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India cracks down on plagiarism at universities – Science (Shekhar Chandra | August 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 15, 2018

But some researchers say new rules don’t go far enough.

India has for the first time introduced regulations to detect and punish acts of plagiarism at universities. Punishments for researchers or students caught breaking the rules range from requiring that a manuscript be withdrawn to sacking or expulsion, depending on the extent of the plagiarism.

The regulations define plagiarism as “taking someone else’s work or idea and passing them as one’s own”, and will apply to the 867 universities and their affiliated institutions that report to the nation’s education regulator, the University Grants Commission (UGC). The UGC announced on 3 August that the rules came into effect retroactively from 23 July.

Previously, punishments for researchers caught plagiarizing were left to the discretion of the institution. The new rules also make it mandatory for institutions to use plagiarism-detection software, such as Turnitin, on students’ theses and researchers’ manuscripts. Currently, only some universities use detection software.

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Inside India’s fake research paper shops: pay, publish, profit – The Indian EXPRESS (Shyamlal Yadav | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 15, 2018

Despite UGC blacklist, hundreds of ‘predatory journals’ thrive, cast shadow on quality of faculty and research nationwide.

In the world of academia, getting published in an international research journal is almost the holy grail, it helps bump up the CV for hiring and helps in the competition for tenure or promotion. It takes rigorous research, an original contribution, exhaustive peer or expert reviews, and dogged persistence.

But then, there’s also an easy way — pay and publish.

An investigation by The Indian Express shows that India has emerged as one of the biggest markets for a business in which over 300 publishers manage what are called “predatory journals” that claim to be international and publish papers for a listed “charge” or “fee” that ranges from $30-$1,800 per piece.

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(US) Controversial alcohol study cancelled by US health agency – Nature (Sara Reardon | June 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 11, 2018

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has terminated a controversial US$100-million study examining whether drinking small amounts of alcohol every day can improve health.

Further news about this now closed controversial study into alcohol consumption. Based on the allegations in the media you are left wondering what the various parties were thinking? This case could be used in professional development workshops to highlight how conflicts of interest can completely undermine the credibility of a project, the line of enquiry and those involved in a project.

The agency’s decision, announced on 15 June, came shortly after an NIH advisory council voted unanimously to end the trial. An agency investigation had found that NIH staff and outside researchers acted inappropriately by soliciting industry funding and biasing the grant-review process to favour specific scientists.
Those findings would have undermined the study’s credibility if it had been allowed to proceed, said NIH director Francis Collins at the advisory-council meeting. “Is it even possible at this point that the results of this trial would have the credibility to influence anyone’s decision-making?” he asked. “That does in fact seem quite doubtful.”
The study, which began enrolling participants in February 2018 under the auspices of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), included $67 million from 5 alcohol companies over 10 years. It came under fire in March after the New York Times reported that the study’s lead investigator — cardiovascular researcher Kenneth Mukamal of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts — and his collaborators had directly courted funding from the liquor industry in 2013 and 2014, before the study’s launch.

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Repeat Offenders: When Scientific Fraudsters Slip Through the Cracks – Undark (Alison McCook | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 6, 2018

Balancing due process with the academic community’s right to know is no easy task, but critics say more could be done to weed out bad actors.

SOMETIME AFTER 2010 — he isn’t exactly sure when — Richard Miller, a professor of pathology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, looked up a former faculty member who had worked in his lab on the popular government research database, Medline. When he saw that the researcher, Ricky Malhotra, was publishing new work out of the University of Chicago, Miller said he was “surprised and upset.” That’s because he knew something about Malhotra that he bet Malhotra’s new employers didn’t.

The issues at play here are far from easy, especially during an active investigation where the guilt of a person hasn’t been determined, but the damage (and for some areas of research the very real peril to the community) should prompt a discussion of what to do when a cheat/bad researcher changes institution.

If someone had called Miller to discuss his former mentee, he could have told them Malhotra left his lab — which focuses on the genetics of aging — after confessing to fabricating data. It wasn’t a minor case: In 2007, Malhotra admitted to performing 60 percent or less of the approximately 80 experiments expected from him, among other infractions.

But no one called Miller, and now that he knew Malhotra was conducting research at another institution, he was torn. On the one hand, he thought “it would be good for the scientific community to call the University of Chicago and tell them what was going on,” Miller said. At the same time, the University of Michigan was still conducting an investigation of Malhotra’s misdeeds there, and that investigation was confidential. “I wasn’t sure,” Miller said, “how to reconcile those two separate obligations.”

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