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China introduces ‘social’ punishments for scientific misconduct – Nature (David Cyranoski | December 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 16, 2018
 

Offending researchers could face restrictions on jobs, loans and business opportunities under a system tied to the controversial social credit policy.

Researchers in China who commit scientific misconduct could soon be prevented from getting a bank loan, running a company or applying for a public-service job. The government has announced an extensive punishment system that could have significant consequences for offenders — far beyond their academic careers.

Irrespective of how you feel about China’s Social Credit Policy, it will be fascinating to see if this bold plan will alter the perceived risks/rewards for researchers who contemplate cheating.

Under the new policy, dozens of government agencies will have the power to hand out penalties to those caught committing major scientific misconduct, a role previously performed by the science ministry or universities. Errant researchers could also face punishments that have nothing to do with research, such as restrictions on jobs outside academia, as well as existing misconduct penalties, such as losing grants and awards.
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“Almost all aspects of daily life for the guilty scientists could be affected,” says Chen Bikun, who studies scientific evaluation systems at Nanjing University of Science and Technology.
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Chinese military warns against forged data and plagiarism in science and technology research – South China Morning Post (Minnie Chan | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 1, 2018
 

Academics have been put on notice to maintain ‘integrity of scientific research’ as rampant misconduct puts lives at risk

China’s military top brass have released research integrity guidelines urging leaders in charge of the country’s defence-related science and technology research to avoid forgery, plagiarism and other wrongdoing.

While it is great to see the Chinese military take this stance, the reported problems in State-funded research are sobering.

The guidelines published on Friday are the first indication that China’s defence industry faces a forgery problem similar to that found in the academic community – including feigning scientific data, plagiarising subordinates’ study results, exaggerating study achievements and other misconduct.
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The guidelines have been proposed by the Science and Technology Commission, a functional department directly under the powerful Central Military Commission headed by President Xi Jinping, which is in charge of China’s military defence technology research and development.
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What if we could scan for image duplication the way we check for plagiarism? – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on November 28, 2018
 

Paul Brookes is a biologist with a passion for sleuthing out fraud. Although he studies mitochondria at the University of Rochester, he also secretly ran a science-fraud.org, a site for people to post their concerns about papers. Following legal threats, he revealed he was the author and shut the site in 2013 — but didn’t stop the fight. Recently, he’s co-authored a paper that’s slightly outside his day job: Partnering with computer scientist Daniel Acunaat Syracuse University and computational biologist Konrad Kording at the University of Pennsylvania, they developed a software to help detect duplicated images. If it works, it would provide a much needed service to the research community, which has been clamoring for some version of this for years. So how did this paper — also described by Nature News — come about?

Image manipulation is one of the more common reasons for forced retractions/research misconduct so such a tool would be welcome for institutions/publishers/peer reviewers.

Retraction Watch: Dr. Brookes, you study mitochondria. What brought you to co-author a paper about software to detect duplications?

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Paul Brookes: I had authored a paper on the relationship between levels of internet publicity (blogs etc.) and actions taken against problematic papers in the biosciences – retractions, corrections, etc.  As such, I was sitting on a large database (500+ papers) with documented image problems. Konrad and Daniel approached me by email, to request this set of examples, to act as a training set for their machine learning algorithm.
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Predatory publishers: the journals that churn out fake science -The Guardian (Alex Hern and Pamela Duncan | August 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on November 10, 2018
 

A Guardian investigation, in collaboration with German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk, reveals the open-access publishers who accept any article submitted for a fee

A vast ecosystem of predatory publishers is churning out “fake science” for profit, an investigation by the Guardian in collaboration with German publishers NDR, WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin has found.

While we think the term questionable publishers is more accurate than predatory publishers, and this The Guardian piece doesn’t tell us anything new, it is a useful sumation of the situation and how we got here. It also aludes to the complexity that is often missed when we quickly classify a publisher. A challenge that could be put to all publishers is whether it’s reputable for them to profit from the labours of authors and peer reviewers without the publisher paying them for their work.

More than 175,000 scientific articles have been produced by five of the largest “predatory open-access publishers”, including India-based Omics publishing group and the Turkish World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, or Waset.
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But the vast majority of those articles skip almost all of the traditional checks and balances of scientific publishing, from peer review to an editorial board. Instead, most journals run by those companies will publish anything submitted to them – provided the required fee is paid.
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To demonstrate the lack of peer review, Svea Eckert, a researcher who worked with NDR on the investigation, successfully submitted an article created by the joke site SCIgen, which automatically generates gibberish computer science papers. The paper was accepted for discussion at a Waset conference, which Eckert attended and filmed for NDR.
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