Supplementary written evidence submitted
of 1000 (PR 94a)|
What measures does F1000 take to ensure that evaluations
aren't biased? (for example, how do you ensure that they aren't
carried out by people too close either professionally or personally
to the author?)
F1000 recognises the potential for bias within our
systems and we are always working to add new approaches to try
and eliminate this as much as is practically possible. So for
example, we would never let a Faculty Member evaluate one of their
own papers. We also go much further than this and are currently
adding a specific declaration that every Faculty Member must confirm
for every evaluation that states: "This work has been selected
for evaluation entirely on its scientific merit. Neither I nor
my co-evaluators (where applicable) have collaborated with the
authors in the past year or been influenced in the selection of
this work directly or indirectly by the author/s or by any third
party. This evaluation presents my opinions and those of any listed
Additionally, Faculty Members must declare any competing
interests, which includes non-financial competing interests (see
below for the specific details). Any declared conflicts are assessed
by F1000 as to whether the evaluation might lead a reasonable
person to question the impartiality of the writer. These declarations
are displayed alongside their evaluation. For example, we recently
had an issue where a Faculty Member evaluated a paper and declared
a competing interest that stated that the authors of the paper
they were evaluating were in the same lab as them, but that they
had no input into the paper. Based on this, we rejected the evaluation
as we consider this association to be too close for impartiality
not to be called into question.
As all the names of the evaluators are always openly
displayed against the evaluation, this additionally reduces the
likelihood that Faculty Members will select articles where there
is some bias in the selection as usually this would be fairly
obvious to those in the field. Furthermore, external Section Heads
(who are responsible for suggesting who are appropriate as Faculty
Members) are asked to keep an eye on the content within their
Sections, and we have our Heads of Faculty and an International
Advisory Board to advise us on these issues. Finally, our internal
Editors monitor every submission before it goes live, keeping
an eye on possible biases.
F1000 COMPETING INTERESTS
What do we mean by Competing interest?
We ask that Faculty Members declare both "Non-Financial"
and "Financial" Competing Interests. For every submission
(i.e. an evaluation or dissenting opinion) on which they select
the "Competing interest to declare" option, they must
provide sufficient details (in the textbox provided) to enable
the F1000 Editorial team to assess whether their evaluation might
lead a reasonable person to question their impartiality. These
declarations are displayed alongside their evaluation.
It might be helpful to consider the following examples,
but please note that this is not an exhaustive list:
Examples of "Non-Financial Competing Interests"
1) Within the past 4 years, the Faculty Members has
held joint grants, published or collaborated with any of the authors
of the selected paper.
2) The Faculty Member has a close personal relationship
(e.g. parent, spouse, sibling, or domestic partner) with any of
3) The Faculty Member has a close professional associate
of any of the authors (e.g. scientific mentor, recent student).
4) The Faculty Member works at the same institute
as any of the authors.
5) The Faculty Members hopes/expects to benefit (e.g.
favour or employment) as a result of your submission.
6) If submitting a Dissenting opinion: The
Faculty Member has a longstanding disagreement with any of the
Examples of "Financial Competing Interests"
1) The Faculty Member expects to receive,
or in the past 4 years have received, any of the following
from commercial organizations that may gain financially from their
submission: a salary, fees, funding or reimbursements.
2) The Faculty Member holds, or is currently applying
for, any patents or significant stocks/shares relating to the
subject matter of the paper they are evaluating.
If you believe these criteria have not been met and
have noticed specific instances of abuse, please contact our editorial
By Rebecca Lawrence, Director New Product Development,
On behalf of Faculty of 1000 Ltd
Rebecca Lawrence is an employee of Faculty of 1000