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Even potential participants of a research integrity conference commit plagiarism, organizers learn – Retraction Watch (Lex Bouter | January 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on January 11, 2019

One would hope that researchers submitting abstracts for a meeting on research integrity would be less likely to commit research misconduct. But if the experience of the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity is any indication, that may not be the case. Here, the co-organizers of the conference — Lex Bouter, Daniel Barr, and Mai Har Sham — explain.

We’re not sure that offering the same paper to different conferences is remotely unusual or viewed adversely in many disciplines, at least not in those where abstracts are not published. There is another lesson for those disciplines – make sure you know the rules of the game that you are playing

Recently the 430 abstracts submitted for the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) were peer reviewed. After an alarming report of apparent plagiarism from one of the 30 reviewers, text similarity checking was conducted on all the abstracts received using Turnitin. This identified 12 suspected cases of plagiarism and 18 suspected cases of self-plagiarism. Abstracts with a Turnitin Similarity Index above 30% (ranging from 37% to 94%) were further assessed and labelled as potential self-plagiarism if overlapping texts had at least one author in common.

We did not investigate the 18 cases of suspected self-plagiarism further, but decided to exclude them from oral presentation and to consider them as eligible for poster presentation only. In the call for abstracts we did not say that submissions should contain work that had not been presented or published before. Furthermore, the abstract form did not allow for references to earlier presentations or publications. For future conferences we will explicitly ask whether the work is novel and to provide references to earlier presentations or publications. We do not believe that novelty is an absolute condition for eligibility as there may be good reasons to present important work to different audiences or to present important work that has recently been published but might have escaped being noticed.

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(Australia) Reef company altered scientist’s report on crown-of-thorns program — even though he told them not to – ABC News (Michael Slezak | October 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on January 7, 2019

A company given millions of taxpayer dollars to cull the devastating crown-of-thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef altered a scientific report about the “poor management” of its own program, an ABC investigation can reveal.

The changes to the document were made despite the author demanding it be published “as is”, with a company employee suggesting it “wear the wrath” of the scientist.

Marine biologist Dr Udo Engelhardt told the ABC he was “baffled” as to why changes were made to his report.

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Journal retracts paper by controversial Australian journalist – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | December 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 30, 2018

The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) has retracted a 2003 paper that resulted from the PhD thesis of Maryanne Demasi, an Australian journalist whose reporting on statins and the risks of cancer from cell phones has been a lightning rod.

The move, for what the journal says was attempts to reuse images to represent different experiments, follows an investigation by the University of Adelaide into allegations of image manipulation in Demasi’s thesis. In the investigation, Demasi

admitted that she had duplicated or probably duplicated the relevant impugned images. However, she understood that duplication was acceptable at the relevant time for the particular category of images at issue. The relevant experts agreed, albeit they considered duplication was not best practice.

Demasi’s work as a journalist — including reporting that cast doubt on cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins and an episode of a science program called Catalyst on possible links between wi-fi and brain tumors — has earned criticism, which she and her co-authors on the JBC paper say have made the study a target of allegations.

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Australian Public Service Commission – Conflicts of Interest0

Posted by Admin in on November 29, 2018

“The public is entitled to have confidence in the integrity of their public officials, and to know that an Australian Public Service (APS) employee’s personal interests do not conflict with his or her public duties.

In accordance with section 13(7) of the Code of Conduct contained in the Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act), an APS employee must:

  • take reasonable steps to avoid any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with the employee’s APS employment; and
  • disclose details of any material personal interest of the employee in connection with the employee’s APS employment.

Access the APSC  CoI page