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Published: 13 December 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e76284

Abstract:
To meet the needs of their wide-ranging audiences, journals and editors must publish science that reflects the diversity of the communities they serve. And yet we collectively neglect the importance of optimizing the diversity of peer reviewers. This viewpoint explores the vital economy and identity of peer reviewers, and how these can help improve diversity in peer review. Economy, because this form of labour props up a publishing system, doling out the main form of currency within academia, and identity, because what peer reviewers contribute extends beyond their disciplinary expertise to their sense of self and what they represent: the backgrounds, values, and views they bring to the work of reviewing scientific papers.
Published: 13 December 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e64274

Abstract:
Background: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) is one of the most important indexes that medical journals aspire to be covered by. Currently, SCIE indexes 14,840 peer-reviewed journals across 178 disciplines. Among these journals are 3445 medical journals, divided into more than 40 subject categories. Objectives: To reveal the impact and contribution of medical journals from Balkan countries through the Journal Impact Factor of those journals, the number of articles published by them, and the number of times those articles have been cited. Methods: Balkan countries are countries that fall or fully or partly within the Balkan peninsula. All medical journals from those countries listed in the SCIE were ranked based on cumulative citations between 2000 and 2020. Among them, the top 50 journals in terms of cumulative citations were chosen for the study, which analysed the data on 129,259 research articles and reviews that covered 27 different subject categories within the broad field of medicine. The countries were Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Turkey Results: The top 50 journals included those published from eight Balkan countries. Turkey had the most journals (21) in the Web of Science (WoS) and Greece had 13 but, when ranked in terms of the number of journals in WoS per million people, Croatia topped the list, with 1.22 journals per million of its population, followed by Greece (1.21 journals). The top-cited journals were Anticancer Research (206,226 citations), International Journal of Oncology (171,654), Oncology Reports (157,467), Molecular Medicine Reports (82,009), and Oncology Letters (69,161). Oncology was the most cited subject category and Croatia, the country with maximum interaction with other Balkan countries, that is, papers in Croatian journals cited journals published from the maximum number of Balkan counties. Conclusion: The study provides insights into the last two decades of progress in academic publishing and in the performances of medical journals published from Balkan countries.
Published: 10 December 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e69596

Abstract:
Background:Many physicians in Turkey are both clinicians and researchers, and publishing their research contributes to better patient care as well as to career advancement. Objective: To identify the barriers faced by Turkish physicians to writing research papers and getting them published. Methods:Respondents were asked, through eight multiple-choice questions, about the difficulties they faced in writing research papers and in getting them published in journals. We also searched published literature for accounts of similar difficulties and answers to the question ‘What is your purpose in writing scientific publications?’ Results:A total of 18% (155 of 871) of physicians completed the questionnaire. About the difficulties faced in writing, 82 out of the 155 participants, or 57%, reported problems in finding financial support; 58 (40%), in obtaining required permissions and clearances; 65 (45%), in acquiring relevant skills, especially those related to data analysis or statistics; and 42 (29%), in language-related skills. About the difficulties in getting their papers published in journals, 85 (60%) said that they tried to overcome the difficulties by searching for appropriate solutions on the internet; 66 (47%) sought help from experienced colleagues; and 47 (33%) needed professional help in English translation and editing. Need for financial support was reported by a significantly (p = 0.04) larger proportion of associate professors or full professors (69%) than that of residents (47%) and fellows (45%). Conclusion: The main problems that Turkish physicians face in preparing scientific manuscripts were lack of  financial  support, inadequate knowledge of data analysis and statistics, and the paperwork involved in obtaining required approvals and permissions—problems that were common to the departments of internal medicine and of surgery. The primary motivation for writing and publishing was career advancement, especially through promotion to a higher academic rank.
Published: 23 November 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e75834

Abstract:
The digital age has enabled unprecedented opportunities in the dissemination of information. Thanks to the Internet, research results are available to virtually anyone in the world. Thanks to platforms such as the Open Journal System, a scientific journal can be published by practically anyone with minimal demands on resources, and even a relatively small editorial team can focus more on the quality of published articles than on the editorial process itself. Nevertheless, publishing procedures have recently been adopted which do not allow parts of readers to have seamless access to the content of scientific articles.
Published: 21 October 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e72187

Abstract:
Background: Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have been consistently under-represented in the pool of contributors to academic journals on health. For the past two decades, prominent voices within the psychiatric profession have called for better representation of LMICs in the interest of advancing the understanding of mental health globally and benefiting health systems in these countries. Objective: To investigate the absolute and relative representation of authors affiliated to institutes from LMICs in the most influential journals on mental health in 2019. Method: Thirty top-ranking journals on mental health based on Scimago Journal Rank were selected, and all papers other than correspondence and letters to the editor published in those journals in 2019 were examined to extract the country of affiliation of each of their authors and their position (corresponding author, first author, second author). Results: Of the 4022 articles examined, 3720 articles (92.5%) were written exclusively by authors from high-income countries (HICs); 302 (7.5%) featured one or more authors from a LMIC along with those from HICs; 91 (2.2%) featured authors only from one LMIC; and only 3 (0.07%) featured authors from more than one LMICs but without any co-author from a HIC. The ratio of articles by contributors from LMICs to all the articles published in 2019 in a given journal ranged from 0% to 19%. Of 1855 individual contributors from 45 LMICs, 1050 (56%) were from China. Conclusion: Despite the growth of the global health movement and frequent calls for academic inclusivity, LMICs were significantly under-represented among the authors of papers published in top-ranking journals on mental health in 2019.
Published: 19 October 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e75625

Abstract:
Human impacts on the Earth have become so pervasive as to drive global scale changes leading some scientists to propose a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. A name which reflects the huge and sweeping changes human activities have caused to the Earth. Furthermore, these rapidly expanding and accelerating activities threaten to push aspects of the Earth system beyond  the relatively stable and safe space in which the entirety of human history occurred, the Holocene. This safe operating space is characterised by a set of nine planetary boundaries1 within which humanity should be able to continue to develop and thrive for generations to come. These include: climate change, biosphere integrity, biogeochemical flows and freshwater use. Crossing these boundaries risks generating large-scale, rapid or irreversible environmental changes. Reducing the environmental impact of our activities in order to keep within a safe operating space for humanity and the linked goal of providing a basic social foundation for everyone requires global actions. Every individual, company, institution and organisation, whether large or small, public or private, needs to contribute – ‘think global, act local’. Scientific publishing as a key player in discussing and disseminating research on climate heating and the biodiversity crisis has transformed from print to digital journals and e-books over recent decades but we must do more. The European Association of Science Editors (EASE) is an international community of individuals and associations engaged in science communication and editing. As such, EASE can help and support its members to engage in different ways to achieve and communicate efforts to reduce our environmental footprints for example by becoming carbon neutral (or even carbon negative) irrespective of the type of organisation they work in. Below are some suggestions for how editors can take steps to reduce their environmental footprint in their own particular circumstances and thereby contribute to the overall effort to reduce environmental damages. Not all suggestions will be relevant to everyone and structural or organisational change will have a greater impact than individual actions, but together we can make a difference.
Published: 19 October 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e75635

Published: 21 September 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e63780

Abstract:
Regression analysis is a widely used statistical technique to build a model from a set of data on two or more variables. Linear regression is based on linear correlation, and assumes that change in one variable is accompanied by a proportional change in another variable. Simple linear regression, or bivariate regression, is used for predicting the value of one variable from another variable (predictor); however, multiple linear regression, which enables us to analyse more than one predictor or variable, is more commonly used. This paper explains both simple and multiple linear regressions illustrated with an example of analysis and also discusses some common errors in presenting the results of regression, including inappropriate titles, causal language, inappropriate conclusions, and misinterpretation.
Published: 13 September 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e71728

Abstract:
Background: The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) are two internationally recognised organisations in the field of publication ethics. Guidelines from these two organisations were updated in 2018. Obj ectives: To assess the extent to which the journal P h a r ma ctuel is compliant with the guidelines on publication ethics updated by ICMJE and COPE in 2018 and, where the journal is found  wanting, to take the necessary steps to make it compliant. Methods:  A list of updated criteria – 56 by ICMJE and 22 by COPE – was compiled. In January 2020, compliance with each of these criteria was evaluated by the editor-in-chief and validated by all six associate editors. The evaluation was followed by an action plan to improve compliance, and the evaluation was repeated in November 2020. Results: Of the 56 ICMJE criteria, P h a r ma ctuel was fully compliant with 31 and partly compliant with 10 criteria (a compliance rate of 73%, taking the two together). The corresponding figures for the 22 COPE criteria were 17, 3, and 91%. By modifying its editorial policies, training its associate editors, and creating appropriate guidelines for its editorial board and editors, P h a r ma ctuel achieved almost 100% compliance by the end of 2020. Conclusions: P h a r ma ctuel has been fully compliant with ICMJE and COPE recommendations since January 2021. Minor modifications to P h a r ma ctuel’s publication process have enabled the editorial team to ensure that the journal continues to be almost totally compliant with COPE and ICMJE guidelines and to uphold its high ethical standards.
Published: 26 August 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e67829

Abstract:
‘Global South’, a term frequently used on websites and in papers related to academic and ‘predatory’ publishing, may represent a form of unscholarly discrimination. Arguments are put forward as to why the current use of this term is geographically meaningless, since it implies countries in the southern hemisphere, whereas many of the entities in publishing that are referred to as being part of the Global South are in fact either on the equator or in the northern hemisphere. Therefore, academics, in writing about academic publishing, should cease using this broad, culturally insensitive, and geographically inaccurate term.
Published: 8 July 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e68868

Published: 8 July 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e59032

Abstract:
B a c kground: Earth sciences is one of those sensitive field sciences that are closely needed to solve local problems within local physical and social settings. Earth researchers find state-of-the-art of topics in earth sciences by using scientific databases, conduct research on the topics, and write about them. However, the accessibility, readability, and usability of those articles for local communities are major problems in measuring the impact of research, although it may be covered by well-known international scientific databases. Obj ectives: To ascertain empirically whether there are differences in document distribution, in the proportions of openly accessible documents, and in the geographical coverage of earth sciences topics as revealed through analyses of documents retrieved from scientific databases and to propose new measures for assessing the impact of research in earth sciences based on those differences. M e th ods: Relevant documents were retrieved using ‘earth sciences’ as a search term in English and other languages from ten databases of scientific publications. The results of these searches were analysed using frequency analysis and a quantitative- descriptive design. Results: (1) The number of articles in English from international databases exceeded the number of articles in native languages from national-level databases. (2) The number of open-access (OA) articles in the national databases was higher than that in other databases. (3) The geographical coverage of earth science papers was uneven between countries when the number of documents retrieved from closed-access commercial databases was compared to that from the other databases. (4) The regulations in Indonesia related to promotion of lecturers assign greater weighting to publications indexed in Scopus and the Web of Science (WoS) and publications in journals with impact factors are assigned a higher weighting. Conclusions: The dominance of scientific articles in English as well as the paucity of OA publications indexed in international databases (compared to those in national or regional databases) may have been due to the greater weighting assigned to such publications. Consequently, the relevance of research reported in those publications to local communities has been questioned. This article suggests some open-science practices to transform the current regulations related to promotion into a more responsible measurement of research performance and impact.
Published: 17 June 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e62836

Abstract:
B a c kground: Peer review is a necessary but costly and time-consuming process to identify good-quality and methodologically sound articles and improve them before publication. Finding good peer reviewers is often difficult. Obj ective: To identify the incentives that make Iranian biomedical researchers accept invitations to be a peer reviewer and factors that affect these incentives. M e th ods: Twelve reviewers selected at random from the reviewers pool of each of 26 biomedical journals published from Fars province, Iran, were surveyed using a questionnaire that we had developed and tested in a pilot study of 30 reviewers (Cronbach’s alpha of 0.779). The data included the reviewers’ demographics, history of their reviews, and choice of 11 reasons each for accepting or declining the invitation to review. Results: A total of 233 reviewers completed the questionnaire. The most important reasons for accepting the invitation to review were the journal’s practice to publish the names of the reviewers alongside the article they had reviewed, acknowledgement by the journals by publishing the names of reviewers once a year, free access to journals’ content, and lower publication charges as authors. The most common reasons to decline the invitation were lack of time, busy schedules, and lack of sufficient incentive to review. Conclusion: Acknowledgement by the journal, offering to publish the names of reviewers alongside the articles they had reviewed, and monetary rewards will be effective incentives for biomedical researchers in Iran to serve as peer reviewers.
Published: 10 June 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e63663

Abstract:
Background: Open access (OA) implies free and unrestricted access to and re-use of research articles. Recently, OA publishing has seen a new wave of interest, debate, and practices surrounding that mode of publishing. Obj ectives: To provide an overview of publication practices and to compare them among six countries across the world to stimulate further debate and to raise awareness about OA to facilitate decision-making on further development of OA practices in earth sciences. M e th ods: The number of OA articles, their distribution among the six countries, and top ten journals publishing OA articles were identified using two databases, namely Scopus and the Web of Science, based mainly on the data for 2018. Results: In 2018, only 24%–31% of the total number of articles indexed by either of the databases were OA articles. Six of the top ten earth sciences journals that publish OA articles were fully OA journals and four were hybrid journals. Fully OA journals were mostly published by emerging publishers and their article processing charges ranged from $1000 to$2200. Conclusions: The rise in OA publishing has potential implications for researchers and tends to shift article-processing charges from organizations to individuals. Until the earth sciences community decides to move away from journal-based criteria to evaluate researchers, it is likely that such high costs will continue to maintain financial inequities within this research community, especially to the disadvantage of researchers from the least developed countries. However, earth scientists, by opting for legal self- archiving of their publications, could help to promote equitable and sustainable access to, and wider dissemination of, their work.
Published: 21 May 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e51999

Abstract:
Background:&nbsp;Peer review remains the only way of filtering and improving research. However, there are few studies of peer review based on the contents of review reports, because access to these reports is limited. Objectives:To measure the rejection rate and to investigate the reasons for rejection after peer-review in a specialized scientific journal.  Methods:&nbsp;We considered the manuscripts submitted to a Russian journal, namely ‘Economy of Region’ (Rus Экономика региона), from 2016 to 2018, and analysed the double-blind review reports related to rejected submissions in qualitative and quantitative terms including descriptive statistics. Results:Of the 1653 submissions from 2016 to 2018, 324 (20%) were published, giving an average rejection rate of 80%. Content analysis of reviewer reports showed five categories of shortcomings in the manuscripts: breaches of publication ethics, mismatch with the journal’s research area, weak research reporting (a major group, which accounted for 66%of the total); lack of novelty, and design errors. We identified two major problems in the peer-review process that require editorial correction: in 36% of the cases, the authors did not send the revised version of the manuscript to the journal after receiving editorial comments and in 30% of the cases, the reviewers made contradictory recommendations. Conclusions:To obtain a more balanced evaluation from experts and to avoid paper losses the editorial team should revise the journal’s instructions to authors, its guide to reviewers, and the form of the reviewer’s report by indicating the weightings assigned to the different criteria and by describing in detail the criteria for a good paper.
Denys Wheatley
Published: 4 May 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e59855

Abstract:
A brief discussion is presented of the use of "ize" rather than "ise" in most current day journals. The need for editors and authors to be consistent in their spelling remains an issue.
, , Wala'a Aburumman, , Muna Alhusban, , Majd Alkhrissat, Mohammad Qablawi, Ayat Alni’Mat
Published: 30 April 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e61658

Abstract:
Objective: To assess the obstacles faced by biomedical researchers in Jordan and the reasons behind the stagnation of health care research. Background: Health care research is essential for the advancement of medical care but faces obstacles that delay the completion of research projects, and the literature is still deficient, especially in developing countries. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted of all academic staff of health care faculties at the University of Jordan who had been employed for five years or more and had at least one stagnant research project. Questionnaires were completed by the academic staff online using Google Forms after a face-to-face interview to explain the study process to them. Results: A total of 82 researchers with a mean age of 42.68 (±9.16) years were included most of whom (84.1%) had only one stagnant project. Of the 106 stagnant projects, 28.3% were in the basic sciences and 71.7% were in clinical research. Almost a third (29.5%) of the projects remained stagnant after reaching the publication stage. Most researchers (81.3%) identified lack of time and high workload as the most common personal barriers and 44.4% identified lack of funds and research incentives as the most common institutional barriers. Conclusions: Medical research is affected by different barriers including lack of time, high workload, lack of funds, and insufficient incentives for research. An institutional strategic plan is required to overcome those barriers and to improve medical research.
Published: 8 April 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e60203

Abstract:
Background:To examine the errata and retractions in total published output of Hungarian research and academia relative to that in 34 other European countries. Objective:To analyse the number of errata and retractions related to papers published by authors with Hungarian affiliations compared to those by authors with affiliations in the 34 other countries. Methods:Errata and retractions retrieved from three databases, namely Retraction Watch, Web of Science (WoS), and Scopus, were counted and sorted by country. Results:Scopus featured 7 retractions linked to Hungarian affiliations and WoS featured 10. Retraction Watch featured 26 such retractions, placing Hungary in 23rd position among the 35 countries arranged in descending order of the number of retractions. Of the 26 retractions from Hungary, 5 were in Elsevier journals and another 5 in Springer Nature; also, 8 of the 26 were associated with the University of Debrecen. When ranked for the number of errata notices for every 1000 published papers, Hungary was ranked 29th in WoS (2.54 notices per 1000 papers) and 26th in Scopus (2.3 notices per 1000 papers). Conclusions:The low numbers of Hungarian affiliations suggest that either research ethics are more stringently observed in Hungary or that publications from Hungarian research institutes, including papers in Hungarian – many Hungarian journals are indexed neither in WoS nor in Scopus – have not been scrutinized adequately through post-publication peer review.
Published: 22 February 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e62065

Abstract:
A transparent corrections process is essential to assist in the maintenance of public confidence in scientific and medical research. In the era of preprints, fast-paced peer review, and early-access publication, errors and oversights from both authors and editors might be more common. The swift and open correction of the public record requires the participation of authors, journal editors, and publishers, and in this Viewpoint we share The Lancet group’s best practices around errors and corrections.
Published: 5 February 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e52348

Abstract:
Background: Predatory journals (PJs) are journals that receive and publish articles through unethical publishing practices. Due to the boom of PJs, researchers face a wide range of journals from which to choose. Non-peer reviewed and low-quality articles can ruin the trustworthiness of science and have a damaging impact on decision-makers. Objective: To assess the level of awareness among Ethiopian researchers of PJs and to improve the awareness level through training. Method: The participants were professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and lecturers from different disciplines. The study included 18 statements for participants to indicate their level of awareness on the Likert scale, questions on knowledge resources on PJs, and open-ended questions about ways of avoiding PJs. A one-day programme trained the participants in detecting and avoiding PJs. Results: 43 participants completed the pre-assessment online survey and 37 participants completed the post-assessment survey. Many researchers were unaware of PJs and found it somewhat difficult to differentiate PJs from legitimate journals. However, during the post-assessment, the awareness level improved and the participants’ rating of the task of differentiating PJs from legitimate journals changed from ‘Somewhat difficult’ to ‘Easy’. Conclusion: Many researchers were unaware of the potential distinctions between PJs and legitimate journals that are crucial to an appropriate journal for publishing. Especially low awareness was found on the journal impact factor, journal indexing services, and reputable publishers. Hence, before manuscript submission, authors ought to know and practise evaluating journals on the basis of the recommended criteria.
, , Baraka C Sekadende, , Innocent E Sailale
Published: 1 February 2021
European Science Editing, Volume 47; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2021.e54417

Abstract:
Background:&nbsp;Researchers in the developing countries often have inadequate scientific writing skills to publish their research in international peer reviewed journals. Objectives: To improve the research-and proposal-writing skills of researchers and to evaluate the impact of this intervention. Methods: An off-the-shelf online course (AuthorAID, developed by INASP) was embedded in the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute’s (TAFIRI) website and offered to the institute researchers in Tanzania. The 8-week course was followed by a 2-day face- to-face workshop that used the course material contextualized to local conditions, and the combination was repeated one more time. Results: A total of 47 participants completed the course and attended the workshop: 21 (54%) completed the course in 2016 and 26 (67%) in 2017. The number of papers published annually by TAFIRI staff more than tripled between 2016 and 2019 after the AuthorAID intervention, most of them (114, or 91%) by researchers who had undergone the training. Conclusion:&nbsp;Embedding and contextualizing proven learning materials, such as the AuthorAID online course, can be an economical and effective approach to improving the writing skills of scientists in developing countries.
Published: 24 December 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e54523

Abstract:
The Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) is a prominent open access (OA) publisher that uses article processing charges (APCs) as its business model. Our objective was to determine the association between the APCs levied by MDPI journals and 1) their inclusion in Scopus and Web of Science databases or 2) their stature, as represented by their CiteScore (Elsevier’s Scopus) and Impact Factor (awarded by Clarivate Analytics). Among the 227 journals published by MDPI, 51 had both IF and CiteScore; 107, only a CiteScore; and 84, neither IF nor CiteScore. The charges levied by the journals varied widely, from 0 to CHF 2000 (Swiss francs), the most frequent figure (159 journals) being CHF 1000, or about €930. The amount of APCs was found to be correlated to IF (R² = 0.64; p
Published: 17 December 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e60083

Abstract:
The new EASE campaign, aimed at further simplification of submission processes in science journals by means of an improved version 3.1 of the EASE Quick-Check Table, is now promoted worlwide. Volunteers have already translated the table into Dutch, German, Korean, Romanian, Slovenian, Spanish, and Turkish, while Bosnian and Polish translations will be finished soon. Volunteers who would like to translate the English version into other languages should first contact EASE Secretary to avoid duplication. We hope that our new campaign will help to increase the efficiency of scientific communication worldwide, which is crucial now. The initial extra effort of journal editors is worth it, as the optimization of manuscript submission is likely to minimize the number of manuscript revisions and may also aid in limiting the spread of COVID-19, thanks to faster publication of crucial research findings.
Published: 15 December 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e56541

Abstract:
The indirect costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically extended work absenteeism and possible loss of productivity, are discussed focusing on the research community and its publishing. We suggest that the community should learn strategic and innovative decision-making as well as crisis management from business management to think ahead, especially about working effectively and being productive in times of crisis. The main challenges are: 1) communicating scientific and credible information about the pandemic,2) focusing on being productive to provide some certainty, and3) adopting a new mindset and being open to unexpected opportunities.
Published: 14 December 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e52497

Abstract:
Unfortunately, articles submitted to journals are rejected more frequently than is desirable. Journals themselves estimate that more than 60% of submitted articles are rejected without review (for top journals, the figure may even be 80%). Thus, whatever an article’s content or quality, an outright rejection should be expected right from the time of submission, and a reaction strategy defined beforehand. Each rejection should be carefully examined and fully understood before attempting any response. Here are some hints for beginners—or for edgy authors.
Published: 25 November 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e53691

Abstract:
The purpose of technical editing is to prepare specific information, for a specific medium, to help a specific audience, accomplish a specific goal. What defines technical editing is its purpose—to help readers act—not the scientific discipline in which it is found. Still, traditions of technical editing differ greatly by subject matter (nuclear physics, field biology), document types (scientific articles, computer user manuals), audiences (regulatory agencies, consumers), and specific publication conventions (writing instruction manuals, documenting experiments). Because technical editing developed in the physical sciences and engineering, the term often refers only to editing in those fields. However, whereas technical editors in industry often enter the profession with degrees in technical communications, editors in other scientific fields typically receive little or no professional training in editing. Accordingly, I describe here four techniques proven to be effective in training technical editors in any branch of science. A basic technique involves applying 12 specific and evidence-based ‘edits’ that improve comprehension. In an intermediate technique, ‘structured editing,’ described here for the first time, editors follow a structured process of analysing and revising a text by completing four sequential tasks. An advanced technique—shortening a 250-word abstract to 100 words without losing content—will develop critical thinking and sharpen language skills. Finally, I describe a collaborative technique based on ‘deliberate practice,’ in which a small group of editors discusses a text in detail, in long sessions, over extended periods, to develop a high degree of skill.
Published: 11 November 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e57899

Published: 27 October 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e51987

Abstract:
Both Web of Science and Scopus are critical components of our research ecosystem, providing the basis for university and global rankings, as well as for bibliometric research. However, both are structurally biased against research produced in non-western countries, non-English language research, and research from the arts, humanities and social sciences. This viewpoint emphasises the damage that these systematic inequities pose upon our global knowledge production systems, and the need to research funders to unite to form a more globally-representative, non-profit, community-controlled infrastructure for our global research knowledge pool.
European Science Editing Journal
Published: 20 October 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e58964

Abstract:
In this article the author’s competing interests were not declared. This has been corrected in the online article, DOI: 10.3897/ese.2020.e52201.
Published: 17 September 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e57377

Abstract:
European Science Editing (ESE), a platinum open access journal, is gaining recognition as one of the prime outlets for publishing-related topics, as evidenced by its 2019 rise into the second quarter of Scimago’s Journal Rankings and by its Scopus CiteScore of 1.3. However, the discoverability of knowledge and information in ESE is currently limited by the fact that manuscripts published before 2003 are not indexed, that none of the papers published before May 2016 have a DOI, and that not all information that appears on the html version of a paper appears on its PDF version, and vice versa. Finally, because ESE is already indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals, all papers should be archived on that platform. Such improvements would undoubtedly take time and some resources, but if they could be achieved, the discoverability of the journal would clearly be fortified.
Published: 2 September 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e55817

Abstract:
I’ve been a medical writer and author’s editor for 45 years. I have read the instructions for authors in dozens of medical journals. I know what authors (and author’s editors) think of these instructions, at least among those who know that journals actually have instructions for authors. For almost as long, I’ve been a member of four professional societies concerned with scientific publishing, and I know a lot of editors-in-chief of medical journals. I appreciate their desire to have authors follow the instructions when preparing manuscripts, at least among those editors who remember that their journals have such instructions and insist, at least occasionally, that they be followed.
Sergey V Gorin, Anna M Koroleva, ,
Published: 27 August 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e51051

Abstract:
Objective: To observe changes in the number, form (print and online), and distribution (by academic disciplines) of Russian journals indexed in the first three years of the Russian Science Citation Index (RSCI). Background: The globalization of science and the need to involve Russia in the international process of knowledge exchange have influenced the main directions of publication activity and interaction with the world scientific community.  Methods: Statistical information freely available through the databases of the Scientific Electronic Library of Russia for January 2019 were compared with data from January 2016.  Results: In 2016, the number of Russian journals included in the RSCI was 650; by 2019, the number had increased to 771, an increase of 18.6%. The number of journals with printed and online versions increased by 13.3% to reach 266 units. The number of Russian journals indexed in Scopus and the Web of Science databases increased during the period, as did the number of journals with both print and online versions. Conclusions: Journals from the RSCI database tend also to be added to Scopus or WoS databases and do not remain exclusively as part of the local database. Implementing the RSCI project had a positive impact on the full spectrum of Russian academic journals, which are increasingly committed to improving their work to continue to be part of RSCI or Scopus or WoS databases.
Published: 24 August 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e54172

Abstract:
A desire for both transparency in research and widespread access to the results of research has led to activism in support of open access publishing. Open access publishing, particularly publishing industry-sponsored research, can be complex. The overarching benefits of, and challenges to, open access are described, illustrated with the initiatives related to Medical Publishing Insights and Practices to help promote a better understanding of open access and its importance in ensuring transparency in industry-sponsored research.
Published: 10 July 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e52063

Abstract:
Academics are under constant pressure to optimize their time. Formatting requirements imposed on academics by journals or editors during initial manuscript submission may waste precious time, energy, and financial resources, especially if a paper is desk-rejected, and even more so when there are multiple rejections. Formatting, which does not reflect a manuscript’s academic quality, should not be a requirement during initial submission, but only after a paper has passed peer review and been approved for publication. Several publishers offer a formatting-free option during initial submission, allowing academics to optimize their time and energy.
Published: 6 July 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e51839

Abstract:
Commercial publishing houses continue to make unbounded profits while exploiting the free labour of researchers through peer review. If publishers are to be compensated financially for the value that they add within a capitalist system, then so should all others who add value, including reviewers. I propose that peer review should be included as a professional service by research institutes in their contracts with commercial publishers. This would help to recognize the value of peer review, and begin to shape it into a functional form of quality control.
Raoul Tan,
Published: 20 May 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e51112

Abstract:
Background: On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) formally left the European Union (EU). Only a short transition period, until 31 December 2020, is available to negotiate collaborations for research in biomedical sciences and health care. Within the European scientific community, two opinions are common: 1) Brexit is an opportunity to obtain more funding at the expense of the departing British; and 2) UK colleagues should continue to collaborate in EU scientific efforts, including Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. To provide evidence for more informed negotiations, we sought to determine the contribution of the UK to EU’s research in biomedical sciences. Methods: We performed a macro level scientometric analysis to estimate the contribution of the UK and EU member states, including those associated with EU-funding (EU+) namely Albania, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, and Ukraine, to preclinical, clinical and health sciences. We searched the Web of Science database to count the total number of scientific publications and the top 1% most cited publications in the world between 2008 and 2017, calculated the performance efficiency by dividing the top 1% by the total number, and calculated the odds ratios to create a ranking of performance efficiency. We then compared the contribution of the UK to all the EU+ -based publications and the top 1% to the contributions of the ten EU member states with the largest biomedical research output and also compared the respective contributions to EU+ publications that resulted from collaborations with other regions in the world. Results: We found 2,991,016 biomedical publications from EU+ during 2008–2017, of which 19,019 (0.64%) were in the world’s top 1% of the most cited publications. The UK produced 665,467 (22.3%) of these publications and had over two and a half times more top 1% most cited publications than the EU+ (odds ratio 2.79, 95% CI 2.71–2.88, p< 0.001). The UK’s share in the EU+ co-publications with regions outside Europe ranged between 23.0% for the Arab League and 50.6% for Australia and New Zealand and its share of the top 1% ranged between 48.6% for the USA and Canada and 70.7% for the African Union. Conclusions: The UK contributed far more highly cited publications than the rest of the EU+ states and strongly contributed to European collaborations with the rest of the world during 2008–2017. This suggests that if the UK ceases to participate in EU scientific collaborations as a result of Brexit, the quantity and quality of EU’s research in biomedical sciences will be adversely affected.
Published: 9 May 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e53890

Abstract:
This is a short letter on how the peer review process of many journals is being abused by some sham authors. While it would be difficult for the journals to identify and eliminate manuscripts that are not submitted with a sincere intention to publish, the universities and learning institutions should develop code of ethics to prevent their staff from abusing the journal review process. Imposing submission fee would also act as a deterrent against unscrupulous submissions.
Published: 29 April 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e52201

Abstract:
There is considerable literature about the responsibilities of authors and editors in regard to ethics, integrity and but there is little information on how to manage editor-author relationships when serious disagreements occur and the one party starts to behave in an unacceptable manner. This article is based on a recent experience and presents some thoughts and suggestions for editors on managing relationships between editors and the authors when authors start to behave badly.
, Pippa Smart
Published: 29 April 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e53230

Abstract:
The world has changed in the past few months in a way most of us could not imagine. The words “novel corona virus’’ (SARS-CoV-2), “COVID-19’’, “prevention”, “flattening the curve’’ and “hand washing’’ have become constant references within the daily news reports of mortality rates, the lack of equipment and possible therapies. The novel corona virus (SARS-CoV-2), which was first identified in the Chinese province of Hubei, has led to a pandemic and the whole scientific community, both in the public and privately-financed sector, is searching for an effective therapy as well as for a vaccine. All scientists (clinicians, epidemiologists, virologists, and public health experts) are under great pressure to give advice on matters where there is still no evidence. We are used to reading fake news and non-filtered information in the media, but are we ready for similar occurrences in science journals?
, Alison Terry
Published: 29 April 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e53477

Abstract:
When preparing a scientific manuscript for submission to a journal, it is often time-consuming to find the journal's specific preferences, which can influence acceptance. We propose that journals include a simple table at the start of their instructions for authors, clearly displaying the essential information, e.g. word count, number of keywords, format of tables and figures. Such a table could be also easily updated as journal preferences change. Thanks to this, the submitted articles would be more likely to meet the basic requirements. We hope this initiative will save time for everyone involved in scientific publishing.
, Yuri Brumshteyn
Published: 29 April 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e53192

Abstract:
Objective: To analyse the productivity of post-Soviet countries, adjusted by population, in terms of research papers published and the proportions of those papers indexed by Scopus and the Web of Science.Methods: Relevant data on the journals indexed in Scopus and the Web of Science were analysed. Where required, data were also extracted from Russian Science Citation Index databases and websites of journals.Results: On average, the post-Soviet countries had 31 researchers per 10,000 people. The average numbers of publications per researcher in journals indexed by Scopus was 1.04 and the corresponding figure for the Web of Science was 0.87. In terms of the number of journals indexed in Scopus and the Web of Science, the leading countries were Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.Conclusion: Although the post-Soviet countries differed considerably in terms of bibliometric indices, the overall values were low. Main features of the journals were as follows: articles published in national languages – in Russian in many cases – and in English, articles mostly by authors within the region, and only a minority of foreigners as members of editorial boards. Thus most of the journals cannot be considered international. All the journals examined have websites in a national language and/or in English and invariably carry information on ethical practices, although such information is not given in a uniform format and varies from country to country.
Published: 18 February 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e51002

Abstract:
Objective: To provide an overview of retractions of research papers contributed by authors from the Arab region. Method: Papers in which the first author was affiliated to an Arabian country were selected from the Retraction Watch database covering the period 1 January 1998 to 31 December 2018. The retrieved records were divided into nine categories based on the reasons for retraction. Results: The search yielded 322 retractions, and the most frequent reason for retraction was plagiarism (34.5%). The median time from publication to retraction was 14 (25%-75% percentile 5-30) months. The number of papers retracted each year as well as the number of papers published in a given year but subsequently retracted increased steadily over the 21 years. The proportion of retracted papers to the total number of published papers (0.17%) was higher than the global proportion and was the highest for Algeria (1%) and the lowest for Lebanon (0.03%). Of the countries within the Arab region, 12 out of 14 countries showed either plagiarism or duplication as the most common reason for retraction; however, the countries differed in terms of the number of retractions and the time from publishing to retraction. Conclusion: Plagiarism was the most common cause of retraction in the Arab countries. The increase in the number of papers retracted each year was probably because searches now extend farther in the past, whereas the increase in the number of papers published in a given year but subsequently retracted can be attributed to the overall increase in the number of papers published.
Published: 18 February 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e50566

Abstract:
I am excited to announce that with this volume European Science Editing (ESE) has shifted from the print to a fully digital open access version. The journal underwent several changes last year. First of all, our publisher, the European Association of Science Editors (EASE) was generously offered – and accepted – a new ARPHA submission system (powered by PenSoft). Together with the EASE president Pippa Smart and EASE Council, we decided to transform ESE into a fully open access online journal. After several months of planning and re-thinking our strategy, a small working group (some members of the EASE Council and of ESE’s associate editors) prepared a proposal, the main idea of which was to divide the journal in two overlapping publications: European Science Editing and EASE Digest. The former will continue to publish original articles, reviews (formerly “essays”), viewpoints, and correspondence using the fully open access ARPHA submission system (flow publishing) but will drop the other sections, namely News notes, The editor’s bookshelf, This site I like, and EASE Forum Digest). These sections, which our readers consider particularly valuable, will now be published in EASE Digest with a few selected articles from ESE. The Digest will be available to EASE members only. As the proposal was accepted by the EASE Council in September 2019, the journal’s transformation is already under way. I wish to thank Silvia Maina (This site I like), Fiona Murphy (Book reviews), Elise Langdon-Neuner (EASE-Forum Digest), Anna Maria Rossi (The Editor’s bookshelf), and James Hartley and Denys Wheatley (members of the International Advisory Board) for the great work they have done and for their cooperation.
Published: 18 February 2020
European Science Editing, Volume 46; https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2020.e50999

Abstract:
“Out of 80 experiments, 45 (56.3%) had a favourable outcome.” If you read this sentence in a manuscript, would you want to edit the figures?I certainly would. There are too many digits in ‘56.3%’. The decimal 3 is meaningless; 56% is precise enough. If the number of favourable outcomes is 44, the percentage score is 55%; with 46 successes it is 58%. There is no uncertainty here. But what should we do when we are dealing with 237 out of 623? Both 237 and 238 result in a score of 38%. Wouldn’t it be wise to distinguish these outcomes by writing 38.0% and 38.2% respectively? Well, if such precision is important, we can simply present the absolute values. Absolute values are always accurate; percentages and fractions are only approximations. What might be the purpose of accurate percentages? I appreciate that percentage scores and fractions are better for comparisons than absolute values. With percentages I can see at a glance that 237/623 is more than 165/465 (38% and 35% respectively). Percentages are quick – and inaccurate, even with additional decimals.
Published: 1 November 2019
European Science Editing, Volume 45; https://doi.org/10.20316/ese.2019.45.19009

Published: 1 November 2019
European Science Editing, Volume 45; https://doi.org/10.20316/ese.2019.45.19011

Published: 1 November 2019
European Science Editing, Volume 45; https://doi.org/10.20316/ese.2019.45.18006

Published: 1 November 2019
European Science Editing, Volume 45; https://doi.org/10.20316/ese.2019.45.19018

Published: 1 August 2019
European Science Editing, Volume 45; https://doi.org/10.20316/ese.2019.45.18023

Published: 1 August 2019
European Science Editing, Volume 45; https://doi.org/10.20316/ese.2019.45.19002

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