December 9, 2022

Wire Service Canada

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Here’s how “preprints” are changing medical science. But is it really that good?

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, between a wave of viral and subsequent subgenres, continues to shake the world of scientific publishing: will they be antiquities that will disappear over time or will some remain structural in this now lavish and now highly competitive world, made up of challenging journals? Peer review But also because there are so rare data disputes or even denials that the original authors themselves published? More authentically modern (even if it has precedents, but is much less massive) are those that relate to the politics of Prepress whose publication, as expected, has grown exponentially in recent times. Sir Peter Horby, a well-known global health expert from Oxford, recently came to their advantage firmly on the prestigious nature medicinesign of (changing) times.

Indeed, in the name of a health emergency, thus providing timely and immediate (but not filtered) online for anyone interested, from the first months of the pandemic, all items are still waiting for appropriate judgment by the competent reviewers. (An article received from a scientific journal is usually sent anonymously to at least two scholars with expertise in the field for evaluation and correction.) Without filters, in short, and in the name of the fact that any potential new treatment for the deadly epidemic should be announced immediately, the usual (and important) filter has been abandoned to experts.

The danger is that this ultra-quick measure, which under-prepared science journalists throw themselves ferociously into the media with possibly poor results or excessively imaginative speculation, will lead to confusion and errors. Which definitely happened. Brilliantly written by Enrico Pucci Un the paperApproximately Unicom In the national media landscape, he is often hasty and a failure.

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However, according to Horbi’s brief speech that appeared recently nature medicineAnd the It seems that rapid communication of clinical trial results during a pandemic is almost new naturalHelp save lives Thus, in the final analysis, I Prepress editions Probably useful for patients.” Obviously, provided that the basic skills of all those who use it are greatly improved.

Another trend is underway. Even the arrogance of some authors in insisting that the same article be sent to several journals at the same time (Multiple submissions, in the name of “the first to accept and publish it, will be the best”), again in the name of editorial haste (in fact, on average, it takes at least a few weeks to collect reviewers’ opinions) it has reappeared as malicious. In the name of the principle that “clinical data really compelling, it saves lives” has been dealt another blow to the well-established tradition of editorial filtering.

Another topic that has been revived with the epidemic, but in fact of much more value, we could almost say “historical”, relates to the traditional difficulty all researchers have in publishing “negative results”, although there are some specialized journals. In fact, usually when a hypothesis does not find empirical or epidemiological confirmation, its general usefulness is very low, sometimes almost non-existent. But there is a risk that another group of researchers will repeat the same experiment or observation, wasting time, human and economic resources. Hence the importance of publishing negative results.

Scientific publishing plays a powerful role, whether it’s effort, knowledge, or dismal economics. Monitoring it is a technical duty and not only. Ethics too.

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