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American studies are more “positive” with pressure

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Researchers worldwide produce more than 1.4 million scientific articles each year.

A new european study shows that the ever-growing pressure to produce publishable results can adversely impact the quality of scientific research.

It was found that researchers report more ‘positive’ results for their experiments if they are based in US states where academics publish more frequently.

A cause of particular concern is the growing competition for research funding and academic positions, which, combined with an increasing use of bibliometric parameters to evaluate careers (e.g. number of publications and the impact factor of the journals they appeared in), pressures scientists into continuously producing “publishable” results“.

Like all human beings, scientists are confirmation-biased (i.e. tend to select information that supports their hypotheses about the world), and they are far from indifferent to the outcome of their own research: positive results make them happy and negative ones disappointed“.

He found that authors working in more ‘productive’ states were more inclined to support the tested hypothesis regardless of their research domain and whether or not funding was allocated to them. His research findings also reportedly hint that academics who carry out research in more competitive and productive environments are more likely to make their results look more ‘positive’.

The conclusions could be applied to all scientifically advanced countries, says the study, adding that policies that rely excessively on productivity measures might be lowering the quality of research.

Fanelli D (2010) Do Pressures to Publish Increase Scientists’ Bias? An Empirical Support from US States Data. PLoS ONE 5(4): e10271.


Written by hbasset

April 26, 2010 at 5:20 pm

STM Publishing in 2009

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Everything you must know about Science publishing is in the STM report 2009: the STM market figures, readers’ behaviors, new trends, web 2.0 impact, etc.
It is a follow up to the 2006 report, ‘Scientific publishing in transition: an overview of current developments,’ ‘The STM Report’ collected the available evidence and provides a comprehensive picture of the trends and currents in scholarly communication.

Ware, Mark and Mabe, Michael. The stm report : An overview of scientific and scholarly journals publishing. September 2009. Online:

Some facts and findings:

  • The annual revenues generated from English-language STM journal publishing are estimated at about $8 billion in 2008, up by 6-7% compared to 2007.
  • There were about 25,400 active scholarly peer-reviewed journals in early 2009, collectively publishing about 1.5 million articles a year.
  • Although this report focuses primarily on journals, the ebook market is evolving and growing rapidly.
  • Despite a transformation in the way journals are published, researchers’ core motivations for publishing appear largely unchanged, focused on funding and furthering the author’s career.
  • Reading patterns are changing, however, with researchers reading more, averaging 270 articles per year, but spending less time per article, with reading times down from 45-50 minutes in the mid-1990s to just over 30 minutes. Access and navigation to articles is increasingly driven by search rather than browsing.
  • The research community continues to see peer review as fundamental to scholarly communication and appears committed to it despite some perceived shortcomings. The typical reviewer spends 5 hours per review and reviews some 8 articles a year.
  • The vast majority of STM journals are now available online, with 96% of STM.
  • Social media and other “Web 2.0” tools have yet to make the impact on scholarly communication that they have done on the wider consumer web. Most researchers do not for instance read blogs regularly or make use of emerging social tools. This may be for a variety of reasons: a reluctance to introduce informal processes into the formal publication process; because the first wave of tools did not take sufficient account of the particular needs of researchers; a lack of incentives for researchers, including the lack of attribution for informal contributions; a lack of critical mass; and simply a lack to time to experiment with new media.
  • There are between 3400 (according to the Open J-Gate directory) and 4300 (DOAJ) open access peer reviewed journals. It is estimated that about 2% of articles are published in full open access journals, another 5% in journals offering delayed open access within 12 months, and under 1% under the optional (hybrid) model.

Written by hbasset

October 19, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Posted in Journals

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Methods for comprehensive science literature reviews

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The latest issue of ISTL gives an excellent paper among Tips from the experts.

The Barry N. Brown’s paper outlines “methods of conducting a comprehensive literature review for scientific topics“.

I appreciate especially handouts of the appendix that every researcher should have posted on his/her screen: outlines and tips for conducting an efficient search on databases, a search planner, main sources to know…

Nothing new but really practical…

Barry N. Brown. Research Methods for Comprehensive Science Literature Reviews. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Spring 2009. Online:

Written by hbasset

June 9, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Posted in literature

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