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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

What Merits Correction? – The Grumpy Geophysicist (August 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 30, 2017

The topics are important for HDR candidates and other early career researchers. Better handling of good faith errors,disputes and allegations can help avoid the pain of formal inquiries.

A rather interesting comment chain on the website of a social scientist got GG thinking about corrections. (The blog post and comments deal with how to address published mistakes, with comments ranging from “never contact the authors” to “of course you contact the authors”). If fact, GG has gotten into lukewarm water with a couple of folks for pointing out things in their published papers in this blog. Anyways, what merits a correction? And what merits making a stink when there is no correction?

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Fraud Scandals Sap China’s Dream of Becoming a Science Superpower – The New York Times (Amy Qin | October 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 28, 2017

BEIJING — Having conquered world markets and challenged American political and military leadership, China has set its sights on becoming a global powerhouse in a different field: scientific research. It now has more laboratory scientists than any other country, outspends the entire European Union on research and development, and produces more scientific articles than any other nation except the United States.

When thinking about research misconduct in China it’s important to remember the immense size of their research base and how quickly it has grown. Significant sanction and penalty efforts are underway (see the second linked story) but focusing on the culture of research practice would be better.

But in its rush to dominance, China has stood out in another, less boastful way. Since 2012, the country has retracted more scientific papers because of faked peer reviews than all other countries and territories put together, according to Retraction Watch, a blog that tracks and seeks to publicize retractions of research papers.

Now, a recent string of high-profile scandals over questionable or discredited research has driven home the point in China that to become a scientific superpower, it must first overcome a festering problem of systemic fraud.

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Also see China’s High Court issue a warning to Life Science companies

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.

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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