FUTON bias (acronym for "full text on the Net") is a tendency of scholars to cite academic journals with open access—that is, journals that make their full text available on the Internet without charge—in preference to toll-access publications. Scholars in some fields can more easily discover and access articles whose full text is available online, which increases authors' likelihood of reading and citing these articles, an issue that was first raised and has been mainly studied in connection with medical research. In the context of evidence-based medicine, articles in expensive journals that do not provide open access (OA) may be "priced out of evidence", giving a greater weight to FUTON publications. FUTON bias may increase the impact factor of open-access journals relative to journals without open access.
One study concluded that authors in medical fields "concentrate on research published in journals that are available as full text on the internet, and ignore relevant studies that are not available in full text, thus introducing an element of bias into their search result". Authors of another study conclude that "the OA advantage is a quality advantage, rather than a quality bias", that authors make a "self-selection toward using and citing the more citable articles—once OA self-archiving has made them accessible", and that open access "itself will not make an unusable (hence uncitable) paper more used and cited".
The related no abstract available bias is a scholar's tendency to cite journal articles that have an abstract available online more readily than articles that do not— this affects articles' citation count similarly to FUTON bias.
Bias is disproportionate weight in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
Biases can be learned implicitly within cultural contexts. People may develop biases toward or against an individual, an ethnic group, a sexual or gender identity, a nation, a religion, a social class, a political party, theoretical paradigms and ideologies within academic domains, or a species. Biased means one-sided, lacking a neutral viewpoint, or not having an open mind. Bias can come in many forms and is related to prejudice and intuition.In science and engineering, a bias is a systematic error. Statistical bias results from an unfair sampling of a population, or from an estimation process that does not give accurate results on average.Internet research
Internet research is the practice of using Internet information, especially free information on the World Wide Web, or Internet-based resources (like Internet discussion forum) in research.
Internet research has had a profound impact on the way ideas are formed and knowledge is created. Common applications of Internet research include personal research on a particular subject (something mentioned on the news, a health problem, etc.), students doing research for academic projects and papers, and journalists and other writers researching stories.
Research is a broad term. Here, it is used to mean "looking something up (on the Web)". It includes any activity where a topic is identified, and an effort is made to actively gather information for the purpose of furthering understanding. It may include some post-collection analysis like a concern for quality or synthesis.
Through searches on the Internet hundreds or thousands of pages can often be quickly found with some relation to a given topic. In addition, email (including mailing lists), online discussion forums (aka message boards, BBS's), and other personal communication facilities (instant messaging, IRC, newsgroups, etc.) can provide direct access to experts and other individuals with relevant interests and knowledge.
Internet research is distinct from library research (focusing on library-bound resources) and commercial database research (focusing on commercial databases). While many commercial databases are delivered through the Internet, and some libraries purchase access to library databases on behalf of their patrons, searching such databases is generally not considered part of “Internet research”. It should also be distinguished from scientific research (research following a defined and rigorous process) carried out on the Internet, from straightforward retrieving of details like a name or phone number, and from research about the Internet.
Internet research can provide quick, immediate, and worldwide access to information, although results may be affected by unrecognized bias, difficulties in verifying a writer's credentials (and therefore the accuracy or pertinence of the information obtained) and whether the searcher has sufficient skill to draw meaningful results from the abundance of material typically available. The first resources retrieved may not be the most suitable resources to answer a particular question. Popularity is often a factor used in structuring Internet search results but popular information is not always most correct or representative of the breadth of knowledge and opinion on a topic.
While conducting commercial research fosters a deep concern with costs, and library research fosters a concern with access, Internet research fosters a deep concern for quality, managing the abundance of information and with avoiding unintended bias. This is partly because Internet research occurs in a less mature information environment: an environment with less sophisticated / poorly communicated search skills and much less effort in organizing information. Library and commercial research has many search tactics and strategies unavailable on the Internet and the library and commercial environments invest more deeply in organizing and vetting their information.Publication bias
Publication bias is a type of bias that occurs in published academic research. It occurs when the outcome of an experiment or research study influences the decision whether to publish or otherwise distribute it. Publication bias matters because literature reviews regarding support for a hypothesis can be biased if the original literature is contaminated by publication bias. Publishing only results that show a significant finding disturbs the balance of findings.Studies with significant results can be of the same standard as studies with a null result with respect to quality of execution and design. However, statistically significant results are three times more likely to be published than papers with null results.Multiple factors contribute to publication bias. For instance, once a scientific finding is well established, it may become newsworthy to publish reliable papers that fail to reject the null hypothesis. It has been found that the most common reason for non-publication is simply that investigators decline to submit results, leading to non-response bias. Factors cited as underlying this effect include investigators assuming they must have made a mistake, failure to support a known finding, loss of interest in the topic, or anticipation that others will be uninterested in the null results. The nature of these issues and the problems that have been triggered, have been referred to as the 5 diseases that threaten science, which include: "significosis, an inordinate focus on statistically significant results; neophilia, an excessive appreciation for novelty; theorrhea, a mania for new theory; arigorium, a deficiency of rigor in theoretical and empirical work; and finally, disjunctivitis, a proclivity to produce large quantities of redundant, trivial, and incoherent works." Attempts to identify unpublished studies often prove difficult or are unsatisfactory. In an effort to combat this problem, some journals require that studies submitted for publication are pre-registered (registering a study prior to collection of data and analysis) with organizations like the Center for Open Science.
Other proposed strategies to detect and control for publication bias include p-curve analysis and disfavoring small and non-randomised studies because of their demonstrated high susceptibility to error and bias.
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