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What’s next for Registered Reports? – Nature (Chris Chambers | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 19, 2019
 

Reviewing and accepting study plans before results are known can counter perverse incentives. Chris Chambers sets out three ways to improve the approach.

What part of a research study — hypotheses, methods, results, or discussion — should remain beyond a scientist’s control? The answer, of course, is the results: the part that matters most for publishing in prestigious journals and advancing careers. This paradox means that the careful scepticism required to avoid massaging data or skewing analysis is pitted against the drive to identify eye-catching outcomes. Unbiased, negative and complicated findings lose out to cherry-picked highlights that can bring prominent articles, grant funding, promotion and esteem.

The ‘results paradox’ is a chief cause of unreliable science. Negative, or null, results go unpublished, leading other researchers into unwittingly redundant studies. Ambiguous or otherwise ‘unattractive’ results are airbrushed (consciously or not) into publishable false positives, spurring follow-up research and theories that are bound to collapse.

Clearly, we need to change how we evaluate and publish research. For the past six years, I have championed Registered Reports (RRs), a type of research article that is radically different from conventional papers. The 30 or so journals that were early adopters have together published some 200 RRs, and more than 200 journals are now accepting submissions in this format (see ‘Rapid rise’). When it launched in 2017, Nature Human Behaviour became the first of the Nature journals to join this group. In July, it published its first two such reports1. With RRs on the rise, now is a good time to take stock of their potential and limitations

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Elsevier investigates hundreds of peer reviewers for manipulating citations – Nature (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 17, 2019
 

The publisher is scrutinizing researchers who might be inappropriately using the review process to promote their own work.

This week is peer review week, which is a good time to reflect on the professional development your institution provides on peer review.  Hopefully, it includes warning against reviewers directing reviewed authors to cite their work.  This case is a good example of why.

The Dutch publisher Elsevier is investigating hundreds of researchers whom it suspects of deliberately manipulating the peer-review process to boost their own citation numbers.
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The publisher is looking into the possibility that some peer reviewers are encouraging the authors of work under review to cite the reviewers’ own research in exchange for positive reviews — a frowned-on practice broadly termed coercive citation.
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Elsevier’s probe has also revealed that several of these reviewers seem to be engaging in other questionable publishing practices in studies that they have themselves authored. The Elsevier analysts who uncovered the activity told Nature that they “discovered clear evidence of peer-review manipulation” and of academics publishing the same studies more than once. Elsevier said that their investigations will lead to some of these studies being retracted.
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(Australian case) A publisher just retracted 22 articles. And the whistleblower is just getting started – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 15, 2019
 

SAGE Publishing is today retracting 22 articles by a materials science researcher who published in two of their journals — but the anonymous reader who brought the problems to their attention says the author’s duplication affects more than 100 articles.

This very recent Australian case could be a useful example to point to when talking about repeat publication.

Ali Nazari, now of Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, had five papers retracted earlier this year from an Elsevier journal. His total of now 27 retractions — the others from the International Journal of Damage Mechanics and the Journal of Composite Mechanics — came following emails in January of this year from an anonymous reader to several publishers raising concerns that Nazari had duplicated his work in more than 100 articles.
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Here’s the retraction notice for the 22 articles retracted by SAGE:
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In 2019 SAGE became aware of author misconduct concerning suspected redundant publication of 22 articles published in International Journal of Damage Mechanics and Journal of Composite Materials. SAGE and the journals’ Editors immediately launched an investigation and found that the following articles contain significant overlap with previously published articles by at least one of the authors listed on each of the articles below. Therefore, SAGE and the journals’ Editors have decided to retract the following articles for reasons of redundant publication.
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(China) A 10-year follow up of publishing ethics in China: what is new and what is unchanged (Papers: Katrina A. Bramstedt & Jun Xu | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 13, 2019
 

Abstract

Background
Organ donation and transplantation in China are ethically complex due to questionable informed consent and the use of prisoners as donors. Publishing works from China can be problematic. The objective of this study was to perform a 10-year follow up on Chinese journals active in donation and transplant publishing regarding the evolution of their publishing guidelines.

Methods
Eleven Chinese journals were analyzed for 7 properties: (1) ethics committee approval; (2) procedure consent; (3) publishing consent; (4) authorship criteria; (5) conflict of interest; (6) duplicate publication; and (7) data integrity. Results were compared with our 2008 study data. Additionally, open access status, impact factor, and MEDLINE-indexing were explored.

Results
Most journals heightened the ethical requirements for publishing, compared to the results of 2008. All 11 now require their published manuscripts to have data integrity. Ten of 11 require ethics committee approval and informed consent for the publication of research studies, whereas in the original study only 2 journals evidenced these requirements. Nine of 11 have criteria for authorship, require conflict of interest disclosure, and forbid duplicate publishing. None of the journals have a policy to exclude data that was obtained from unethical organ donation practices. Nine of 11 journals are MEDLINE-indexed but only 2 are open-access.

Conclusions
Most journals have improved their general ethical publishing requirements but none address unethical organ donation practices.

Keywords:
China; Informed consent; Organ donation; Publishing; Research ethics; Research integrity

Bramstedt, K. and Xu, J. (20019) (China) A 10-year follow up of publishing ethics in China: what is new and what is unchanged. Research Integrity and Peer Review 4(17) https://doi.org/10.1186/s41073-019-0077-3.
Publisher (Open Access): https://researchintegrityjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s41073-019-0077-3

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