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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Uncovering new peer review problems – this time at The BMJ – Health News Review (April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on May 11, 2018

A study published recently in The BMJ addressed a question with surefire media appeal: Does the political affiliation of doctors affect the quality of care that they provide to patients at the end of their lives?

The story was snapped up by news organizations ranging from US News and World Report to the UK Daily Mail. The study was also the subject of a USA Today op-ed by BMJ co-authors Druv Khullar, MD of Cornell University and Anupam Jena, MD, PhD of Harvard Medical School.

Their conclusion was a reassuring one: “Whatever a doctor’s political views, end-of-life care is the same.”

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On Retraction in Philosophy – Digression&Impressions (Eric Schliesser | September 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on April 20, 2018

Hypatia is published by Wiley and so falls under Wiley’s policy on retraction, which reads, in relevant part: “On occasion, it is necessary to retract articles. This may be due to major scientific error which would invalidate the conclusions of the article, or in cases of ethical issues, such as duplicate publication, plagiarism, inappropriate authorship, etc.” Wiley also subscribes to the Code of Publishing Ethics (COPE), which give further guidance on dealing with direct and social-media reports of problems with papers, including a requirement to contact the author and get a response from them, and an instruction to separate complaints that “contain specific and detailed evidence” from those which do not.

At least on the basis of what’s in the public domain, there seems to be no case at all for retraction…

2) If (1) is set aside and the open letter is interpreted as a list of problems meriting retraction, it seems pretty clear that it falls wildly short of Wiley’s retraction policy. There is no suggestion that there are any ethical problems with Professor Tuvel *in the sense meant by Wiley’s policy* : she does not fabricate data nor plagiarise; she conducts no formal research with subjects and so cannot have failed to get research permission; she has not published the article elsewhere. (Her alleged failure to “seek out and sufficiently engage with scholarly work by those who are most vulnerable to the intersection of racial and gender oppressions” would fall ridiculously short of counting as an ethical failing in this sense, even if the open letter provided specifics.)

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Career advice: how to peer review a paper – THE (Sophie Inge | February 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on April 15, 2018

Detail, clarity and a constructive approach: all these are key to a helpful review, writes Sophie Inge

Congratulations, you’ve been invited by the editors of a prestigious journal to submit a peer review.

Like any good academic, you’ve done your homework: you’ve read the journal’s guidelines for reviewers and understand – more or less – what’s expected of you.

Now comes the hard part. In your hands, you hold the result of months – sometimes years – of hard work. Whether you think the paper is riddled with errors or a work of genius, your response needs to be careful and appropriate.

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Make reviews public, says peer review expert – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | November 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on April 9, 2018

After more than 30 years working with scholarly journals, Irene Hameshas some thoughts on how to improve peer review. She even wrote a book about it. As the first recipient of the Publons Sentinel Award, Hames spoke to us about the most pressing issues she believes are facing the peer review system — and what should be done about them.

Retraction Watch: At a recent event held as part of this year’s Peer Review Week, you suggested that journals publish their reviews, along with the final paper. Why?

Irene Hames: I don’t think that saying something is ‘peer reviewed’ can any longer be considered a badge of quality or rigour. The quality of peer review varies enormously, ranging from excellent through poor/inadequate to non-existent. But if reviewers’ reports were routinely published alongside articles – ideally with the authors’ responses and editorial decision correspondence – this would provide not only information on the standards of peer review and editorial handling, but also insight into why the decision to publish has been made, the strengths and weaknesses of the work, whether readers should bear reservations in mind, and so on. As I’ve said before, I can’t understand why this can’t become the norm. I haven’t heard any reasons why it shouldn’t, and I’d love the Retraction Watch audience to make suggestions in the comments here. I’m not advocating that the reviewers’ names should appear – I think that’s a decision that should be left to journals and their communities.

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