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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Pyne: Are universities complicit in predatory publishing? – Ottawa Citizen (Derek Pyne | April 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on June 11, 2017

As recent articles in the Ottawa Citizen make clear, a growing scourge in universities has been the growth of predatory journals. These journals claim to be peer reviewed but in reality allow authors to buy publication and thereby inflate their publication records. Authors can then use their publication records to apply for research awards, promotions and other benefits.

Some universities have policies against them. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that several Australian universities do not allow them to be used for promotion and even ask academics to identify them in publications reported on their annual reviews. Many higher quality universities may not even need formal policies: their researchers have good reputations that they do not want to damage with publications in predatory journals.

Despite this, publications in predatory journals have been growing. Cenyu Shen and Bo-Christer Bjork, researchers at the Hanken School of Economics, estimate that in 2014, a staggering 420,000 papers were published in predatory journals and all indications are that the number is still growing. This implies the existence of some universities were predatory publications are relatively common. Common enough, that one suspects that universities are aware that their faculty are publishing in predatory journals but are turning a blind eye to it.

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A retraction gets retracted — but the first author’s contract is still terminated – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | June 20170

Posted by Admin in on June 11, 2017

One of the lessons from the unfortunate case? In your research outputs be careful how you describe the ethical clearance status of your work. Another lesson? When it comes to media reports of alleged research misconduct it pays to read between the lines.

After issuing a retraction notice May 30 for a biomedical engineering paper, the journal has since pulled the notice, citing “a potential problem.”
After doing some digging, we’ve learned more about the “potential problem.”
Apparently, the retraction was requested by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. NTU has been investigating the first author for months, after it received an allegation about an unrelated manuscript. As a result, NTU terminated first author Hamidreza Namazi‘s contract as a research fellow earlier this year.


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For problematic papers, don’t retract or correct, say publishing experts: Amend – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | April 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on June 9, 2017

A group of publishing experts have proposed a somewhat radical idea: Instead of retracting papers, or issuing corrections that address problems, authors should amend published articles. Here’s how it would work – any post-publication changes would be added as amendments labeled “insubstantial,” “substantial,” or “complete” (equivalent to a retraction). Is this a better way? We spoke with authors of a preprint in BioRxiv — Virginia Barbour, chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE); Theodora Bloom, executive editor of The BMJ; Jennifer Lin, director of product management at Crossref; and Elizabeth Moylan, senior editor of research integrity at BioMed Central.

Retraction Watch: Why do you think it’s a good idea to amend articles, rather than issue formal retractions or corrections?

Authors: We think there are two main issues that mean the current types of correction and retraction don’t serve the scientific community well.

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Why do researchers commit misconduct? A new preprint offers some clues – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | April 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on June 7, 2017

“Why Do Scientists Fabricate And Falsify Data?” That’s the start of the title of a new preprint posted on bioRxiv this week by researchers whose names Retraction Watch readers will likely find familiar. Daniele Fanelli, Rodrigo Costas, Ferric Fang (a member of the board of directors of our parent non-profit organization), Arturo Casadevall, and Elisabeth Bik have all studied misconduct, retractions, and bias. In the new preprint, they used a set of papers from PLOS ONE shown in earlier research to have included manipulated images to test what factors were linked to such misconduct. The results confirmed some earlier work, but also provided some evidence contradicting previous findings. We spoke to Fanelli by email.

Retraction Watch (RW): This paper builds on a previous study by three of your co-authors, on the rate of inappropriate image manipulation in the literature. Can you explain how it took advantage of those findings, and why that was an important data set?

Daniele Fanelli (DF): The data set in question is unique in offering a virtually unbiased proxy of the rate of scientific misconduct. Most data that we have about misconduct comes either from anonymous surveys or from retracted publications. Both of these sources have important limitations. Surveys are by definition reports of what people think or admit to have done, and usually come from a self-selected group of voluntary respondents. Retractions result from complex sociological processes and therefore their occurrence is determined by multiple uncontrollable factors, such as the policies of retracting journals, the policies of the country in which authors are working, the level of scrutiny that a journal or a field is subject to, the willingness of research institutions to cooperate in investigations, etc.

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