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What if we could scan for image duplication the way we check for plagiarism? – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on November 28, 2018
 

Paul Brookes is a biologist with a passion for sleuthing out fraud. Although he studies mitochondria at the University of Rochester, he also secretly ran a science-fraud.org, a site for people to post their concerns about papers. Following legal threats, he revealed he was the author and shut the site in 2013 — but didn’t stop the fight. Recently, he’s co-authored a paper that’s slightly outside his day job: Partnering with computer scientist Daniel Acunaat Syracuse University and computational biologist Konrad Kording at the University of Pennsylvania, they developed a software to help detect duplicated images. If it works, it would provide a much needed service to the research community, which has been clamoring for some version of this for years. So how did this paper — also described by Nature News — come about?

Image manipulation is one of the more common reasons for forced retractions/research misconduct so such a tool would be welcome for institutions/publishers/peer reviewers.

Retraction Watch: Dr. Brookes, you study mitochondria. What brought you to co-author a paper about software to detect duplications?

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Paul Brookes: I had authored a paper on the relationship between levels of internet publicity (blogs etc.) and actions taken against problematic papers in the biosciences – retractions, corrections, etc.  As such, I was sitting on a large database (500+ papers) with documented image problems. Konrad and Daniel approached me by email, to request this set of examples, to act as a training set for their machine learning algorithm.
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New COPE guidelines on publication process manipulation: why they matter – BMC (Jigisha Patel | November 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on November 27, 2018
 

Abstract
Manipulation of the publication process is a relatively new form of misconduct affecting the publishing industry. This editorial describes what it is, why it is difficult for individual journal editors and publishers to handle and the background to the development of the new COPE guidelines on how to manage publication process manipulation.

These new guidelines represent an important first step towards encouraging openness and collaboration between publishers to address this phenomenon.

10 years ago, a retraction of an article was a rare thing. We know that the rate of journal retractions has been rising [1]. It has been argued that the increasing number of journals and the ‘pressure to publish’ have been the driving unethical practices such as data falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism [2]. There have been calls to address this by changing the way research success is measured, for example, by changing the way journal and article quality is measured and rewarded [3] in the hope that, by removing the pressure, unethical practices might decline.

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Constructive Voices: Panel discussion about institutional implementation of the Australian Code (2018)0

Posted by Admin in on November 13, 2018
 

On 8th November, AHRECS hosted its first Constructive Voices panel. These panels aim to create an opportunity for open discussion about human research ethics and research integrity among researchers, policymakers, research managers, research ethics reviewers and other stakeholders.

The first panel featured:

  • Jillian Barr, Director of Ethics and Governance at NHMRC
  • Kandy White, Director, Research Ethics and Integrity, Macquarie Uni
  • Gary Allen, Senior Consultant, AHRECS

We had close to 40 participants at peak and would like to believe that the session nudged the debate and activity forward across a range of institutions. The PowerPoints, recording and links to relevant documents will be freely available on the AHRECS website for 90 days at https://ahrecs.com/post-panel-room

Below is a recording of the panel discussion. It will here for 90 and afterwards, the materials will be archived on the Patreon site for AHRECS subscribers.

OTHER MATERIAL MENTIONED

Register for the National Statement Constructive Voices discussion panel event on 22 November
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The subscribers’ area – a subscription of USD15/month provides access to the growing library of professional development and other resources. It is also a great way to support events and services like this.

If you have any questions or comments about any of the above send an email to ConstructiveVoices@ahrecs.com.

 

The Rise of Peer Review: Melinda Baldwin on the History of Refereeing at Scientific Journals and Funding Bodies – Scholarly Kitchen (Robert Harington | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 17, 2018
 

I  was recently given the opportunity to read a fascinating paper by Melinda Baldwin, (Books Editor at Physics Today magazine, published by the American Institute of Physics), entitled “Scientific Autonomy, Public Accountability, and the Rise of “Peer Review” in the Cold War United States” (Isis, volume 109, number 3, September 2018). Melinda is an accomplished historian of science, with a special emphasis on the cultural and intellectual history of science and scientific communication. Not only is her writing infectiously entertaining, the story itself is new, or at least it is new to me. It turns out that peer reviewing in scientific journals is a relatively recent construct, first emerging in the nineteenth century and not seen as a central part of science until the late twentieth century.

A great piece reflecting on the history of peer review that nicely contextualises current frustrations and future directions. A worthy inclusion in ‘further reading’ lists when speaking about peer review.

Melinda paints a picture of constant change in peer review, which perhaps provides a lesson for us all. Maybe this should be obvious, but there is no status quo in academic publishing, and while we may feel our moment is more important than those that have gone before, or those ahead of us, expectations and models are fluid, be you author, reviewer, publisher, institution, or funder.
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In this interview I ask Melinda to talk about her article, and provide some more personal views on peer review topics of the moment.
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