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How Do You Publish the Work of a Scientific Villain? – WIRED (Megan Molteni | December 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 11, 2019
 

HOW DO YOU handle the data of a scientist who violates all the norms of his field? Who breaches the trust of a community that spans the entire globe? Who shows a casual disregard for the fate of the whole human species?

On the one hand, you might want to learn from such a person’s work; to have a full and open dissection of everything that went wrong. Because, spoiler, there was a lot that went wrong in the case in question. But rewarding such “abhorrent” behavior, as one scientist put it, with a publication—the currency of the scientific world—would send a message that ethical rules only exist to be broken.

This is the precarious situation in which we find ourselves today, as scientists hash out the next chapter of the human gene-editing scandal that erupted two weeks ago, when the Chinese scientist He Jiankui revealed that for the last two years he has been working in secret to produce the world’s first Crispr-edited babies. Scientists denounced the work with near-unanimous condemnation, citing its technical failures as well as its deep breaches of ethical (and possibly legal) lines. What’s much less certain is what should happen to the work, now that it’s been done.

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Plan U: Universal access to scientific and medical research via funder preprint mandates (Papers: Richard Sever, et al | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 10, 2019
 

Abstract
Preprint servers such as arXiv and bioRxiv represent a highly successful and relatively low cost mechanism for providing free access to research findings. By decoupling the dissemination of manuscripts from the much slower process of evaluation and certification by journals, preprints also significantly accelerate the pace of research itself by allowing other researchers to begin building on new results immediately. If all funding agencies were to mandate posting of preprints by grantees—an approach we term Plan U (for “universal”)—free access to the world’s scientific output for everyone would be achieved with minimal effort. Moreover, the existence of all articles as preprints would create a fertile environment for experimentation with new peer review and research evaluation initiatives, which would benefit from a reduced barrier to entry because hosting and archiving costs were already covered.

Sever, R., Eisen, M., Inglis, J. (2019) Plan U: Universal access to scientific and medical research via funder preprint mandates. PLoS Biology 17(6): e3000273. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000273
Publisher (Open Access): https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3000273

Reviewer-coerced citation: Case report, update on journal policy, and suggestions for future prevention (Papers: Jonathan D Wren, et al | January 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 8, 2019
 

A case was recently brought to the journal’s attention regarding a reviewer who had requested a large number of citations to their own papers as part of their review. After investigation of their most recent reviews, we found that in every review this reviewer requested an average of 35 citations be added, ∼90% of which were to their own papers and the remainder to papers that both cited them extensively and mentioned them by name in the title. The reviewer’s phrasing strongly suggested that inclusion of these citations would influence their recommendation to the editor to accept or reject the paper. The reviewer was unable to provide a satisfactory justification for these requests and Bioinformatics has therefore banned them as a reviewer. Our investigation also suggests that the reviewer has behaved similarly in reviewing for other journals. This case has alerted us to how the peer-review system is vulnerable to unethical behavior, and prompted us to clarify the journal’s policy on when it is appropriate for reviewers to request citations to their own work, and to suggest how some of the current weak points in the peer-review system can be mitigated, so that this behavior can be detected more quickly and efficiently.

Wren, J.D., Valencia, A. & Kelso, J. Reviewer-coerced citation: case report, update on journal policy and suggestions for future prevention, Bioinformatics, , btz071, https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btz071
Publisher (Open Access): https://academic.oup.com/bioinformatics/advance-article/doi/10.1093/bioinformatics/btz071/5304360

(Includes an update 07/06/2019) A report about Plan S’s potential effects on journals marks a busy week for the open-access movement – Science (Jeffrey Brainard | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 7, 2019
 

It’s been a busy week for the open-access movement, the effort to make all scientific journal articles immediately free to read. Making that change would require a major shift in most journals’ business models, from one that charges subscribers to read articles to one in which authors pay to publish. Among the developments:

  • Many journals aren’t prepared to meet the requirements of Plan S, the proposal largely by European funders to require grantees to publish articles that are immediately open access, a report from a science publishing analytics company says.
  • Springer Nature, one of the largest publishers of scientific journals, and the networking website ResearchGate began an experiment making some articles open access through authors’ profiles on the website.

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Radical open-access plan is delayed a year (07/06/2019)

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