Post post Sant Jordi 2018

26 Apr

The subjects talked about in the blog of AQuAS often include links to reports, articles, webs and books. We have the tendency to cite recent articles and reports.

The blog is a space from which to present ideas and subjects in a general way in which the reader can later delve deeper depending on their interests (professional and personal), time available and enthusiasm.

Today we present a compilation of books which we have talked about in some way over the course of the last 12 months.

Thanks for reading us and sharing knowledge and literature.

Altmetrics: complementary metrics focused on the article

19 Apr
Ernest Abadal

The traditional system in assessing the quality of a scientific publication (a journal article, for example) has fundamentally been based on the calculation of the citations it generates. In an article published in Science (1995), Eugene Garfield (1925 – 2017) proposed a citation index as a system that would help authors find articles on a subject. It was a great innovation without doubt. Later, with the creation of the Institute for Scientific Information (today the Web of Science) and the Journal Citation Reports, this system became very prominent and centred its work on the assessment of journals because it helped authors decide in which journal to publish (based on the impact factor calculated for each one).It is a system that has been criticised from the humanities and social sciences and also because it does not focus on the article itself but instead gives the reference value to the journal in which it is published (and presupposes that an article should “inherit” the journal’s impact factor).

From 2010, people started talking about altmetrics, a set of indicators (for example, how often an article is shared, its re-dissemination, the comments it has generated, mentions (likes), etc…) that measure the presence of a publication in social and academic networks, which complement citation indexes considerably. Altmetrics, therefore, assess the repercussion of an article itself and not that of a journal as a whole (the way impact factors do, for example).

At present, several scientific editors have taken this information into consideration. One of the first examples was the journal PLOS, followed by Nature and others. Its use has also spread to data bases (e.g. Scopus) and to academic networks (e.g. ResearchGate). The altmetric data that accompany an article tend to have the sections that appear in figures 1 and 2, even though there can be small differences depending on the programme used (ImpactStory, PLUM, Article Level Metrics,, etc…).

Figure 1.

Figure 1. Example of the altmetrics of an article in PLOS

And so we can see that it is not only the statistics of presence in social networks that are included (mentions, blogs, etc…) but also the use of data (visualisations and downloads) as well as the citations of an article (in Scopus, CrossRef, PubMed, GoogleScholar, etc…). We are talking about very complete quantitative information for the reader and also for the author of the article.

Figure 2. Example of the altmetrics of an article in Nature

In the case of Nature (figure 2) there is also a graphic representation in the form of a circle or “ring” in which each colour is a type of channel (twitter, blogs, facebook, wikipedia, etc…), where a contextualised percentage is given in relation to articles which are similar in age and it also indicates its precise presence in the general media (“news articles”) and scientific blogs.

Let us do a quick assessment of altmetrics. Their main strengths lie in the fact that they measure the impact of publications beyond academic circles, strictly speaking, that they can be applied to all types of documents (be it an article, a book or a doctoral thesis), that the results are immediate (there is no need to wait for the annual value of the impactor factor) and that they focus on the article (and not on the journal).

In terms of their weak points, it should be said that the indicators need to be collected very quickly (they are very volatile), that it is difficult to compare the indicators between each other (which is of more value, a retweet or a “like”?), that there is great difficulty in the normalisation and homogeneity when collecting data (which does not occur in the case of citations) and that different measuring tools produce different results (e.g. ImpactStory or Altmetrics).

Altmetrics, therefore, help to measure the impact of a specific publication in social networks. This is why we should define them as complementary metrics rather than alternative metrics. In contrast to the traditional impact factor – which is applied to a journal – altmetrics are centred on the article and this is a significant innovation. Despite them having some weak points they are in a consolidation phase and have long-term potential.

From a researcher’s perspective, it is clear that at present publishing an article in a journal is not enough and one needs to be fully involved in its dissemination in social networks (especially Twitter, blogs, etc…) and also in academic networks (Researchgate, Mendeley, etc…) so as to give visibility to the contents published. In this new scenario, altmetrics are fundamental because they are able to measure this impact in networks and offer authors (and readers) a general view of the dissemination of their publications.

Post by Ernest Abadal, Faculty of Library and Information Science, University of Barcelona.

A debate with Vinay Prasad on the value of clinical practice and the training of doctors

12 Apr
Jordi Varela

Vinay Prasad (University of Oregon) and Adam Cifu (University of Chicago), authors of Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives (John Hopkins University Press, 2015), highlight 146 clinical practices that should be stopped because it has been shown that they do not achieve that which they set out to do. The list of these practices affects the whole range of health activities, but on reading more closely, there are four specialities that stand out: cardiology, gynaecology, orthopaedics and family medicine.

It is for this reason that the Clinical Management Section of the Catalan Society of Health Management has organised, by agreement with the Essencial Project of the AQuAS, a debate with one of the authors of the book, Vinay Prasad, and representatives of the 4 specialities mentioned previously. It is to be held at their Annual Meeting next 18 May with the participation of: Xavier Viñolas, president of the Catalan Society of Cardiology, Juan José Espinós, gynaecologist at the Hospital Sant Pau, Joan Miquel, orthopaedist at the Hospital of Igualada and Marta Expósito of the Catalan Society of Family and Community Medicine.

Vinay Prasad

The aim of the debate, which will be moderated by Sandra García Armesto, director of the Aragonese Institute of Health Sciences (IACS), is not only to get to know the work of Vinay Prasad firsthand but also to know what the related specialists think about these practices and what their impact is in our environment, in so many aspects different to that of the United States.

On the other hand, Prasad and Cifu propose in their book to modify the training programmes in medical faculties in a significant way, with the aim of training up new doctors who are more demanding of scientific rigour, more critical of low-value practices, more sensitive to the needs of patients and more oriented towards the assessment of results. The proposed formula is very simple: clinical sciences should be a priority, while basic sciences (as we understand them today) should be complementary.

It is not about studying models first to later verify them (present system), but rather doing it the other way round: based on clinical learning, theories should be reviewed (or accepted).

Given the importance of the proposal, we thought it appropriate to organise a second debate, within the framework of the meeting itself, moderated by Xavier Bayona, with the participation of three academic authorities in the training of doctors: Francesc Cardellach (University of Barcelona), Ramon Pujol (University of Vic) and Milagros García Barbero, president of the Spanish Society of Medical Education, and of course, logically, inviting Vinay Prasad to join in.

The programme for the Meeting is attached, with the clear aim of encouraging all the readers of this blog to register for it because the opportunity to listen to and make questions to Vinay Prasad, and all the invited speakers, should not be missed.

Post by Jordi Varela, president of the Clinical Management Section of the Catalan Society of Health Management.

Nurses in Barcelona adopt the culture of dialogue to define their professional future

5 Apr
Glòria Novel and Núria Cuxart

Asking ourselves questions, reformulating questions, rethinking the way we want to be, what we need and how we want society to know and see us. This is, without doubt, a difficult exercise to carry out as individuals but it is even more difficult to do this as a profession.

Agreeing with each other is by no means easy. Training, method and a desire to do so is needed. Having these premises clear, we initiated the RESET project at the Official College of nurses of Barcelona (COIB).

Guided by the company Diàlegs, specialised in mediation in health, we initiated an unprecedented process of participation in the nursing profession during which we went out into the territory to find out what the concerns, needs, wishes, complaints and proposals of nurses in the province of Barcelona were.

The process lasted the whole of 2017, after which our corporation was given the commission to develop the strategic lines on which the college members of Barcelona want us to work along with thousands of ideas that they would like to process.

The difficulty of the project was considerable. Apart from the geographical distances that existed and the difficulties in getting nurses involved, there was the added difficulty of coming up with a dynamic that had to be participative so as to facilitate environments of conversation, discussion and consensus among the hundreds of female and male nurses who have different professional realities and therefore varying priorities.

The Diàlegs company took on the challenge of making it possible by means of a process lasting 12 months during which participative methodologies were used to define the profession as it is today and that of the desired future. The framework for the project was based on the principles, values and methodologies of mediation, which led to a broad and necessarily inclusive view of the differences and susceptibilities of the nursing community.

The RESET project was carried out in three different stages: in the first stage, open debates were set up in circles of group discussion. The circles enabled a comprehensive collection of very valuable data which formed the basis on which to develop the following stages that consisted of two days of consensus: one to agree on the diagnosis of the situation the profession finds itself in now and another to define the future, with the aims and lines of action to be developed.

As a result of these three stages of the RESET project, 52 group discussion circles with 925 participants were set up, that is, with people who participated one or more times. 3,762 ideas were collected as well as some proposals for the future, with nine thematic areas and 65 lines of action decided on by agreement. The level of satisfaction was very high and the participants showed a high level of interest in continuing in the project, repeating participations in the three stages.

It must be said that the key to the success of the process was the large number of people that committed themselves to the project right from the start. We are referring to what we called the Driving Group made up of 208 people (with representatives from all over the territory, all positions and susceptibilities) who worked from the start both in the co-design of specific aspects as well as in the diffusion, organisation of group discussion circles and participation in the events for consensus.

Beyond the results of the RESET project, which are, in the end, a commitment to change with implications for the upcoming years, we still have much to learn and this can no doubt be extrapolated to the professional disciplines in health in which we are organised through colleges. We need to continue asking ourselves questions both in and out of the college organisations to positively drive change and development in all the aspects which bring us together as professionals. Continuity in the culture of dialogue is one of the most important challenges that came out of this fascinating process. This was the message that the nurses who worked in the Reset Project gave us. Therefore, from the COIB, this is our commitment.

Post written by Núria Cuxart Ainaud, director of programmes at the COIB, and Glòria Novel Martí, founding director of Diàlegs.