Journal Club: Where and how early career researchers find scholarly information

Meeting date: January 23, 2018

Presenter: Suzy Bear

Citation: Nicholas, D., Boukacem-Zeghmouri, C., Rodriguez-Bravo, B., Xu, J., Watkinson, A., Abrizah, A., Herman, E., & Swigon, M. (2017). Where and how early career researchers find scholarly information. Learned Publishing, 30(1) doi:10.1002/leap.1087.

Article abstract: This article presents findings from the first year of the Harbingers research project started in 2015. The project is a 3-year longitudinal study of early career researchers (ECRs) to ascertain their current and changing habits with regard to information searching, use, sharing, and publication. The study recruited 116 researchers from seven countries (UK, USA, China, France, Malaysia, Poland, and Spain) and performed in-depth interviews by telephone, Skype, or face-to-face to discover behaviours and opinions. This paper reports on findings regarding discovery and access to scholarly information.
Findings confirm the universal popularity of Google/Google Scholar. Library platforms and web-scale discovery services are largely unmentioned and unnoticed by this user community, although many ECRs pass through them unknowingly on the way to authenticated use of their other preferred sources, such as Web of Science. ECRs are conscious of the benefits of open access in delivering free access to papers. Social media are widely used as a source of discovering scholarly information. ResearchGate is popular and on the rise in all countries surveyed. Smartphones have become a regularly used platform on which to perform quick and occasional searches for scholarly information but are only rarely used for reading full text.

Discussion summary & recommendations:
This study examines how early career researchers (ECRs) find scholarly information. The “who” is answered but not the “why”. A clear problem of how they find information definitely exists and is addressed. There didn’t seem to be any real method for recruitment in this study, it was quite random with no mention of why specific countries were selected (Canada was also excluded). Some of the interviews done in other languages were transcribed and then later translated. The study was done over a 3 year period which is a long time (a lot can change over 3 years). Looks like they are reporting the initial results but still have another 2 years to go. The relationship between the researchers and participants is not discussed. The final results demonstrate a lack of effective marketing by libraries. Many of the participants had no idea they were accessing their materials via the library (ex. the PDF’s they find in Google Scholar are thanks to the library’s IP address). There is definitely a big understanding of what libraries actually do. Marketing an be hard because many can’t be bothered to even read what we put out. There is a big problem with administration staff who clearly don’t understand what the library is all about and they make statements about how everything is online and the library is not needed or just a bunch of books. We can market more to them but should also focus on ECRs since they can be the ones to change the trend. We can’t compete with Google and shouldn’t try to. Discovery layers not functioning well for users sometimes doesn’t help either. These results are mentioned for academic libraries but apply to all library settings too.

Journal Club: Culturally competent library services and related factors among health sciences librarians

Meeting date: November 28, 2018

Presenter: Mary Chipanshi

Citation: Mi, Misa & Zhang, Yingting. (2017). Culturally competent library services and related factors among health sciences librarians: An exploratory study. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 105(2), 132-139.

Article abstract:
OBJECTIVE – This study investigated the current state of health sciences libraries’ provision of culturally competent services to support health professions education and patient care and examined factors associated with cultural competency in relation to library services and professional development.

METHODS – This was a cross-sectional study. Data were collected with a survey questionnaire that was distributed via Survey Monkey to several health sciences librarian email discussion lists. Results: Out of 176 respondents, 163 reported serving clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Various services were provided to develop or support initiatives in cultural competency in health professions education and patient care. A considerable number of respondents were unsure or reported no library services to support initiatives in cultural competency, although a majority of respondents perceived the importance of providing culturally competent library services (156, 89.1%) and cultural competency for health sciences librarians (162, 93.1%). Those who self-identified as nonwhites perceived culturally competent services to be more important than whites (p=0.04). Those who spoke another language in addition to English had higher self-rated cultural competency (p=0.01) than those who only spoke English.

CONCLUSIONS -These findings contribute to our knowledge of the types of library services provided to support cultural competency initiatives and of health sciences librarians’ perceived importance in providing culturally competent library services and cultural competency for health sciences librarians. The results suggest
implications for health sciences libraries in fostering professional development in cultural competency and in providing culturally competent services to increase library use by people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds.

Reason for selection: As Canada becomes more and more diverse and as we see the landscape of our clients in health libraries change, how do we as librarians become culturally competent. 

Discussion summary & recommendations:
The paper had 3 focused questions and used a survey questionnaire using a convenient sample that could have introduced a bias. For demographic selection they got a sample from a variety of racial groups. It was surprising that although library schools are graduating a lot of students (younger and different races) the age range from the survey of respondents was average age of 50 and mostly white. It was noted that in their questionnaire they did not exhaust the list of races. They could have added other to capture races that did not fall in their list. In addition their questionnaire lacked open ended questions which may have answered for example why people felt cultural competence was important.

As mentioned in the article, there are some barriers faced by libraries to offering cultural competent library services. This topic can be pursued with appropriate stake holders. This can also include the topic of Indigenization.

Journal Club: Providing patient information and education in practice

Meeting date: November 22, 2016

Presenter: Catherine Young

Citation: Truccolo I. (2016). Providing patient information and education in practice: the role of the health librarian. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 33(2), 161-6.


  1. How does the author’s concept of patient education differ from the definition of CAPHIS/MLA?
  2. What job functions does the author describe/mention that support patient education? Which of these job functions, if any, were new to you?
  3. What could you take from this article and apply in your own work, assuming time was not a factor?

Article abstract: In this article, guest writer Ivana Truccolo presents an overview of her work at the Scientific and Patient Library of a Cancer Comprehensive Centre in Italy coordinating the patient education process. She discusses the historical evolution of the concept of patient education and how this has run alongside the role of the health librarian in the provision of consumer health information. Details are provided about various patient education programmes in place at the Centre. In particular, various activities are discussed including patient education classes, the development of patient education handouts and a narrative medicine programme which includes a literary competition. The article concludes with a specific outline of the role the health librarian can play in the provision of consumer health information and patient education. H.S.

Reason for selection: Providing consumer health resources and patient education have become more common job activities of hospital librarians, with some positions now entirely focused on them. As the amount of available health information grows, including poor quality and false information, hospital librarians are increasingly being asked, and have the needed knowledge and skills, to recommend sources of and provide patients and families with reliable health information. This article provides a current example of the changing role of a cancer centre librarian now involved in the patient education process.

Journal Club: Potential predatory and legitimatize biomedical journals

Meeting date: October 25, 2017

Presenter: Lukas Miller

Citation: Shamseer, L., Moher, D., Maduekwe, O., Turner, L., Barbour, V., Burch, R., … Shea, B. J. (2017). Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine15(1).

Article abstract:
BACKGROUND – The Internet has transformed scholarly publishing, most notably, by the introduction of open access publishing. Recently, there has been a rise of online journals characterized as ‘predatory’, which actively solicit manuscripts and charge publications fees without providing robust peer review and editorial services. We carried out a cross-sectional comparison of characteristics of potential predatory, legitimate open access, and legitimate subscription-based biomedical journals.

METHODS – On July 10, 2014, scholarly journals from each of the following groups were identified – potential predatory journals (source: Beall’s List), presumed legitimate, fully open access journals (source: PubMed Central), and presumed legitimate subscription-based (including hybrid) journals (source: Abridged Index Medicus). MEDLINE journal inclusion criteria were used to screen and identify biomedical journals from within the potential predatory journals group. One hundred journals from each group were randomly selected. Journal characteristics (e.g., website integrity, look and feel, editors and staff, editorial/peer review process, instructions to authors, publication model, copyright and licensing, journal location, and contact) were collected by one assessor and verified by a second. Summary statistics were calculated.

RESULTS – Ninety-three predatory journals, 99 open access, and 100 subscription-based journals were analyzed; exclusions were due to website unavailability. Many more predatory journals’ homepages contained spelling errors (61/93, 66%) and distorted or potentially unauthorized images (59/93, 63%) compared to open access journals (6/99, 6% and 5/99, 5%, respectively) and subscription-based journals (3/100, 3% and 1/100, 1%, respectively). Thirty-one (33%) predatory journals promoted a bogus impact metric – the Index Copernicus Value – versus three (3%) open access journals and no subscription-based journals. Nearly three quarters (n = 66, 73%) of predatory journals had editors or editorial board members whose affiliation with the journal was unverified versus two (2%) open access journals and one (1%) subscription-based journal in which this was the case. Predatory journals charge a considerably smaller publication fee (median $100 USD, IQR $63–$150) than open access journals ($1865 USD, IQR $800–$2205) and subscription-based hybrid journals ($3000 USD, IQR $2500–$3000).

CONCLUSIONS – We identified 13 evidence-based characteristics by which predatory journals may potentially be distinguished from presumed legitimate journals. These may be useful for authors who are assessing journals for possible submission or for others, such as universities evaluating candidates’ publications as part of the hiring process.

Reason for selection: This paper was selected in consideration of our engaging discussion on predatory publishing and open access at the September 26, 2017 Journal Club meeting. Given the prominence of this issue in academic and research library settings, it is prudent we as librarians understand not only how to discern predatory journals from those that are legitimate, but also doing so ethically and mindfully with the guidance of evidence-based science.

This article is also open peer reviewed – a relatively new approach to scholarly publishing. A discussion question has been tailored to this as a learning opportunity for librarians.

Critical Appraisal: Please use the CEBMA Critical Appraisal of a Cross-Sectional Study (Survey)worksheet as a template to assess this study.


  1. Consider the 13 evidence-based characteristics (Table 10) in comparison to other method(s) you take to assess the quality of journals. Do you agree with the characteristics the authors have identified? Can you foresee any potential problems in adopting this approach?
  2. Consider and share any experiences you have had browsing websites or handling solicitation emails from predatory publishers. How did you make the determination, and how difficult was it to decide? Would having this tool available at the time made a difference for you or a client?
  3. This article is open peer review. Please take the opportunity to click the “Open Peer Review Reports” link below the article title and browse the reviewer reports and author comments.  Be prepared to share your thoughts and opinions on this relatively new approach to academic publishing. A brief explanation of BMC’s open peer review policy can be found here. Consider what implications open peer review can have for scholarly communication, predatory publishing, and our work in hospital/clinical libraries. What implications will this have for us/our clients in the future?
  4. Open discussion.

Discussion summary & recommendations:
We determined the article addressed a clear concern or issue. The study design was deemed suitable to tackle the issue, and we perceived minimal issues concerning the sample(s), bias, and findings. We acknowledges inherit ethical concerns relating to Beall’s List, given other research on this topic.

Statistical significance and confidence intervals were not presented by the authors. However, given the study design and sample, this was acceptable.

We felt that additional information concerning the authors’ scope & definition of “predatory publishers” and/or “predatory publishing” would have helped to clarify matters of identification.

We determined that the 13 evidence-based criteria for predatory publishers presented by the authors would be a helpful aid for librarians assisting scholars, though some carry more weight than others. We acknowledged that there is no “one true” solution to this problem, and that individual discretion is often required.

We further discussed the 13 criteria and our own personal/professional approaches to aiding scholars with finding where to publish their research.

Journal Club: The surge of predatory OA in Neurosceinces and Neurology

Meeting date: September 26, 2017

Presenter: Caroline Monnin

Citation: Manca, A; Martinez, G,;Cugusi, L; Dragone, D; Dvir, Z; Deiu, F. (2017). The Surge of Predatory Open-Access in Neurosciences and Neurology. Neuroscience 353: 166-73. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.04.014

Article abstract: Predatory open access is a controversial publishing business model that exploits the open-access system by charging publication fees in the absence of transparent editorial services. The credibility of academic publishing is now seriously threatened by predatory journals, whose articles are accorded real citations and thus contaminate the genuine scientific records of legitimate journals. This is of particular concern for public health since clinical practice relies on the findings generated by scholarly articles. Aim of this study was to compile a list of predatory journals targeting the neurosciences and neurology disciplines and to analyze the magnitude and geographical distribution of the phenomenon in these fields. Eighty-seven predatory journals operate in neurosciences and 101 in neurology, for a total of 2404 and 3134 articles issued, respectively. Publication fees range 521-637 USD, much less than those charged by genuine open-access journals. The country of origin of 26.0-37.0% of the publishers was impossible to determine due to poor websites or provision of vague or non-credible locations. Of the rest 35.3-42.0% reported their headquarters in the USA, 19.0-39.2% in India, 3.0-9.8% in other countries. Although calling themselves “open-access”, none of the journals retrieved was listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. However, 14.9-24.7% of them were found to be indexed in PubMed and PubMed Central, which raises concerns on the criteria for inclusion of journals and publishers imposed by these popular databases. Scholars in the neurosciences are advised to use all the available tools to recognize predatory practices and avoid the downsides of predatory journals.

Reason for selection: Recently, there has been a lot of discussion on the MEDLIB and CANMEDLIB listservs about the impact of predatory publishers on libraries, specifically on database search results.  This article was referenced by the Krafty Librarian in response to the discussion.  I thought it would be beneficial to discuss the role of librarians in regards to predatory publishers and how it impacts library services.

Critical appraisal questions:

  1. What is the purpose of this study? Was the question clearly defined?
  2. Did the author choose the research method best suited to answer this question?
  3. Did the author accurately address the limitations of the study?
  4. Was there anything that surprised you about the results of this study?
  5. How does this article apply to health librarianship? Will it impact the way we deliver our library services?

Journal Club: The potential of educational comics as a health information medium

Meeting date: April 25, 2017

Presenter: Lauren Seal

Citation: McNicol,S. (2017). The potential of educational comics as a health information medium. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 34(1), 20-31.

Article abstract:
OBJECTIVES – To investigate ways in which educational comics might provide support in dealing with feelings and attitudes towards health conditions, as well as improving understanding of factual information and to identify potential weakness of comics as a medium for health information.

METHODS – Semi-structured interviewees with eleven university students who either had a mental or physical health condition themselves or had a family member with a health condition.

RESULTS – The result highlighted the potential value of comics as a format for health information. In addition to conveying factual informationcomics offer opportunities for self-awareness, reassurance, empathy, companionship and a means to explore the impact of illness on family relationships. However, there are notable barriers to the greater use of comics to provide health information, namely, a lack of awareness of, and easy access to, educational comics, along with the perception that comics are exclusively light-hearted and for children.

CONCLUSIONS – Currently, the full potential of comics in health settings is not being realised. Health information professionals may be in a position to address this issue through identifying, cataloguing, indexing and promoting comics as a legitimate format for health information.

Reason for selection: I’m personally interested in the variety of ways health information can be presented and transferred to patients.  I had no idea there were comics focused on health education and was interested in learning more about them.

Journal Club: What do health librarians tweet about? A content analysis

Meeting date: March 28, 2017

Presenter: Lance Fox

Citation: Neilson, C.J. (2016). What do health librarians tweet about? a content analysis. The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 11(1).

Article abstract: Many libraries have adopted Twitter to connect with their clients, but the library literature has only begun to explore how health libraries use Twitter in practice. When presented with new responsibility for tweeting on behalf of her library, the author was faced with the question “what do other health libraries tweet about?”. This paper presents a content analysis of a sample of tweets from ten health and medical libraries in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Five hundred twenty-four tweets were collected over 4 one-week periods in 2014 and analyzed using a grounded theory approach to identify themes and categories.

The health libraries included in this study appear to use Twitter primarily as a current awareness tool, focusing on topics external to the library and its broader organization and including little original content. This differs from previous studies which have found that libraries tend to use Twitter primarily for library promotion. While this snapshot of Twitter activity helps shed light on how health libraries use Twitter, further research is needed to understand the underlying factors that shape libraries’ Twitter use.

Reason for  selection: I came across this article and thought it would make for a very interesting discussion about a topic that is quite different than what we have been reading and discussing over the last several months. I know that some of us are using Twitter and social media to connect with our users and some of us are not, but this can still provide a good group discussion around marketing, promotion of services and resources, different ways of connecting with our users, etc.


Journal Club: Impact of librarians on reporting of the literature searching component of pediatric systematic reviews

Meeting date: February 28, 2017

Presenter: Erin Langman

Citation:  Meert, D., Torabi, N., & Costella, J. (2016). Impact of librarians on reporting of the literature searching component of pediatric systematic reviews. Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA104(4), 267-277. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.104.4.004

Article abstract:
OBJECTIVE – A critical element in conducting a systematic review is the identification of studies. To date, very little empirical evidence has been reported on whether the presence of a librarian or information professional can contribute to the quality of the final product. The goal of this study was to compare the reporting rigor of the literature searching component of systematic reviews with and without the help of a librarian.
METHOD – Systematic reviews published from 2002 to 2011 in the twenty highest impact factor pediatrics journals were collected from MEDLINE. Corresponding authors were contacted via an email survey to determine if a librarian was involved, the role that the librarian played, and functions that the librarian performed. The reviews were scored independently by two reviewers using a fifteen-item checklist.
RESULTS – There were 186 reviews that met the inclusion criteria, and 44% of the authors indicated the involvement of a librarian in conducting the systematic review. With the presence of a librarian as coauthor or team member, the mean checklist score was 8.40, compared to 6.61 (p<0.001) for reviews without a librarian.
CONCLUSIONS – Findings indicate that having a librarian as a coauthor or team member correlates with a higher score in the literature searching component of systematic reviews.

Reason for selection: While this article is specifically about systematic reviews, I am interested in the impact of librarian involvement in research in general, and how this impact could be used to market our services to clients.

Critical appraisal form: EBLIP Critical Appraisal Checklist

Journal Club: A rubric for evaluating POC medical applications for mobile apps

Meeting date: October 25, 2016

Presenter: Catherine Hana

Citation:  Butcher, R., MacKinnon, M., Gadd, K., & LeBlanc-Duchin, D. (2015). Development and examination of a rubric for evaluating point-of-care medical applications for mobile devices. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 34(1), 75-87. doi:10.1080/02763869.2015.986794

Article abstract: The rapid development and updates of mobile medical resource applications (apps) highlight the need for an evaluation tool to assess the content of these resources. The purpose of the study was to develop and test a new evaluation rubric for medical resource apps. The evaluation rubric was designed using existing literature and through a collaborative effort between a hospital and an academic librarian. Testing found scores ranging from 23% to 88% for the apps. The evaluation rubric proved able to distinguish levels of quality within each content component of the apps, demonstrating potential for standardization of medical resource app evaluations.

Reason for selection: Health-related apps are an areas of app development that is growing rapidly. Not only are there more apps available, people are using them more. As there is currently no regulatory control or certification body overseeing medical apps, it is important to be aware of the benefits, limitations, and risks. Having a way to evaluate them will help us in this process.

Journal Club: Librarians in evidence-based medicine curricula

Meeting date: September 27, 2016

Citation:  Maggio LA, Durieux N, Tannery NH.  (2015). Librarians in evidence-based medicine curricula: A qualitative study of librarian roles, training, and desires for future development. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 34(4):428-40.

Article abstract:  This study aims to describe librarians’ roles in evidence-based medicine (EBM) from the librarian perspective, identifying how librarians are trained to teach, and highlight preferences for professional development.  A multi-institution qualitative study was conducted.  Nine medical librarians identified by their faculty as integrated into EBM training were interviewed.  Participants’ descriptions indicated that they were active in curriculum development, deployment (including teaching activities), and assessment to support EBM.  Participants identified direct experience and workshop participation as primary methods of learning to teach.  Participants desired continuing development as teachers and requested opportunities for in-person workshops, shadowing physicians, and online training.