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Kinder publishing practices should become the new normal – Times Higher Education (Phil Emmerson | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 12, 2020
 

Varying personal circumstances highlight the need for accommodations that outlive the coronavirus, says Phil Emmerson

The impact on teaching of the forced closure of university campuses around the world has understandably dominated institutional and
press attention, with lecturers scrambling to learn new technologies and pedagogies so that disruption is minimised.

But the implications of the coronavirus-related shutdown on research is also huge. Limited or no access to labs and research participants
combined with the need to share home workspaces with other family members present considerable challenges to productivity.

Moreover, many academics are overwhelmed by worry. Some have family members who are unwell, or are unwell themselves. Some have had to take over the primary care of loved ones. Many are also having to home-school their children. These caring roles mostly fall to women.

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(India) ‘Self-Plagiarism, Text Recycling Not Acceptable’: UGC – NDTV (Anisha Kumari | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 8, 2020
 

In a notice now available on UGC website, the Commission says that reproduction of one’s own previously published work without citation is not acceptable.

New Delhi: In a bid to check self-plagiarism in the academia, University Grants Commission (UGC) has released guidelines and will be issuing parameters to evaluate instances of text recycling/self-plagiarism soon.

Hopefully, the new guideline for India will recognise where in a work the recycled text appears.  We have included links to 10 related items.

In a notice now available on UGC website, the Commission says that reproduction of one’s own previously published work without citation is not acceptable.
.

“Reproduction, in part or whole, of one’s own previously published work without adequate citation and proper acknowledgement and claiming the most recent work as new and original for any academic advantage amounts to ‘text-recycling’ (also known as ‘self-plagiarism’) and is not acceptable,” reads the UGC notice.
.

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(China) Chinese state censorship of COVID-19 research represents a looming crisis for academic publishers – London School of Economics Impact Blog (George Cooper | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 4, 2020
 

Issues of censorship surrounding the publication of scholarly research in China have been prominent since a series of press reports and publisher statements revealed that works had been removed from circulation that were deemed sensitive by Chinese buyers. As George Cooper observes, evidence that Chinese authorities are conducting pre-publication vetting of COVID-19 related research, raises new challenges for publishers seeking to distribute open access research papers on this subject, as there is little ground for publishers to remove these papers from their platforms. As publisher commitments to openness collide with their obligations to operate within the legal frameworks of the countries they operate in, it is argued that COVID-19 presages an overdue discussion on the limits of openness in publishing.


Earlier this month, the websites of Fudan University and the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan briefly revealed a system of pre-publication vetting of COVID-19 research. If accurate, these regulations could have far-reaching consequences, both for research communities in China, and for the global scholarly communications industry. The university notices, now removed, revealed requirements for China-based researchers to seek approval from China’s Ministry of Science and Technology before publishing research on the novel coronavirus, with a special emphasis on articles that pinpoint its origins. Publications will be vetted by government officials, who will assess both their ‘academic value’ and whether the ‘timing for publishing is right,’ raising the spectre of scholarly censorship that routinely shrouds research activities in China. 

For now, China’s restrictions on COVID-19 research apply only to domestic scholarship. But research in China on COVID-19 is published widely, often in high-impact, English-language journals. Given recent precedents, pre-publication restrictions could signal a shift in focus regarding the post-publication distribution of journal articles by non-Chinese scholarly publishers. In recent years, journal articles on topics such as persecution of the Uighur Muslim ethnic group in Xinjiang, civil unrest in Hong Kong, and the ‘three Ts’ – Tiananmen, Tibet and Taiwan – have come under intense scrutiny by Chinese state authorities. Cambridge University Press, Springer Nature, Sage and Taylor & Francis, in 2017 and 2018, were forced to navigate the demands of the General Administration of Press and Publications, rendering the distribution of research containing sensitive keywords, such as ‘Xinjiang’ and ‘Cultural Revolution’, illegal in China. These events led to accusations of censorship complicity, as some publishers took steps to remove or restrict access to sensitive articles on their Chinese-language platforms; whilst others had entire journals removed from circulation by Chinese research importers for refusing to ‘bowdlerize’ their online collections.

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Pseudoscience and COVID-19 — we’ve had enough already – Nature (Timothy Caulfield | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 3, 2020
 

The scientific community must take up cudgels in the battle against bunk.

Cow urine, bleach and cocaine have all been recommended as COVID-19 cures — all guff. The pandemic has been cast as a leaked bioweapon, a byproduct of 5G wireless technology and a political hoax — all poppycock. And countless wellness gurus and alternative-medicine practitioners have pushed unproven potions, pills and practices as ways to ‘boost’ the immune system.

Thankfully, this explosion of misinformation — or, as the World Health Organization has called it, the “infodemic” — has triggered an army of fact-checkers and debunkers. Regulators have taken aggressive steps to hold marketers of unproven therapies to account. Funders are supporting researchers (myself included) to explore how best to counter the spread of COVID-19 claptrap.

I have studied the spread and impact of health misinformation for decades, and have never seen the topic being taken as seriously as it is right now. Perhaps that is because of the scale of the crisis and the ubiquity of the nonsensical misinformation, including advice from some very prominent politicians. If this pro-science response is to endure, all scientists — not just a few of us — must stand up for quality information.

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