A negative consequence of the rapid growth of scholarly open access publishing funded by article processing charges is the emergence of publishers and journals with highly questionable marketing and peer review practices. These so-called predatory publishers are causing unfounded negative publicity for open access publishing in general. Reports about this branch of e-business have so far mainly concentrated on exposing lacking peer review and scandals involving publishers and journals. There is a lack of comprehensive studies about several aspects of this phenomenon, including extent and regional distribution.
After an initial scan of all predatory publishers and journals included in the so-called Beall's list, a sample of 613 journals was constructed using a stratified sampling method from the total of over 11,000 journals identified. Information about the subject field, country of publisher, article processing charge and article volumes published between 2010 and 2014 were manually collected from the journal websites. For a subset of journals, individual articles were sampled in order to study the country affiliation of authors and the publication delays.
Over the studied period, predatory journals have rapidly increased their publication volumes from 53,000 in 2010 to an estimated 420,000 articles in 2014, published by around 8,000 active journals. Early on, publishers with more than 100 journals dominated the market, but since 2012 publishers in the 10-99 journal size category have captured the largest market share. The regional distribution of both the publisher's country and authorship is highly skewed, in particular Asia and Africa contributed three quarters of authors. Authors paid an average article processing charge of 178 USD per article for articles typically published within 2 to 3 months of submission.
Despite a total number of journals and publishing volumes comparable to respectable (indexed by the Directory of Open Access Journals) open access journals, the problem of predatory open access seems highly contained to just a few countries, where the academic evaluation practices strongly favor international publication, but without further quality checks.
Residential location is thought to influence people's well-being, but different individuals may value residential areas differently. We examined how life satisfaction and personality traits are geographically distributed within the UK London metropolitan area, and how the strength of associations between personality traits and life satisfaction vary by residential location (i.e., personality-neighborhood interactions). Residential area was recorded at the level of postal districts (216 districts, n = 56,019 participants). Results indicated that the strength of associations between personality traits and life satisfaction depended on neighborhood characteristics. Higher openness to experience was more positively associated with life satisfaction in postal districts characterized by higher average openness to experience, population density, and ethnic diversity. Higher agreeableness and conscientiousness were more strongly associated with life satisfaction in postal districts with lower overall levels of life satisfaction. The associations of extraversion and emotional stability were not modified by neighborhood characteristics. These findings suggest that people's life satisfaction depends, in part, on the interaction between individual personality and particular features of the places they live.
The use of Local Environmental Knowledge has been considered as an important strategy for adaptive management in the face of Global Environmental Change. However, the unprecedented rates at which global change occurs may pose a challenge to the adaptive capacity of local knowledge systems. In this paper, we use the concept of the shifting baseline syndrome to examine the limits in the adaptive capacity of the local knowledge of an indigenous society facing rapid ecosystem change. We conducted semi-structured interviews regarding perceptions of change in wildlife populations and in intergenerational transmission of knowledge amongst the Tsimane', a group of hunter-gatherers of Bolivian Amazonia (n = 300 adults in 13 villages). We found that the natural baseline against which the Tsimane' measure ecosystem changes might be shifting with every generation as a result of (a) age-related differences in the perception of change and (b) a decrease in the intergenerational sharing of environmental knowledge. Such findings suggest that local knowledge systems might not change at a rate quick enough to adapt to conditions of rapid ecosystem change, hence potentially compromising the adaptive success of the entire social-ecological system. With the current pace of Global Environmental Change, widening the gap between the temporal rates of on-going ecosystem change and the timescale needed for local knowledge systems to adjust to change, efforts to tackle the shifting baseline syndrome are urgent and critical for those who aim to use Local Environmental Knowledge as a tool for adaptive management.
The study examines, first, the effectiveness of a psychosocial intervention based on Teaching Recovery Techniques (TRT) to increase resiliency among Palestinian children, exposed to a major trauma of war. Second, it analyses the role of family factors (maternal attachment and family atmosphere) as moderating the intervention impacts on resilience. School classes in Gaza were randomized into intervention (N=242) and control (N=240) groups. The percentage of girls (49.4%) and boys (50.6%) were equal, and the child age was 10-13 years in both groups. Children reported positive indicators of their mental health (prosocial behaviour and psychosocial well-being) at baseline (T1), post-intervention (T2) and at a six-month follow-up (T3). At T1 they accounted their exposure to war trauma. Mothers reported about their willingness to serve as an attachment figure, and the child reported about the family atmosphere. Resilience was conceptualized as a presence of positive indications of mental health despite trauma exposure. Against our hypothesis, the intervention did not increase the level of resilience statistically significantly, nor was the effect of the intervention moderated by maternal attachment responses or family atmosphere.
Low-intensity interventions for people suffering from depressive symptoms are highly desirable. The aim of the present study was to investigate the outcomes of a web-based acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)-based intervention without face-to-face contact for people suffering from depressive symptoms. Participants (N = 39) with depressive symptoms were randomly assigned to an Internet-delivered acceptance and commitment therapy (iACT) intervention or a waiting list control condition (WLC). Participants were evaluated with standardized self-reporting measures (Beck Depression Inventory [BDI-II], Symptom Checklist-90 [SCL-90], Acceptance and Action Questionnaire [AAQ-2], Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire [FFMQ], Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire [ATQ], and White Bear Suppression Inventory [WBSI]) at pre- and post-measurement. Long-term effects in the iACT group were examined using a 12-month follow-up. The iACT program comprised home assignments, online feedback given by master's-level students of psychology over a 7-week intervention period, and automated email-based reminders. Significant effects were observed in favor of the iACT group on depression symptomatology (between effect sizes [ESs] at post-treatment, iACT/WLC, g = .83), psychological and physiological symptoms (g = .60), psychological flexibility (g = .67), mindfulness skills (g = .53), and frequency of automatic thoughts (g = .57) as well as thought suppression (g = .53). The treatment effects in the iACT group were maintained over the 12-month follow-up period (within-iACT ES: BDI-II, g = 1.33; SCL-90, g = 1.04; ATQF/B [Frequency/Believability], FFMQ, WBSI, AAQ-II, g = .74-1.08). The iACT participants stated that they would be happy to recommend the same intervention to others with depressive symptoms. We conclude that an ACT-based guided Internet-delivered treatment with minimal contact can be effective for people with depressive symptoms.
Link and Phelan have proposed to explain the persistence of health inequalities from the fact that socioeconomic status is a "fundamental cause" which embodies an array of resources that can be used to avoid disease risks no matter what mechanisms are relevant at any given time. To test this theory we compared the magnitude of inequalities in mortality between more and less preventable causes of death in 19 European populations, and assessed whether inequalities in mortality from preventable causes are larger in countries with larger resource inequalities. We collected and harmonized mortality data by educational level on 19 national and regional populations from 16 European countries in the first decade of the 21st century. We calculated age-adjusted Relative Risks of mortality among men and women aged 30-79 for 24 causes of death, which were classified into four groups: amenable to behavior change, amenable to medical intervention, amenable to injury prevention, and non-preventable. Although an overwhelming majority of Relative Risks indicate higher mortality risks among the lower educated, the strength of the education-mortality relation is highly variable between causes of death and populations. Inequalities in mortality are generally larger for causes amenable to behavior change, medical intervention and injury prevention than for non-preventable causes. The contrast between preventable and non-preventable causes is large for causes amenable to behavior change, but absent for causes amenable to injury prevention among women. The contrast between preventable and non-preventable causes is larger in Central & Eastern Europe, where resource inequalities are substantial, than in the Nordic countries and continental Europe, where resource inequalities are relatively small, but they are absent or small in Southern Europe, where resource inequalities are also large. In conclusion, our results provide some further support for the theory of "fundamental causes". However, the absence of larger inequalities for preventable causes in Southern Europe and for injury mortality among women indicate that further empirical and theoretical analysis is necessary to understand when and why the additional resources that a higher socioeconomic status provides, do and do not protect against prevailing health risks.
The current research tested the hypothesis that the abilities for understanding other people's minds give rise to the cognitive biases that underlie supernatural beliefs. We used structural equation modeling (N=2789) to determine the roles of various mentalizing tendencies, namely self-reported affective and cognitive empathy (i.e., mind reading), actual cognitive and affective empathic abilities, hyper-empathizing, and two cognitive biases (core ontological confusions and promiscuous teleology) in giving rise to supernatural beliefs. Support for a path from mentalizing abilities through cognitive biases to supernatural beliefs was weak. The relationships of mentalizing abilities with supernatural beliefs were also weak, and these relationships were not substantially mediated by cognitive biases. Core ontological confusions emerged as the best predictor, while promiscuous teleology predicted only a small proportion of variance. The results were similar for religious beliefs, paranormal beliefs, and for belief in supernatural purpose.
Recent studies have shown enhanced brain and autonomic responses to seeing a face with a direct gaze. Interestingly, greater responses to eye contact vs. averted gaze have been observed when showing "live" faces as stimuli but not when showing pictures of faces on a computer screen. In this study, we provide unequivocal evidence that the differential responses observed in the "live" condition are dependent on the observer's mental attributions. Results from two experiments showed that eye contact resulted in greater autonomic and brain responses compared to averted gaze if a participant believed that the stimulus person sitting on the other side of an electronic shutter was able to see him or her through the shutter. Gaze direction had no effects if participants believed that the transparency from their side was blocked. The results suggest that mental attributions exert a powerful modulation on the processing of socially relevant sensory information.
Millions of children worldwide suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and other mental health problems due to repeated exposure to war or organized violence. Forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are the most commonly used treatment for PTSD and appear to be effective for children as well, but little is known about the mechanisms of change through which they achieve their effectiveness. Here we present the study protocol of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) studying the effectiveness and mechanisms of change of Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET), a CBT-based, manualized, short-term intervention for PTSD symptoms resulting from repeated traumatization, in immigrant children traumatized by war.
We are conducting a multicentre, pragmatic RCT in a usual care setting. Up to 80 9-17-year-old immigrant children who have experienced war and suffer from PTSD symptoms will be randomized into intervention (NET) and control (treatment as usual, TAU) groups of equal sizes. The effectiveness of NET treatment will be compared to both a waiting list and the parallel TAU positive control group, on the primary outcomes of PTSD and depressive symptoms, psychological distress, resilience, and level of cognitive performance. The effects of the intervention on traumatic memories and posttraumatic cognitions will be studied as potential mechanisms of change mediating overall treatment effectiveness. The possible moderating effects of peritraumatic dissociation, level of cognitive performance, and gender on treatment effectiveness will also be considered. We hypothesize that NET will be more effective than a waitlist condition or TAU in reducing PTSD and other symptoms and improving resilience, and that these effects will be mediated by changes in traumatic memories and posttraumatic cognitions.
The results of this trial will provide evidence for the effectiveness of NET in treating trauma-related symptoms in immigrant children affected by war. The trial will also generate insights into the complex relationships between PTSD, memory functions, posttraumatic cognitions and cognitive performance in children, and help guide the future development and implementation of therapeutic interventions for PTSD in children.
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02425280 . Registered 15 April 2015.