MLA ’13: New Methods of Publishing

  • Scholarly Video Journals to Increase Productivity in Medical Research and Education
  • The Pace of Change in Practice-Driving Medical Knowledge in New Models of Publishing
  • Tricked into Submission: Health Sciences Librarians’ Role in Fighting Predatory Publishing and Spamferences
  • Creating a New “Gratis Open Access” Family Medicine Research Journal

Abstracts here

Scholarly Video Journals to Increase Productivity in Medical Research and Education
Dr. Moshe Pritsker, CEO and cofounder of Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) – online video journal for biological and medical research.

Personal story – 2003 in Priceton, working on PhD. Asked to reproduce an experiment from a published article. Doesn’t work. Others are asked, also doesn’t work. Typical story – 9 of 10 tries you can’t make it work. Sent to Edinbugh to the original researchers to observe their methodology. Great experience, but is this transatlantic trip really what we have to do to learn new methods in the 21st century?

Traditional articles don’t work. Why? Text-based explanations of procedures people want to learn/replicate. Very short video can replace an entire paragraph. What seems complex in text is revealed to be simple in video. Slows learning curve. Researchers are “busy reinventing the wheel instead of busy curing cancer.”

Each article has a video that explains how the experiment is done. Step by step demonstration of the experiment.  “In general it is not possible to learn surgery from a text.”

Publishing 50 articles each month. First and only video journal indexed in Medline & PubMed. Neuroscience, bioengineering, others;  just added sections on applied physics, chemistry; new sections coming on behavior and environmental science.

Ran through numbers on subscribers, traffic, usage stats, etc.

Videos are professionally filmed and edited by JoVE staff. Lots of technical effort and experience needed. They have a network of videographers who can go out to the labs to film researchers in their own labs.

Scientific publication hasn’t changed much since the first article in 1665.


-Anonymous peer review – same as other journals.

-Open Access? Deposit in PubMed with 3 year embargo. comply with the regulations & mandates around Open Access re: research funding, though. JoVE is only subscription, though, video production is very expensive. $10k/video.

The Pace of Change in Practice-Driving Medical Knowledge in New Models of Publishing
Dr. Brian Alper, founder & editor in chief of DynaMed and medical director of EBSCO Publishing.

How quickly does what we need to know change due to new evidence or guidelines? In med school realized he couldn’t memorize everything, so focused on learning how to organize and find info. Half of what is taught in med school is wrong – we just don’t know which half. What it is to practice medicine keeps changing – we learn more every day.

DynaMed – evidence based reference tool – monitor & appraise the evidence-based literature. Change their content as needed. Walks through their overview section.

How quickly does the core evidence we rely on for practice change? In 1.5 years, 75% of topics they examined for this analysis had a change in the overview due to new evidence, 60% due to new guidelines. Some of this is due to new focus on changing guidelines to be more evidence-based. Lots of revision in guidelines now.


Tricked into Submission: Health Sciences Librarians’ Role in Fighting Predatory Publishing and Spamferences
Paul M. Blobaum, prof on library faculty at Governors State U. Also health & human services librarian

Abstract was due a year ago. Had a goal of conducting a study in time to report results here. Instead have just the beginnings of a larger research project.

As a librarian, concerned with quality information in the literature, especially consumer literature. Also on tenure & promotion committee. Noticed trend of faculty getting tricked into publishing in low-quality journals. Saw a need to help establish legitimacy of publications and making choices for good journals to submit to.  Also noted that faculty are really behind the times on open access – some think that means it’s vanity publishing, or otherwise not credible

Shows a letter of solicitation he got from a publisher that seemed fishy – addressed him incorrectly, not his area of study, English-language issues. Shows another that had been sent to a colleague. We know to delete these. Unspoken idea that faculty do not always realize it’s a scam.

Beall’s Scholarly OA website: – criteria for identifying predatory publishers.

How to ID credible journals – look at the major indexes and their criteria for inclusion, ie MedLine. He has also developed a checklist.

Some of the predatory practices – online, pay-to-publish model. Logo or acronym may be similar to a legit journal that doesn’t have a good online presence. No real meaningful peer review. Often international in scope, claim to be indexed but in the fine print they note they’ve just applied, or the fine print will note that the indexes are things like Google Scholar or DOAJ. Often promise quick turnaround times – tempting to someone who has been turned down 2-3 times already.  Poor grammar and language use indicating no editing work happening. No connection with a scholarly society or with the community of scholars in general. No editor column can be a warning sign – so there’s no way to communicate back if you see something published with a  bad methodology, for example. Editor and publisher are often the same person. Not following various standards set by scholarly societies and publisher groups.

Important to emphasize that perfectly reputable publishers may also share some of these criteria! For example, quick turnaround.

Spam conferences – claim to index proceedings, but nowhere to be found. He got a solicitation from one conference two years in a row – colleague did extensive search of proceedings databases and didn’t find anything. Was able to identify it as a ripoff of an IEEE conference.


-We’ve seen ID theft of researchers just being randomly listed on editorial boards. Some without even being contacted, others listed even after they say no. Creates (perceived) conflicts of interest for them sometimes.

-Researchers aren’t doing the kind of due diligence they’d do when selecting a contractor to fix their roof. Why? Boggle.

-Sometimes these journals are not necessarily scammy, just start-ups that are trying to build credibility. Opportunity for follow up research?

-Working on new departmental publishing guidelines that encourage faculty to consult with a librarian early on about where to publish.

Creating a New “Gratis Open Access” Family Medicine Research Journal
Laura A. McLellan, MLS, on the staff of Annals of Family Medicine at Case Western

This presentation focused on the establishment and history of this journal, which was not particularly relevant for my interests. Hence the very sparse notes.

Journal was born when a group looked at existing options for family medicine publishing and saw that there was not much, and what was out there was changing focus. Most focused on reviews, office practice, or shifting to more specialty coverage.

Submissions go through initial inspection and if they make it through that, get 2-3 peer reviewers assigned. Assoc editors look at reviews and make decision re: accept/reject. Supplemental materials online. Also have public-friendly summaries called “In Brief.”

Indexed in MedLine, EMBASE, PsycINFO, PubMed Central