Social media attention and citations of published outputs from re-use of clinical trial data: a matched comparison with articles published in the same journals | BMC Medical Research Methodology | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

Data-sharing policies in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) should have an evaluation component. The main objective of this case–control study was to assess the impact of published re-uses of RCT data in terms of media attention (Altmetric) and citation rates.


Re-uses of RCT data published up to December 2019 (cases) were searched for by two reviewers on 3 repositories (CSDR, YODA project, and Vivli) and matched to control papers published in the same journal. The Altmetric Attention Score (primary outcome), components of this score (e.g. mention of policy sources, media attention) and the total number of citations were compared between these two groups.


89 re-uses were identified: 48 (53.9%) secondary analyses, 34 (38.2%) meta-analyses, 4 (4.5%) methodological analyses and 3 (3.4%) re-analyses. The median (interquartile range) Altmetric Attention Scores were 5.9 (1.3—22.2) for re-use and 2.8 (0.3—12.3) for controls (p?=?0.14). No statistical difference was found on any of the components of in the Altmetric Attention Score. The median (interquartile range) numbers of citations were 3 (1—8) for reuses and 4 (1 – 11.5) for controls (p?=?0.30). Only 6/89 re-uses (6.7%) were cited in a policy source.


Using all available re-uses of RCT data to date from major data repositories, we were not able to demonstrate that re-uses attracted more attention than a matched sample of studies published in the same journals. Small average differences are still possible, as the sample size was limited. However matching choices have some limitations so results should be interpreted very cautiously. Also, citations by policy sources for re-uses were rare.

Editorial: Can Journals, as Trusted Intermediaries, Cut Through the Signal-to-Noise Problem in Medical Publishing?

“Although open-access publication has its upsides, for purposes of this essay, I am going to lump publishing in open-access journals in with posting to preprint servers as potentially problematic. My reason for doing so is that both make it harder for clinicians to separate helpful research from distracting, unhelpful, and in the case of preprint servers, unvetted material. In previous editorials, I’ve highlighted some redeeming qualities of open-access publication [17, 18]; I also note that open access is a publication option here at CORR®. But from where I sit today, it’s becoming clear to me that the distortion of publication incentives that are inherent to fully open-access journals does not serve readers (or their patients) very well….”

Delays in reporting and publishing trial results during pandemics: cross sectional analysis of 2009 H1N1, 2014 Ebola, and 2016 Zika clinical trials | BMC Medical Research Methodology | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

Pandemic events often trigger a surge of clinical trial activity aimed at rapidly evaluating therapeutic or preventative interventions. Ensuring rapid public access to the complete and unbiased trial record is particularly critical for pandemic research given the urgent associated public health needs. The World Health Organization (WHO) established standards requiring posting of results to a registry within 12 months of trial completion and publication in a peer reviewed journal within 24 months of completion, though compliance with these requirements among pandemic trials is unknown.


This cross-sectional analysis characterizes availability of results in trial registries and publications among registered trials performed during the 2009 H1N1 influenza, 2014 Ebola, and 2016 Zika pandemics. We searched trial registries to identify clinical trials testing interventions related to these pandemics, and determined the time elapsed between trial completion and availability of results in the registry. We also performed a comprehensive search of MEDLINE via PubMed, Google Scholar, and EMBASE to identify corresponding peer reviewed publications. The primary outcome was the compliance with either of the WHO’s established standards for sharing clinical trial results. Secondary outcomes included compliance with both standards, and assessing the time elapsed between trial completion and public availability of results.


Three hundred thirty-three trials met eligibility criteria, including 261 H1N1 influenza trials, 60 Ebola trials, and 12 Zika trials. Of these, 139 (42%) either had results available in the trial registry within 12 months of study completion or had results available in a peer-reviewed publication within 24 months. Five trials (2%) met both standards. No results were available in either a registry or publication for 59 trials (18%). Among trials with registered results, a median of 42 months (IQR 16–76 months) elapsed between trial completion and results posting. For published trials, the median elapsed time between completion and publication was 21 months (IQR 9–34 months). Results were available within 24 months of study completion in either the trial registry or a peer reviewed publication for 166 trials (50%).


Very few trials performed during prior pandemic events met established standards for the timely public dissemination of trial results.

Covid-19 and Open Access in the Humanities: Impacts and Emerging Trends

Abstract:  Discussions of open-access publishing tend to center the scientific disciplines, and this trend has continued during the Covid-19 pandemic. But while the pandemic has certainly shed new light on the importance of openly accessible medical research, its effects—from economic impacts to attitudinal shifts—have been felt and speculated about across disciplines. This paper presents an investigation into present and future impacts of the pandemic on open-access publishing in the humanities, which have historically been slower to adopt open-access models than other disciplines. A survey distributed to scholarly publishing professionals, academic librarians, and others working in open-access humanities publishing sought to determine what changes these professionals had observed in their field since the start of the pandemic, as well as what impacts they projected for the long term. While the lasting effects of this still-evolving global health and economic crisis remain uncertain, the survey results indicate that open-access humanities professionals have already observed changes in areas including market demand, institutional interest, and funding, while many of them predict that the pandemic will have a long-term impact on the field. These findings contribute to an ongoing conversation about the place of the humanities in the openaccess publishing landscape and the need for sustainable institutional investment.

How the COVID pandemic is changing global science collaborations

“Another long-term trend that researchers are watching out for is the push for scientists to share their research data more openly. This was mandated by the biomedical funding charity, Wellcome, for research that it funded on COVID-19, although there have been instances of people circumventing the rules by making data available ‘upon request’.

In theory, the push for open data might lessen international collaboration if it is no longer necessary to establish personal relationships to access data. Sugimoto says this could happen, but also wonders whether open data might help to link researchers from across the world by making their work more visible. “It could actually, in some ways, enhance and increase international collaboration rather than diminish it,” she says….”

eLife announces new approach to publishing in medicine | For the press | eLife

eLife is excited to announce a new approach to peer review and publishing in medicine, including public health and health policy.

One of the most notable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the desire to share important results and discoveries quickly, widely and openly, leading to rapid growth of the preprint server medRxiv. Despite the benefits of rapid, author-driven publication in accelerating research and democratising access to results, the growing number of clinical preprints means that individuals and institutions may act quickly on new information before it is adequately scrutinised.

To address this challenge, eLife is bringing its system of editorial oversight by practicing clinicians and clinician-investigators, and rigorous, consultative peer review to preprints. The journal’s goal is to produce ‘refereed preprints’ on medRxiv that provide readers and potential users with a detailed assessment of the research, comments on its potential impact, and perspectives on its use. By providing this rich and rapid evaluation of new results, eLife hopes peer-reviewed preprints will become a reliable indicator of quality in medical research, rather than journal impact factor.

Open Science Reading Group – Show and Tell – Library Events & Appointments – Lane Medical Library

“The Open Science Reading Group is intended to bring together members of the Stanford Medicine and UCSF communities to learn about open science, discuss the application of open science practices in a biomedical context, and meet other members of the community who are interested in (or already are) incorporating open science practices into their work….”

Language extinction triggers the loss of unique medicinal knowledge | PNAS

Abstract:  The United Nations proclamation of 2022–2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages aims to raise global awareness about their endangerment and importance for sustainable development. Indigenous languages contain the knowledge that communities have about their surrounding plants and the services they provide. The use of plants in medicine is a particularly relevant example of such ecosystem services. Here, we find that most medicinal knowledge is linguistically unique—i.e., known by a single language—and more strongly associated with threatened languages than with threatened plants. Each indigenous language is therefore a unique reservoir of medicinal knowledge—a Rosetta stone for unraveling and conserving nature’s contributions to people.


The Global Extinction of Languages Is Threatening a Vital Type of Human Knowledge

“As human languages are driven to extinction around the world, a verbal encyclopedia of medical knowledge is on the brink of being forgotten.

Among 12,495 medicinal uses for plants in indigenous communities, new research has found over 75 percent of those plants are each tied to just one local language. If these unique words trickle out of use, so too may the knowledge they contain….

Language extinction is a tragic phenomenon that’s been occurring worldwide, as languages spoken by precious few people are replaced by larger ones. Roughly one language ceases to be spoken every four months, and 3,054 languages are currently endangered around the world….

The vast majority of plant species in the study were found to have medical properties described in just one indigenous language, many of which are themselves endangered….

In North America, for instance, the authors found waning indigenous languages held 86 percent of all unique knowledge on plant medicine. In the northwest Amazon, on the other hand, 100 percent of medicinal plant knowledge is restricted to languages on the edge of extinction. …”