Poster 1: Identity Verification of Author Suggested Reviewers
Authors: Holly Koppel, Kelly Anderson – American Society of Civil Engineers
Background: Reviewer fraud is becoming a global issue in scholarly publishing. Recently the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) retracted a paper because the peer review process was compromised, calling into question the integrity of the paper. An author provided the name of a reviewer who was a real researcher, but provided a very similar, but incorrect email address. After investigation, it was determined the author had reviewed his own paper. In response, ASCE wanted to discern the frequency of editors using author suggested reviewers and whether the editors vetted the individuals.
Methods: Using SurveyMonkey, editors and associate editors were asked various questions regarding the use of author suggested reviewers including how frequently they used author suggested reviewers, any methods used to verify reviewer identity, and if editors felt the names were useful.
Results: ASCE surveyed 800 editors and associate editors, and received 357 responses (45% response rate). Of the 34 journals ASCE publishes, 15 require authors to submit names of potential reviewers, 16 request (not require) suggested reviewers. The data showed 86% of the respondents use author suggested reviewers frequently or sometimes. Most indicated that suggested reviewers were used only when needed, specifically in specialized niche fields where the pool of reviewers is small. The data also showed that 56% take steps to verify a reviewer’s identity, institution, expertise and affiliation (if any) with the author, using tools such Google Scholar and the journal’s database for reviewer history. Finally, 70% of respondents indicated that it is valuable to have author suggested reviewers; however, it was necessary to verify the reviewer’s affiliation and expertise through various sources to avoid reviewer fraud.
Conclusion: It is clear from the survey results that editors use and find useful author suggested reviewers. However, concerns about fraud require additional steps. As a result, ASCE removed the option for authors to supply an email address for suggested reviewers. Instead authors supply a reviewer’s name and institution, leaving the responsibility for finding and verifying a reviewer email on the handling editor. As reviewer misconduct becomes a larger problem in scholarly publishing, it is important to survey editors periodically to see where policies can be tweaked to avoid ethical issues.
Poster 2: Underrepresentation of Authors from Countries Belonging to WHO Mortality Strata B through E in Environmental Health Research
Author: Sandra Page-Cook, Journal of Health and Pollution
Background: Publications as first author, and/or publications in high impact journals are important factors to research career success. Researchers from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) are underrepresented in the international scientific literature. I hypothesize that this phenomena exists within the specialty of environmental health, and persists even when research relates specifically to the researchers home LMIC country.
Methods: I will examine relationship of country of institutional affiliation of first author to country of focus for all Research articles published in 2016 in the journals that appear in the Scimago Journal and Country Rank database with the following search terms: Subject Area = Environmental Science; Subject Category = Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis; All regions/countries; Type = Journals, Year = 2015 (the most recent). There are 102 journals included in the full list. Any journals that have a single country focus will be excluded. That is, only international journals will be included. Only articles that focus on a single country will be included. Articles will be delineated as focusing on a country that belongs to either WHO mortality strata A, or WHO mortality strata B through E (as a proxy for LMIC status).
Results: The ratio of first authors from an institution within the country of focus vs from another country will be compared between the two groups (WHO mortality strata A, vs WHO mortality strata B through E). Results will also be compared to Scimago journal rank.
Conclusion: The hypothesis will be proved or disproved. Any other relevant or interesting observations will be presented.
Poster 3: Interpreting Disparities and Understanding Variance in the Utilization of Plagiarism Detection Software: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Authors: Jason Roberts, Glenn Collins, Meg Weist, Christine Urso – Origin Editorial
Background: Across journal publishing, no uniform standards for the implementation and analysis of text similarity detection exist. Parameters to detect plagiarism (such as Similarity Index Percentage) or excessive text overlap are absent. The frequency of detection software deployment is unknown. The level of expertise required to interpret the results has not been studied (or proposed). Ultimately it may not be attainable (or desirable) to agree upon industry-wide standards, with many journals preferring to enact their own criteria. However, that does not mean there is no interest from amongst the editorial office community in ascertaining what other journals do. Our study aims to establish that a diverse range of practices exist due to a lack of practice consensus. It will also attempt to reveal how journals have established their existing practices and whether current protocols are fluid or applied rigidly.
Methods: An online-administered, cross-sectional, multi-center survey of two discrete clusters of journals will be undertaken, namely 30 rehabilitation journals, with a preponderance of medical clinicians as authors, and a small array (n=15) of physics journals. Though the primary intention of the study is not to compare the two study groups, we will nevertheless identify where practice similarities exist. The respondents from each journal, who will be blinded to the study authors, will answer a variety of questions on: their practices and how they were set; training received; arbitration practices and follow up activities when problems arise.
Results: Descriptive statistics will be used to determine the prevalence of protocols, behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge gaps and account for the implication of the data generated.
Conclusions: Our results will provide, albeit derived from a limited sample size, some evidence to inform our understanding of current office protocols. Such information may help guide editorial offices seeking best practices. The answers may also provide discussion points for future conversations surrounding the potential development of industry-wide standard procedures, if only in revealing many disparate operational philosophies. Finally, we intend to provoke further thought on what the lack of standardization means for authors such as levels of burdensomeness and the need for instruction on the issue.
Poster 4: The Role of an Editor in Primary Care Research
Author: Laura Cruz, University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
Background: Primary care research is essential to inform practice and policy decision-making; substantial administrative and technical support is needed to rapidly move research findings to peer-reviewed publication. A medical editor can help streamline the process to publication by assisting researchers with manuscript editing, manuscript revisions, and navigating journal submission policies and requirements. However, little is known about the importance of adding a medical editor to a primary care research team.
Methods: A prospective cohort study of primary care researchers was conducted at a large Midwestern university-based department of family medicine. A project management plan was developed to track the utilization of a medical editor by researchers to support manuscript publication and grant submissions. Utilization of a medical editor’s time and effort on various research deliverables (i.e., abstracts, manuscripts, posters, grants) were tracked over a 12-month period. The primary outcomes are quantitative and include time and effort spent per project.
Results: A total of 312.75 hours of a medical editor’s time were used to support the primary care research process during a 12-month period. 38 projects were submitted, presented, or accepted during this time.
Conclusions: Time spent per project suggests providing editorial support may allow primary care researchers to spend more time developing research and less time navigating the publication process.
Poster 5: The Role of Editors in Catering to Changing Author Requirements
Authors: Nikhil Thangiah, Aalap Trivedi, Dr. Anupama Kapadia – Crimson Interactive
Background: The need to get published is a priority for every author, and authors who speak English as their second language especially look to manuscript editors to help them get published. Recent studies and expert opinions have however noted some changes in author requirements from editors, such as an increasing need for editors to be detailed in their author communication and higher focus on making structural content changes. With such rising expectations from authors, it is imperative for editors to match these along with developing some coping mechanisms. This study aims to understand the editors’ viewpoints across several aspects.
Methods: We administered a survey among 133 experienced editors from different geographies to understand their perspective on changing author requirements. We received complete responses from 83 editors.
Results: Sixty-two editors (74.7%) agree that author requirements are constantly changing, and a similar number felt that authors look to editors to flag content-level discrepancies and educate them on language. Fifty-four editors (65%) reported that the Discussion & Conclusion section is where an author may require more intervention. Additionally, 75 editors (90.3%) felt the need to be more detailed in their author communication. Finally, 51 editors (61.4%) frequently adapt to changing author requirements and 9 (10.8%) felt that training on understanding author requirements would help, whereas the adaptation of editing style to cater to changing author requirements was not considered a mandatory requirement by 25 editors (30.1%).
Conclusion: A majority of editors agreed that author requirements are changing and that there is a need for editors to learn and adapt to different requirements. Editors also want to improve their intervention when it comes to making structural content changes by being more adept at subject matter concepts. In addition, editors wish to educate authors on the art of presenting a manuscript in simple, lucid language by better engaging with authors through their edits. For editors to adequately understand the purpose of an author’s document and edit it effectively, certification, continual education, networking, and increased interactions with authors are some points that would definitely help establish and maintain an excellent author–editor relationship.
Poster 6: A Reviewer Incentive Program to Motivate Peer Reviewers
Author: Jeannine Botos, Oxford University Press
Background: JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute began a peer reviewer incentive program on June 1, 2016, through which it would donate $50 to CancerCare’s patient education programs for every good quality peer review submitted within 7 days of accepting the invitation. The hypothesis was that this program would speed up the peer review process and motivate reviewers to accept invitations.
Methods: Reviewers were informed of the program in their invitation, acceptance, and reminder letters. The quality of each review was assessed by the JNCI Scientific Managing Editor based on criteria set via consensus of the JNCI Editor-in-Chief, Senior Editor, Scientific Managing Editor, and the Publisher. Only reviews of sufficient quality that were completed within 7 days were included in that category. Numbers and percentages of good quality peer reviews completed in 7 days or less, and peer reviewer acceptance and turnaround times, as reported by Editorial Manager®, were compared during two periods: the 15 months of the program and 8 months before it began. Reviews completed by Statistical Reviewers were not included.
Results: During the program, 411 good quality peer reviews were completed in 7 days or less. The number of good quality peer reviews completed in 7 days or less increased by 5% (26±4% to 31±7%) for initial submissions and increased by 16% (55±14% to 71±16%) for revisions. Additional analysis showed a small (7%) decrease in the percentage of late peer reviews and a similar increase (7%) in the percentage of early and on time peer reviews. After 15 months, mean peer reviewer turnaround time was reduced by 0.8 days (12.4 days to 11.6 days) for initial submissions and by 0.4 days (6.3 days to 5.9 days) for revisions. No substantial changes in reviewer acceptance were observed. The program ended on September 30, 2017, and a $14,900 donation was made that month.
Conclusions: The program was associated with an increase in the speed of good quality individual reviews and with small improvements in average on-time peer reviews. However, this did not lead to a substantially faster peer review process, and no association with reviewer acceptance was observed.
Poster 7: Researchers’ Sharing Behaviours: Piloting a New “Shareable PDF” to Leverage Authors’ Use of Scholarly Collaboration Networks and Reclaim “Lost” Usage
Authors: Charlie Rapple, Peter Shelley – Kudos
Background: In 2017 we undertook a survey of 7,500 researchers to understand their preferences and behaviours around copyright, scholarly collaboration networks (SCNs), and sharing / accessing of full text articles via platforms other than the journal website. The survey showed substantial growth in the trend for sharing / accessing content “off grid” (i.e. in websites where usage is not reported to publishers, libraries, funders etc) with 57% of respondents indicated they upload PDFs of their articles to SCNs, and 66% indicating they use SCNs to access content. However, 83% agreed or strongly agreed that copyright should be respected. Based on this data, we then piloted a new approach to online sharing that encouraged authors to share a summary PDF, with links through to the full text on the journal website, rather than sharing the full text itself.
Methods: The summary, or “Shareable”, PDF was created on behalf of 5 participating publishers (initial pilot), growing to 10 participating publishers at the present time and likely to be more by the time of the CSE meeting. The Shareable PDF option for sharing was presented to all authors using the Kudos platform to manage their research dissemination. Uptake of this option was measured (the number of authors choosing to generate a Shareable PDF, and the number of PDFs generated) – these numbers were put in the context of how many authors completed some kind of sharing via Kudos during the period of analysis, and how many articles were shared. We also measured the results in terms of click throughs from the SCN platforms where Shareable PDFs were posted (e.g. ResearchGate, Academia.edu) to the full text. Where possible this was compared to the views of the Shareable PDF / publication pages in SCNs, in order to calculate a click through rate.
Results: at the time of preparing this abstract (4 months into the project), 58% of authors chose to use the PDF option when sharing their work; it has immediately become the most popular mechanism for sharing (over social media, email, etc). Where it was possible to calculate a click-through rate (i.e. where the site in which the shareable PDF had been shared, and its “view” count, could be accessed) this was 27%. The number of authors sharing (via any channel) increased by 50% for participating publishers. The number of publications being shared increased by 36% for participating publishers.
Conclusion: the data gives an encouraging indication that authors are not sharing full text in order to bring down the edifice of scholarly publishing, but rather that they do so for convenience (because the main platforms such as ResearchGate require a PDF in order to create an entry for a work). Providing authors with an alternative PDF is proving to be a successful way to leverage their desire to share, and leverage SCNs as a discovery channel, bringing otherwise “lost” usage back to the journal, and assisting in the protection of subscriptions.