Halfway Mark: Meta-Research

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Halfway Mark: Meta-Research

Science of science, or meta-research, studies are a valuable tool for understanding problems in scientific research and developing solutions. In this “learn-by-doing” initiative, members of the eLife Ambassadors Meta-research Team work together to learn meta-research skills by designing, conducting and publishing a meta-research study. Ambassadors can then apply these skills to solve problems in their own fields.

Images Study group are conducting a meta-research study designed to assess reporting quality for images in scientific articles published in top journals in physiology, plant sciences and cell biology. This includes examining factors like whether the image includes labeled scale bars, whether the species and tissue are specified, whether labels and colors are explained, and whether the image and labels are color blind safe.

The 2018 eLife Ambassadors Meta-research Team developed the research question, created data screening protocols, screened articles, and drafted a data abstraction protocol. The 2019 team has finalized the data abstraction protocol, trained data abstractors and abstracted data for 5 physiology journals, 2 plant sciences journals, and started abstraction for cell bio journals. We are also preparing sample images illustrating best practices.

Our goal for 2019 is to complete 80% of the data abstraction, and begin preparing a peer reviewed publication to share the study results.

Another group is currently designing a new study.

Members involved in this initiative:
Images Study group: Tracey Weissgerber, Alberto Antonietti, Aalok Varma, Tracey Audisio, Kaivalya Walavalkar, Mischa Olson, Susann Auer, Iuliia Ferling, Gosia Gazda, Salem Yousef Mohamed, Tuan Tran, Chaimae Samtal
Study Design group: Tracey Weissgerber, Alberto Antonietti, Susann Auer, Guido Guido Van Mierlo, Gosia Gazda, Salem Yousef Mohamed

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