Making peer review inclusive, future of patient involvement in research, and more (Good reads, September 2018)

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Making peer review inclusive, future of patient involvement in research, and more (Good reads, September 2018)

The month of September was exciting and stimulating for the scholarly communication and academic publishing community. The global celebration of Peer Review Week added another dimension to the thought-provoking discussions among academics. If you were too busy and are worried that you may have missed out on any interesting developments, we have you covered with a curated list of some of the most remarkable conversations this month. Happy reading!

1. How to make peer review diverse and inclusive: In this insightful article, Alice Meadows, who is the director of communications for ORCID, explains how she reviewed recent studies on diversity and bias issues in peer review.  While she found papers that focused on gender representation, she failed to find studies on racial and ethnic bias. Based on her review of the papers she found, she has enlisted some practical suggestions one can use while conducting peer review such as being aware of your own biases, taking initiative to address biases at an individual level as well as publisher level, considering blind and open peer review forms, the need for academics to get trained to improve the inclusion of diverse groups in peer review, and so on.  

2. The need for conferences to facilitate policy impact: This article written by Sarah Foxen, who works at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), explains how conferences can be extremely effective in expediting policy impact. She points out that even conferences focused on policymaking fail to produce policy briefs. She says, “It seems to me that conferences can be fantastic sites at which to stimulate and facilitate policy impact; however, I don’t think the research or policy communities are making the most of this.” She further goes on to discuss how conferences bring policymakers, policyshapers, and academics under one roof so that they can converse and exchange ideas. According to her, policy engagement in conferences can help academia to have the desired impact on policymaking.

3. Do corporate sponsorships distract research?: Corporate sponsorships are always scrutinized since they are suspected to divert research attention from health based agendas and government policies to satisfy commercial purposes of companies. In an interesting article, Christopher Knaus talks about the findings published by University of Sydney researchers in the American Journal of Public Health that highlight “the influence of the alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical, food, mining and chemical industries on the agenda of academic researchers.” The lead author of the paper Alice Fabbri says, “They fund research that can be used to promote their products or distract from the harms of their products, or to drive the research away from policies that will tend to harm them.” The article discusses the belief that “Coca-Cola’s research sponsorship suited its commercial objectives and could be at odds with public health efforts.”

4. A guide to a happy lab life: How can a lab ensure a nurturing and supportive workspace for trainees? In this article Mariam Aly discusses how she set up her own laboratory at Columbia University in New York and prepared for the responsibility she would be shouldering – the scientific advancement of her trainees and their well-being. Mariam says, “I thought about what had worked well and not so well for me as a trainee, and how to create best practices for my lab. Then I put into writing things that are usually transmitted informally.” She also candidly elaborates on how she designed her lab manual by saying, “I supplemented my lab manual with a wiki, a website of resources for lab members.” This manual includes all the resources a trainee would require. While Aly confesses that creating the manual is a time-consuming and painstaking process, it helps in the long run as the trainees understand what the expectations from them are and they find answers to most of their questions with ease. Mariam concludes by saying that her ultimate goal is to “ensure a healthy, happy and safe lab environment.”

5. The future of patient involvement in research: Scholarly publishing is embracing open science and it is making science more approachable for wide range of public. In an insightful article, Ella Flemyng – Journal Development Manager for BioMed Central’s applied-methodology journals – discusses patient involvement and engagement in academic journals. She says that while open access and open data are the most well-known aspects of open science, over the past decade another aspect that has gained increasing popularity is citizen science. Flemyng describes it as “involving and engaging patients and the public with scientific research at all stages of the research cycle.” Describing how Research Involvement and Engagement involves patients and academics at every stage of reviewing submissions, she highlights that several journals are coming forth to include patient peer review in their review process.

Also, browse through our previous Scholarly Communications Good Reads collections where we have featured more such interesting discussions from the scholarly publishing world. 

And if you’d like to stay tuned to important happenings in the journal publishing industry, visit our Industry News section.

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Published on: Sep 30, 2018


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