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Zelko H.,Duke University | Zammar G.R.,Duke University | Zammar G.R.,Pontifical Catholic University of Parana | Bonilauri Ferreira A.P.,Duke University | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: Although scientific innovation has been a long-standing topic of interest for historians, philosophers and cognitive scientists, few studies in biomedical research have examined from researchers' perspectives how high impact publications are developed and why they are consistently produced by a small group of researchers. Our objective was therefore to interview a group of researchers with a track record of high impact publications to explore what mechanism they believe contribute to the generation of high impact publications. Methodology/Principal Findings: Researchers were located in universities all over the globe and interviews were conducted by phone. All interviews were transcribed using standard qualitative methods. A Grounded Theory approach was used to code each transcript, later aggregating concept and categories into overarching explanation model. The model was then translated into a System Dynamics mathematical model to represent its structure and behavior. Five emerging themes were found in our study. First, researchers used heuristics or rules of thumb that came naturally to them. Second, these heuristics were reinforced by positive feedback from their peers and mentors. Third, good communication skills allowed researchers to provide feedback to their peers, thus closing a positive feedback loop. Fourth, researchers exhibited a number of psychological attributes such as curiosity or open-mindedness that constantly motivated them, even when faced with discouraging situations. Fifth, the system is dominated by randomness and serendipity and is far from a linear and predictable environment. Some researchers, however, took advantage of this randomness by incorporating mechanisms that would allow them to benefit from random findings. The aggregation of these themes into a policy model represented the overall expected behavior of publications and their impact achieved by high impact researchers. Conclusions: The proposed selection mechanism provides insights that can be translated into research coaching programs as well as research policy models to optimize the introduction of high impact research at a broad scale among institutional and governmental agencies. © 2010 Zelko et al. Source


de Carvalho E.C.A.,Duke University | Jayanti M.K.,Ohio State University | Batilana A.P.,Duke University | Kozan A.M.O.,Duke University | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: With the globalization of clinical trials, a growing emphasis has been placed on the standardization of the workflow in order to ensure the reproducibility and reliability of the overall trial. Despite the importance of workflow evaluation, to our knowledge no previous studies have attempted to adapt existing modeling languages to standardize the representation of clinical trials. Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a computational language that can be used to model operational workflow, and a UML profile can be developed to standardize UML models within a given domain. This paper's objective is to develop a UML profile to extend the UML Activity Diagram schema into the clinical trials domain, defining a standard representation for clinical trial workflow diagrams in UML. Methods:Two Brazilian clinical trial sites in rheumatology and oncology were examined to model their workflow and collect time-motion data. UML modeling was conducted in Eclipse, and a UML profile was developed to incorporate information used in discrete event simulation software. Results: Ethnographic observation revealed bottlenecks in workflow: these included tasks requiring full commitment of CRCs, transferring notes from paper to computers, deviations from standard operating procedures, and conflicts between different IT systems. Time-motion analysis revealed that nurses' activities took up the most time in the workflow and contained a high frequency of shorter duration activities. Administrative assistants performed more activities near the beginning and end of the workflow. Overall, clinical trial tasks had a greater frequency than clinic routines or other general activities. Conclusions:This paper describes a method for modeling clinical trial workflow in UML and standardizing these workflow diagrams through a UML profile. In the increasingly global environment of clinical trials, the standardization of workflow modeling is a necessary precursor to conducting a comparative analysis of international clinical trials workflows. © 2010 Carvalho et al. Source


Zammar G.,Pontifical Catholic University of Parana | Zammar G.,Duke University | Meister H.,Pontifical Catholic University of Parana | Meister H.,Duke University | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: With the global expansion of clinical trials and the expectations of the rise of the emerging economies known as BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), the understanding of factors that affect the willingness to participate in clinical trials of patients from those countries assumes a central role in the future of health research. Methods: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis (SRMA) of willingness to participate in clinical trials among Brazilian patients and then we compared it with Indian patients (with results of another SRMA previously conducted by our group) through a system dynamics model. Results: Five studies were included in the SRMA of Brazilian patients. Our main findings are 1) the major motivation for Brazilian patients to participate in clinical trials is altruism, 2) monetary reimbursement is the least important factor motivating Brazilian patients, 3) the major barrier for Brazilian patients to not participate in clinical trials is the fear of side effects, and 4) Brazilian patients are more likely willing to participate in clinical trials than Indians. Conclusion: Our study provides important insights for investigators and sponsors for planning trials in Brazil (and India) in the future. Ignoring these results may lead to unnecessary fund/time spending. More studies are needed to validate our results and for better understanding of this poorly studied theme. © 2010 Zammar et al. Source


Shah J.Y.,National University of Singapore | Shah J.Y.,Duke University | Phadtare A.,Duke University | Phadtare A.,Kalpavriksha Healthcare and Research | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: With the globalization of clinical trials, large developing nations have substantially increased their participation in multi-site studies. This participation has raised ethical concerns, among them the fear that local customs, habits and culture are not respected while asking potential participants to take part in study. This knowledge gap is particularly noticeable among Indian subjects, since despite the large number of participants, little is known regarding what factors affect their willingness to participate in clinical trials. Methods: We conducted a meta-analysis of all studies evaluating the factors and barriers, from the perspective of potential Indian participants, contributing to their participation in clinical trials. We searched both international as well as Indianspecific bibliographic databases, including Pubmed, Cochrane, Openjgate, MedInd, Scirus and Medknow, also performing hand searches and communicating with authors to obtain additional references. We enrolled studies dealing exclusively with the participation of Indians in clinical trials. Data extraction was conducted by three researchers, with disagreement being resolved by consensus. Results: Six qualitative studies and one survey were found evaluating the main themes affecting the participation of Indian subjects. Themes included Personal health benefits, Altruism, Trust in physicians, Source of extra income, Detailed knowledge, Methods for motivating participants as factors favoring, while Mistrust on trial organizations, Concerns about efficacy and safety of trials, Psychological reasons, Trial burden, Loss of confidentiality, Dependency issues, Language as the barriers. Conclusion: We identified factors that facilitated and barriers that have negative implications on trial participation decisions in Indian subjects. Due consideration and weightage should be assigned to these factors while planning future trials in India. © 2010 Shah et al. Source


Shah J.,National University of Singapore | Shah J.,Duke University | Rajgor D.,National University of Singapore | Rajgor D.,Duke University | And 10 more authors.
BMC Medical Education | Year: 2010

Background. The ability to write clearly and effectively is of central importance to the scientific enterprise. Encouraged by the success of simulation environments in other biomedical sciences, we developed WriteSim TCExam, an open-source, Web-based, textual simulation environment for teaching effective writing techniques to novice researchers. We shortlisted and modified an existing open source application-TCExam to serve as a textual simulation environment. After testing usability internally in our team, we conducted formal field usability studies with novice researchers. These were followed by formal surveys with researchers fitting the role of administrators and users (novice researchers). Results. The development process was guided by feedback from usability tests within our research team. Online surveys and formal studies, involving members of the Research on Research group and selected novice researchers, show that the application is user-friendly. Additionally it has been used to train 25 novice researchers in scientific writing to date and has generated encouraging results. Conclusion. WriteSim TCExam is the first Web-based, open-source textual simulation environment designed to complement traditional scientific writing instruction. While initial reviews by students and educators have been positive, a formal study is needed to measure its benefits in comparison to standard instructional methods. © 2010 Shah et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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