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How Much Editorial Misconduct Goes Unreported? – Scholarly Kitchen (Phil Davis | June 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 20, 2018

COPE Case #18-03, “Editors and reviewers requiring authors to cite their own work”  reads like a political thriller:

Working alone late one night, a staffer stumbles upon a decision letter in which a handling editor instructs an author to cite some of his papers. Intrigued, the staffer digs deeper and finds a pattern of systematic abuse that involves a gang of crony reviewers willing to do the handling editor’s misdeeds and evidence of strong-arming authors who put up any resistance. The staffer brings the ream of evidence to the Editor-in-Chief, who goes to the editorial board. Confronted by questions to explain himself, the handling editor resigns out of haughty indignation. Case closed. Or is it?

The issue of editorial coercion is a topic that deserves coverage in professional development for early career researchers and higher degree research candidates (and probably new supervisors as well).

All COPE cases are public, however, the texts are carefully edited to preserve anonymity. COPE is an industry advisory group, not a court of law. The purpose of publicizing cases is to educate, not adjudicate. We can only hope that the summary of actions provides a clear path of action for future staffers and editors dealing with similar cases of misconduct. Still, it makes me wonder just how common is editorial misconduct and whether the vast majority of cases, like similar power-abuse misconduct, goes unreported.

A 2012 survey of social sciences authors published in the journal Science, reported that one-in-five respondents said they were coerced by journal editors to add more citations to papers published in their journal. Not surprisingly, lower-ranked faculty were more likely to acquiesce to this type of coercion. A follow-up study in PLOS ONE confirmed that the practice of requesting additional citations to the journal was prevelant across disciplines, although much more frequent in marketing, information systems, finance, and management than it was in math, physics, political science, and chemistry. In these studies, the researchers limit coercive citation to the journal itself, assuming that its purpose was to inflate the journal’s Impact Factor. But what if its purpose was also to inflate citations to the editor himself or to a cartel of other participating journals?

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Davis, P. (2018) How Much Editorial Misconduct Goes Unreported? The Scholarly Kitchen, 21 June.

The “problem” of predatory publishing remains a relatively small one and should not be allowed to defame open access – LSE Impact Blog (Tom Olijhoek and Jon Tennant | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 15, 2018

A recent investigation led by an international group of journalists raised concerns over the scale of the problem of deceptive publishing practices, with many researchers of standing and reputation found to have published in “predatory” journals. However, while the findings of this investigation garnered significant media attention, the robustness of the study itself was not subject to the same scrutiny. To Tom Olijhoek and Jon Tennant, the profile afforded to investigations of this type causes some to overstate the problem of predatory publishing, while often discrediting open access publishing at the same time. The real problem here is one of education around questionable journals, and should not distract from more urgent questions around the shifting scholarly ecosystem.

Writing about the scale of questionable publishing Tom Olijhoekand Jon Tennant suggest the relative scale of the problem isn’t as bad as some science reporters suggest, but that doesn’t mean it’s not having an impact that is concerning. We agree. There are plenty of open access publishers which have high editorial standards and there are some large and supposedly reputable publishers that sometimes feel like they are running an expensive protection racket.

Full disclosure: Tom Olijhoek is Editor-in-Chief of DOAJ and Jon Tennant is the founder of the Open Science MOOC.
Imagine you want to investigate the quality of restaurants. You know beforehand there are bad restaurants. So you set up your investigation by going to a number of bad restaurants of bad reputation. What do you find? You find that a number of restaurants are really bad, an inevitable conclusion. You even find that people of standing and reputation have visited these restaurants on occasion.
Would the conclusion here be that all restaurants are bad? Several investigations of this kind have looked into the problem of “predatory” or “questionable” publishers, the most famous being the heavily criticised and deeply flawed “sting operation” by John Bohannon in Science magazine. In science speak, this is called doing an experiment without an appropriate control group, usually sufficient for research to be desk rejected for being fundamentally flawed.

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The Great Leap Fraud: China’s wake-up call on scientific misconduct and fake science on Science Friction – ABC RN (Natasha Mitchell | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 6, 2018

You’ve heard of fake news, but what about fake science? The shocking, shady world of the modern scientific marketplace. A special for ABC RN’s China In Focus series featuring Ivan Oransky of Retraction Watch and guests.

China’s president wants to turn the country into a scientific superpower, but mass retractions by scientific journals of papers penned by Chinese scientists has exposed a major problem for China and for science globally.

It’s home to a thriving black market for fake papers, fake peer reviews, and beyond.

But is China alone?

Listen to the interview and read more and this discussion piece

Revisiting: Six Years of Predatory Publishing – Scholarly Kitchen (David Crotty | August 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 3, 2018

Predatory publishing has been on our radar for quite a while now, but mainstream media coverage and awareness is rapidly intensifying. We have perhaps finally reached a point where the damage being done to the credibility of research may be enough to move the stakeholders involved — universities, funders, and publishers, to finally take some action. Just what that action will be is unclear — like most of our lingering problems, if there was an easy solution, it would have happened long ago. In light of the increasing debate, I thought it worth revisiting some of our coverage of predatory publishing over the years.

We are planning an item about why we use the term ‘illegitimate publisher’ rather than ‘predator publisher’. We have included here links to the best related items in the Resource Library. Just a reminder the predator image is available, with watermarks via the AHRECS subscribers’ area.

Kent Anderson first wrote about the phenomenon back in 2012, in his post, “Predatory” Open Access Publishers — The Natural Extreme of an Author-Pays Model. It’s interesting to see that even in this early post, the focus was on the author-pays model, rather than a condemnation of open access as a whole. Also interesting to see how much unconditional support there was (particularly in the comments) for Jeffrey Beall’s list, which later fell under so much controversy.
Speaking of Beall, a trio of posts — two interviews, the first in the form of a podcast from 2013, and the second as a written interview, done after Beall had taken a public swipe at The Scholarly Kitchen. And finally, Joe Esposito’s post entitled, “Parting Company with Jeffrey Beall“, where he tried to come to grips with Beall’s increasingly problematic rhetoric.

Read the rest of this discussion piece