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Did the author of a now-retracted article bribe a critic to silence him? – Retraction Watch (Megan Scudellari | September 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 21, 2017
 

Authors react in a variety of ways to criticism of their work. Some stonewall, some grit their teeth but make corrections, and others thank their critics. But what about bribery?

After an economist alerted a journal and government agency to potential problems with a 2015 paper, he says the first author tried to bribe him to withdraw his accusations.

The article has since been retracted by the Editor-in-Chief of Scientometrics, citing an investigation that uncovered “severe insufficiencies” including the use of sources and materials “without attribution.”

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What should journals do when peer reviewers do not disclose potential conflicts? – Retraction Watch (Victoria Stern | August 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 18, 2017
 

Peer reviewers, like authors, are supposed to declare any potential conflicts of interest. But what happens when they don’t?

While principally speaking to journal editors the points could be seen as essential prompts for would-be peer reviewers to consider.

Take this case: In a court transcript from Feb. 23, 2017, Bryan Hardin testified that he was a peer reviewer on a 2016 paper in Critical Reviews in Toxicology, which found that asbestos does not increase the risk of cancer. In the deposition, Hardin—who works at the consulting firm Veritox—also said that he has testified in asbestos litigation on behalf of automakers, such as Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler, but said he had not disclosed these relationships to the journal.
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Last year, the first author of the 2016 review withdrew a paper from another journal (by the same publisher) which concluded asbestos roofing products are safe, following several criticisms — including not disclosing the approving editor’s ties to the asbestos industry. In this latest case, the journal told us it believes the review process for the paper was up to snuff, but two outside experts we consulted said they believed Hardin’s relationships — and failure to disclose them — should give the journal pause.
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20 years of retractions in China: More of them, and more misconduct – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | September 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 14, 2017
 

After reviewing nearly 20 years of retractions from researchers based in China, researchers came up with some somewhat unsurprising (yet still disheartening) findings: The number of retractions has increased (from zero in 1997 to more than 150 in 2016), and approximately 75% were due to some kind of misconduct. (You can read more details in the paper, published this month in Science and Engineering Ethics.) We spoke with first author Lei Lei, based in the School of Foreign Languages at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, about what he thinks can be done to improve research integrity in his country.

Retraction Watch: With “Lack of Improvement” right in the title (“Lack of Improvement in Scientific Integrity: An Analysis of WoS Retractions by Chinese Researchers (1997-2016)”), you sound disappointed with your findings.  What findings did you expect — or at least hope — to find, and what are your reactions to the results you did uncover?

Lei Lei: Before we began to work on the project, we had occasionally heard of news reports on the retraction of articles by Chinese researchers. It seemed that the issue occurred more often than before.  Since my team has been working on several projects with bibliometric methods, I thought we could investigate this issue with the methods. Thus, the results we found from the study provided scientific evidence to our hypothesis, though I was disappointed, as you mentioned, with the findings.

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Who is Actually Harmed by Predatory Publishers? (Papers: Martin Paul Eve and Ernesto Priego | 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 9, 2017
 

Abstract: ‘Predatory publishing’ refers to conditions under which gold open access academic publishers claim to conduct peer review and charge for their publishing services but do not, in fact, actually perform such reviews. Most prominently exposed in recent years by Jeffrey Beall, the phenomenon garners much media attention. In this article, we acknowledge that such practices are deceptive but then examine, across a variety of stakeholder groups, what the harm is from such actions to each group of actors. We find that established publishers have a strong motivation to hype claims of predation as damaging to the scholarly and scientific endeavour while noting that, in fact, systems of peer review are themselves already acknowledged as deeply flawed.

Keywords: Open Access, Scholarly Communications, Predatory Publishing, Evaluative Cultures, Academia

Eve PM & Priego E (2017) Who is Actually Harmed by Predatory Publishers? Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society. 15(2)
Publisher (Open access): http://www.triple-c.at/index.php/tripleC/article/view/867/1042

This thought-provoking open access paper explores an important question that is often not carefully considered: Who is actually harmed by predatory publishers? The answer to that question then inevitably prompts a reflection on why those harms occur and perhaps provides a frame for discussions about publication ethics with HDR candidates and other early career researchers. See the August 2017 post in the Research Ethics Monthly blog by Israel and Allen (https://ahrecs.com/research-integrity/world-hijacked-clone-zombie-publishing-shouldnt-publish) about identifying where not to publish.

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