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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Demarcating Spectrums of Predatory Publishing: Economic and Institutional Sources of Academic Legitimacy (PrePrint Papers: Kyle Siler | June 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on May 20, 2020

The emergence of Open Access (OA) publishing has altered incentives and opportunities for academic stakeholders and publishers. These changes have yielded a variety of new economic and academic niches, including journals with questionable peer review systems and business models, commonly dubbed ‘predatory publishing.’ Empirical analysis of the Cabell’s Journal Blacklist reveals substantial diversity in types and degrees of predatory publishing. While some blacklisted publishers produce journals with many severe violations of academic norms, ‘grey’ journals and publishers occupy borderline or ambiguous niches between predation and legitimacy. Predation in academic publishing is not a simple binary phenomenon and should instead be perceived as a spectrum with varying types and degrees of illegitimacy. Conceptions of predation are based on overlapping evaluations of academic and economic legitimacy. High institutional status benefits publishers by reducing conflicts between – if not aligning – professional and market institutional logics, which are more likely to conflict and create illegitimacy concerns in downmarket niches. High rejection rates imbue high-status journals with value and pricing power, while low-status OA journals face ‘predatory’ incentives to optimize revenue via low selectivity. Status influences the social acceptability of profit-seeking in academic publishing, rendering lower-status publishers vulnerable to being perceived and stigmatized as illegitimate.

economic sociology, institutions, legitimacy, #O3S18, publishing science

Siler, K. (2018, June 30). Demarcating Spectrums of Predatory Publishing: Economic and Institutional Sources of Academic Legitimacy.

How to manage a multi-author megapaper – Nature Index (Jack Leeming | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 19, 2020

Large teams can produce more impactful work, but organizing a paper produced by many can be a major challenge.

For a frog, exposure to the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is very bad news indeed. The fungus thrives in the same wet, hot conditions that frogs favour and it grows on amphibian skin. Frogs breathe through their skin, which is used by almost all species for electrolyte exchange. Chytrid prevents electrolytes from entering the animal’s body, which eventually causes a heart attack.

The topic of authorship in team science should be discussed in a professional development workshop and practice resources beyond 101 research integrity awareness efforts.  AHRECS has developed a downloadable ppt with embedded audio by Prof. Mark Israel (also on Patreon).  We have included links to 29 related reads.

Chytrid fungus species are responsible for significant amphibian population reductions in Central and North America, Europe and Australia. Although declines were at their worst in the 1980s, one 2004 study suggested that at least 43% of amphibian species are dwindling worldwide. New Guinea, home to 6% of the world’s frog species, is one place chytrid is yet to invade.

Deborah Bower, an ecologist at the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, is investigating proactive protection strategies for New Guinea, including increased quarantine measures and an island-wide surveillance programme.

Such collaboration is unusual in Bower’s field, where single-author papers are common. “When the fungus gets to New Guinea, more than 100 frog species could go extinct,” she says. “The island has a complex political system; it’s half Papua New Guinea and half Indonesia. There’s not much local experience in dealing with the disease. We brought in scientists from the US and Australia who had experience with chytrid, plus experts from a policy background who have worked with governments on large-scale changes.”

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(UK) Dishonesty and research misconduct within the medical profession (Papers: Habib Rahman & Stephen Ankier | March 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 17, 2020

While there has been much discussion of how the scientific establishment’s culture can engender research misconduct and scientific irreproducibility, this has been discussed much less frequently with respect to the medical profession. Here the authors posit that a lack of self-criticism, an encouragement of novel scientific research generated by the recruitment policies of the UK Royal Training Colleges along with insufficient training in the sciences are core reasons as to why research misconduct and dishonesty prevail within the medical community. Furthermore, the UK General Medical Council’s own data demonstrates a historic inattentiveness to the ease with which doctors can engage in research misconduct. Suggestions are made as to how these issues can be investigated and alternative incentives for career advancement are adumbrated.

Scientific reproducibility, Medical ethics, History of medicine, Royal College of Physicians, Sociology of the medical profession

Rahman, H., Ankier, S. Dishonesty and research misconduct within the medical profession. BMC Medical Ethics 21, 22 (2020).
Publisher (Open Access):

(UK) Questionable activities of UK company Celixir, by Patricia Murray – ForBetterScience (Leonid Schneider | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 15, 2020

Patricia Murray uncovers the business secrets of the Nobelist Martin Evans and his partner Ajan Reginald. It seems the magic iMP cells used to treat patients in Greece were drawn from the blood of patients in Swansea, for the purpose of a secret PhD thesis. There is no serious science behind it, only serious investor money and a fraudulent patent.

Troubling story from the UK highlights that academic superstars can sometimes are not above seriously questionable activity.  An institution’s governance arrangements must never exclude someone just because of what benefits their reputation/performance confers to the host institution.

This guest post by Dr Patricia Murray, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at the University of Liverpool, UK, follows a previous article on my site regarding the business activities of the regenerative medicine company Celixir, owned by Sir Martin Evans, winner of the Nobel Prize of 2007 and former President of the University of Cardiff, and the struck-off dentist Ajan Reginald. Much of the contents in that story must be credited to Dr Murray, who is also an activist for medical ethics and research integrity in regenerative medicine and played a key role in uncovering the extent of the trachea transplant scandal in the UK in the aftermath of the Paolo Macchiarini affair, which recently made main news in the UK (here and here).

Murray’s activities led to a parliamentary investigations into the role of UCL and their professors, primarily Martin Birchall, in two deadly trachea transplants (here and here) and into the attitude of the journal The Lancet. Three clinical trials were permanently suspended or terminated following Murray’s advocacy for patient safety, it is likely that related trials at UCL and elsewhere in UK were also postponed indefinitely because of that. There were retaliations: UCL’s business partners, the trachea transplant company Videregen, deployed lawyers against Murray and her colleague (read here and here), without any success though.

In my view, Professor Murray is a true hero and the bravest scientist I ever had the honour to know. And yet she doesn’t even have a Twitter account.

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