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Dropping the Hammer – Predatory Publishers Get Pounded by Regulators and the Press – Scholarly Kitchen (July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 30, 2018

In an age where journalism is underfunded, underappreciated, and more important than ever, I’m here to applaud the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which deserves acclaim for coordinating coverage of predatory publishing across multiple countries:

. . . a group of more than a dozen media organizations including the New Yorker, Le Monde, the Indian Express and the Korean outlet Newstapa took part in the investigation.

This excellent Scholarly Kitchen piece reflects on the scale and seriousness of illegitimate (predatory) publishing, the commendable journalistic and regulatory response, and why academia might still emerge from it all with a bloody nose, diminished in the public eye.

In the same timeframe the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its motion for summary judgment regarding one of the most prominent predatory publishers, OMICS, an entity I’ve discussed here before(citing an article from nearly a year ago which confirms my assertion that Bloomberg BusinessWeek often breaks stories months before anyone else even laces up their shoes).
There’s a lot to read in the stories produced so far. The German coverage asserts that more than 5,000 German scientists have published in pseudo-scientific (i.e., predatory) journals. The “pay and publish” paradigm is heavily featured in the Indian Express coverage, which has two parts, as well as an interview with the founder and CEO of OMICS, Srinubabu Gedela, where he comes across as one part evasive (eliding simple questions with double-talk), one part ignorant (calling the First Amendment of the US Constitution “the US Freedom of Speech Act”), for a sum total of untrustworthy.

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(China) New policy aims to free scientists to focus on research, avoid jumping through hoops – ECNS.CN (Li Yan | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 29, 2018

Chinese scientific researchers are to be evaluated on the valuable contributions they make to their field rather than their number of published papers or academic credentials, according to a new policy issued by China’s top officials.

This move by China has the potential to fundamentally shift the unhelpful impact of current performance incentives for academics/scientists and remove the primary reason some researchers knowingly use illegitimate publishers. We’re very interested to learn more about this initiative and its implementation. We suspect it will give China a competitive/quality/research culture advantage over the rest of the world.

The new policy is considered by experts to be the first volley of China’s resistance to efforts by the U.S. to suppress its high-tech development.
The policy is aimed at stimulating innovation and vitality, and building a positive environment for scientists so they can better focus on their research and pursue excellence.
The policy was issued jointly by the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council.
It is the highest-profile policy ever issued about scientific research, He Defang, director of the policy division of the Ministry of Science and Technology, said during a press conference earlier this month.
The evaluation of researchers will mainly depend on the actual influence of their scientific achievements, while other factors such as the number of published research papers and educational achievements will serve as less important performance indicators, the policy said.


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A survey on data reproducibility and the effect of publication process on the ethical reporting of laboratory research (Papers: Delphine R Boulbes, et al | 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 24, 2018


Purpose: The successful translation of laboratory research into effective therapies is dependent upon the validity of peer-reviewed publications. However, several publications in recent years suggested that published scientific findings could only be reproduced 11-45% of the time. Multiple surveys attempted to elucidate the fundamental causes of data irreproducibility and underscored potential solutions; more robust experimental designs, better statistics, and better mentorship. However, no prior survey has addressed the role of the review and publication process on honest reporting. Experimental Design: We developed an anonymous online survey intended for trainees involved in bench research. The survey included questions related to mentoring/career development, research practice, integrity and transparency, and how the pressure to publish, and the publication process itself influence their reporting practices. Results: Responses to questions related to mentoring and training practices were largely positive, although an average of ~25% didn’t seem to receive optimal mentoring. 39.2% revealed having been pressured by a principle investigator or collaborator to produce “positive” data. 62.8% admitted that the pressure to publish influences the way they report data. The majority of respondents did not believe that extensive revisions significantly improved the manuscript while adding to the cost and time invested. Conclusions: This survey indicates that trainees believe that the pressure to publish impacts honest reporting, mostly emanating from our system of rewards and advancement. The publication process itself impacts faculty and trainees and appears to influence a shift in their ethics from honest reporting (“negative data”) to selective reporting, data falsification, or even fabrication.

Boulbes, D. R., et al. (2018). “A survey on data reproducibility and the effect of publication process on the ethical reporting of laboratory research.” Clinical Cancer Research.

Denialism on the Rocks: It Just Got a Lot Harder to Pretend that Predatory Publishing Doesn’t Matter – Scholarly Kitchen (Rick Anderson | August 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 23, 2018

If you don’t want *predatory publishing to tarnish the open access (OA) movement, you basically have two choices: an easy but ineffective one, and a difficult but more effective one.

The easy but ineffective strategy is to deny that predatory publishing is a real issue and try to stop people talking about it.

The difficult but (at least potentially) effective strategy is to do something about the problem of predatory publishing.

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