight the latest innovation in peer review; it has been under a lot of critique. Nevertheless, peer review is an important part of maintaining scientific quality.

Althouh we didn’t celebrate the week many others did, among others the blog Impact of Social Science from London School of Economics and Political Science. They wrote a number of posts on the topic which are linked from here. Maybe you find one or two or all interesting to read.

Peer review processes risk stifling creativity and limiting opportunities for game-changing scientific discoveries

Amidst criticism of the peer review process, the valuable contributions of reviewers should be defended

What are researchers’ expectations and experiences of the peer review process? Findings from recent research

Open peer review: bringing transparency, accountability, and inclusivity to the peer review process

Addressing ethical issues in peer review – new guidelines available from COPE

We have the technology to save peer review – now it is up to our communities to implement it

Pieta Eklund

Think. Check. Submit.

Are you in the process of choosing a journal but unsure which to pick? Think.Check.Sumbit is a page that might help you. The first step of selecting a journal is to think about your options. Then you ask a number of question to the journal and when you have answered yes to all or most of the question you can submit your article to the journal. The question of where the articles are indexed is an important one. They should be indexed in a database relevant for your subject area because then your colleagues are able to access the articles you have written.

There are other questions to ask as well when controlling a journal. Your research funder might demand open access. In that case it is important to control how the funder wants the article to be openly accessible. Is it enough for it to be deposited in the publication database of the university (DiVA in our case)? Or does it have to be an open access journal? How quickly does the article need to be made available? What about impact? Does the journal claim to have impact? Is the impact factor provided by Web of Science or by someone else? You should know that the only valid impact factor is provided by Web of Science.

When you are uncertain contact us at the library, biblioteket(at)hb.se. We are here to help you.

Text: Pieta

German universities boycott Elsevier

Since January 1st over 60 German universities and research institutionsare boycotting Elsevier. This means that German libraries do not have fulltext access to scientific journals published by Elsevier. Background is that Elsevier’s  businessmodells are not transparent nor do they provide open access to content in the extent requored by the univeristies and research institutions. Pricing is also an issue. The aim is to relieve the pressure on acquistion budgets and at improving access to scientific literature in a broad and sustainable way according to the statement made by Göttingen University – one of the participants in this boycott.

Libraries are aware of the difficult situation facing researchers, teachers and students. However, the libraries mean they are not going to give in because they have a greated possibility to influence the agreement together. Researchers should contact the library to get access to articles they need. Libraries are prepared to get them in other ways and at no cost to the reseachers.

According to Science negotiations will start in the begining of the year.

Pieta Eklund

 

Free access to research information in a public health emergency

In September 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) set global norms for sharing research data and results when there’s a public health emergency arising, now the norms are being used for the first time.

share-informationIt was after the Ebola outbreak in several countries in West African as it became clear that the current methods of data sharing had major flaws. In order to enhance the data sharing, WHO decided to develop global guidelines that could be used when a major public health threat occurred in the future. The guidelines states that research data and research results should be made public as quickly as possible in order to facilitate further research in the subject. In its guidelines WHO writes, among other things:

Every researcher that engages in generation of information related to a public health emergency or acute public health event with the potential to progress to an emergency has the fundamental moral obligation to share preliminary results once they are adequately quality controlled for release. The onus is on the researcher, and the funder supporting the work, to disseminate information through pre-publication mechanisms, unless publication can occur immediately using post-publication peer review processes.

WHO is also very clear that they want to see a paradigm shift in the approach to sharing information in connection with emergencies. They want to leave the current approach, in which the magazine’s publishing timelines control when the information can be disseminated. Instead, the WHO wants the information to be disseminated openly through what they call “modern fit-for-purpose pre-publication platforms”. They explicitly call researchers, journals and funders to commit to the paradigm shift – to make it happen.

With the Zika virus spreading in South zikaAmerica WHO guidelines came into force for the first time earlier this month. On February 1, WHO declared that there was a so-called Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This led to that the guidelines came into force, and the WHO has opened Zika Open, a portal where research data and research results of the Zika virus are made available to the public. Several major journal publishers have created portals to make research on the Zika virus published in their journals available openly.

Hopefully, sharing research results and data will lead to more knowledge about the Zika virus, and maybe even a way to treat it. Couldn’t we think of this as “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”?

Text: Katharina Nordling
Picture: Colourbox