Published a research paper? What next??
CA Divecha1, MS Tullu2, S Karande2,
1 Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at College of Medicine and Health Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, Sohar, Sultanate of Oman
2 Department of Pediatrics, Seth G.S. Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
M S Tullu
Department of Pediatrics, Seth G.S. Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra
|How to cite this article:|
Divecha C A, Tullu M S, Karande S. Published a research paper? What next??.J Postgrad Med 2021;67:189-193
|How to cite this URL:|
Divecha C A, Tullu M S, Karande S. Published a research paper? What next??. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 27 ];67:189-193
Available from: https://www.jpgmonline.com/text.asp?2021/67/4/189/330883
In our earlier editorials, we have already discussed the importance of conducting good-quality medical research, composing an original research paper, and getting the paper published successfully.,, We have also given a roadmap for reviewing an original research paper. The current editorial deals with some important post-publication issues that every author should be acquainted with.
Replying to Letters to Editor Received on the Published Manuscript
After the publication of the research paper, the editors may receive one or more “letters to editors,” supporting or criticizing or commenting on the published research paper. If the contents of such letters arouse genuine concerns/issues, the editor will ask for a rebuttal/reply to the same, from the authors of the original paper and publish both of these in a subsequent issue of the journal. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author of the original paper to contact the co-authors and provide a reply that has been drafted and approved by all the authors. Such correspondence indicates that the paper has aroused sufficient interest in the readers. Replying to such letters gives the authors an opportunity to explain their research findings anew and also address issues that may not have been addressed in their research paper (published earlier).
The editor may invite an editorial commentary on the accepted research paper, which is usually published in the same issue as the original paper. The commentary is usually written by an expert in the concerned field (who would probably also have reviewed the article and recommended its publication). The purpose of the commentary is to provide a balanced view for interpreting the results of the study and give insights into the clinical applicability/relevance of the study findings. Such commentaries also reflect the experience and the opinion of the expert who is writing the commentary.
MEDLINE and Other indexation
The prestige of a publication rests in its representation in an “indexed journal” of a highly rated database such as MEDLINE, PubMed, Scopus, Embase, and Web of Science. Such indexation not only increases the prestige of a journal but also provides wider access to its content. MEDLINE, of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), is one of the most widely used biomedical journal citation databases, containing more than 26 million articles (from 1946 to the present) published in more than 5,200 journals. It is available through PubMed free of charge and by subscription via database vendors (Ovid and EBSCO)., Publishers submit journals to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-chartered advisory committee, the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC), which reviews and recommends journals for indexation in MEDLINE based on the scientific policy and scientific quality. PubMed (www.pubmed.gov), developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the US NLM, is a free search engine for retrieval of the literature, having more than 30 million citations and abstracts on biomedical and life sciences across several NLM literature resources., It provides access to all of MEDLINE, journals/manuscripts deposited in PubMed Central (PMC), and NCBI Bookshelf. The update occurs daily with reference data supplied directly by publishers, often before a journal issue is released. To be indexed in PubMed, a journal should be selected as a MEDLINE journal or be deposited to the PMC.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms—a controlled and hierarchically organized vocabulary thesaurus—are used by the NLM to index and search biomedical literature. They provide an overview of an article's content through a set of terms pertaining to main headings (descriptors) and subheadings (qualifiers), with yearly updates. Indexers (generally librarians trained to read MEDLINE published articles) assign relevant MeSH indexing terms based on the content/concept of an article, using words from an official MeSH list. The manual assignment of MeSH terms is laborious, subjective, time-consuming, and expensive, which has led to the development of the Medical Text Indexer (MTI), a MeSH prediction tool that assists NLM indexers by providing recommendations for MeSH terms.
Scopus (www.scopus.com) is another subscription-based citation database produced by Elsevier Co. and maintained by independent subject matter experts. It indexes about 4,600 health science titles including 100% of MEDLINE and Embase coverage.
Embase (Excerpta Medica Database) (www.embase.com) is a biomedical as well as a pharmacological bibliographic database. This subscription-based Elsevier database (32 million records of over 8,500 currently published journals since 1947) assists information managers and pharmacovigilance in licensed drugs. Emtree is the Embase thesaurus, and all journals listed in MEDLINE are also registered in Embase, with additional 2,900 journals unique to it.
The Web of Science (Thomson Reuters) is an interdisciplinary subscription-based database with records (from 1900 onward) of multiple bibliographic databases. It includes Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), a medical database, and helps in article recovery and citation search.
Publons (http://publons.com/), a free commercial website, combines publications, citation metrics, peer-reviews, and journal editorial work, all in one place. It serves as a platform for publishers to seek and connect to peer-reviewers, reports global peer-review activity, and provides peer-review training for early-career researchers.
Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/), a mainstream free academic crawler-based search engine, has content across academic disciplines, countries, and languages, and over 380 million records. Indexing in Google Scholar enhances accessibility, sharing, and online citation worldwide, particularly for open-access (OA) journals. Google Scholar offers free alerts (via email) of citations to the authors of their publications indexed with it, once the authors register for such alerts. A Google Scholar search also focuses on individual articles and not journals, improves article retrieval (including unpublished conference material), shows more frequently cited works higher in search, and lists the papers citing original papers (via “Cited by”).
Posting of the Pdf of the Final Published Article on Websites/Servers
Posting of the complete paper or the portable document format (“pdf”) of the final published paper on websites/servers (self-archiving) may be done only if the paper has been published in an OA journal and if the journal policy allows such a posting (this precaution is to be taken to prevent copyright infringement). Some journals allow the revised accepted (pre-print) version of the manuscript to be shared but not the final printed pdf version. These details of the necessary permissions required are usually given on the website of the journal/publisher. It is the responsibility of the author who is posting such a pre-print version to check whether the journal policy allows him/her to do so. Usually, the journal editors/publishers send the final, published pdf copy to the corresponding author. The corresponding author may then share it with the co-authors of the paper. However, it should be remembered that the copyright of the paper is with the publisher (usually) and the publisher provides the pdf to the corresponding author with a rider that mentions that “the pdf is for personal and educational purposes only and should not be distributed or printed commercially or distributed systematically.” This is especially true for the non-OA journals.
Getting the Research Noticed by the Medical Fraternity
It is necessary that a research paper gets read by the medical fraternity all over the world. For this, there are various avenues such as sharing the title and abstract or their links with professional colleagues on social media (such as Telegram, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) or via emails on groups/listserv, displaying the title and abstract on the website of the journal (in the table of contents of the journal) or the website of the institution where the work was carried out, posting the title and abstract on websites such as the Researchgate (www.researchgate.net) or Mendeley (www.mendeley.com), discussion of the paper at journal clubs, and inclusion of the results in subsequent presentations at conferences/seminars by the authors. There may be some limitations on sharing the full text of the paper or the pdf version of the published paper as discussed earlier in this editorial. The journal editor/publisher may also send details to the corresponding author on how to increase the visibility of their paper. The increased visibility is most likely to translate into better citations and research impact for the paper. The visibility of the paper can be enhanced by (after checking the journal's OA policy)
The journal's website and its bibliographic linking.Institutional open archive repository, where one may post the pdf in the archive with a link to the article on the journal's website.By depositing the article in a subject-based OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) compliant repository (subject-wise list of repositories is available from http://opcit.eprints.org/explorearchives.shtml#disciplinary).Linking the paper from as many websites as possible using citation and social bookmarking tools such as GetCited (http://www.getcited.org/add/), CiteULike (http://www.citeulike.org/register), Connotea (http://www.connotea.org/register), Zotero (http://www.zotero.org/), and Stumbleupon (http://www.stumbleupon.com/sign_up.php?pre2 = hp_join).Linking the article from an appropriate topic in Wikipedia.Depositing the paper with the NLM's PubMed Central, if the authors have received an NIH grant (http://www.nihms.nih.gov/db/sub.cgi) as NIH insists that publicly funded research should be available to everyone without having to pay.Linking the paper from the author's personal/institutional web pages.
The Journal of Postgraduate Medicine approves self-archiving of articles (final accepted version) on OAI (Open Archives Initiative)—compliant institutional/subject-based repository. Self-archiving enables maximum visibility, impact, access, and usage and can be done by the author himself or via digital archivers in the author's institution/library. Self-archiving can be expedited by the installation of OAI-compliant Eprint Archives in university/research institutions, and self-archiving pre-peer-review preprints (without the embargo period) and post-peer-review post-prints (or corrigenda file) (after the embargo period) on the author's personal website, company/institutional repository or archive, not-for-profit subject-based preprint servers or repositories., “Embargo period” refers to the time post-publication (commonly ranging from 12 to 24 months), after which a subscribed article is made freely available/openly accessible to users.
Traditionally, publishing an article would incur no charges toward author submission, peer-review, and publication. However, users are often charged a subscription fee for full-article access, which limits free access to the literature. The novel concept of OA has emerged in the last two decades through pioneers such as BioMed Central and Public Library of Science (PLoS) with online-only journals. Fully-OA journals make all their articles freely and immediately accessible online (without embargo period) under a Creative Commons (CC) or equivalent open copyright license permitting anyone to “read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full-texts of articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose” through two established routes—“gold” and “green”., In the “gold” route, the authors pay a fee—an article processing charge (APC)–to facilitate free and immediate access to their published articles. These charges are journal-specific and may range from 500 to 5000 US dollars, which are often prohibitive and unaffordable by Indian authors. If financial support for OA research is provided by the author's institution or organizations, such as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and INCLEN Trust (International Clinical Epidemiology Network- INCLEN), then Indian authors may be able to afford these publication charges. In the “green” route, the author publishes the research article in any journal and then archives it in an institutional repository (University, a central repository [e.g. PubMed Central] or an OA website) based on the journal self-archiving policies., This balances the researcher's freedom to publish and share work, and the publisher's control on quality. Publishing in a reputable OA journal provides versatility and visibility, and in return the academic researcher receives a higher research impact through citation counts.
Many OA journals use CC licenses, an easy alternative to standard copyrights, permitting authors to determine the use of their work broadly, minus the need to look into individual permission requests. A CC license allows copying and redistribution of material in any medium/format (sharing) and remixing, transforming, and building upon the material (adapting). Restrictive elements such as “Attribution” require users to cite the creator of the work, “Non-Commercial” prohibits users from making commercial use of the work, “No Derivates” prohibit users from making modifications to the work, and “Share Alike” require users to apply the same licenses to a new work they create with the original work. These clauses limit the re-use, but provide useful protection to scholars, research subjects, and the OA nature of the publication. The elements can be combined, as is the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license, or CC-BY-NC-SA, or the Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives or CC-BY-NC-ND.
The increase in the number of OA journals has often led to questions about their quality. This and the increasing pressure on researchers to “publish” or “perish” has fostered an increasing growth in medical journals, hoping to attract eager young academic researchers to publish their work in their journals. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a community-curated database that provides comprehensive access and quality control over the content of OA scientific and scholarly journals. DOAJ aims to increase the visibility and ease of use of OA journals, thereby increasing their usage and impact.
The Journal Impact Factor and Personal Research Impact Factors
Several journal-/author-/article-level metric tools are available via indexing databases (e.g., Scopus and Web of Science) that enable users to track the scholarly impact of a journal, author, or article. One of the most popular ways of assessing a journal's importance is via its journal impact factor (JIF). The 2-year JIF (in any given year) is the ratio between the number of citations received in that year for publications in that journal in the two preceding years and the total number of “citable items” published in that journal during the two previous years. An impact factor could also consider shorter or longer periods of citations and sources.
Author impact factor (AIF) similarly evaluates the impact of an individual author; however, because the number is generally not large, other citation metrics are used. One such prominent influence measure is “h-index” (or Hirsch index), which effectively combines papers (indicating quantity/productivity) with citations (indicating quality/impact), thus evaluating an individual author's publication career. It is a count of the largest number of papers (h) from an author that has at least (h) number of citations. It enables a comparison of researchers from the same field with equally long careers, predicts future scientific achievements, and helps in decisions pertaining to tenure positions/grants. The “i10-index” (introduced by Google), in contrast, is a simple tally of a researcher's publications with at least 10 citations. The “i10-index” is straightforward, easy to calculate (using “My Citations” on Google Scholar), and helps to identify important/influential papers out of an author's publications (those that are cited at least 10 times). However, it is restricted to Google Scholar and does not account for the total number of publications and total citations of an author, thus not giving a clear impression of an author's research productivity.
Citation analysis involves measuring the number of citations that a particular work has received, indicating the overall quality of that work, whereas citation count is the total number of an individual's citations. Citation counts measure the impact and performance of individual researchers as well as departments, research institutions, universities, books, journals, and nations.
Citation-based metrics may take years to accumulate and are not always the best indicator of practical impact in fields, such as clinical medicine. Article-level metrics (ALMs) measure the impact/uptake of an individual journal article on the scientific community post-publication and include usage, citations, social bookmarking and dissemination activity, media and blog coverage, discussion activity and ratings. They thus measure the dissemination and reach of published research articles in practical fields. PLOS uses the category labels of Viewed, Cited, Saved, Discussed, and Recommended. ALMs are valuable to researchers (track and share the impact of published work), research institutions, funders, and publishers. The PLOS Application Programming Interface (API) for ALMs is freely and publicly available from https://web.archive.org/web/20140408224328/http://api.plos.org/alm/using-the-alm-api/ and allows users with programming skills to extract data for various research purposes.
The ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) [https://orcid.org/register]
ORCID, via its unique 16-digit author identifier, provides a digital name—or an iD—that uniquely and persistently identifies researchers and other contributors to their research effort. By connecting iDs to different research activities (grant proposal submissions, manuscripts to journal publishers, and datasets to data repositories) and affiliations across multiple research information platforms, ORCID enables recognition and reduces the reporting burden for researchers. As a researcher and author, it is important to be recognized and receive full credit for their contributions and research in work. The ORCID provides a unique identifier for the research that is linked to names rather than institutions, thus researchers can maintain the same iD throughout their career, even when their institutional affiliation changes. It allows researchers to receive full credit for their contributions and eliminates mistaken identity, especially when there are multiple authors with the same name. It also makes the submission process easier by allowing users to sign in to multiple journal submission sites with one username and password. ORCID can be applied to research outputs to identify, validate, and confirm authorship as well as track research output. Some journals now print the ORCID number of an author in the publication. A single click on the displayed ORCID numbers gives the reader the entire list of publications by the author. It also easily integrates with other databases such as Crossref, ResearchID, and SCOPUS.,
Researcher ID (developed by Thomas Reuters and used in Web of Science) and Scopus Author ID (developed by Elsevier and used in Scopus) are similar identifiers provided by subscription-based proprietary systems. Researcher ID (obtained by creating a Researcher ID account) allows researchers to manage their publication lists, track citations and h-index, and identify potential collaborators. A Scopus Author ID is automatically assigned to an author with a Scopus-indexed publication and enables tracking publications indexed in the Scopus citation database and building metric reports.
In the current scenario, increasing importance is being given to research and publications—as a measure of individual/institutional progress as well as a benchmark to determine recruitment, promotions, and funding. Thus, it has become mandatory for an individual to keep working on quality research, followed by writing and publishing it successfully. However, publication is not the end of an author's work but the beginning of another important process. The value of a publication lies in its wide accessibility and impact. Bibliographic databases, such as MEDLINE, Embase, and Scopus, compile data from a selection of journals (such documented journals are “indexed” in that database), thus improving the visibility and access on a literature search. The use of database-specific thesaurus/controlled vocabulary such as MeSH (for MEDLINE) and Emtree (for EMBASE) enables precise search outcomes. An increase in the number of OA journals and processes such as “self-archiving” has opened avenues for the wide dissemination of published information. Many articles are freely available online immediately after publication (gold OA), whereas many permit the authors to archive in an institutional repository, subject to journal policies. The use of the CC license and its restrictive elements allows the authors to choose how their work can be used. Bibliometrics help to measure academic/scholarly activity and scientific impact, but should not be obsessed over. Their shortcomings in the true measurement of the impact of journals, articles, and authors have necessitated a suitable replacement, one with a more effective and meaningful evaluation of the true influence of research. The availability of free resources such as ORCID has linked an individual's research over various platforms and provided consolidated data of one's research activities. It is important that authors are aware of these post-publication resources and utilize them proactively to disseminate one's research and ensure a meaningful research impact.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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