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1.  Incorporating Genomics into the Toolkit of Nematology 
Journal of Nematology  2012;44(2):191-205.
The study of nematode genomes over the last three decades has relied heavily on the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, which remains the best-assembled and annotated metazoan genome. This is now changing as a rapidly expanding number of nematodes of medical and economic importance have been sequenced in recent years. The advent of sequencing technologies to achieve the equivalent of the $1000 human genome promises that every nematode genome of interest will eventually be sequenced at a reasonable cost. As the sequencing of species spanning the nematode phylum becomes a routine part of characterizing nematodes, the comparative approach and the increasing use of ecological context will help us to further understand the evolution and functional specializations of any given species by comparing its genome to that of other closely and more distantly related nematodes. We review the current state of nematode genomics and discuss some of the highlights that these genomes have revealed and the trend and benefits of ecological genomics, emphasizing the potential for new genomes and the exciting opportunities this provides for nematological studies.
PMCID: PMC3578471  PMID: 23482088
ecological genomics; evolution; genomics; nematodes; phylogenetics; proteomics; sequencing
2.  What Every Author and Reviewer Should Know about the Publication Process in the Journal of Nematology 
Journal of Nematology  1997;29(4S):619-624.
The Journal of Nematology is a publication of the very highest quality for communicating the most recent discoveries in the science of nematology. The authors of this Viewpoint article desire to maintain the status of the journal while lessening the burden placed on the editorial staff. A few simple steps taken by authors during the manuscript preparation phase can greatly improve the quality of their papers. Authors should carefully review the "Author's Publication Handbook and Style Manual" before and during the preparation of a manuscript intended for publication in the Journal of Nematology. In addition, authors should submit a completed "Author's Checklist for Preparation of Papers" with each manuscript submitted to the journal. Reviewers should provide thorough reviews, return mantlscripts in a timely manner, and clearly define statements regarding revisions.
PMCID: PMC2619833  PMID: 19274261
editor; manuscript; publication; reviewer; style manual
3.  Trend towards multiple authorship in occupational medicine journals 
There is an established trend towards an increasing number of authors per article in prestigious journals for medicine and health sciences. It is uncertain whether a similar trend occurs to the same extent in journals for specific medical specialties.
Journals focusing on occupational medicine were selected for analysis with regard to single or multiple-authorship per peer-reviewed paper. Data were collected from PubMed for publications between 1970 and 2007. These were analysed to calculate the average number of authors per multiple-author article per year and the percentage of single-author articles per year. The slope and average of these journals were then compared with that of previously studied non-occupational medicine journals.
The results confirm a trend towards a linear increase in the average number of authors per article and a linear decrease in the percentage of single-author articles. The slope for the average number of authors for multiple-author articles was significantly higher in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine than in the other occupational medicine journals. Computational analysis of all articles published showed that Occupational Medicine (Oxford) had a significantly higher percentage of single-author articles than the other occupational medicine journals as well as major journals previously studied.
The same trend towards multiple authorship can be observed in medical specialty journals as in major journals for medicine and health sciences. There is a direct relationship between occupational journals with higher impact factors and a higher average number of authors per article in those journals.
PMCID: PMC2645424  PMID: 19203357
4.  A Position Paper on the Electronic Publication of Nematode Taxonomic Manuscripts 
Journal of Nematology  2006;38(3):305-311.
Several nematode species have now attained ‘model organism’ status, yet there remain many niches in basic biological inquiry for which nematodes would be ideal model systems of study. However, furthering the model system approach is hindered by lack of information on nematode biodiversity. The shortage of taxonomic resources to inventory and characterize biodiversity hinders research programs in invasion biology, ecosystem functioning, conservation biology, and many others. The disproportion between numbers of species to be described and numbers of available taxonomic specialists is greater for Nematoda than for any other metazoan phylum. A partial solution to the taxonomic impediment is the adoption of recent advances in electronic publishing. Electronic publishing has the potential to increase the rate at which taxonomic papers are published, the breadth of their distribution, and the type, quantity, quality, and accessibility of data. We propose that the Journal of Nematology implement the advantageous aspects of electronic publication as a means to help ameliorate the limitations of an underdeveloped taxonomy and empower the nematological disciplines currently hindered by it.
PMCID: PMC2586701  PMID: 19259533
data integration; digital multifocal images; electronic publication; nematode taxonomy; online descriptions; position paper
5.  The Toxic Effects of Cigarette Additives. Philip Morris' Project Mix Reconsidered: An Analysis of Documents Released through Litigation 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(12):e1001145.
Stanton Glantz and colleagues analyzed previously secret tobacco industry documents and peer-reviewed published results of Philip Morris' Project MIX about research on cigarette additives, and show that this research on the use of cigarette additives cannot be taken at face value.
In 2009, the promulgation of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tobacco regulation focused attention on cigarette flavor additives. The tobacco industry had prepared for this eventuality by initiating a research program focusing on additive toxicity. The objective of this study was to analyze Philip Morris' Project MIX as a case study of tobacco industry scientific research being positioned strategically to prevent anticipated tobacco control regulations.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed previously secret tobacco industry documents to identify internal strategies for research on cigarette additives and reanalyzed tobacco industry peer-reviewed published results of this research. We focused on the key group of studies conducted by Phillip Morris in a coordinated effort known as “Project MIX.” Documents showed that Project MIX subsumed the study of various combinations of 333 cigarette additives. In addition to multiple internal reports, this work also led to four peer-reviewed publications (published in 2001). These papers concluded that there was no evidence of substantial toxicity attributable to the cigarette additives studied. Internal documents revealed post hoc changes in analytical protocols after initial statistical findings indicated an additive-associated increase in cigarette toxicity as well as increased total particulate matter (TPM) concentrations in additive-modified cigarette smoke. By expressing the data adjusted by TPM concentration, the published papers obscured this underlying toxicity and particulate increase. The animal toxicology results were based on a small number of rats in each experiment, raising the possibility that the failure to detect statistically significant changes in the end points was due to underpowering the experiments rather than lack of a real effect.
The case study of Project MIX shows tobacco industry scientific research on the use of cigarette additives cannot be taken at face value. The results demonstrate that toxins in cigarette smoke increase substantially when additives are put in cigarettes, including the level of TPM. In particular, regulatory authorities, including the FDA and similar agencies elsewhere, could use the Project MIX data to eliminate the use of these 333 additives (including menthol) from cigarettes.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The tobacco industry in the United States has recognized that regulation of its products was inevitable as early as 1963 and devoted increasing attention to the likelihood of regulation by the US Food and Drug Administration in the mid-1990s, which finally became law in 2009. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which came into force in June 2003, includes provisions addressing the regulation of the contents of tobacco products and the regulation of tobacco product disclosures. Although these steps represent progress in tobacco control, the events of the past few decades show the determination of the tobacco industry to avoid regulation, including the regulation of additives. In the United States, executives of the tobacco company Philip Morris (PM) recognized the inevitability of regulation and responded by initiating efforts to shape legislation and regulation by reorganizing its internal scientific activities and conducting scientific research that could be used to shape any proposed regulations. For example, the company conducted “Project MIX,” a study of chemical constituents in and toxicity of smoke produced by burning cigarettes containing three different combinations of 333 cigarette additives that “were constructed to resemble typical commercial blended cigarettes.” The resulting four papers published in Food and Chemical Toxicology in January 2002 concluded that there was no evidence of substantial toxicity attributable to the cigarette additives studied.
Why Was This Study Done?
The use of cigarette additives is an important concern of the WHO, FDA, and similar national regulatory bodies around the world. Philip Morris has used the published Project MIX papers to assert the safety of individual additives and other cigarette companies have done similar studies that reached similar conclusions. In this study, the researchers used documents made public as a result of litigation against the tobacco industry to investigate the origins and design of Project MIX and to conduct their own analyses of the results to assess the reliability of the conclusions in the papers published in Food and Chemical Toxicology.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers systematically examined tobacco industry documents in the University of California San Francisco Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (then about 60 million pages made publicly available as a result of litigation) and used an iterative process of searching, analyzing, and refining to identify and review in detail 500 relevant documents.
The researchers found that in the original Project MIX analysis, the published papers obscured findings of toxicity by adjusting the data by total particulate matter (TPM) concentration. When the researchers conducted their own analysis by studying additives per cigarette (as was specified in the original Project MIX protocol), they found that 15 carcinogenic chemicals increased by 20%. The researchers also reported that, for unexplained reasons, Philip Morris deemphasized 19 of the 51 chemicals tested in the presentation of results, including nine that were substantially increased in smoke on a per cigarette basis of additive-added cigarettes, compared to smoke of control cigarettes.
The researchers explored the possibility that the failure of Project MIX to detect statistically significant changes in the toxicity of the smoke from cigarettes containing the additives was due to underpowered experiments rather than lack of a real effect by conducting their own statistical analysis. This analysis suggests that a better powered study would have detected a much broader range of biological effects associated with the additives than was identified in Philip Morris' published paper, suggesting that it substantially underestimated the toxic potential of cigarette smoke and additives.
The researchers also found that Food and Chemical Toxicology, the journal in which the four Project MIX papers were published, had an editor and 11 of its International Editorial Board with documented links to the tobacco industry. The scientist and leader of Project MIX Edward Carmines described the process of publication as “an inside job.”
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the tobacco industry scientific research on the use of cigarette additives cannot be taken at face value: the results demonstrate that toxins in cigarette smoke increase substantially when additives are put in cigarettes. In addition, better powered studies would probably have detected a much broader range of adverse biological effects associated with the additives than identified to those identified in PM's published papers suggesting that the published papers substantially underestimate the toxic potential combination of cigarette smoke and additives.
Regulatory authorities, including the FDA and similar agencies elsewhere who are implementing WHO FCTC, should conduct their own independent analysis of Project MIX data, which, analyzed correctly, could provide a strong evidence base for the elimination of the use of the studied additives (including menthol) in cigarettes on public health grounds.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
For PLoS Medicine's own policy on publishing papers sponsored by the tobacco industry see
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)
The documents that the researchers reviewed in this paper can be found at the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library
PMCID: PMC3243707  PMID: 22205885
International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics  2013;88(1):10.1016/j.ijrobp.2013.09.025.
Although considerable research exists regarding the role of women in the medical profession in the United States, little work has described the participation of women in academic radiation oncology. We examined women’s participation in authorship of radiation oncology literature, a visible and influential activity that merits specific attention.
Methods and Materials
We examined the gender of first and senior U.S. physician-authors of articles published in the Red Journal in 1980, 1990, 2000, 2004, 2010 and 2012. The significance of trends over time was evaluated using logistic regression. Results were compared to female representation in journals of general medicine and other major medical specialties. Findings were also placed in the context of trends in the representation of women among radiation oncology faculty and residents over the last three decades, using AAMC data.
The proportion of women among Red Journal first authors increased from 13.4% in 1980 to 29.7% in 2012, and the proportion among senior authors increased from 3.2% to 22.6%. The proportion of women among radiation oncology full-time faculty increased from 11% to 26.7% from 1980 to 2012. The proportion of women among radiation oncology residents increased from 27.1% to 33.3% from 1980 to 2010.
Female first and senior authorship in the Red Journal has increased significantly, as has women’s participation among full-time faculty, but women remain under-represented among radiation oncology residents as compared to their representation in the medical student body. Understanding such trends is necessary to develop appropriately targeted interventions to improve gender equity in radiation oncology.
PMCID: PMC3880121  PMID: 24189127
gender; radiation oncology; publications; career development; medical profession; medical education
7.  A White Paper on Nematode Comparative Genomics 
Journal of Nematology  2005;37(4):408-416.
In response to the new opportunities for genome sequencing and comparative genomics, the Society of Nematology (SON) formed a committee to develop a white paper in support of the broad scientific needs associated with this phylum and interests of SON members. Although genome sequencing is expensive, the data generated are unique in biological systems in that genomes have the potential to be complete (every base of the genome can be accounted for), accurate (the data are digital and not subject to stochastic variation), and permanent (once obtained, the genome of a species does not need to be experimentally re-sampled). The availability of complete, accurate, and permanent genome sequences from diverse nematode species will underpin future studies into the biology and evolution of this phylum and the ecological associations (particularly parasitic) nematodes have with other organisms. We anticipate that upwards of 100 nematode genomes will be solved to varying levels of completion in the coming decade and suggest biological and practical considerations to guide the selection of the most informative taxa for sequencing.
PMCID: PMC2620993  PMID: 19262884
Caenorhabditis elegans; comparative genomics; genome sequencing; systematics
8.  Prevalence and Correlates of Antipsychotic Polypharmacy: A Systematic Review and Meta-regression of Global and Regional Trends from the 1970s to 2009 
Schizophrenia Research  2012;138(1):18-28.
To assess the prevalence and correlates of antipsychotic polypharmacy (APP) across decades and regions.
Electronic PubMed/Google Scholar search for studies reporting on APP, published from 1970-05/2009. Median rates and interquartile ranges (IQR) were calculated and compared using non-parametric tests. Demographic and clinical variables were tested as correlates of APP in bivariate and meta-regression analyses.
Across 147 studies (1,418,163 participants, 82.9% diagnosed with schizophrenia [IQR=42–100%]), the median APP rate was 19.6% (IQR=12.9–35.0%). Most common combinations included first-generation antipsychotics (FGAs)+second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) (42.4%, IQR=0.0–71.4%) followed by FGAs+FGAs (19.6%, IQR=0.0–100%) and SGAs+SGAs (1.8%, IQR=0.0–28%). APP rates were not different between decades (1970–1979:28.8%, IQR=7.5–44%; 1980–1989:17.6%, IQR=10.8–38.2; 1990–1999:22.0%, IQR=11–40; 2000–2009:19.2% IQR=14.4–29.9, p=0.78), but between regions, being higher in Asia and Europe than North America, and in Asia than Oceania (p<0.001). APP increased numerically by 34% in North America from the 1980s 12.7%) to 2000s (17.0%) (p=0.94) and decreased significantly by 65% from 1980 (55.5%) to 2000 (19.2%) in Asia (p=0.03), with non-significant changes in Europe. APP was associated with inpatient status (p<0.001), use of FGAs (p<0.0001) and anticholinergics (<0.001), schizophrenia (p=0.01), less antidepressant use (p=0.02), greater LAIs use (p=0.04), shorter follow-up (p=0.001) and cross-sectional vs. longitudinal study design (p=0.03). In a meta-regression, inpatient status (p<0.0001), FGA use (0.046), and schizophrenia diagnosis (p=0.004) independently predicted APP (N=66, R2=0.44, p<0.0001).
APP is common with different rates and time trends by region over the last four decades. APP is associated with greater anticholinergic requirement, shorter observation time, greater illness severity and lower antidepressant use.
PMCID: PMC3382997  PMID: 22534420
Combinations; Schizophrenia; Polypharmacy; Cotreatment; Meta-regression
9.  Recent trends in publication of basic science and clinical research by United States investigators in anesthesia journals 
BMC Anesthesiology  2012;12:5.
United States anesthesia research production declined sharply from 1980-2005. Whether this trend has continued despite recent calls to improve output is unknown. We conducted an observational internet analysis to quantify American basic science and clinical anesthesia research output in 14 anesthesia journals with impact factors greater than one at three-year intervals during the past decade.
American investigators published 1,486 (21.7%) of the total of 6,845 research articles identified in anesthesia journals in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010. Approximately two-thirds of all US articles were published in Anesthesiology and Anesthesia and Analgesia. There was a significant correlation (r2 = 0.316; P = 0.036) between the number of articles published by American authors in each anesthesia journal and the corresponding journal's impact factor in 2010. Significantly (P < 0.05; Pearson's Chi-square) fewer basic science articles were published in 2007 and 2010 compared with 2001. US clinical research output also declined in 2007 (201; 15.7%) compared with 2001 (266; 19.1%) and 2004, but an increase occurred in 2010 (279; 21.8%, P < 0.05 versus 2007).
The results indicate that US anesthesia research output continued to decrease from 2001 to 2007. An increase in clinical but not basic science research was observed in 2010 compared with 2007, suggesting that a modest recovery in clinical research production may have begun.
PMCID: PMC3337323  PMID: 22439884
Anesthesia journals; Bibliometrics; Research; Scholarship; Scientific publication
10.  Child Mortality Estimation: Estimating Sex Differences in Childhood Mortality since the 1970s 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(8):e1001287.
Cheryl Sawyer uses new methods to generate estimates of sex differences in child mortality which can be used to pinpoint areas where these differences in mortality merit closer examination.
Producing estimates of infant (under age 1 y), child (age 1–4 y), and under-five (under age 5 y) mortality rates disaggregated by sex is complicated by problems with data quality and availability. Interpretation of sex differences requires nuanced analysis: girls have a biological advantage against many causes of death that may be eroded if they are disadvantaged in access to resources. Earlier studies found that girls in some regions were not experiencing the survival advantage expected at given levels of mortality. In this paper I generate new estimates of sex differences for the 1970s to the 2000s.
Methods and Findings
Simple fitting methods were applied to male-to-female ratios of infant and under-five mortality rates from vital registration, surveys, and censuses. The sex ratio estimates were used to disaggregate published series of both-sexes mortality rates that were based on a larger number of sources. In many developing countries, I found that sex ratios of mortality have changed in the same direction as historically occurred in developed countries, but typically had a lower degree of female advantage for a given level of mortality. Regional average sex ratios weighted by numbers of births were found to be highly influenced by China and India, the only countries where both infant mortality and overall under-five mortality were estimated to be higher for girls than for boys in the 2000s. For the less developed regions (comprising Africa, Asia excluding Japan, Latin America/Caribbean, and Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand), on average, boys' under-five mortality in the 2000s was about 2% higher than girls'. A number of countries were found to still experience higher mortality for girls than boys in the 1–4-y age group, with concentrations in southern Asia, northern Africa/western Asia, and western Africa. In the more developed regions (comprising Europe, northern America, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand), I found that the sex ratio of infant mortality peaked in the 1970s or 1980s and declined thereafter.
The methods developed here pinpoint regions and countries where sex differences in mortality merit closer examination to ensure that both sexes are sharing equally in access to health resources. Further study of the distribution of causes of death in different settings will aid the interpretation of differences in survival for boys and girls.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Editors' Summary
In 2000, world leaders agreed to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015. To help track progress towards this global commitment, eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were set. MDG 4, which aims to reduce child mortality, calls for a reduction in under-five mortality (the number of children who die before their fifth birthday) to a third of its 1990 level of 12 million by 2015. The under-five mortality rate is also denoted in the literature as U5MR and 5q0. Progress towards MDG 4 has been substantial, but with only three years left to reach it, efforts to strengthen child survival programs are intensifying. Reliable estimates of trends in childhood mortality are pivotal to these efforts. So, since 2004, the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) has used statistical regression models to produce estimates of trends in under-five mortality and infant mortality (death before age one year) from data about childbearing and child survival collected by vital registration systems (records of all births and deaths), household surveys, and censuses.
Why Was This Study Done?
In addition to estimates of overall childhood mortality trends, information about sex-specific childhood mortality trends is desirable to monitor progress towards MDG 4, although the interpretation of trends in the relative mortality of girls and boys is not straightforward. Newborn girls survive better than newborn boys because they are less vulnerable to birth complications and infections and have fewer inherited abnormalities. Thus, the ratio of infant mortality among boys to infant mortality among girls is greater than one, provided both sexes have equal access to food and medical care. Beyond early infancy, girls and boys are similarly vulnerable to infections, so the sex ratio of deaths in the 1–4-year age group is generally lower than that of infant mortality. Notably, as living conditions improve in developing countries, infectious diseases become less important as causes of death. Thus, in the absence of sex-specific differences in the treatment of children, the sex ratio of childhood mortality is expected be greater than one and to increase as overall under-five mortality rates in developing countries decrease. In this study, the researcher evaluated national and regional changes in the sex ratios of childhood mortality since the 1970s to investigate whether girls and boys have equal access to medical care and other resources.
What Did the Researcher Do and Find?
The researcher developed new statistical fitting methods to estimate trends in the sex ratio of mortality for infants and young children for individual countries and world regions. When considering individual countries, the researcher found that for 92 countries in less developed regions, the median sex ratio of under-five mortality increased between the 1970s and the 2000s, in line with the expected changes just described. However, the average sex ratio of under-five mortality for less developed regions, weighted according to the number of births in each country, did not increase between the 1970s and 2000s, at which time the average under-five mortality rate of boys was about 2% higher than that of girls. This discrepancy resulted from India and China—the two most populous developing countries—having sex ratios for both infant and under-five mortality that remained constant or declined over the study period and were below one in the 2000s, a result that indicates excess female mortality. In China, for example, infant mortality was found to be 12% higher for boys than for girls in the 1970s, but 24% lower for boys than for girls in the 2000s. Finally, although in the less developed regions (excluding India and China) girls went from having a slight survival disadvantage at ages 1–4 years in the 1970s, on average, to having a slight advantage in the 2000s, girls remained more likely to die than boys in this age group in several Asian and African countries.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although the quality of the available data is likely to affect the accuracy of these findings, in most developing countries the ratio of male to female under-five mortality has increased since the 1970s, in parallel with the decrease in overall childhood mortality. Notably, however, in a number of developing countries—including several each in sub-Saharan Africa, northern Africa/western Asia, and southern Asia—girls have higher mortality than boys at ages 1–4 years, and in India and China girls have higher mortality in infancy. Thus, girls are benefitting less than boys from the overall decline in childhood mortality in India, China, and some other developing countries. Further studies are needed to determine the underlying reasons for this observation. Nevertheless, the methods developed here to estimate trends in sex-specific childhood mortality pinpoint countries and regions where greater efforts should be made to ensure that both sexes have equal access to health care and other important resources during early life.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This paper is part of a collection of papers on Child Mortality Estimation Methods published in PLOS Medicine
The United Nations Childrens Fund works for children's rights, survival, development, and protection around the world; it provides information on Millennium Development Goal 4, and its Childinfo website provides detailed statistics about child survival and health, including a description of the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation; the 2011 UN IGME report Levels & Trends in Child Mortality is available
The World Health Organization also has information about Millennium Development Goal 4 and provides estimates of child mortality rates (some information in several languages)
Further information about the Millennium Development Goals is available
A 2011 report by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs entitled Sex Differentials in Childhood Mortality is available
PMCID: PMC3429399  PMID: 22952433
11.  The introduction, methods, results and discussion (IMRAD) structure: a Survey of its use in different authoring partnerships in a students' journal 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:250.
Globally, the role of universities as providers of research education in addition to leading in main - stream research is gaining more importance with demand for evidence based practices. This paper describes the effect of various students and faculty authoring partnerships on the use of the IMRAD style of writing for a university student journal.
This was an audit of the Makerere University Students' Journal publications over an 18-year period. Details of the authors' affiliation, year of publication, composition of the authoring teams and use of IMRAD formatting were noted. Data analysis gave results summarised as frequencies and, effect sizes from correlations and the non parametric test. There were 209 articles found with the earliest from 1990 to latest in 2007 of which 48.3% were authored by faculty only teams, 41.1% were authored by student only teams, 6.2% were authored by students and faculty teams, and 4.3% had no contribution from the above mentioned teams. There were significant correlations between the different teams and the years of the publication (rs = -0.338 p < 0.01 one tailed). Use of the IMRAD formatting was significantly affected by the composition of the teams (Χ2 (2df) = 25.621, p < 0.01) especially when comparing the student only teams to the faculty only teams. (U = 3165 r = - 0.289). There was a significant trend towards student only teams over the years sampled. (z = -4.764, r = -0.34).
In the surveyed publications, there was evidence of reduced faculty student authoring teams as evidenced by the trends towards students only authoring teams and reduced use of IMRAD formatting in articles published in the students' journal. Since the university is expected to lead in teaching of research, there is need for increased support for undergraduate research, as a starting point for research education.
PMCID: PMC3154165  PMID: 21777425
research; education; publications; undergraduate; IMRAD
12.  The Fall and Rise of US Inequities in Premature Mortality: 1960–2002 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(2):e46.
Debates exist as to whether, as overall population health improves, the absolute and relative magnitude of income- and race/ethnicity-related health disparities necessarily increase—or derease. We accordingly decided to test the hypothesis that health inequities widen—or shrink—in a context of declining mortality rates, by examining annual US mortality data over a 42 year period.
Methods and Findings
Using US county mortality data from 1960–2002 and county median family income data from the 1960–2000 decennial censuses, we analyzed the rates of premature mortality (deaths among persons under age 65) and infant death (deaths among persons under age 1) by quintiles of county median family income weighted by county population size. Between 1960 and 2002, as US premature mortality and infant death rates declined in all county income quintiles, socioeconomic and racial/ethnic inequities in premature mortality and infant death (both relative and absolute) shrank between 1966 and 1980, especially for US populations of color; thereafter, the relative health inequities widened and the absolute differences barely changed in magnitude. Had all persons experienced the same yearly age-specific premature mortality rates as the white population living in the highest income quintile, between 1960 and 2002, 14% of the white premature deaths and 30% of the premature deaths among populations of color would not have occurred.
The observed trends refute arguments that health inequities inevitably widen—or shrink—as population health improves. Instead, the magnitude of health inequalities can fall or rise; it is our job to understand why.
Nancy Krieger and colleagues found evidence of decreasing, and then increasing or stagnating, socioeconomic and racial inequities in US premature mortality and infant death from 1960 to 2002.
Editors' Summary
One of the biggest aims of public health advocates and governments is to improve the health of the population. Improving health increases people's quality of life and helps the population be more economically productive. But within populations are often persistent differences (usually called “disparities” or “inequities”) in the health of different subgroups—between women and men, different income groups, and people of different races/ethnicities, for example. Researchers study these differences so that policy makers and the broader public can be informed about what to do to intervene. For example, if we know that the health of certain subgroups of the population—such as the poor—is staying the same or even worsening as the overall health of the population is improving, policy makers could design programs and devote resources to specifically target the poor.
To study health disparities, researchers use both relative and absolute measures. Relative inequities refer to ratios, while absolute inequities refer to differences. For example, if one group's average income level increases from $1,000 to $10,000 and another group's from $2,000 to $20,000, the relative inequality between the groups stays the same (i.e., the ratio of incomes between the two groups is still 2) but the absolute difference between the two groups has increased from $1,000 to $10,000.
Examining the US population, Nancy Krieger and colleagues looked at trends over time in both relative and absolute differences in mortality between people in different income groups and between whites and people of color.
Why Was This Study Done?
There has been a lot of debate about whether disparities have been widening or narrowing as overall population health improves. Some research has found that both total health and health disparities are getting better with time. Other research has shown that overall health gains mask worsening disparities—such that the rich get healthier while the poor get sicker.
Having access to more data over a longer time frame meant that Krieger and colleagues could provide a more complete picture of this sometimes contradictory story. It also meant they could test their hypothesis about whether, as population health improves, health inequities necessarily widen or shrink within the time period between the 1960s through the 1990s during which certain events and policies likely would have had an impact on the mortality trends in that country.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In order to investigate health inequities, the authors chose to look at two common measures of population health: rates of premature mortality (dying before the age of 65 years) and rates of infant mortality (death before the age of 1).
To determine mortality rates, the authors used death statistics data from different counties, which are routinely collected by state and national governments. To be able to rank mortality rates for different income groups, they used data on the median family incomes of people living within those counties (meaning half the families had income above, and half had incomes below, the median value). They calculated mortality rates for the total population and for whites versus people of color. They used data from 1960 through 2002. They compared rates for 1966–1980 with two other time periods: 1960–1965 and 1981–2002. They also examined trends in the annual mortality rates and in the annual relative and absolute disparites in these rates by county income level.
Over the whole period 1960–2002, the authors found that premature mortality (death before the age of 65) and infant mortality (death before the age of 1) decreased for all income groups. But they also found that disparities between income groups and between whites and people of color were not the same over this time period. In fact, the economic disparities narrowed then widened. First, they shrank between 1966 and 1980, especially for Americans of color. After 1980, however, the relative health inequities widened and the absolute differences did not change. The authors conclude that if all people in the US population experienced the same health gains as the most advantaged did during these 42 years (i.e., as the whites in the highest income groups), 14% of the premature deaths among whites and 30% of the premature deaths among people of color would have been prevented.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings provide an overview of the trends in inequities in premature and infant mortality over a long period of time. Different explanations for these trends can now be tested. The authors discuss several potential reasons for these trends, including generally rising incomes across America and changes related to specific diseases, such as the advent of HIV/AIDS, changes in smoking habits, and better management of cancer and cardiovascular disease. But they find that these do not explain the fall then rise of inequities. Instead, the authors suggest that explanations lie in the social programs of the 1960s and the subsequent roll-back of some of these programmes in the 1980s. The US “War on Poverty,” civil rights legislation, and the establishment of Medicare occurred in the mid 1960s, which were intended to reduce socioeconomic and racial/ethnic inequalities and improve access to health care. In the 1980s there was a general cutting back of welfare state provisions in America, which included cuts to public health and antipoverty programs, tax relief for the wealthy, and worsening inequity in the access to and quality of health care. Together, these wider events could explain the fall then rise trends in mortality disparities.
The authors say their findings are important to inform and help monitor the progress of various policies and programmes, including those such as the Healthy People 2010 initiative in America, which aims to increase the quality and years of healthy life and decrease health disparities by the end of this decade.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at 0050046.
Healthy People 2010 was created by the US Department of Health and Human Services along with scientists inside and outside of government and includes a comprehensive set of disease prevention and health promotion objectives for the US to achieve by 2010, with two overarching goals: to increase quality and years of healthy life and to eliminate health disparities
Johan Mackenbach and colleagues provide an overview of mortality inequalities in six Western European countries—Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, England/Wales, and Italy—and conclude that eliminating mortality inequalities requires that more cardiovascular deaths among lower socioeconomic groups be prevented, as well as more attention be paid to rising death rates of lung cancer, breast cancer, respiratory disease, gastrointestinal disease, and injuries among women and men in the lower income groups.
The WHO Health for All program promotes health equity
A primer on absolute versus relative differences is provided by the American College of Physicians
PMCID: PMC2253609  PMID: 18303941
13.  Level of Evidence Trends in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 1980-2010 
The Iowa Orthopaedic Journal  2014;34:197-203.
The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS-Am) began publishing the level of evidence (LOE) for manuscripts in 2003. From 1975 to 2005 JBJS-Am saw a trend towards higher leveled studies. We aimed to demonstrate trends in the country of origin of manuscripts published in JBJS-Am, and hypothesized that not only were more publications coming from groups outside of North America, but that the studies originating within North America were of higher LOE.
All articles published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (American) in 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010 were independently evaluated by two reviewers and graded based on country, LOE (using the JBJS-Am LOE guidelines), and study type. For articles published after 2003 we used the level and study type published within the manuscript.
The proportion of publications from North America decreased in 2005 and 2010 when compared to the previous 20 years (p>.03), but the overall number of publications appeared stable. Overall, there was an increase in Level I (r>.74, p>.03), Level II (r>.79, p>.02), and Level III (r>.95, p<.001) evidence studies. There was a statistically significant decrease in North American Level IV studies (r>-.81, p>.01) and an increase in international Level IV studies (r>.70, p>.04). International groups have increased therapeutic (r>.86, p<.01) and diagnostic studies (r>.93, p<.001). In North America and internationally, prognostic studies have not changed. North American groups have increased economic and decision analysis research (r>.69, p>.04).
Over the past 30 years JBJS-Am has become more internationally diverse. International groups are publishing more therapeutic and diagnostic research than in the past, while North American groups have increased economic and decision analysis research. There has been a global effort towards higher leveled research.
PMCID: PMC4127720  PMID: 25328482
14.  Top 20 cited Spine Journal articles, 1990-2009 
World Journal of Orthopedics  2014;5(3):392-397.
AIM: To determine the most cited articles and most published authors in Spine Journal from 1990-2009.
METHODS: Spine Journal, established in 1976, is affiliated with 12 spine societies and a leader in spine research articles. Citation analysis is a method to determine the impact of a journal and its articles on academia and clinical practice. Using the Institute for Scientific Information Web of Knowledge, we determined the most cited articles in Spine Journal between1990-2009. The characteristics and type of article were recorded. Next, we evaluated the most published authors during the same time period and calculated the number of citations for each author. The number of first authorships for each of these authors was also determined along with the number of citations for those articles.
RESULTS: The top 20 cited articles range from 491 to 267 total citations. The top 20 published authors had between 41 and 135 articles. Seventeen of the top 20 articles were clinical studies. The range of citations per lead authorship ratio was 36 to 724 with one author having no lead authorships. Low back pain was the most common theme encountered in the top cited articles. The first-ranked article was not a spine-specific topic rather it was regarding general physical and mental health status survey update review.
CONCLUSION: Spine Journal and its authors have a clear impact on the scientific community based on this review of the top articles and authors in the last 20 years.
PMCID: PMC4095035  PMID: 25035845
Citation analysis; Back pain; Spine Journal
15.  Longitudinal Evaluation of Journal of Athletic Training Author Credentials: Implications for Future Research Engagement in Athletic Training 
Journal of Athletic Training  2009;44(4):427-433.
To employ retrospective trend analysis in an attempt to provide a layered description of the relative contribution (per credential) of clinical athletic trainers (those without terminal degrees) to authoring scientific literature in the Journal of Athletic Training (JAT). From these data, our secondary purpose was to evaluate trends relative to changes in journal policy and increased educational rigor or professional limitations over the past decade, discussing how they may affect the potential for clinical athletic trainers to contribute to JAT.
Exploratory study design with trend analysis.
Data collection and analysis included a trend evaluation of the credentials of clinical athletic trainer authors in JAT and the teams (by credential) of authorship to determine the credentials of authors who published in JAT.
Longitudinal tabulation of JAT author credentials from 1995 through 2007.
We noted increases in the absolute number of research articles per volume and the number of authors per article and a decrease in the relative percentage of authors who were athletic trainers. The results also suggested that the bachelor of science degree (BS-ATC, representative of clinical athletic trainers without advanced degrees) and Doctor of Medicine (MD) credential may be underrepresented in JAT authorship.
Postgraduate research training may facilitate scientific article contribution by athletic trainers. Continued evolution in the athletic training evidence-based medicine movement should foster research-based mentorship during education. Cultivating collaborations between clinical athletic trainers and research teams may also promote outcomes assessment trials, which will benefit athletic training practices.
PMCID: PMC2707066  PMID: 19593426
research engagement educational models; evidence-based medicine; athletic training research mentorship; athletic training research investigation; author analysis; publication analysis
16.  Applied Biotechnology in Nematology 
Journal of Nematology  1993;25(4S):719-730.
During the past two decades, rapid advances in biotechnology and molecular biology have affected the understanding and treatment of human and plant diseases. The human and Caenorhabditis elegans genome-sequencing projects promise further techniques and results useful to applied nematology. Of course, biotechnology is not a panacea for nematological problems, but it provides many powerful tools that have potential use in applied biology and nematode management. The tools will facilitate research on a range of previously intractable problems in nematology, from identification of species and pathotypes to the development of resistant cultivars that have been inaccessible because of technical limitations. However, to those unfamiliar or not directly involved with the new technologies and their extensive terminology, the benefits of the advances in biotechnology may not be readily discerned. The sustainable agriculture of the future will require ecology-based management, and successful integrated nematode management will depend on combinations of control tactics to reduce nematode numbers. In this review we discuss how biotechnology may influence nematode management, define terminology relative to potential applications, and present current and future avenues of research in applied nematology, including species identification, race and pathotype identification, development of resistant cultivars, definition of nematode-host interactions, nematode population dynamics, establishment of optimal rotations, the ecology of biological control and development of useful biological control agents, and the design of novel nematicides.
PMCID: PMC2619462  PMID: 19279831
agriculture; applied biotechnology; biological control; biotechnology; identification; management; molecular biology; nematode
17.  Medline-based bibliometric analysis of gastroenterology journals between 2001 and 2007 
AIM: To analyze the MEDLINE-indexed publications in gastroenterology specialty journals from 2001 to 2007. Special attention was paid to specific types of articles, the number of publications for individual authors and the author count in each journal.
METHODS: The bibliographic entries of papers belonging to journals listed under the subject heading of “gastroenterology” were downloaded from MEDLINE on the PubMed web site. The analysis was limited to journal articles published between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2007. The analytical dimensions of an article included journal, publication year, publication type, and author name (the last name and initials).
RESULTS: According to MEDLINE, 81 561 articles were published in 91 gastroenterology journals from 2001 to 2007. The number of articles increased from 9447 in 2001 to 13 340 in 2007. Only 12 journals had more than 2000 articles indexed in MEDLINE. The “World Journal of Gastroenterology” had the largest number of publications (5684 articles), followed by “Hepato-Gastroenterology” (3036) and “Gastrointestinal Endoscopy” (3005). Of all the articles published, reviews accounted for 17.2% and case reports for 15.4%. Only 3739 randomized controlled trials (4.6% of all articles) were published and their annual number increased from 442 in 2001 to 572 in 2007. Among 141 741 author names appearing in the articles of gastroenterology journals, 92 429 had published only in one journal, 22 585 in two journals, 9996 in three journals, and 16 731 in more than three journals. The “World Journal of Gastroenterology” had the greatest number of authors (17 838), followed by “Gastroenterology” (12 770), “Digestive Diseases and Sciences” (11 395), “American Journal of Gastroenterology” (10 889), and “Hepatology” (10 588).
CONCLUSION: Global gastroenterology publications displayed a continuous growth in the new millennium. The change was most striking in certain journals. Regular bibliometric analyses on the trends and specific topics would help researchers publish more efficiently and allow editors to adjust the policy more accurately.
PMCID: PMC2699018  PMID: 19533822
Bibliographic databases; Bibliometrics; Biomedical research; Gastroenterology; MEDLINE
Acta Informatica Medica  2012;20(3):141-148.
In this paper author discussed about preparing and submitting manuscripts - scientific, research, professional papers, reviews and case reports. Author described it from the Editor’s perspective, and specially talked about ethical aspects of authorship, conflict of interest, copyright, plagiarism and duplicate publication from the point of view of his experiences as Editor-in-Chief of several biomedical journals and Chief of Task Force of European Federation of Medical Informatics journals and member of Task Force of European Cardiology Society journals. The scientific process relies on trust and credibility. The scientific community demands high ethical standards to conduct biomedical research and to publish scientific contents. During the last decade, disclosure of conflicts of interest (COI ), (also called competing loyalties, competing interests or dual commitments), has been considered as a key element to guarantee the credibility of the scientific process. Biases in design, analysis and interpretation of studies may arise when authors or sponsors have vested interests. Therefore, COI should be made clear to the readers to facilitate their own judgment and interpretation of their relevance and potential implications.
Results and Discussion:
Authors are responsible to fully disclose potential COI . In October 2009 the ICMJE proposed an electronic “uniform” format for COI disclosure. Four main areas were addressed: authors´ associations with entities that supported the submitted manuscript (indefinite time frame), associations with commercial entities with potential interest in the general area of the manuscript (time frame 36 months), financial association of their spouse and children and, finally, non-financial associations potentially relevant to the submitted manuscript. Consumers of medical scholarship expect a reliable system of disclosure in which journals and authors make disclosures appropriately and consistently. There is a stigma surrounding the reporting of COI that should be progressively overcome. Further actions are required to increase awareness of the importance of COI disclosure and to promote policies aimed to enhance transparency in biomedical research. In this article author discuss about important ethical dilemmas in preparing, writing and publishing of scientific manuscripts in biomedical journals.
PMCID: PMC3508847  PMID: 23322969
medical science; biomedical journals; ethics; authorship; acknowledgement; conflict of interest; copyright; plagiarism; duplicate publication.
19.  Plant and Soil Nematodes: Societal Impact and Focus for the Future. 
Journal of Nematology  1994;26(2):127-137.
Plant and soil nematodes significandy impact our lives. Therefore, we must understand and manage these complex organisms so that we may continue to develop and sustain our food production systems, our natural resources, our environment, and our quality of life. This publication looks specifically at soil and plant nematology. First, the societal impact of nematodes and benefits of nematology research are briefly presented. Next, the opportunities facing nematology in the next decade are outlined, as well as the resources needed to address these priorities. The safety and sustainability of U.S. food and fiber production depends on public and administrative understanding of the importance of nematodes, the drastic effects of nematodes on many agricultural and horticultural crops, and the current research priorities of nematology.
PMCID: PMC2619488  PMID: 19279875
alternative management tactics; behavior; benefit to society; beneficial nematodes; biochemistry; biological control; constraints in nematology; control; crop rotation; cultural practice; ecology; education; environment; extension; diagnostics; funding; genetics; host-parasite interaction; information transfer; molecular genetics; nematicide; nematode; nematology; nematode management; nutrient cycling; pesticide; plant parasites; research goals; research priorities; resistance; resource; science of nematology; society; spread; sustainable agriculture; systematics
20.  Trends in health sciences library and information science research: an analysis of research publications in the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association and Journal of the Medical Library Association from 1991 to 2007* 
This study analyzed trends in research activity as represented in the published research in the leading peer-reviewed professional journal for health sciences librarianship.
Research articles were identified from the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association and Journal of the Medical Library Association (1991–2007). Using content analysis and bibliometric techniques, data were collected for each article on the (1) subject, (2) research method, (3) analytical technique used, (4) number of authors, (5) number of citations, (6) first author affiliation, and (7) funding source. The results were compared to a previous study, covering the period 1966 to 1990, to identify changes over time.
Of the 930 articles examined, 474 (51%) were identified as research articles. Survey (n = 174, 37.1%) was the most common methodology employed, quantitative descriptive statistics (n = 298, 63.5%) the most used analytical technique, and applied topics (n = 332, 70%) the most common type of subject studied. The majority of first authors were associated with an academic health sciences library (n = 264, 55.7%). Only 27.4% (n = 130) of studies identified a funding source.
This study's findings demonstrate that progress is being made in health sciences librarianship research. There is, however, room for improvement in terms of research methodologies used, proportion of applied versus theoretical research, and elimination of barriers to conducting research for practicing librarians.
PMCID: PMC2706445  PMID: 19626146
21.  Survey of Keyword Adjustment of Published Articles Medical Subject Headings in Journal of Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences (2009-2010) 
Acta Informatica Medica  2013;21(2):98-102.
Keywords are the most important tools for Information retrieval. They are usually used for retrieval of articles based on contents of information reserved from printed and electronic resources. Retrieval of appropriate keywords from Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) can impact with exact, correctness and short time on information retrieval. Regarding the above mentioned matters, this study was done to compare the Latin keywords was in the articles published in the Journal of Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences.
This is a descriptive study. The data were extracted from the key words of Englsih abstracts of articles published in the years 2009–2010 in the Journal of Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences by census method. Checklist of data collection is designed, based on research objectives and literature review which has face validity. Compliance rate in this study was to determine if the keywords cited in this article as a full subject of the main subject headings in a MeSH (Bold and the selected word) is a perfect adjustment. If keywords were cited in the article but the main heading is not discussed in the following main topics to be discussed with reference to See and See related it has considered has partial adjustment.
Out of 148 articles published in 12 issues in proposed time of studying, 72 research papers were analyzed. The average numbers of authors in each article were 4 ± 1. Results showed that most of specialty papers 42 (58. 4%), belonging to the (Department of Clinical Sciences) School of Medicine, 11 (15.3%) Basic Science, 6(8.4%) Pharmacy, Nursing and Midwifery 5(6.9%), 4(5.5%) Health, paramedical Sciences 3(4.2%), and non medical article 1(1.3%) school of medicine. In general, results showed that 80 (30%) of key words have been used to complete the adjustment. Also, only 1(1.4%) had complete adjustment with all the MeSH key words and in 8 articles(11.4%) key words of had no adjustment with MeSH.
The results showed that only 17 articles could be retrieved if the search words are selected from the MeSH. In this case the expected 100% of published articles titles at this university the validity of exchange of research projects which is something noteworthy. The lack of correlation between number of authors and matching of Keywords with MeSH, may mean all of the papers’ authors did not take part in writing and it is understanding that only one author wrote the paper.
PMCID: PMC3766532  PMID: 24058249
Abstracting and Indexing as Topic; Information Storage and Retrieval; MEDLINE; Medical Subject Headings; PubMed; Information Services; Iran
22.  Ghost Authorship in Industry-Initiated Randomised Trials 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(1):e19.
Ghost authorship, the failure to name, as an author, an individual who has made substantial contributions to an article, may result in lack of accountability. The prevalence and nature of ghost authorship in industry-initiated randomised trials is not known.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cohort study comparing protocols and corresponding publications for industry-initiated trials approved by the Scientific-Ethical Committees for Copenhagen and Frederiksberg in 1994–1995. We defined ghost authorship as present if individuals who wrote the trial protocol, performed the statistical analyses, or wrote the manuscript, were not listed as authors of the publication, or as members of a study group or writing committee, or in an acknowledgment. We identified 44 industry-initiated trials. We did not find any trial protocol or publication that stated explicitly that the clinical study report or the manuscript was to be written or was written by the clinical investigators, and none of the protocols stated that clinical investigators were to be involved with data analysis. We found evidence of ghost authorship for 33 trials (75%; 95% confidence interval 60%–87%). The prevalence of ghost authorship was increased to 91% (40 of 44 articles; 95% confidence interval 78%–98%) when we included cases where a person qualifying for authorship was acknowledged rather than appearing as an author. In 31 trials, the ghost authors we identified were statisticians. It is likely that we have overlooked some ghost authors, as we had very limited information to identify the possible omission of other individuals who would have qualified as authors.
Ghost authorship in industry-initiated trials is very common. Its prevalence could be considerably reduced, and transparency improved, if existing guidelines were followed, and if protocols were publicly available.
Of 44 industry-initiated trials, there was evidence of ghost authorship in 33, increasing to 40 when a person qualifying for authorship was acknowledged rather than appearing as an author.
Editors' Summary
Original scientific findings are usually published in the form of a “paper”, whether it is actually distributed on paper, or circulated via the internet, as this one is. Papers are normally prepared by a group of researchers who did the research and are then listed at the top of the article. These authors therefore take responsibility for the integrity of the results and interpretation of them. However, many people are worried that sometimes the author list on the paper does not tell the true story of who was involved. In particular, for clinical research, case histories and previous research has suggested that “ghost authorship” is commonplace. Ghost authors are people who were involved in some way in the research study, or writing the paper, but who have been left off the final author list. This might happen because the study “looks” more credible if the true authors (for example, company employees or freelance medical writers) are not revealed. This practice might hide competing interests that readers should be aware of, and has therefore been condemned by academics, groups of editors, and some pharmaceutical companies.
Why Was This Study Done?
This group of researchers wanted to get an idea of how often ghost authorship happened in medical research done by companies. Previous studies looking into this used surveys, whereby the researchers would write to one author on each of a group of papers to ask whether anyone else had been involved in the work but who was not listed on the paper. These sorts of studies typically underestimate the rate of ghost authorship, because the main author might not want to admit what had been going on. However, the researchers here managed to get access to trial protocols (documents setting out the plans for future research studies), which gave them a way to investigate ghost authorship.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In order to investigate the frequency and type of ghost authorship, these researchers identified every trial which was approved between 1994 and 1995 by the ethics committees of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg in Denmark. Then they winnowed this group down to include only the trials that were sponsored by industry (pharmaceutical companies and others), and only those trials that were finished and published. The protocols for each trial were obtained from the ethics committees and the researchers then matched up each protocol with its corresponding paper. Then, they compared names which appeared in the protocol against names appearing on the eventual paper, either on the author list or acknowledged elsewhere in the paper as being involved. The researchers ended up studying 44 trials. For 31 of these (75% of them) they found some evidence of ghost authorship, in that people were identified as having written the protocol or who had been involved in doing statistical analyses or writing the manuscript, but did not end up listed in the manuscript. If the definition of authorship was made narrower, and “ghost authorship” included people qualifying for authorship who were mentioned in the acknowledgements but not the author list, the researchers' estimate went up to 91%, that is 40 of the 44 trials. For most of the trials with missing authors, the ghost was a statistician (the person who analyzes the trial data).
What Do These Findings Mean?
In this study, the researchers found that ghost authorship was very common in papers published in medical journals (this study covered a broad range of peer-reviewed journals in many medical disciplines). The method used in this paper seems more reliable than using surveys to work out how often ghost authorship happens. The researchers aimed to define authorship using the policies set out by a group called the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), and the findings here suggest that the ICMJE's standards for authorship are very often ignored. This means that people who read the published paper cannot always accurately judge or trust the information presented within it, and competing interests may be hidden. The researchers here suggest that protocols should be made publicly available so that everyone can see what trials are planned and who is involved in conducting them. The findings also suggest that journals should not only list the authors of each paper but describe what each author has done, so that the published information accurately reflects what has been carried out.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Read the Perspective by Liz Wager, which discusses these findings in more depth
The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) is a group of general medical journal editors who have produced general guidelines for biomedical manuscripts; their definition of authorship is also described
The Committee on Publication Ethics is a forum for editors of peer-reviewed journals to discuss issues related to the integrity of the scientific record; the Web site lists anonymized problems and the committee's advice, not just regarding authorship, but other types of problems as well
Good Publication Practice for Pharmaceutical Companies outlines common standards for publication of industry-sponsored medical research, and some pharmaceutical companies have agreed to these
PMCID: PMC1769411  PMID: 17227134
23.  Quality and quantity of research publications by Iranian neurosurgeons: Signs of scientific progress over the past decades 
This is an analysis of papers published by Iranian neurosurgeons while working in Iran until the year 2010.
We collected bibliometric data and assigned a level of evidence (LOE) for each paper and compared neurosurgical research productivity across three time periods (before 1990, between 1991 and 2000, and after 2000). For further illustration, the annual growth rates of Iranian publications were calculated for all papers published after 1995.
We found a total of 1196 papers by 422 Iranian neurosurgeons. Five authors accounted for 22.9% of the papers. The average number of authors for each published manuscript was 3.48 and increased significantly from 2.0 to 4.0 across the three investigated periods (P < 0.001). 58.9% of Iranian papers were published in local journals only. A total of 74.6% articles were published after 2000, which was a significant increase compared with the decades before (P < 0.001). Original articles and case reports accounted for 63.8% and 31.1% of the publications, respectively. The proportion of case reports decreased while the proportion of original articles increased across the three time periods (P < 0.001). The adjusted growth rate for the total number of publications, original articles, case reports, clinical trials, and randomized clinical trials (RCTs) were 14.4%, 16.6%, 10.7%, 13.46%, and 14.7% per year, respectively. Overall, the four most frequently investigated topics were spine (27.3%), trauma (22.3%), tumor (19.1%), and vascular diseases (13.5%). The mean impact factor for journals publishing these studies and average number of citations for each paper (obtained from web of science) were found to be 1.2 and 5.46, respectively. A partitioning of these publications into assigned categories reflecting the LOE of each paper yielded the following LOE distribution for all assessed publications: Ib: 6.02%, Ic: 0.3%, IIa: 0.2%, IIb: 5.4%, IIc: 0.41%, IIIb: 4.8%, IV: 22.5%, and V: 1.2%. The relative number of publications categorized into higher LOE classes increased over the three investigated periods (P = 0.003). Based on growth curve model, the rate of increase in total numbers of publications following each position change from nonuniversity affiliated neurosurgeon to university affiliated and from university affiliated neurosurgeon to chairman university affiliated neurosurgeon was 81%.
A considerable increase in amount and quality of Iranian papers was observed during the past decade as reflected in a higher number of papers categorized in upper LOE classes.
PMCID: PMC3622377  PMID: 23607060
Iran; level of evidence; neurosurgery; publication
24.  Study of co-authorship network of papers in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences using social network analysis 
Co-authorship is one of the most tangible forms of research collaboration. A co-authorship network is a social network in which the authors through participation in one or more publication through an indirect path have linked to each other. The present research using the social network analysis studied co-authorship network of 681 articles published in Journal of Research in Medical Sciences (JRMS) during 2008-2012.
Materials and Methods:
The study was carried out with the scientometrics approach and using co-authorship network analysis of authors. The topology of the co-authorship network of 681 published articles in JRMS between 2008 and 2012 was analyzed using macro-level metrics indicators of network analysis such as density, clustering coefficient, components and mean distance. In addition, in order to evaluate the performance of each authors and countries in the network, the micro-level indicators such as degree centrality, closeness centrality and betweenness centrality as well as productivity index were used. The UCINET and NetDraw softwares were used to draw and analyze the co-authorship network of the papers.
The assessment of the authors productivity in this journal showed that the first ranks were belonged to only five authors, respectively. Furthermore, analysis of the co-authorship of the authors in the network demonstrated that in the betweenness centrality index, three authors of them had the good position in the network. They can be considered as the network leaders able to control the flow of information in the network compared with the other members based on the shortest paths. On the other hand, the key role of the network according to the productivity and centrality indexes was belonged to Iran, Malaysia and United States of America.
Co-authorship network of JRMS has the characteristics of a small world network. In addition, the theory of 6° separation is valid in this network was also true.
PMCID: PMC3963322  PMID: 24672564
Centrality; density; Journal of Research in Medical Sciences; mean distance; social network analysis
25.  Honorary and ghost authorship in high impact biomedical journals: a cross sectional survey 
Objectives To assess the prevalence of honorary and ghost authors in six leading general medical journals in 2008 and compare this with the prevalence reported by authors of articles published in 1996.
Design Cross sectional survey using a web based questionnaire.
Setting International survey of journal authors.
Participants Sample of corresponding authors of 896 research articles, review articles, and editorial/opinion articles published in six general medical journals with high impact factors in 2008: Annals of Internal Medicine, JAMA, Lancet, Nature Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine, and PLoS Medicine.
Main outcome measures Self reported compliance with International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) criteria for authorship for all authors on the selected articles.
Results A total of 630/896 (70.3%) corresponding authors responded to the survey. The prevalence of articles with honorary authorship or ghost authorship, or both, was 21.0% (95% CI 18.0% to 24.3%), a decrease from 29.2% reported in 1996 (P=0.004). Based on 545 responses on honorary authorship, 96 articles (17.6% (95% CI 14.6% to 21.0%)) had honorary authors (range by journal 12.2% to 29.3%), a non-significant change from 1996 (19.3%; P=0.439). Based on 622 responses on ghost authorship, 49 articles (7.9% (6.0% to 10.3%)) had ghost authors (range by journal 2.1% to 11.0%), a significant decline from 1996 (11.5%; P=0.023). The prevalence of honorary authorship was 25.0% in original research reports, 15.0% in reviews, and 11.2% in editorials, whereas the prevalence of ghost authorship was 11.9% in research articles, 6.0% in reviews, and 5.3% in editorials.
Conclusions Evidence of honorary and ghost authorship in 21% of articles published in major medical journals in 2008 suggests that increased efforts by scientific journals, individual authors, and academic institutions are essential to promote responsibility, accountability, and transparency in authorship, and to maintain integrity in scientific publication.
PMCID: PMC3202014  PMID: 22028479

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