Publishing research with ethical lapses, P values, Reproducibility, WAME’s predatory journals statement


  • An editorial by Bernard Lo and Rita Redberg discusses ethical issues in recently published research in which abnormal lab values were not conveyed to research participants: “Should a study with an ethical lapse be published?…Many journals will not publish research with grave ethical violations, such as lack of informed consent, lack of institutional review board (IRB) approval, or scientific misconduct. However, if violations are contested or less serious, as in this study, the ethical consensus has been to publish valid findings, together with an editorial to raise awareness of the ethical problems and stimulate discussion of how to prevent or address them.”

Addressing Ethical Lapses in Research (JAMA) [formerly free, now first PDF page visible]

  • What should research misconduct be called? “At the heart of the debate is the history of the term. In the U.S., in particular, lobbying from scientists dating to the 1980s has resulted in the term “misconduct” being codified to only refer to the cardinal sins of falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism. This has left lesser offenses, often categorized as “questionable research practices,” relatively free from scrutiny. Nicholas Steneck, a research ethicist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, calls the term “artificial:”

Does labeling bad behavior “scientific misconduct” help or hurt research integrity? A debate rages (Retraction Watch Blog)


  • Hilda Bastian provides 5 tips for avoiding P value potholes: commonly encountered problems with how P values are used and interpreted.

5 Tips for Avoiding P-Value Potholes (Absolutely Maybe blog)

  • Videos on research methods related to epidemiology, by Greg Martin, MD, MPH, MBA (University of Witwatersrand, Ireland) — basic but useful for anyone wanting a quick well-done overview on a variety of research topics.

Epidemiology (YouTube)

  • For a bit of humor, The Five Diseases of Academic Publishing.

Got “significosis?” Here are the five diseases of academic publishing (Retraction Watch blog)


  • Acceptance rates for journals applying for membership to OASPA: “Between 2013 and 2015 we accepted fewer than 25% of the total number of applications we received. Some from 2016 are still undergoing review, but we expect the number of accepted applications for last year to fall below 10% once all are concluded. “

Identifying quality in scholarly publishing: Not a black and white issue (OASPA Blog)


  • Overcoming nonreproducibility in basic and preclinical research, by John Ioannidis: “The evidence for nonreproducibility in basic and preclinical biomedical research is compelling. Accumulating data from diverse subdisciplines and types of experimentation suggest numerous problems that can create a fertile ground for nonreproducibility. For example, most raw data and protocols are often not available for in-depth scrutiny and use by other scientists. The current incentive system rewards selective reporting of success stories.

Acknowledging and Overcoming Nonreproducibility in Basic and Preclinical Research (JAMA) [formerly free, now first PDF page visible]

  • Research reported in newspapers has poor replication validity: “Journalists preferentially cover initial findings although they are often contradicted by meta-analyses and rarely inform the public when they are disconfirmed.

Poor replication validity of biomedical association studies reported by newspapers (PLOS ONE)


WAME published a new statement on Identifying Predatory or Pseudo-Journals.

Identifying Predatory or Pseudo-Journals (WAME)


WAME Newsletter #2, original version circulated February 23, 2017. Identified (in part) from Retraction Watch, Stat News, and Linked In Global Health. Providing the links and information does not imply WAME’s endorsement.




Welcome to the WAME Blog: Authors’ view of the manuscript submission process, Science’s English-language bias, Transparent research results (or not), Open access publishing in the Global South

The WAME Blog, featuring the WAME Newsletter, offers news, views, and resources of interest to medical journal editors in general and WAME members — comprising medical journal editors and scholars throughout the world — in particular. The challenges and experiences of editors at small journals and journals in low and middle income countries are of particular interest. Articles and activities are free to everyone, unless, in rare instances, otherwise indicated.

The first Newsletter was circulated via listserve on February 16, 2017 and is excerpted below. Sources of this Newsletter are Retraction Watch and the Open Science Initiative listserve. Providing the links and information does not imply WAME’s endorsement.


The delights, discomforts, and downright furies of the manuscript submission process, from Learned Publishing. A discussion of issues authors face as part of the manuscript submission process, including the following list of recommendations (plus a useful appendix of items authors should have on hand when ready to submit a manuscript):

  • “Editors and reviewers should consider manuscripts in any (appropriate) format first – and publishers reset only the accepted papers.
  • There should be three or four standard formats for journals that everyone can copy. Trivial house style requirements should be abolished.
  • The layouts of tables, graphs and references also need to be standardised more. Tables and graphs, and their caption, should be placed where they fit in the text, not at the end of manuscripts.
  • A named person (with an e-mail address at the publisher’s) should be provided by the publisher who can help with the submission process if an author gets stuck.
  • Finally, when the submission process is completed successfully or otherwise, authors should be invited to send any comments/feedback on the system that they have used.”

These authors’ comments, as well as the whole system, should be reviewed, say every 3-5 years. They also note the importance of allowing authors to review their proofs.


The problems and loss of information created by the bias toward science reported in English. “Not only does the larger scientific community miss out on research published in non-English languages. But the dominance of English as science’s lingua franca makes it more difficult for researchers and policy makers speaking non-English languages to take advantage of science that might help them…Amano thinks that journals and scientific academies working to include international voices is one of the best solutions to this language gap. He suggests that all major efforts to compile reviews of research include speakers of a variety of languages so that important work isn’t overlooked. He also suggests that journals and authors should be pushed to translate summaries of their work into several languages so that it’s more easily found by people worldwide.”

How a bias toward English-language science can result in preventable crises, duplicated efforts and lost knowledge (Smithsonian Magazine)


  • Paul Glasziou describes how to present research results in a transparent way so that readers can understand the study’s implications–or not. “…presenting the results in a clear, unbiased, and understandable way is of paramount importance. Editors should insist on clear, simple presentations of the main results—preferably in graphical formats. Without that, authors and editors will continue to contribute to the considerable waste in research and the gaps between research and practice.”

How to hide trial results in plain sight (BMJ Blogs)

  • The influence of statistical noise in medical research results: “Statistically speaking, a statistical significant result obtained under highly noisy conditions is more likely to be an overestimate and can even be in the wrong direction.  In short:  a finding from a low-noise study can be informative, while the finding at the same significance level from a high-noise study is likely to be little more than . . . noise.”

Why traditional statistics are often “counterproductive to research the human sciences” (Retraction Watch blog)


  • OASPA hosted a Twitter Chat on Open Access Publishing in the Global South. From the OASPA website (and thank you to the OSI listserve for the heads up): “February 10, 2017 by Leyla Williams On Wednesday 22nd February 2017, OASPA will host a live Twitter chat about open access publishing in the Global South with Xin Bi (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University/DOAJ), Ina Smith (Academy of Science of South Africa), Abel Packer (SciELO), and Lars Bjørnshauge (DOAJ).”
  • OASPA has posted a Webinar on open access publishing in the Global South; free OASPA webinars are offered here: