Meta-research
Edited by
Peter Rodgers

Meta-Research: A Collection of Articles

The study of science itself is a growing field of research.
Collection
http://vividbiology.com/
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Meta-research is research that uses the methods of science to study science itself. Also known as meta-science or the science of science, it involves studying the processes and decisions that shape the evolution of scientific research. This collection of articles highlights the breadth of meta-research with articles on topics as diverse as gender bias in peer review, statistical power in clinical trials and the readability of the scientific literature. Information on submitting meta-research papers to eLife is available in eLife Latest: Highlighting meta-research.

Collection

    1. Computational and Systems Biology

    Meta-Research: Use of the Journal Impact Factor in academic review, promotion, and tenure evaluations

    Erin C McKiernan et al.
    Almost a quarter of faculty evaluation documents from US and Canadian universities mention Journal Impact Factor and often imply that it measures research quality.
    1. Human Biology and Medicine

    Meta-Research: Gender variations in citation distributions in medicine are very small and due to self-citation and journal prestige

    Jens Peter Andersen et al.
    In studies of gender disparities in academia, increased focus is required on within-group variability and between-group overlap of distributions when interpreting and reporting results.
    1. Computational and Systems Biology

    Meta-Research: Centralized scientific communities are less likely to generate replicable results

    Valentin Danchev et al.
    Analysis of data on drug-gene interactions suggests that decentralized collaboration will increase the robustness of scientific findings in biomedical research.
  1. Meta-Research: A comprehensive review of randomized clinical trials in three medical journals reveals 396 medical reversals

    Diana Herrera-Perez et al.
    An analysis of more than 3000 randomized controlled trials published in JAMA, the Lancet and NEJM has identified 396 medical reversals.
  2. Meta-Research: Tracking the popularity and outcomes of all bioRxiv preprints

    Richard J Abdill, Ran Blekhman
    Data are reported for the monthly number of uploads to and downloads from bioRxiv, and for the number of preprints that are later published in peer-reviewed journals.
  3. Meta-Research: How significant are the public dimensions of faculty work in review, promotion and tenure documents?

    Juan P Alperin et al.
    An analysis of review, promotion and tenure documents from 129 US and Canadian universities suggests institutions could better fulfill their public missions by changing how they incentivize the public dimensions of faculty work.
    1. Human Biology and Medicine
    2. Microbiology and Infectious Disease

    Meta-Research: Gender inequalities among authors who contributed equally

    Nichole A Broderick, Arturo Casadevall
    An analysis of papers in which two or more authors shared first-author position found that male authors were more likely than female authors to appear first in the author list.
    1. Computational and Systems Biology

    Meta-Research: Incidences of problematic cell lines are lower in papers that use RRIDs to identify cell lines

    Zeljana Babic et al.
    The use of Research Resource Identifiers (RRIDs) improves the proper use of cell lines in the biomedical literature.
    1. Human Biology and Medicine

    Meta-Research: Why we need to report more than 'Data were Analyzed by t-tests or ANOVA'

    Tracey L Weissgerber et al.
    Many papers in basic biomedical science do not contain the information that is needed to determine what statistical tests were used and to verify the results of these tests.
    1. Human Biology and Medicine

    Research: Adequate statistical power in clinical trials is associated with the combination of a male first author and a female last author

    Willem M Otte et al.
    An analysis of 31,873 clinical trials shows that adequate statistical power was most often present in trials with a male first author and a female last author.
  4. Point of View: The NIH must reduce disparities in funding to maximize its return on investments from taxpayers

    Wayne P Wahls
    A more balanced distribution of NIH grant funding among investigators would strengthen the diversity of the research enterprise, increase the likelihood of scientific breakthroughs, and lead to a greater return on taxpayers' investments.
  5. Research: Sci-Hub provides access to nearly all scholarly literature

    Daniel S Himmelstein et al.
    The availability of almost all articles from toll access journals in the Sci-Hub repository will disrupt scholarly publishing towards more open models.
    1. Epidemiology and Global Health
    2. Human Biology and Medicine

    Standardized mean differences cause funnel plot distortion in publication bias assessments

    Peter-Paul Zwetsloot et al.
    Funnel plots of the Standardized Mean Difference versus the standard error are prone to distortion, leading to false-positive tests for funnel plot asymmetry, and therefore using the Normalised Mean Difference, or a sample size-based precision estimate, are more reliable alternatives.
  6. Research: The readability of scientific texts is decreasing over time

    Pontus Plavén-Sigray et al.
    Scientific abstracts have become less readable over the past 130 years, in part because recent texts include more general scientific jargon than older texts.
  7. Research: Gender bias in scholarly peer review

    Markus Helmer et al.
    Gender-bias in peer reviewing might persist even when gender-equity is reached because both male and female editors operate with a same-gender preference whose characteristics differ by editor-gender.
  8. Research: Publication bias and the canonization of false facts

    Silas Boye Nissen et al.
    Publication bias, in which positive results are preferentially reported by authors and published by journals, can restrict the visibility of evidence against false claims and allow such claims to be canonized inappropriately as facts.
  9. Research: Decoupling of the minority PhD talent pool and assistant professor hiring in medical school basic science departments in the US

    Kenneth D Gibbs Jr et al.
    A systems-level analysis of the biomedical workforce in the US shows that current strategies to enhance faculty diversity are unlikely to have a significant impact, and that there is a need to increase the number of PhDs from underrepresented minority backgrounds who move on to postdoctoral positions.
    1. Computational and Systems Biology

    Research: Bias in the reporting of sex and age in biomedical research on mouse models

    Oscar Flórez-Vargas et al.
    A text-mining study suggests that about half of the papers reporting the results of experiments on mice do not report the sex and age of the mice.
    1. Human Biology and Medicine

    Research: NIH peer review percentile scores are poorly predictive of grant productivity

    Ferric C Fang et al.
    Peer review scores were poorly predictive of research project success in this large dataset, suggesting that reviewers cannot reliably predict which meritorious applications are most likely to be productive.
    1. Epidemiology and Global Health
    2. Human Biology and Medicine

    A meta-analysis of threats to valid clinical inference in preclinical research of sunitinib

    Valerie C Henderson et al.
    Preclinical efficacy experiments testing sunitinib in animal cancer models display a lack of methodological rigour, with trim-and-fill analysis suggesting prominent publication bias that leads to an overestimation of treatment effect.
    1. Developmental Biology
    2. Evolutionary Biology

    Research: Titles and abstracts of scientific reports ignore variation among species

    Barbara R Migeon
    Ignoring the probability of species variation when reporting observations about biological processes leads to misinterpretation of the experimental data.
  10. Research: Financial costs and personal consequences of research misconduct resulting in retracted publications

    Andrew M Stern et al.
    In the first study attempting to formally quantify the deleterious impact of research misconduct on funding sources and publication output, we found that misconduct accounts for a small but substantial portion of American biomedical science funding dollars and damages the productivity and rate of funding acquisition of those who commit misconduct.

Related

  1. Peer Review: Rooting out bias

    Bridget M Kuehn

Contributors

  1. Peter Rodgers
    Features Editor, eLife, United Kingdom