Monday, 31 December 2018

Towards a fairer and more transparent peer review ecosystem


“Blockchain for Peer Review is an industry initiative working to make the peer review process more transparent, recognizable and trustworthy. ”

We believe that blockchain technology has the potential to solve some of the most prominent issues currently facing scholarly communication, such as the peer review process.
Digital Science and Katalysis have therefore launched a pilot project to test blockchain technologies to support the peer review process.
The project will develop a protocol where information about peer review activities (submitted by publishers) are stored on a blockchain. This will allow the review process to be independently validated, and data to be fed to relevant vehicles to ensure recognition and validation for reviewers.  By sharing peer review information, while adhering to laws on privacy, data protection and confidentiality, we will foster innovation and increase interoperability.
Find out more about the project or see how you can participate.

Phase 1 Participants

Blockchain backed applications for science, technology, education, publishing and society.

Blockchain backed applications for science, technology, education, publishing and society.


November 7th & 8th, 2018


CODE University of Applied Sciences

Lohmühlenstraße 65



Dr. Martin Etzrodt, PD Dr. Sönke Bartling

Why Blockchain for Science?

Academia at present relies on hierarchical, closed infrastructures for the governance and dissemination of knowledge. Scientist are strongly dependent on scientific publishing companies as the trusted third party for attribution of scientific work and reputation building. In return, publishers monopolise on the dissemination of scientific findings creating unnecessary friction and block free and public access to knowledge.
The decentralised web (web 3.0) offers new opportunities to revisit scientific claim attribution and the infrastructure for knowledge creation and dissemination. Web3.0 may finally create the foundation for new, open and collaborative scientific institutions, revolutionise scientific communication, education and ultimately society at large. It is really building the new Open Science Ecosystem.

What is STEPS?

This workshop specifically aimed at students and professionals from academia but also researchers from industry of all traits that are interested to gain hands on experience in the currently emerging field of trusted, decentralised web technologies for science and knowledge creation.
The workshop will provide relevant background and hands on skills. Specifically we will focus on the following questions:
  • What is blockchain technology?
  • How can we interact with and create on the decentralised web?
  • How can the technology be applied to disseminate knowledge in an faster, easier and open way?
  • Which mechanisms may be utilised to ensuring scientific rigour and quality  while ensuring fair attribution for the creators?
  • How can new value flows be created to incentivise, finance and assure quality control?
The first part of this hands-on workshop will be offered by our blockchain education partner Validity LabsFurthermore you will have the chance to interact with leading developers of current projects of the new Open Science Ecosystem and get a first hand insight into the tools they are currently building
We welcome scientist of all career stages and backgrounds. Some basic idea of coding and very basic tool usage such as text editors is an advantage. 
Please note the following requirements to get the most out of your participation:
  • Laptop with Chrome browser, power supply and internet access. Install Metamask

Program Day 1

Morning session

Dr. Martin Etzrodt, Researcher at Akasha Foundation Zug, Gotthold Fläschner, ETH Zurich & Qianchen Yu dApp Developer @ Validity Labs Zug, Switzerland.
Time Contents What to expect
09:00-9:15 Introductory remarks
09:15-10:00 Blockchain Basics The mathematical & cryptographic background behind blockchain
10:00-10:25 Introduction to Ethereum & smart contracts First impression of how human-blockchain interacts.
10:25-10:35 Coffee Break
10:35-11:05 Where is my Swiss Army knife: intro to Dev tools Overall understanding of the dApp develop tools, steps, docs. Make sure all tools are correctly setup
11:05-11:35 Get to know your Swiss Army knife: Dev tools 102 Familiar with the dev ecosystem – how to compile, input, trace transactions (etherscan), faucet. Understand functions, public, basic parameter types.
11:35-12:30 Lunch break
12:30-13:45 Make something big: create your own DAO Familiar with bool, address, mapping, logs, modifier, struct, require, msg.sender
13:45-14:00 Smart contracts in action Open discussion and wrap up
Take Aways
  • Learning the fundamentals of blockchain with a deep dive into the world of smart-contracts.
  • Build a small DAO together with Solidity
Training documentation will be provided during the workshop as pdf/ web resource.

Afternoon session

Time Contents Link
15:00-15:45 ScienceMatters & the Eureka platform (Lawrence Rajendran)                                                                          
15:45-16:30 Frankl – Open Science on the blockchain (Jon Brock)
16:30-17:00 Break
17:00-17:45  DEIP Decentralised research platform (Alex Shkor)
17:45-18:30 Pluto Network  Decentralised scholarly communication (Sanghyun Baek)
18:30-18:45 Break
18:45-19:30 Fractal flows (Imad Abdhalla)
19:30 – 20.15 (Kevin McCurry)
20:15 Dinner & Bar location TBA
Take Aways
  • Presentations and tinkering with software tools provided by leading Blockchain For Science projects.

Program Day 2

Morning session 1 – hot topics in the Blockchain for Science field

9.00- 10.30 Keynotes on token design, curation markets & non-fungible tokens (Alex Shkor, & Paul Kohlhaas (inquired, TBD))
10:30-11.00 break

Morning session 2 – Idea conference on decentralising science

Time Contents Link
9:30-10.30 Cryptoeconomics for Science (Alex Shkor)                                                                       
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-11:45  Curation markets  for decentralised research and development  (Paul Kohlhaas) &
11:45-12:00 Defining working groups for afternoon Flaeschner, Abdhalla, Bartling, Kohlhaas, Etzrodt
12:00-13:00 Lunchbreak
13:00-16.00 Working groups

Afternoon session

Decentralising Science – idea conference
Inspired by the interactive presentations during the morning session working groups will be defined and attendees will collaborate in small groups  in a World café style.
Working groups:
      • The fractal nature of discovery (Flaeschner, Abdhalla)
      • Identity, rewards & reputation (Etzrodt, Bartling)
      • Curation markets, non-fungible tokens and marketplaces for science (Kohlhaas)
      • other topic
The workshop proceedings co-authored by the participants of the idea conference participants will be published in an open document.
Registration assured until 2nd of November, after that we might sell out.

Science, Digital; van Rossum, Joris (2017): Blockchain for Research. figshare. Paper.

Blockchain for Research

posted on by Digital Science Joris van Rossum
This report zooms in on the potential of blockchain to transform scholarly communication and research in general.

By describing important initiatives in this field, it highlights how blockchain can touch many critical aspects of scholarly communication, including transparency, trust, reproducibility and credit. Moreover, blockchain could change the role of publishers in the future, and it could have an important role in research beyond scholarly communication.

The report shows that blockchain technology has the potential to solve some of the most prominent issues currently facing scholarly communication, such as those around costs, openness, and universal accessibility to scientific information.
Science, Digital; van Rossum, Joris (2017): Blockchain for Research. figshare. Paper.

Trying to convert your thesis into journal article? Here are some good tips.

Extracting a journal article from your thesis

Top tips from award-winning author

What should you consider before and during the process of writing an article from your thesis?
We caught up with Marissa Rollnick, winner of a 2018 NARST Distinguished Contributions to Science Education through Research Award, who gave us her advice for those starting out.

Turning your thesis into publications should mark the beginning of your publication career. It is important to publish work post PhD as this makes your research more accessible to others.
One of the most important points to note is that writing an article from a thesis is not simply a task of cutting and pasting. The purpose and format of a thesis or dissertation is very different from that of a journal article or book chapter. The primary audience for the thesis is the examiner, and the student needs to convince the examiner that they have mastered research techniques and understand the arguments they are making. This can make the thesis repetitive and full of detail. The wider audience for the article or book chapter will want to know about the arguments or findings and at the same time be convinced that the findings are authentic and trustworthy.
Selecting articles from a thesis or dissertation depends greatly on the work itself. There may be new theories, methods or findings that are worth sharing and the supervisor’s role is to assist the student in formulating purposes for the paper. There are several steps involved:
  • Deciding on authorship
  • Planning the article
  • Selecting a journal
  • Writing the article
  • Reviewing the article before submission

Deciding on authorship

Anyone included as an author of a journal article must have made a significant contribution to it. You may need to decide whether this includes your supervisor and agree the order of the authors’ names. Different disciplines have different authorship practices, but in the humanities the principal author is mentioned first.
Editor’s note: How common is co-authorship and what are the challenges faced by those who collaborate? Our white paper, Co-authorship in the Humanities and Social Sciences: A global view, explores the experiences of 894 researchers from 62 countries.

Planning the article

A single paper in a journal should contain a central message that you want to get across. This could be a novel aspect of methodology that you have used in your PhD study, a new theory, or an interesting modification you have made to theory or a novel set of findings. Decide what this central focus is.
Then create a paper outline bearing in mind the need to:
  • Isolate a manageable size
  • Create a coherent story/argument
  • Make the argument self-standing
  • Target the journal readership
  • Change the writing conventions from that used in your thesis

Selecting a journal

Selecting a journal is a very important step in planning the article. The journal you select should target appropriate readership, be accredited and be accessible to your peers. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
  • Look at your own reference list. Which journals have you used?
  • Study the editorial policies of the relevant journals: some are more restrictive than others (e.g. content, research paradigm, article length)
  • Scan past editions. Are there any similar papers?
  • Is it a trusted journal? There are several marks of quality and reliability to look out for in a journal, and people may judge your ability to choose appropriate journals to submit to. The Think. Check. Submit. initiative provides tools to help you evaluate whether the journal you’re planning to send your work to is trustworthy.
When selecting your journal think about audience, purposes, what to write about and why. Decide the kind of article to write. Is it a report, position paper, critique or review? What makes your argument or research interesting? How might the paper add value to the field?

Writing the article

When writing the article consider your choice of ‘theoretical framework’ and ‘voice’. Be clear what your article is about, and what it is trying to do. Finally ask your supervisor /co-author to go through the article with the following in mind
  • Use the criteria the reviewers will use.
  • Read and edit acting as a sympathetic friend and mentor.
  • Ask another colleague or friend who thinks differently to read it.
  • Get someone to edit it for language and spelling. Many authors use professional proof readers. This is not a sign of weakness as the editor has some distance from the article. This is particularly important if you come from a country where a different language to that of the journal is used.

Marissa Rollnick is professor emeritus in science education at Wits University of Education in Johannesburg, South Africa. She holds a doctorate in science education from Wits University and is a specialist in academic development and science education. Her professional career includes appointments as high school science and maths teacher, teacher educator (William Pitcher college, Swaziland and University of Swaziland), lecturer and professor in chemistry and chemistry education on access programmes and subsequently teacher education at Wits University and science education research at Wits University. She has had various visiting appointments at University of York, UK, Western Michigan University (Fulbright award), USA and University of Cape Town. She is currently also working at the Univerisites of Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Five reasons you should upload a preprint to a repository before submitting to a journal

Five reasons you should upload a preprint to a repository before submitting to a journal


A preprint is a completed draft of a scientific manuscript that is uploaded by the author on a public server; often it is the same version of the manuscript that is submitted to a journal. Once the manuscript is uploaded, it goes through a quick check to ascertain that it is scientific in nature. It is then posted online within a day or two without peer review and is made freely available for everyone to view.  Revised versions of the same manuscript can be uploaded later on, but the older versions also remain.
See What is a “Preprint” Anyways? at The Winnower for more discussion.
Uploading a preprint to a repository before submitting it as a manuscript to a journal is a well-established practice in some fields like mathematics, computer science, and physics. It’s getting growing acceptance in other fields, especially biology, even if there is still some ambivalence being expressed. See a balanced presentation of contrasting views at Biomedical Journals and Preprint Services: Friends or Foes?
Wikipedia has a list of journals and publishers with known preprint policies. I recommend checking it before committing yourself to a course of action. However, journal policies are changing quickly. Sometimes you will get a positive ad hoc decision to consider your preprint if you contact an editor who has not previously been faced with the question.
In a recent blog, I discussed a new requirement at  University of Groningen and University of Groningen Medical Centre that authors affiliated with these institutions upload final versions of their papers to a university maintained repository immediately upon acceptance by a journal. This is part of a commitment to a green road open access.
But this is something different from what we’re going to be discussing here. Even at Groningen, researchers can both upload a preprint to a repository somewhere else and then upload another one to the journal maintained repository upon acceptance of a paper.
I anticipate uploading preprints to repositories increasingly to become a routine practice because of the advantages that it offers over waiting for conventional peer review. I recommend that you become an early adopter, if the practice is not yet common in your field of study.
Here are five reasons why you should consider uploading your preprint before submitting a manuscript.

1. You can get a preliminary appraisal from peers as to whether your work is ready to be submitted to a journal.

 James Heathers and Nick Brown provide an excellent success story in this regard.
They posted a preprint at the repository PeerJ Preprints where, according the Nick Brown, it received 1000 downloads the first month.
The GRIM test: A simple technique detects numerous anomalies in the reporting of results in psychology 
grim-altmetricsThey each blogged about the preprint, James Heathers The GRIM test — a method for evaluating published research. and Nick Brown Academic publishing death match: Double blind review vs. preprints.
The preprint attracted media attention, including from prestigious The Economist.
Only then, was the manuscript submitted to Social Psychological and Personality Science (SPPS).

2. You can cite the uploaded manuscript in letters of inquiry to editors as to possible interest in publishing the manuscript.

Preliminary letters of inquiry to editors are an underutilized strategy in getting consideration of your manuscript. If you send a brief email to the editor, you will generally get a quick response. If there is no interest in your manuscript,  the move saves the editor and you what could be a lot of time. It is better to get an immediate decision than to have to go through a prolonged review process that ends up in a rejection.
An encouraging response from an editor to a letter of inquiry is certainly not a contract to publish your manuscript, but if editors respond favorably, they usually are more likely to at least send a manuscript out for review, rather than desk reject it. That of course is barring something unexpected being revealed in the abstract or the manuscript itself that you submit.
You generally would not include your manuscript with a letter of inquiry, only perhaps your abstract. Otherwise, you are creating confusion with whether you actually submitting your manuscript, and risk annoying the editor.
Yet, a letter of inquiry linked to an uploaded preprint allows an editor to consider the amount of attention the preprint has been receiving and the kinds of feedback it is eliciting. No obligation on the editor of course, but you have made it easier for the editor to peek. In some fields, it’s already an accepted practice that manuscripts are submitted with the feedback  received on repositories. In some fields, reviews received of a preprint may prove sufficient for a first round decision. But in other fields, submitting a manuscript which has previously been available as a preprint is part of a less established and more informal process.

3. You can cite your uploaded manuscript and the feedback it has received in your cover letter when you actually submitted to the journal.

 Many journals increasingly rely on desk rejections as a way of dealing with an overwhelming number of manuscripts being submitted. Editors feel the need to protect their limited pool of reviewers from what would on the basis of a quick screening seemed like a inevitably be a negative decision. Many of these desk rejections occur without anyone actually reading carefully the manuscript. Some prestigious journals post their percent desk rejections on their website, apparently to warn authors, but maybe as some bragging as well.
Authors need to depend on their three assets to avoid a desk rejection and get a manuscript out for review: their title, their abstract, and the cover letter. Of the three, the cover letter is most informal and even conversational. Unlike the title and the abstract, the cover letter does not serve any further function, once the editor has decided to send the paper out for review. The cover letter typically will not become a matter of public record.
It is strategic to take advantage of the informal nature of a cover letter as a communication. Think of the metaphor of it being like an informal encounter with an editor at a conference. A preprint becomes like a paper that you presented at a conference in a session with the editor is in attendance.  [On the other hand, it takes a lot less chutzpah to mention a preprint in a cover letter, then to approach an editor at a conference and ask “Hey, did you see my presentation, how about if I submitted as a manuscript?”]
Citing a publicly available preprint in a cover letter gives the editor an opportunity to look at your work, without being committed to do so. Any reactions the preprint has received, including the number of views or downloads, become evidence that can be cited in in the cover letter in support of the recognition that you manuscript is likely to obtain if is published in the journal.
Dear Editor:
Enclosed please find a manuscript [title] which we wish to submit for review and possible publication in your journal. We do so noting the extensive attention the manuscript has received as a preprint… We believe the manuscript will attract similar attention from your readership, if it is accepted…

4. The option of uploading a manuscript to a repository rather than submitting to a journal and waiting for a decision increasingly allows researchers to concentrate on grant applications citing the work.

wellcome-encouraging-preprintsParticularly with early career researcher (ECR), there is often a dilemma between focusing on establishing a reputation with publications versus pursuing the funding that will allow more resourced research. It can be quite frustrating when an ECR decides to concentrate first on getting some research published, only to find that it languishes in long reviews, revise-and-resubmit decisions that have no guarantee of eventual acceptance, or an outright rejection that requires a fresh resubmission elsewhere.
Sure, if the ECR is confident that manuscript will be accepted in time for citation in a grant application, particularly because a journal has been chosen explicitly because of the short turnaround time of review, it might be best simply to send the manuscript off to the Journal. But the decision can be different if there is any ambiguity about this.
By uploading the manuscript to repository rather wait for an editorial decision, the ECR can concentrate on a grant application in which the uploaded manuscript is cited and even linked.
It is important to establish with funding opportunities whether free prints can be cited and linked. The Wellcome Trust recently announced it would allow researchers to submit preprints in both applications and progress reports.
A group of scientists has organized to urge NIH to accept preprints. Another group has expressed concern , while acknowledging it would benefit early career investigators. NIH also recently formally requested feedback on the advisability of their accepting preprints with applications . No decision has yet been reached has of January 2017.
Undoubtedly, the trend is towards increased acceptance of preprints, but best to check updated policies with granting agencies. If you don’t see a mention there, it might be worth directly contacting a program officer. Strategically, doing so also lets you talk about your work as it is reflected in your preprint. Furthermore, even when there is no formal encouragement, preprints can be cited as evidence of relevant previous work. That too should be discussed with a program officer, if you can.

5. You can attract the attention of an editor, even multiple editors, who are increasingly browsing preprint repositories looking for manuscripts to invite to submit.

Journals can be expected to increasingly have dedicated editorial staff whose responsibilities include periodically stopping by depositories or watching on social media for news of promising preprints, which they will then invite to be submitted to the Journal.
Genome Biology has been doing this for about a year. PLOS Genetics formally announced in December 2016 such a policy and had as hired three preprint editors.
bioRxiv (pronounced “bio-archive”)  is a free online repository for the life sciences operated by Cold Spring Harbor laboratory. It has the additional feature of allowing direct transfer of manuscripts to journals:
Direct transfer from bioRxiv  to journals or peer review services (B2J)
bioRxiv can save authors time in submitting papers to journals or peer review services by transmitting their manuscript files and metadata directly from bioRxiv. This means authors do not have to spend time re-loading manuscript files and re-entering author information at the journal or peer review service website.
Think of that: essentially by uploading an appropriate preprint at bioRxiv, an author is effectively soliciting consideration for multiple journals. Can’t beat that.  Unfortunately, bioRxiv is limited to life sciences and will only consider manuscripts from physical sciences, mathematics, or social sciences if they have direct relevance the life sciences.
Other journals can be expected to quickly follow suit. Informally, the procedure has probably existed for a while.
I am sure that other reasons for posting preprints at repositories will be discovered when the practice gets better established. I for one have recently published a number of papers with co-authors I had not met before submitting the paper. Such productive Internet-based collaborations are likely to much more be common in the future. They can be facilitated by preprints placed in repositories at whatever stages of development in order to gather collaborators. Think strategically about posting preprints in repositories as being the Internet version of giving a talk at a conference and welcoming collaborators.
So, you place a preprint in a repository and you announce on Twitter and Facebook:
I have uploaded a preprint at Repository X [PeerJ Preprints, for instance]. And while I’m pleased with it, I think I could use additional collaborators in turning it into an even better manuscript…


Twitter: A powerful tool to Improve Research Visibility and Impact

Effective Strategies for Increasing Citation Frequency

Effective Strategies for Increasing Citation Frequency by Nader Ale Ebrahim, Hadi Salehi, Mohamed Amin Embi, Farid Habibi, Hossein Gholizadeh, Seyed Mohammad Motahar, Ali Ordi :: SSRN

jackieproven's bookmarks 2018-09-03


Abstract: Due to the effect of citation impact on The Higher Education (THE) world university ranking system, most of the researchers are looking for some helpful techniques to increase their citation record. This paper by reviewing the relevant articles extracts 33 different ways for increasing the citations possibilities. The results show that the article visibility has tended to receive more download and citations. This is probably the first study to collect over 30 different ways to improve the citation record. Further study is needed to explore and expand these techniques in specific fields of study in order to make the results more precisely.


From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » jackieproven's bookmarks


oa.advantage oa.benefits oa.citations oa.impact oa.rankings oa.universities oa.hei

Date tagged:

09/03/2018, 12:54

Date published:

09/03/2018, 08:54

Strategies to Enhance Research Visibility, Impact & Citations

Strategies to Enhance Research Visibility, Impact & Citations

Ale Ebrahim, Nader;

November 10, 2014 (v1) Journal article open Access

Contribution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Country’S H-Index

Ale Ebrahim, Nader;