Today's Sponsored Feature is part of your subscription to the daily AVMA SmartBrief. This feature, produced by SmartBrief and a select group of sponsors, highlights issues, products and services of interest to veterinarians and all those interested in animal health. It also allows for continued free delivery of AVMA SmartBrief. Thank you for your interest.

- The AVMA SmartBrief Team

Modern biology and medicine are founded upon logic, the value of observation and/or experimentation, and the application of the scientific method to advance knowledge.

The elements of sound experimental design, accurate observation recording and data analysis by appropriate statistical tests of probability (P values) will usually yield useful and publishable information. The process culminates in the presentation of data, and the conclusions derived from it, to the scientific public in many forms, including publication in peer-reviewed scholarly journals.

The peer-review process, while not error proof, has elevated Western medicine and biology, including veterinary medicine, to serve as the world's model. However, the phenomenon of open or web-based publishing threatens to dismantle this carefully constructed paradigm by publishing manuscripts of questionable quality.

dog picture
Some of these articles create an illusion of credibility despite a lack of statistical analysis, a lack of support for the conclusions by the data itself and/or flawed experimental design. This issue is particularly true in clinical trial -- like studies wherein investigator bias is neither controlled nor acknowledged. These flaws can be corrected by rigorous peer review, something that appears unreliable within the open journal publishing community.

In the following commentary, the scientific method is used to critically evaluate a recent article on the protective immunity provided by different routes of the Canine Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccines.

Read the full commentary here.

This SmartBrief was sponsored by Zoetis Inc.
  • New dog

  • All trademarks are the property of Zoetis Inc., its affiliates and/or its licensors.
  • ©2014 Zoetis Inc. All rights reserved. January 2014. SAB0114003
  • A sobering look at academic publishing
    Journalist John Bohannon tested the editorial processes of 304 peer-reviewed journals by submitting made-up data in a paper that included red flags that he says should have sparked a rejection. Bohannon pointed an accusatory finger at open-access journals, but highly respected traditional scientific publications have also published questionable research. Ritchie King writes, "Taken together, they point to serious flaws in academic publishing at large: Journals are too eager to publish surprising studies, and the rigor of peer review is faltering." Quartz (1/14)
  • Let's deal with the biggest problems in science, then tackle publishing problems
    Academics have long relied on impact factor as a measure of productivity and prominence, but it's a flawed metric, according to some experts. Biochemistry and molecular biology professor Steve Caplan writes that he signed a document stating "scientists should be evaluated according to their scientific contributions, as opposed to an artificial and superficial numerical count of the impact factor of their publications." However, a boycott of the most esteemed journals does not appeal to Caplan, who argues for "securing sufficient funding to keep basic biomedical science afloat ... then it will be time to address the very complex issue of how to improve the science publication system." The Guardian (London)/Occam's Corner blog (1/6)
  • Researchers envision less time writing grants, more time advancing science
    A group of scientists from Indiana University has proposed a new model for scientific funding that they say will result in better science and a more level playing field. The idea involves distributing funding evenly across scientists, who would then reallocate a portion of the amount they received the year before to researchers of their own choosing. So a given scientist would have a standard pool of funding plus support from peers who value their research. With the right rules addressing conflicts of interest and other concerns, the authors argue it could result in a scenario where scientists have more time -- and money -- to do what they do best. Science magazine (free content) (1/13)
  • The elusive reproducible result
    Although reproducible findings are a core tenet of science, they are becoming increasingly uncommon, writes George Johnson. "With the most accessible truths already discovered, what remains are often subtle effects, some so delicate that they can be conjured up only under ideal circumstances, using highly specialized techniques," Johnson notes. "If a result appears only under the full moon with Venus in retrograde, is it truly an advance in human knowledge?" The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (1/20)
  • Study finds wide variation in data supporting FDA approvals
    New research finds that more than one-third of FDA new drug approvals released in the U.S. between 2005 and 2012 were based on one large clinical study, while 91 of the 206 indications were based on studies using surrogate endpoints as a primary outcome. "Some [drugs] are approved on very robust evidence, and some are based on preliminary evidence," said researcher Joseph Ross of the Yale University School of Medicine. USA Today (1/22), The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (1/21), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (1/21), Forbes (1/21)
What is this? This is a promotional email that includes a mix of content provided by the advertiser and editorial content from SmartBrief. It does not represent an endorsement by AVMA or SmartBrief, Inc. of the products and services offered. If you do not want to receive these promotional emails, you can unsubscribe from them by clicking here.
Subscriber Tools:
Sign up for Animal Health SmartBrief | Send Feedback | Email this brief | Unsubscribe
Advertising with SmartBrief:Healthcare Account Director Rebecca Adelson 202-618-5665
Mailing Address:SmartBrief, Inc.®, 555 11th ST NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004
© 1999-2014 SmartBrief, Inc.®  Legal Information.