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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Establishing Rules for Ethicists and Ethics Organizations in Academic Publishing to Avoid Conflicts of Interest, Favoritism, Cronyism and Nepotism (Papers: Dr. János Tóth, et al | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 19, 2019
 

Abstract: A proliferation of publication venues, scholarly journals, use of social media to disseminate knowledge and research results, scientific information, increased international scientific collaboration, a move towards open knowledge and data sharing, recent scandals such as journal editors’ coercive citations, fake peer review, peer review rings, data fabrication, research spin, and retraction of articles, several of the latter within the emergence of a post publication peer review movement, are some of the many reasons why publishing ethics are constantly evolving. These challenges have led to the birth of an increasing number of guidelines and recommendations being issued by multiple organizations and committees around the world in light of the recognized need to salvage peer review, and in an attempt to restore eroding trust in science, scientists and their publications. The principal objective of these guidelines and recommendations is supposedly to provide guidance for editors, reviewers and authors to conduct honest and ethical research and publishing practices, including responsible authorship and editorship, conflict of interest management, maintaining the confidentiality of peer review, and other ethical issues that arise in conducting and reporting research. Despite the fact that scholarly publishing is an international enterprise with global impact, current guidelines and recommendations appear to fall very short on imposing any obligations on their parent members, i.e., committee members who issue guidelines and recommend solutions for ethical dilemmas especially when such organizations are dependent on commercial publishers who may be paying members. Obviously, financial incentives indicate that ethical organizations or ethicists are not in a power position compared to editors or publishers. Imbalanced guidelines risk that hidden conflicts of interest, cronyism, or nepotism may corrupt the decision-making process or the ethical hierarchy that has been put into place to safe-guard research and publishing ethics. Therefore, the ethics gate-keepers to the integrity of scholarly publishing should also be carefully scrutinized, and strict ethical guidelines have to be imposed on them as equally as their rules are imposed on global academia to avoid the risk of further corrupting the scientific process as a result of the absence of strong exterior regulation or oversight. This theoretical paper highlights signs of favoritism and cronyism in ethics. It also offers proposals for rules (limitations and consequences) to avoid them in science publishing. Our guidelines should be used by academics in the position of authors or editors who may sense, perceive or detect abuses of power among ethicists.

Keywords: organization ethics; ethical dilemmas; corruption; conflict of interest

Teixeira da Silva, J. A., Katavić, V., Dobránszki, J., Al-Khatib, A. and Bornemann-Cimenti, Hel (2019) Establishing Rules for Ethicists and Ethics Organizations in Academic Publishing to Avoid Conflicts of Interest, Favoritism, Cronyism and Nepotism. KOME: An International Journal of Pure Communication Inquiry. ISSN 2063-7330
Publisher (Open Access): http://komejournal.com/files/KOME_MS_rulesethicists.pdf
ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333311739_Establishing_Rules_for_Ethicists_and_Ethics…

Reviewer-coerced citation: Case report, update on journal policy, and suggestions for future prevention (Papers: Jonathan D Wren, et al | January 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 8, 2019
 

A case was recently brought to the journal’s attention regarding a reviewer who had requested a large number of citations to their own papers as part of their review. After investigation of their most recent reviews, we found that in every review this reviewer requested an average of 35 citations be added, ∼90% of which were to their own papers and the remainder to papers that both cited them extensively and mentioned them by name in the title. The reviewer’s phrasing strongly suggested that inclusion of these citations would influence their recommendation to the editor to accept or reject the paper. The reviewer was unable to provide a satisfactory justification for these requests and Bioinformatics has therefore banned them as a reviewer. Our investigation also suggests that the reviewer has behaved similarly in reviewing for other journals. This case has alerted us to how the peer-review system is vulnerable to unethical behavior, and prompted us to clarify the journal’s policy on when it is appropriate for reviewers to request citations to their own work, and to suggest how some of the current weak points in the peer-review system can be mitigated, so that this behavior can be detected more quickly and efficiently.

Wren, J.D., Valencia, A. & Kelso, J. Reviewer-coerced citation: case report, update on journal policy and suggestions for future prevention, Bioinformatics, , btz071, https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btz071
Publisher (Open Access): https://academic.oup.com/bioinformatics/advance-article/doi/10.1093/bioinformatics/btz071/5304360

Chem journal yanks paper because authors had stolen it as peer reviewers – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 5, 2019
 

The UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry has retracted a 2017 paper in one of its journals after learning that the authors stole the article from other researchers during peer review.

The offending article, “Typical and interstratified arrangements in Zn/Al layered double hydroxides: an experimental and theoretical approach,” appeared in CrystalEngComm, and was written by Priyadarshi Roy Chowdhury and Krishna G. Bhattacharyya, of Gauhati University in Jalukbari.

Well, that’s not really true, is it? The retraction notice lays out the transgression in detail:

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Ask The Chefs: AI and Scholarly Communications – Scholarly Kitchen (Ann Michael | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 19, 2019
 

No one will dispute that AI (Artificial Intelligence) needs to “eat” data, preferably in massive quantities, to develop. The better the data quality, the better the result. When thinking about the potential applications of AI in scholarly communications as related to research artifacts, how will that work? How might AI be trained on high quality, vetted information? How are the benefits and costs distributed?

The ‘chefs’ at Scholarly Kitchen reflect on the role artificial intelligence could play in scholarly communications.  #SpoilerAlert, two things we need first are good and reliable data and steps to ensure deep biases in the current academic processes aren’t enshrined (and made invisible) in the inscrutable black box of code. We have included some links to a collection of related items.

This month we asked the Chefs: Where does scholarly communication and academic outputs fit in to the world of AI development?
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Judy Luther: In scholarly communications there is an expanding body of openly available content from preprint servers, such as arXiv and bioRxiv, and Open Access journals and books. In addition, there is a growing variety of formats that include datasets and code, open peer review, media, and other elements of the scholarly research cycle. This volume of content provides a rich resource to be mined for all stakeholders as well as a broader audience.
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