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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

There is no black and white definition of predatory publishing – London School of Economics (Kyle Siler | May 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 20, 2020

The nature and extent of predatory publishing is highly contested. Whilst debates have often focused defining journals and publishers as either predatory or not predatory. Kyle Siler argues that predatory publishing encompasses a spectrum of activities and that by understanding this ambiguity, we can better understand and make value judgements over where legitimacy lies in scholarly communication.

We have become accustomed to approaching the problem of questionable publishers as a binary situation.  A publisher is either questionable, or it isn’t.  This London School of Economics blog post suggests it really is placing a publisher on a continuum between these poles.

Predatory publishing has emerged as a professional problem for academics and their institutions, as well as a broader societal concern. As these journals have proliferated, they have brought to the fore a debate over what constitutes legitimate science, which has been centred on attempts to define and demarcate predatory from non-predatory publications. However, given the complexity of academic publishing – and what constitutes legitimacy – establishing a concrete definition has proved challenging. There is considerable diversity in the types, combinations and degrees of illegitimacy in questionable academic journals, which ultimately raises the question: is it possible to define predatory publishing in such a binary way?

Predatory publishing bug or feature?
A key feature of many open access business models is the Article Processing Charge (APC). Whereby, publishers instead of receiving flat subscription fees, are remunerated for each published article. This provides a ‘predatory’ incentive for less scrupulous publishers to publish articles quickly and without appropriate quality control, as, after all, rejected articles consume publisher resources but yield no revenue.

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Kinder publishing practices should become the new normal – Times Higher Education (Phil Emmerson | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 12, 2020

Varying personal circumstances highlight the need for accommodations that outlive the coronavirus, says Phil Emmerson

The impact on teaching of the forced closure of university campuses around the world has understandably dominated institutional and
press attention, with lecturers scrambling to learn new technologies and pedagogies so that disruption is minimised.

But the implications of the coronavirus-related shutdown on research is also huge. Limited or no access to labs and research participants
combined with the need to share home workspaces with other family members present considerable challenges to productivity.

Moreover, many academics are overwhelmed by worry. Some have family members who are unwell, or are unwell themselves. Some have had to take over the primary care of loved ones. Many are also having to home-school their children. These caring roles mostly fall to women.

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Digital magic, or the dark arts of the 21st century – how can journals and peer reviewers detect manuscripts and publications from paper mills? (Papers: Jennifer A. Byrne & Jana Christopher | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 19, 2020

In recent years, it has been proposed that unrealistic requirements for academics and medical doctors to publish in scientific journals, combined with monetary publication rewards, have led to forms of contract cheating offered by organizations known as paper mills. Paper mills are alleged to offer products ranging from research data through to ghostwritten fraudulent or fabricated manuscripts and submission services. While paper mill operations remain poorly understood, it seems likely that paper mills need to balance product quantity and quality, such that they produce or contribute to large numbers of manuscripts that will be accepted for publication. Producing manuscripts at scale may be facilitated by the use of manuscript templates, which could give rise to shared features such as textual and organizational similarities, the description of highly generic study hypotheses and experimental approaches, digital images that show evidence of manipulation and/or reuse, and/or errors affecting verifiable experimental reagents. Based on these features, we propose practical steps that editors, journal staff, and peer reviewers can take to recognize and respond to research manuscripts and publications that may have been produced with undeclared assistance from paper mills.

Byrne, J.A. and Christopher, J. (2020), Digital magic, or the dark arts of the 21st century—how can journals and peer reviewers detect manuscripts and publications from paper mills?. FEBS Lett, 594: 583-589. doi:10.1002/1873-3468.13747
Publisher (Open Access):

(US) Highly cited researcher banned from journal board for citation abuse – Nature (Richard Van Noorden | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 19, 2020

Investigation finds that biophysicist Kuo-Chen Chou repeatedly suggested dozens of citations be added to papers

A US-based biophysicist who is one of the world’s most highly cited researchers has been removed from the editorial board of one journal and barred as a reviewer for another, after repeatedly manipulating the peer-review process to amass citations to his own work.

On 29 January, three editors at the Journal of Theoretical Biology (JTB) announced in an editorial that the journal had investigated and barred an unnamed editor from the board for “scientific misconduct of the highest order”.

The journal’s publisher, Elsevier, confirmed to Nature that the barred editor is Kuo-Chen Chou, who founded and runs an organization that he calls the Gordon Life Science Institute, in Boston, Massachusetts. According to the editorial, Chou asked authors of dozens of papers he was editing to cite a long list of his publications — sometimes more than 50 — and suggested that they change the titles of their papers to mention an algorithm he had developed.

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