ResearchPad - research-funding https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[What makes an effective grants peer reviewer? An exploratory study of the necessary skills]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13869 This exploratory mixed methods study describes skills required to be an effective peer reviewer as a member of review panels conducted for federal agencies that fund research, and examines how reviewer experience and the use of technology within such panels impacts reviewer skill development. Two specific review panel formats are considered: in-person face-to-face and virtual video conference. Data were collected through interviews with seven program officers and five expert peer review panelists, and surveys from 51 respondents. Results include the skills reviewers’ consider necessary for effective review panel participation, their assessment of the relative importance of these skills, how they are learned, and how review format affects skill development and improvement. Results are discussed relative to the peer review literature and with consideration of the importance of professional skills needed by successful scientists and peer reviewers.

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<![CDATA[Association between commercial funding of Canadian patient groups and their views about funding of medicines: An observational study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c706777d5eed0c4847c7095

Background

Patient groups represent the interest of their members when it comes to drug funding. Many patient groups receive grants from pharmaceutical companies that make products being considered for funding. This research examines whether there is an association between the positions that Canadian groups take about the products and conflicts of interest with the companies.

Methods

The Common Drug Review (CDR) and panCanadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) make recommendations to Canadian provincial and federal drug plans about funding particular drug-indications. Both utilize input from patient groups in making their recommendations. Patient group submissions are available from both organizations and these submissions contain statements about conflicts of interest. Views of the patient groups, with and without a conflict with the company making the drug under consideration and without any conflicts at all, were assessed and then compared with the recommendations from CDR and pCODR.

Results

There was a total of 222 reports for drug-indications. There were 372 submissions from 93 different patient groups. Groups declared a total of 1896 conflicts with drug companies in 324 (87.1%) individual submissions. There were 268 submissions where groups declared a conflict with the company making the product or said they had no conflict. Irrespective of whether there was a conflict, the views of patient groups about the drug-indications under consideration were the same. There was no statistically significant difference between views of patient groups and the recommendations from CDR and/or pCODR.

Conclusions

The large majority of patient groups making submissions about funding of particular drug-indications had conflicts with the companies making the products and their views about the products were almost always positive. This association between funding and views needs to be further investigated to determine if a true cause and effect exists.

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<![CDATA[A proposal for the future of scientific publishing in the life sciences]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75c2d5eed0c4843d013c

Science advances through rich, scholarly discussion. More than ever before, digital tools allow us to take that dialogue online. To chart a new future for open publishing, we must consider alternatives to the core features of the legacy print publishing system, such as an access paywall and editorial selection before publication. Although journals have their strengths, the traditional approach of selecting articles before publication (“curate first, publish second”) forces a focus on “getting into the right journals,” which can delay dissemination of scientific work, create opportunity costs for pushing science forward, and promote undesirable behaviors among scientists and the institutions that evaluate them. We believe that a “publish first, curate second” approach with the following features would be a strong alternative: authors decide when and what to publish; peer review reports are published, either anonymously or with attribution; and curation occurs after publication, incorporating community feedback and expert judgment to select articles for target audiences and to evaluate whether scientific work has stood the test of time. These proposed changes could optimize publishing practices for the digital age, emphasizing transparency, peer-mediated improvement, and post-publication appraisal of scientific articles.

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<![CDATA[Quality of Research Practice – An interdisciplinary face validity evaluation of a quality model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df31fd5eed0c484580d4e

There are few acknowledged multidisciplinary quality standards for research practice and evaluation. This study evaluates the face validity of a recently developed comprehensive quality model that includes 32 defined concepts based on four main areas (credible, contributory, communicable, and conforming) describing indicators of research practice quality. Responses from 42 senior researchers working within 18 different departments at three major universities showed that the research quality model was–overall–valid. The vast majority believed all concepts in the model to be important, and did not indicate the need for further development. However, some of the sub-concepts were indicated as being slightly less important. Further, there were significant differences concerning ‘communicable’ between disciplines and academic levels, and for ‘conforming’ between genders. Our study indicates that the research quality model proposes the opportunity to move to a more systematic and multidisciplinary approach to research quality improvement, which has implications for how scientific knowledge is obtained.

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<![CDATA[The graduation shift of German universities of applied sciences]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e6e5d5eed0c484ef41e7

In research into higher education, the evaluation of completion and dropout rates has generated a steady stream of interest for decades. While most studies only calculate quotes using student and graduate numbers for both phenomena, we propose to additionally consider the budget available to universities. We transfer the idea of the excellence shift indicator [1] from the research to the teaching area, in particular to the completion rate of educational entities. The graduation shift shows the institutions’ ability to produce graduates as measured against their basic academic teaching efficiency. It is an important advantage of the graduation shift that it avoids the well-known heterogeneity problem in efficiency measurements. Our study is based on German universities of applied science. Given their politically determined focus on education, this dataset is well-suited for introducing and evaluating the graduation shift. Using a comprehensive dataset covering the years 2008 to 2013, we show that the graduation shift produces results, which correlate closely with the results of the well-known graduation rate and standard Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). Compared to the graduation rate, the graduation shift is preferable because it allows to take the budget of institutions into account. Compared to the DEA, the computation of the graduation shift is easy, the results are robust, and non-economists can understand them results. Thus, we recommend the graduation shift as an alternative method of efficiency measurement in the teaching area.

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<![CDATA[The PLOS ONE collection on machine learning in health and biomedicine: Towards open code and open data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c4dd5eed0c484bd16c0

Recent years have seen a surge of studies in machine learning in health and biomedicine, driven by digitalization of healthcare environments and increasingly accessible computer systems for conducting analyses. Many of us believe that these developments will lead to significant improvements in patient care. Like many academic disciplines, however, progress is hampered by lack of code and data sharing. In bringing together this PLOS ONE collection on machine learning in health and biomedicine, we sought to focus on the importance of reproducibility, making it a requirement, as far as possible, for authors to share data and code alongside their papers.

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<![CDATA[Crowdfunding scientific research: Descriptive insights and correlates of funding success]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390bb9d5eed0c48491dfff

Crowdfunding has gained traction as a mechanism to raise resources for entrepreneurial and artistic projects, yet there is little systematic evidence on the potential of crowdfunding for scientific research. We first briefly review prior research on crowdfunding and give an overview of dedicated platforms for crowdfunding research. We then analyze data from over 700 campaigns on the largest dedicated platform, Experiment.com. Our descriptive analysis provides insights regarding the creators seeking funding, the projects they are seeking funding for, and the campaigns themselves. We then examine how these characteristics relate to fundraising success. The findings highlight important differences between crowdfunding and traditional funding mechanisms for research, including high use by students and other junior investigators but also relatively small project size. Students and junior investigators are more likely to succeed than senior scientists, and women have higher success rates than men. Conventional signals of quality–including scientists’ prior publications–have little relationship with funding success, suggesting that the crowd may apply different decision criteria than traditional funding agencies. Our results highlight significant opportunities for crowdfunding in the context of science while also pointing towards unique challenges. We relate our findings to research on the economics of science and on crowdfunding, and we discuss connections with other emerging mechanisms to involve the public in scientific research.

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<![CDATA[Contest models highlight inherent inefficiencies of scientific funding competitions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3667b6d5eed0c4841a6160

Scientific research funding is allocated largely through a system of soliciting and ranking competitive grant proposals. In these competitions, the proposals themselves are not the deliverables that the funder seeks, but instead are used by the funder to screen for the most promising research ideas. Consequently, some of the funding program's impact on science is squandered because applying researchers must spend time writing proposals instead of doing science. To what extent does the community's aggregate investment in proposal preparation negate the scientific impact of the funding program? Are there alternative mechanisms for awarding funds that advance science more efficiently? We use the economic theory of contests to analyze how efficiently grant proposal competitions advance science, and compare them with recently proposed, partially randomized alternatives such as lotteries. We find that the effort researchers waste in writing proposals may be comparable to the total scientific value of the research that the funding supports, especially when only a few proposals can be funded. Moreover, when professional pressures motivate investigators to seek funding for reasons that extend beyond the value of the proposed science (e.g., promotion, prestige), the entire program can actually hamper scientific progress when the number of awards is small. We suggest that lost efficiency may be restored either by partial lotteries for funding or by funding researchers based on past scientific success instead of proposals for future work.

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<![CDATA[Reproducible research practices, transparency, and open access data in the biomedical literature, 2015–2017]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bfdb36ad5eed0c4845c9513

Currently, there is a growing interest in ensuring the transparency and reproducibility of the published scientific literature. According to a previous evaluation of 441 biomedical journals articles published in 2000–2014, the biomedical literature largely lacked transparency in important dimensions. Here, we surveyed a random sample of 149 biomedical articles published between 2015 and 2017 and determined the proportion reporting sources of public and/or private funding and conflicts of interests, sharing protocols and raw data, and undergoing rigorous independent replication and reproducibility checks. We also investigated what can be learned about reproducibility and transparency indicators from open access data provided on PubMed. The majority of the 149 studies disclosed some information regarding funding (103, 69.1% [95% confidence interval, 61.0% to 76.3%]) or conflicts of interest (97, 65.1% [56.8% to 72.6%]). Among the 104 articles with empirical data in which protocols or data sharing would be pertinent, 19 (18.3% [11.6% to 27.3%]) discussed publicly available data; only one (1.0% [0.1% to 6.0%]) included a link to a full study protocol. Among the 97 articles in which replication in studies with different data would be pertinent, there were five replication efforts (5.2% [1.9% to 12.2%]). Although clinical trial identification numbers and funding details were often provided on PubMed, only two of the articles without a full text article in PubMed Central that discussed publicly available data at the full text level also contained information related to data sharing on PubMed; none had a conflicts of interest statement on PubMed. Our evaluation suggests that although there have been improvements over the last few years in certain key indicators of reproducibility and transparency, opportunities exist to improve reproducible research practices across the biomedical literature and to make features related to reproducibility more readily visible in PubMed.

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<![CDATA[Capacity to conduct health research among NGOs in Malawi: Diverse strengths, needs and opportunities for development]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b4a1964463d7e428027f8ae

Background

The role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in health research has attracted growing attention. NGOs are important service providers and advocates in international health, and conducting research can help NGOs to strengthen these service delivery and advocacy activities. However, capacity to conduct research varies among NGOs. There is currently limited evidence on NGOs’ research capacity that can explain why capacity varies or indicate potential areas for support. We examined NGOs’ capacity to conduct research, identifying factors that affect their access to the funds, time and skills needed to undertake research.

Methods

We examined research capacity through qualitative case studies of three NGOs in Malawi, including one national and two international NGOs. Data were generated through interviews and focus groups with NGO staff, observation of NGO activities, and document reviews.

Results

Availability of funding, skills and time to conduct research varies considerably between the case NGOs. Access to these resources is affected by internal processes such as sources of funding and prioritisation of research, and by the wider environment and external relationships, including the nature of donor support. Constraints include limited ability to apply for research funding, a perception that donors will not support research costs, lack of funding to hire or train research staff, and prioritisation of service delivery over research in funding proposals and staff schedules.

Conclusion

The findings suggest strategies for NGOs and for donors interested in supporting NGOs’ research capacity. Above all, the findings reinforce the importance of initial capacity assessments to identify organisational needs and opportunities. In addition, the need for time and funding as well as skills suggests that strengthening NGOs’ research capacity will often require more than research training.

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<![CDATA[Moving from Rabies Research to Rabies Control: Lessons from India]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da96ab0ee8fa60ba1e6a

Background

Despite the availability of effective interventions and public recognition of the severity of the problem, rabies continues to suffer neglect by programme planners in India and other low and middle income countries. We investigate whether this state of ‘policy impasse’ is due to, at least in part, the research community not catering to the information needs of the policy makers.

Methods & Findings

Our objective was to review the research output on rabies from India and examine its alignment with national policy priorities. A systematic literature review of all rabies research articles published from India between 2001 and 2011 was conducted. The distribution of conducted research was compared to the findings of an earlier research prioritization exercise. It was found that a total of 93 research articles were published from India since 2001, out of which 61% consisted of laboratory based studies focussing on rabies virus. Animals were the least studied group, comprising only 8% of the research output. One third of the articles were published in three journals focussing on vaccines and infectious disease epidemiology and the top 4 institutions (2 each from the animal and human health sectors) collectively produced 49% of the national research output. Biomedical research related to development of new interventions dominated the total output as opposed to the identified priority domains of socio-politic-economic research, basic epidemiological research and research to improve existing interventions.

Conclusion

The paper highlights the gaps between rabies research and policy needs, and makes the case for developing a strategic research agenda that focusses on rabies control as an expected outcome.

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<![CDATA[Financial Conflicts of Interest and Reporting Bias Regarding the Association between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d4ab0ee8fa60b654f6

Maira Bes-Rastrollo and colleagues examine whether financial conflicts of interest are likely to bias conclusions from systematic reviews that investigate the relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain or obesity.

Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary

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<![CDATA[Innovation and Access to Medicines for Neglected Populations: Could a Treaty Address a Broken Pharmaceutical R&D System?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9dcab0ee8fa60b681a2

As part of a cluster of articles leading up to the 2012 World Health Report and critically reflecting on the theme of “no health without research,” Suerie Moon and colleagues argue for a global health R&D treaty to improve innovation in new medicines and strengthening affordability, sustainable financing, efficiency in innovation, and equitable health-centered governance.

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<![CDATA[Measuring Nepotism through Shared Last Names: Are We Really Moving from Opinions to Facts?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db12ab0ee8fa60bcc65f

Nepotistic practices are detrimental for academia. An analysis of shared last names among academics was recently proposed to measure the diffusion of nepotism, the results of which have had a huge resonance. This method was thus proposed to orient the decisions of policy makers concerning cuts and funding. Because of the social relevance of this issue, the validity of this method must be assessed. Thus, we compared results from an analysis of Italian and United Kingdom academic last names, and of Italian last and given names. The results strongly suggest that the analysis of shared last names is not a measure of nepotism, as it is largely affected by social capital, professional networking and demographic effects, whose contribution is difficult to assess. Thus, the analysis of shared last names is not useful for guiding research policy.

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<![CDATA[Systems Approaches to the Eukaryotic Stress Response]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f8ab0ee8fa60b711eb ]]> <![CDATA[How Criterion Scores Predict the Overall Impact Score and Funding Outcomes for National Institutes of Health Peer-Reviewed Applications]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9fcab0ee8fa60b72836

Understanding the factors associated with successful funding outcomes of research project grant (R01) applications is critical for the biomedical research community. R01 applications are evaluated through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) peer review system, where peer reviewers are asked to evaluate and assign scores to five research criteria when assessing an application’s scientific and technical merit. This study examined the relationship of the five research criterion scores to the Overall Impact score and the likelihood of being funded for over 123,700 competing R01 applications for fiscal years 2010 through 2013. The relationships of other application and applicant characteristics, including demographics, to scoring and funding outcomes were studied as well. The analyses showed that the Approach and, to a lesser extent, the Significance criterion scores were the main predictors of an R01 application’s Overall Impact score and its likelihood of being funded. Applicants might consider these findings when submitting future R01 applications to NIH.

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<![CDATA[Agreements between Industry and Academia on Publication Rights: A Retrospective Study of Protocols and Publications of Randomized Clinical Trials]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9ecab0ee8fa60b6cf64

Background

Little is known about publication agreements between industry and academic investigators in trial protocols and the consistency of these agreements with corresponding statements in publications. We aimed to investigate (i) the existence and types of publication agreements in trial protocols, (ii) the completeness and consistency of the reporting of these agreements in subsequent publications, and (iii) the frequency of co-authorship by industry employees.

Methods and Findings

We used a retrospective cohort of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) based on archived protocols approved by six research ethics committees between 13 January 2000 and 25 November 2003. Only RCTs with industry involvement were eligible. We investigated the documentation of publication agreements in RCT protocols and statements in corresponding journal publications. Of 647 eligible RCT protocols, 456 (70.5%) mentioned an agreement regarding publication of results. Of these 456, 393 (86.2%) documented an industry partner’s right to disapprove or at least review proposed manuscripts; 39 (8.6%) agreements were without constraints of publication. The remaining 24 (5.3%) protocols referred to separate agreement documents not accessible to us. Of those 432 protocols with an accessible publication agreement, 268 (62.0%) trials were published. Most agreements documented in the protocol were not reported in the subsequent publication (197/268 [73.5%]). Of 71 agreements reported in publications, 52 (73.2%) were concordant with those documented in the protocol. In 14 of 37 (37.8%) publications in which statements suggested unrestricted publication rights, at least one co-author was an industry employee. In 25 protocol-publication pairs, author statements in publications suggested no constraints, but 18 corresponding protocols documented restricting agreements.

Conclusions

Publication agreements constraining academic authors’ independence are common. Journal articles seldom report on publication agreements, and, if they do, statements can be discrepant with the trial protocol.

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<![CDATA[Grant Application Review: The Case of Transparency]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae9ab0ee8fa60bbeae3

Grant Application Review: The Case of Transparency Public funding agencies should be more transparent in awarding research grants to allow researchers and the public better insight into decision making.

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<![CDATA[Supporting Better Evidence Generation and Use within Social Innovation in Health in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Qualitative Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdb914

Background

While several papers have highlighted a lack of evidence to scale social innovations in health, fewer have explored decision-maker understandings of the relative merit of different types of evidence, how such data are interpreted and applied, and what practical support is required to improve evidence generation. The objectives of this paper are to understand (1) beliefs and attitudes towards the value of and types of evidence in scaling social innovations for health, (2) approaches to evidence generation and evaluation used in systems and policy change, and (3) how better evidence-generation can be undertaken and supported within social innovation in health.

Methods

Thirty-two one-on-one interviews were conducted between July and November 2015 with purposively selected practitioners, policymakers, and funders from low- and middle- income countries (LMICs). Data were analysed using a Framework Analysis Approach.

Results

While practitioners, funders, and policymakers said they held outcome evidence in high regard, their practices only bear out this assertion to varying degrees. Few have given systematic consideration to potential unintended consequences, in particular harm, of the programs they implement, fund, or adopt. Stakeholders suggest that better evidence-generation can be undertaken and supported within social innovation in health by supporting the research efforts of emerging community organizations; creating links between practitioners and academia; altering the funding landscape for evidence-generation; providing responsive technical education; and creating accountability for funders, practitioners, and policymakers.

Conclusion

How better evidence-generation can be undertaken and supported within social innovation in health is a previously under-operationalised aspect of the policy-making process that remains essential in order to refrain from causing harm, enable the optimization of existing interventions, and ultimately, to scale and fund what works.

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<![CDATA[Why Having a (Nonfinancial) Interest Is Not a Conflict of Interest]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9fcab0ee8fa60b72849

A current debate about conflicts of interest related to biomedical research is to question whether the focus on financial conflicts of interest overshadows “nonfinancial” interests that could put scientific judgment at equal or greater risk of bias. There is substantial evidence that financial conflicts of interest such as commercial sponsorship of research and investigators lead to systematic biases in scientific research at all stages of the research process. Conflation of “conflicts of interest” with “interests” in general serves to muddy the waters about how to manage conflicts of interest. We call for heightened disclosure of conflicts of interest and policy action beyond disclosure as the sole management strategy. We propose a different strategy to manage interests more broadly to ensure fair representation and accountability.

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