Medical journal editors lacked familiarity with scientific publication issues despite training and regular exposure

Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
Journal of clinical epidemiology (Impact Factor: 3.42). 11/2011; 65(3):247-52. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2011.08.003
Source: PubMed


To characterize medical editors by determining their demographics, training, potential sources of conflict of interest (COI), and familiarity with ethical standards.
We selected editors of clinical medical journals with the highest annual citation rates. One hundred eighty-three editors were electronically surveyed (response rate, 52%) on demographics and experiences with editorial training, publication ethics, industry, and scientific publication organizations.
Editors reported formal (76%) and informal (89%) training in medical editing topics. Most editors saw publication ethics issues (e.g., authorship, COIs) at least once a year. When presented with four questions about editorial issues discussed in commonly cited authoritative policy sources, performance was poor on topics of authorship (30% answered correctly), COI (15%), peer review (16%), and plagiarism (17%). Despite this, confidence level in editorial skills on a Likert scale from the beginning to the end of the survey dropped only slightly from 4.2 to 3.9 (P<0.0001).
Our study presents a current look at editors of major clinical medical journals. Most editors reported training in medical editing topics, saw ethical issues regularly, and were aware of scientific publication organizations, but their knowledge of four common and well-disseminated publication ethics topics appears poor.

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    • "It is important for editors to keep up with literature on publication ethics. A survey of the medical journal editors showed that their knowledge of publication ethics was poor despite a background of training in editing and regular confrontation with ethical issues (Wong and Callaham 2012). 4) Minimizing overlap between editorial and peer reviewer functions – " The primary purpose of the review is to provide the editor with the information to reach a decision " (Nature editorial 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: With the ever expanding array of professional journals, pressures on the peer review process have increased considerably. Unless editors and publishers recognize the need for improving the efficiency of the process, the future of traditional peer review may be at risk. This is a review of the studies that have followed up the suggestions made by Ingelfinger in 1974 for improvement of manuscript peer review. Implementation of changes has been slow, despite the abundance of literature that suggests the necessary improvements. Conscientious self-regulation is expected of editors who, in the current publication scenario, possess enor- mous power without liability. Suitability of peer review to outsourcing should be assessed and if it is absolutely essential to outsource peer review (due to financial constraints on the publisher), care should be taken to ensure that it is implemented systematically and monitored regularly for quality. Finally, it is time for high earning publishers to consider compensation (financial or otherwise) for the efforts of the reviewers.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of Academic Ethics
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    • "On the other hand, the peer review process for both grant giving and journal publication has serious flaws, including claims of being ineffective [3], as well as having poorly trained and poorly motivated reviewers. Similarly, many journal editors lack formal training [4,5], as well as having poor knowledge related to publication ethics [5]. While the causes for this type of research waste may be varied, the consequences for decision-makers, knowledge users, and tax-paying healthcare patients are ultimately negative, as indicated by Dickerson and Chalmers in their 2010 report on this topic: ‘Incomplete and biased reporting has resulted in patients suffering and dying unnecessarily [6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background An estimated $100 billion is lost to ‘waste’ in biomedical research globally, annually, much of which comes from the poor quality of published research. One area of waste involves bias in reporting research, which compromises the usability of published reports. In response, there has been an upsurge in interest and research in the scientific process of writing, editing, peer reviewing, and publishing (that is, journalology) of biomedical research. One reason for bias in reporting and the problem of unusable reports could be due to authors lacking knowledge or engaging in questionable practices while designing, conducting, or reporting their research. Another might be that the peer review process for journal publication has serious flaws, including possibly being ineffective, and having poorly trained and poorly motivated reviewers. Similarly, many journal editors have limited knowledge related to publication ethics. This can ultimately have a negative impact on the healthcare system. There have been repeated calls for better, more numerous training opportunities in writing for publication, peer review, and publishing. However, little research has taken stock of journalology training opportunities or evaluations of their effectiveness. Methods We will conduct a systematic review to synthesize studies that evaluate the effectiveness of training programs in journalology. A comprehensive three-phase search approach will be employed to identify evaluations of training opportunities, involving: 1) forward-searching using the Scopus citation database, 2) a search of the MEDLINE In-Process and Non-Indexed Citations, MEDLINE, Embase, ERIC, and PsycINFO databases, as well as the databases of the Cochrane Library, and 3) a grey literature search. Discussion This project aims to provide evidence to help guide the journalological training of authors, peer reviewers, and editors. While there is ample evidence that many members of these groups are not getting the necessary training needed to excel at their respective journalology-related tasks, little is known about the characteristics of existing training opportunities, including their effectiveness. The proposed systematic review will provide evidence regarding the effectiveness of training, therefore giving potential trainees, course designers, and decision-makers evidence to help inform their choices and policies regarding the merits of specific training opportunities or types of training.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Systematic Reviews

  • No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · Journal of clinical epidemiology
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