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Scientific Publishing: A Quick Start for Ordinary People 24 h

The publication of scientific research is fundamentally a long, complex and multi-step process. However, the coronavirus epidemic, like many other diseases in the field of science, has accelerated this: As many results are needed as quickly as possible, which is of course normal and understandable, but it has also doubled the number of research findings. Uncontrolled. . With the help of virologist Gábor Kemenesi, we are in charge of exactly how the deployment process works.

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, more and more scientific processes, which were intended for the strict professional eyes of peacetime, are being offered to a larger audience than ordinary people – resulting in a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding, as happened recently about one of these processes. The world’s leading medical journals, The scalpel What I have published about the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine. We’ve written about it here and here, but maybe we also need a deeper look into the publication of scholarly studies and dissertations to understand what happens in a journal at times like these. For this Gabor Kimenisei We called the virologist for help. We discussed with the expert exactly how the publishing process works, what are the differences between the different journals, and why the peer review study does not match the research report presented in a letter.

Researchers should summarize the scientific findings in the form of an essay describing the research, methodology, numbers, measures and supporting the findings. What’s important: it needs to be compiled in a way that the experience can be reproduced, ”the virologist told Once you get the article, you have to choose which journal to send to: Obviously, you have to choose a journal suitable for your system, but within that, there is a lot of Other factors that can play a role in which the journal ends are.

One of these is the journal’s so-called “influence factor”, which is calculated, among other things, from the number of citations in the profession cited. “The impact factor shows the citation and the“ visibility ”of a scientific journal. It also makes sense, because if the citation goes somewhere, important studies will often appear there, and it will be a very prestigious paper with a great scientific background,” said Gabor Kimenisi, noting that The effect isn’t always true, either. As the newly published journals start from a smaller number of well-known old magazines. “It doesn’t matter what newspaper has its editorial board, as is usually the case with big-name magazines like nature, a Science Or the The scalpelThe people who lead the profession are always the editors and the editors-in-chief. “

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When you receive a journal article, it first reaches the editor who reviews it and decides whether it fits the journal topic or whether it is scientifically relevant. If you have this, then there is a procedure called peer review, which in the Hungarian language is often referred to as proofreading: in this case, the study is reviewed and reviewed by independent scholars who are knowledgeable about the topic. The largest journals have their own well-established team for this, but if the topic is very special or experts from another scientific field are needed, the research is interdisciplinary, and they can invite others as well. The expert said: “Incidentally, it is also reprising that the reviewer is asked by a larger paper to audit an essay.”

Ricardo Milani / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP

Proofread covers almost everything, such as research methodology, structure, findings, language, or frequency. They examine the article in every way and criticize it. The article is sent out to several reviewers at the same time to receive multiple opinions, and then is used to make a suggestion based on whether it can appear as it is – which is very rare anyway – or whether it needs improvement. In the end, the editor decides whether the article can be published or not. “

This is a kind of science quality control, which is a practically indispensable tradition.

Of course, this process is not error resistant either, flawed studies and even flawed studies have already appeared in more prestigious papers, but a feature of the process is that it will sooner or later drop off the sieve. Perhaps the most famous of these is a study that “establishes” the relationship between vaccinations and autism, conducted by Dr. Andrew Wakefield noticed and appeared in The Lancet. However, it soon became apparent that Wakefield had falsified the record as he had a financial interest in the desired outcome.

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“The beauty of science is that it wears out sooner or later, the scientific brakes work very well. It also sheds light on what is wrong with COVID: The whole scientific process takes a long time, but now everyone wants to know everything immediately, which is understandable.” Gabor Kimenisi said. This is due to the rise in the number of prepress servers like medRxiv or bioRxiv, which have become increasingly popular in recent months, but large magazines also have their own prepress pages.

“Anyone can upload their own article to the prepress server, and nobody is looking at what will be released. The server also proves whether it is officially correct, approximate, and well organized, but no requirement.

Anyway, the prepress servers are very good as well, you need speed in science as well, big pages support their existence, but you have to be careful to draw conclusions from them.

Basically, both of these servers and journals are designed for a professional audience, but there is, understandably, so much interest in Coronavirus today that ordinary people are starting to analyze scientific studies without knowing the relevant background. This can be so dangerous that they cannot explain what is described in context, do not know what is the difference between study and preprint, and confuse a scientific thesis with a scientific study, as happened with the speech of Sinopharm mentioned at the beginning of our article.

This is because journals (such as correspondence in the case of The Lancet, for example) often contain short summaries of scholarly research. “Let’s go back to the beginning of the story: As a researcher, it is somehow urgent to communicate my findings as quickly as possible because they may contain important information for an acute and dangerous situation, but it will take another year for more conclusions or more complex experiments to support it. But I still think it’s where Now, you might be interested in the scientific world, so I want to report that somewhere. The expert explained that there are correspondence boxes like “correspondence.” For other journals, the speed call category or the short contact or even the message category allows it. ”These columns Also good for commenting on previously published studies. But very short search results can also be reported in a message, such as the article on Sinopharm. This is the result of a study conducted on a sample of 12 + 12 people, which is not necessarily a large number from a scientific point of view, but it is still interesting because very little is known about this vaccine in this aspect. ”

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For anything to appear in such a mailbox, it suffices for the editor to review it and find it interesting, really important, and it will not be forwarded for review.

The profession is very familiar with these processes, but the general public is not – but because of the Coronavirus, everyone is now interested in all the little information, especially when it comes to vaccines. “In the eyes of the average person, everything is on one level, if they see that it has appeared somewhere, so be it. Whether we are talking about a preliminary copy, a speech or an entire article, it is not clear. However, scientific publishing is a long and complicated process, which is what It ensures that the results are well grounded. “