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South Korea clamps down on academics attending ‘weak’ conferences – Nature (Mark Zastrow | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 7, 2019
 

A new policy will attempt to stop researchers travelling to meetings with little academic value.

South Korea’s education ministry wants to stop academics from participating in conferences that it considers “weak” and of little academic value. The ministry announced on 17 October that it will require all universities to adopt measures to vet academics’ travel to overseas conferences so as to “prevent researchers from engaging in poor academic activities”.

We applaud South Korea for this move.  We have seen reference to decidedly questionable events cropping up in the grant peer review processes we participate in. This adds further. to the work of panels and could seriously corrupt processes that are essential to good/safe practice and the prudent use of tax-payer monies.

The ministry’s order comes after a report that it released in May which found that 574 professors from 90 universities around the country had participated in conferences that it called “weak”.
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It is thought that some researchers knowingly elect to pay the fees to attend conferences of little value, or publish in low quality journals1 — some of which are considered ‘predatory’ — because they are a quick and easy way to add a publication or presentation to their CVs, or gain experience in presenting at international conferences.
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Changgu Lee, a materials scientist at Sungkyunkwan University in Suwon, welcomes the oversight from the education authority. “Those who have lots of research money and want to have a vacation in a nice place without being bothered by academic responsibility attend those conferences,” he says.

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Where Research Meets Profits – Inside Higher Ed (Colleen Flaherty | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 6, 2019
 

Recent allegations of copyright violations against a professor who shared his own work on his website spark debate about ownership and whether peer reviewers should be paid.

Like many academics, William Cunningham, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, shares his own articles — published and soon-to-be — on his website. And like most academics, he does so in the interest of science, not personal profit.

So Cunningham and hundreds of his colleagues were recently irked by a takedown notice he received from the American Psychological Association, telling him that the articles he had published through the organization and then posted on his website were in violation of copyright law. The notice triggered a chain of responses — including a warning from his website platform, WordPress, that multiple such violations put the future of his entire website at risk. And because the APA had previously issued similar takedown notices, the threat of losing his website seemed real to Cunningham.

In response, psychologists started a petition to the APA, saying that if it didn’t stop policing authors’ personal websites for the sharing of science, then it needed to pay peer reviewers $300 for each article review.

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(Australian case) A researcher with 30 retractions and counting: The whistleblower speaks – Retraction Watch (Artemisia Stricta | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 24, 2019
 

Retraction Watch readers who have been following our coverage of retractions by Ali Nazari may have noticed that an anonymous whistleblower was the person who flagged the issues for journals and publishers. That whistleblower uses the pseudonym Artemisia Stricta, and we’re pleased to present a guest post written by him or her.

Something is seriously out of place with the roughly 200 publications by Ali Nazari, a scientist at Swinburne University who studies structural materials. Some of these problems have been known by journals and publishers for years — some since 2012 — yet their response has been mixed. Some have retracted papers. Some have decided not to, so far. And others have been mum.

The issues are serious enough to call into question the reliability of Nazari’s entire body of work. During 2010-2012, around 30 of Nazari’s papers duplicated images from Li et al. 2004, reporting that the materials had been produced by his group. The images, whose scale, orientation, brightness and contrast has been changed from the originals, reportedly represented materials different from those in Li et al.

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Two-thirds of researchers report ‘pressure to cite’ in Nature poll – Nature (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 7, 2019
 

Readers say they have been asked to reference seemingly superfluous studies after peer review.

An online poll answered by more than 4,300 Nature readers suggests that most researchers have felt pressured by peer reviewers to cite studies in their papers that seem unnecessary.

Readers were asked, ‘Have you ever felt pressured by peer reviewers to cite seemingly superfluous studies in your work?’, to which 66% responded ‘yes’ and 34% said ‘no’ (see ‘Coercive citation?’).

The poll accompanied a news story last month, which revealed that the Dutch publisher Elsevier had found a small proportion of academics reviewing papers for its journals were exploiting the review process by asking authors to reference the reviewers’ own papers in exchange for a positive report.

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