Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Ksenija Bazdaric | Future of Medical Journals

by Editor

Ksenija Bazdaric is the Research Integrity Editor at the Croatian Medical Journal and Chief Editor, European Science Editing

This interview took place as part of the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Croatian Medical Journal

Watch the interview and enjoy the conversation

In conversation with…Ksenija Bazdaric

What do you think are the main challenges facing journal editors at present?

As an editor in the Croatian Medical Journal, I’ve been a research Integrity editor for 10 years now. I mainly face plagiarism and text similarity. We also face a lot of questionable research practices but, as an editor in general, and as an EASE editor, we also face a lot of challenges in the topics we cover. The ‘Hot Topic’ now is diversity. We have recently issued sex and gender equity research checklists for editors. We have issued some other checklists that can be useful for editors. Those editors of journals not currently indexed are mainly preoccupied with the indexation process so we try to help them in that area.

DMacA: Tell me a little bit about your interest in open science.

KB: The Croatian Medical Journal was always an open access journal since it began to be published 30 years ago. It was always an open access journal. Also, European Science Editing became a Diamond open access journal in 2020. And, as a scientist, I also have a small project investigating attitudes towards open science in Croatia.

DMacA: Are there any other areas of scientific misconduct that would concern you apart from plagiarism and data manipulation?

KB: Yes, I think fabrication and falsification are the biggest crimes in science and they concern me a lot. Unfortunately, we still don’t have a clear and easy mechanism to detect them. I recently listened to a discussion where John Carlisle was a part of that discussion. He is a famous anesthesiologist who detects data fabrication. And I think the only answer to that question- how to prevent fabrication- is to share data. And we still don’t do that, or we don’t do it in a large scale. For example, with PloS One or Peer J,  you have to share data if you want to publish with them. But not all medical journals require data sharing, and they could. I’m strongly Pro Data sharing.

DMacA: What do you think journals can do if they come across scientific misconduct?

KB: Journals can do various things but, most of all, they should go and speak with the institutions because the investigation was done in an institution and only the institution can know if, and investigate if, something wrong happened. It’s pretty easy if you have a plagiarism case but it’s not easy if you have a suspicion of data fabrication or data falsification. Okay, we also have image manipulation software but it’s not so easy to investigate those things. Journals can sometimes investigate themselves and conclude the case but sometimes they have to turn to the institution. But that process is so long.  It goes on and on and it seems that some retractions take maybe 10 years, and that’s really terrible.

DMacA: Where do you think science is going in terms of publication, pre-prints and open science. Where do you see the future of medical journals?

KB: Actually, I don’t want to be depressing but I don’t see a bright future for science journals. I think journals, especially in print edition, will cease to exist. It is pretty much normal now to be online only but not in Croatia where we still have a lot of printed journals. And with the developments we have, and very rigid format of a scientific article that we have now, I think that in some 50 or 100 years, if there are still humans on Earth, it will not be that same. So, I think journals will probably have some other form, or maybe in some form of aggregated repositories, or some other form. I don’t believe that they will stay the same as they are today, as much as I would like to, because I like scientific journals a lot.

DMacA: What would you think are the most important priorities to look at in the near future?

KB: I think the future of every journal is to publish quality articles and that always has to be the priority. And, then we can think about other, as they say, mumbo jumbo technical things.  This always has to be the priority, to continue to work as we do, and to integrate some open science practices that are current nowadays. That would probably advance the journal.

DMacA: It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you for sharing your insights into the future of medical journals.

As an editor in the Croatian Medical Journal, I’ve been a research Integrity editor for 10 years now. I mainly face plagiarism and text similarity. We also face a lot of questionable research practices but, as an editor in general, and as an EASE editor, we also face a lot of challenges in the topics we cover. The ‘Hot Topic’ now is diversity. We have recently issued sex and gender equity research checklists for editors. We have issued some other checklists that can be useful for editors. Those editors of journals not currently indexed are mainly preoccupied with the indexation process so we try to help them in that area.
DMacA: Tell me a little bit about your interest in open science.
KB: The Croatian Medical Journal was always an open access journal since it began to be published 30 years ago. It was always an open access journal. Also, European Science Editing became a Diamond open access journal in 2020. And, as a scientist, I also have a small project investigating attitudes towards open science in Croatia.
DMacA: Are there any other areas of scientific misconduct that would concern you apart from plagiarism and data manipulation?
KB: Yes, I think fabrication and falsification are the biggest crimes in science and they concern me a lot. Unfortunately, we still don’t have a clear and easy mechanism to detect them. I recently listened to a discussion where John Carlisle was a part of that discussion. He is a famous anesthesiologist who detects data fabrication. And I think the only answer to that question- how to prevent fabrication- is to share data. And we still don’t do that, or we don’t do it in a large scale. For example, with PloS One or Peer J,  you have to share data if you want to publish with them. But not all medical journals require data sharing, and they could. I’m strongly Pro Data sharing.
DMacA: What do you think journals can do if they come across scientific misconduct?
KB: Journals can do various things but, most of all, they should go and speak with the institutions because the investigation was done in an institution and only the institution can know if, and investigate if, something wrong happened. It’s pretty easy if you have a plagiarism case but it’s not easy if you have a suspicion of data fabrication or data falsification. Okay, we also have image manipulation software but it’s not so easy to investigate those things. Journals can sometimes investigate themselves and conclude the case but sometimes they have to turn to the institution. But that process is so long.  It goes on and on and it seems that some retractions take maybe 10 years, and that’s really terrible.
DMacA: Where do you think science is going in terms of publication, pre-prints and open science. Where do you see the future of medical journals?
KB: Actually, I don’t want to be depressing but I don’t see a bright future for science journals. I think journals, especially in print edition, will cease to exist. It is pretty much normal now to be online only but not in Croatia where we still have a lot of printed journals. And with the developments we have, and very rigid format of a scientific article that we have now, I think that in some 50 or 100 years, if there are still humans on Earth, it will not be that same. So, I think journals will probably have some other form, or maybe in some form of aggregated repositories, or some other form. I don’t believe that they will stay the same as they are today, as much as I would like to, because I like scientific journals a lot.
DMacA: What would you think are the most important priorities to look at in the near future?
KB: I think the future of every journal is to publish quality articles and that always has to be the priority. And, then we can think about other, as they say, mumbo jumbo technical things.  This always has to be the priority, to continue to work as we do, and to integrate some open science practices that are current nowadays. That would probably advance the journal.
DMacA: It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you for sharing your insights into the future of medical journals.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment