Open Access Week 2019: Our most discussed articles

This week marks the tenth International Open Access (OA) Week. To celebrate OA week, we have gathered our ten most discussed articles of the past year according to Altmetric.

We think this list of 10 articles highlights the enormous breadth of BMJ Open’s content, covering topics as diverse as medical ethics to salty noodles. And, of course, Brexit.

Altmetric.com graph10 – Considering the methodological limitations in the evidence base of antidepressants for depression: a reanalysis of a network meta-analysis.
Munkholm et al aimed to assess whether the conclusions made in a recent systematic review published in the Lancet could be supported by the evidence. In this study the authors evaluated the risk of bias and certainty of evidence of the studies selected by Cipriani et al. Munkholm et al concluded that Cipriani’s conclusions on the benefits of antidepressants for depression in adults were not supported. The results of this study gained the attention of a few news outlets and was a popular topic of discussion among Twitter users.

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9 – Compliance with ethical standards in the reporting of donor sources and ethics review in peer-reviewed publications involving organ transplantation in China: a scoping review

Rogers et al’s scoping review on published articles that involved organ transplantation was the centre of many discussions regarding peer-review and ethics in scientific and medical publishing. The scoping review investigated whether research papers that involved organ transplantation in China followed international professional standards that aim to exclude unethical research practices. Such practices included research conducted without IRB approval or consent from donors and the use of biological material from executed prisoners. Rogers et al found that 92.5% of the studies included in their analysis did not report whether organs were sourced from executed prisoners, and that another 99% failed to disclose whether consent from the donors was obtained. The findings of this article quickly caught the attention of several news outlets and scientific journals and prompted numerous investigations into the published articles. As a result, many changes to editorial processes–and some retractions–have been implemented across several journal publishers.

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8  Salt content of instant noodles in Malaysia: a cross-sectional study

This cross-sectional study conducted by Tan et al set out to determine the amount of salt that can be found in instant noodles sold in Malaysia. Tan et al found that 90% of noodles exceeded the WHO’s recommended daily salt intake. This article caught the attention of Twitter users across the globe.

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7 – Productivity loss due to menstruation-related symptoms: a nationwide cross-sectional survey among 32 748 women

Schoep et al conducted an internet-based survey in the Netherlands to assess the age-dependent productivity loss because of menstruation related symptoms. Presenteeism was reported among 80.7% of respondents and a mean of 23.2 days of reduced productivity a year. Absenteeism was reported among 13.8% of respondents with a mean of 1.3 days of absenteeism a year. This article was covered by several news outlets, including CNN.

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6 – Impact and longevity of measles-associated immune suppression: a matched cohort study using data from the THIN general practice database in the UK
Gadroen et al aimed to test their hypothesis that measles infections increase the incidences and likelihood of other infectious diseases over a prolonged period. the authors conducted a matched cohort study of children aged one to five using data from The Health Improvement Network UK. Gadroen et al concluded that children who have had measles also had increased rates of diagnosed infections. The publication of this article promoted a discussion on Twitter regarding the importance of vaccination and immune suppression following measles and was cited in a Youtube video by user SciShow

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5 – Effects of screentime on the health and well-being of children and adolescents: a systematic review of reviews
This systematic review of reviews conducted by Stiglic and Viner aimed to investigate the effects of time spent on screens on the health and wellbeing of children and young people. The authors concluded that evidence supports the association between high levels of screen time and negative health impacts for children and adolescents. The results of this article caught the attention of several news outlets, including BBC news. This study was also cited by the UK Parliament as part of a debate that took place in the House of Lords on 17th January 2019. 

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4 – Assessing the impact of rising child poverty on the unprecedented rise in infant mortality in England, 2000–2017: time trend analysis
Taylor-Robinson et al conducted a time trend analysis to determine the contribution of child poverty to the inequalities in the rise of infant mortality in England. The authors analysed data of children under the age of one from 324 local authorities in 9 regions. Taylor-Robinson at el concluded that their analysis linked the recent rise in infant mortality to rising child poverty in England. This article generated numerous discussions across social media about the awareness of infant mortality and poverty in England.

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3 – Awareness of alcohol marketing, ownership of alcohol branded merchandise, and the association with alcohol consumption, higher-risk drinking, and drinking susceptibility in adolescents and young adults: a cross-sectional survey in the UK
This study explored the awareness the ownership of branded merchandise from alcohol companies and the awareness of alcohol marketing among young adults and adolescents in the UK. Critchlow et al conducted an online survey that was aimed adolescents and young adults aged 11-19. In addition to marketing awareness and ownership of branded merchandise, the survey also recorded information on alcohol consumption status, indications of high risk drinking and susceptibility. The authors also found that alcohol marketing awareness was associated with an increased likelihood of higher-risk consumption in current drinkers. The ownership of branded merchandise was associated with susceptibility in never-drinkers. This article was picked up by several news outlets including ITV.

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2 – Incidence of Lyme disease in the UK: a population-based cohort study
This retrospective cohort study aimed to determine the annual incidence of Lyme disease in the UK by using data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Cairns et al analysed the dataset of 8.4 million patients by identifying cases of Lyme disease using recorded medical codes. The authors found that Lyme disease incidence had rapidly increased over the years 2001-2012 and concluded that the incidence of Lyme disease is estimated to be threefold higher than previous estimates. This article received a lot of press attention and was featured in The Guardian.

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1 – Impacts of Brexit on fruit and vegetable intake and cardiovascular disease in England: a modelling study
This article has been the most talked about article published in BMJ Open this year. Seferidi et al conducted a modelling study to determine how different Brexit trade policy scenarios will impact the price, intake of fruit and vegetables and consequential cardiovascular disease related deaths between 2021 and 2030. The authors modelled four post Brexit trade scenarios which included the event of a no-deal Brexit and measured the cumulative stroke and coronary heart disease deaths that were attributed to each scenario. Each scenario was modelled between 2021 and 2030. In their conclusions, the authors advised that that UK government should consider the public health implications and changes to food systems when considering Brexit trade policy options. The results of this study generated quite a discussion across across social media, including Reddit. The article also caught the attention of various news outlets and was featured on a few blog posts.

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