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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Author withdraws entire issue after overseeing his own peer review – Retraction Watch (Shannon Palus | November 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on January 27, 2017

The editor and author of most of the papers in a special issue of a math journal told us he is withdrawing the entire issue following revelations that he had coordinated the peer-review process.

The articles, published online earlier this year, recently received an expression of concern after the journal realized the guest editor David Gao, at the Federation University Australia, had coordinated the peer-review process. This was a major no-no, since Gao was also an author of 11 of the 13 papers. Mathematics and Mechanics of Solids slated the articles to be peer reviewed again, by reviewers not chosen by Gao.

Gao told us what happened next, from his perspective — he changed his mind about publishing the papers in MMS:

Read the rest of this news story

Why articles are retracted: a retrospective cross-sectional study of retraction notices at BioMed Central (Papers: Elizabeth Moylan and Maria Kowalczuk | 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on January 23, 2017


Some really useful data on the nature of retractions

To assess why articles are retracted from BioMed Central journals, whether retraction notices adhered to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines, and are becoming more frequent as a proportion of published articles.
Retrospective cross-sectional analysis of 134 retractions from January 2000 to December 2015.
134 retraction notices were published during this timeframe. Although they account for 0.07% of all articles published (190 514 excluding supplements, corrections, retractions and commissioned content), the rate of retraction is rising. COPE guidelines on retraction were adhered to in that an explicit reason for each retraction was given. However, some notices did not document who retracted the article (eight articles, 6%) and others were unclear whether the underlying cause was honest error or misconduct (15 articles, 11%). The largest proportion of notices was issued by the authors (47 articles, 35%). The majority of retractions were due to some form of misconduct (102 articles, 76%), that is, compromised peer review (44 articles, 33%), plagiarism (22 articles, 16%) and data falsification/fabrication (10 articles, 7%). Honest error accounted for 17 retractions (13%) of which 10 articles (7%) were published in error. The median number of days from publication to retraction was 337.5 days.
The most common reason to retract was compromised peer review. However, the majority of these cases date to March 2015 and appear to be the result of a systematic attempt to manipulate peer review across several publishers. Retractions due to plagiarism account for the second largest category and may be reduced by screening manuscripts before publication although this is not guaranteed. Retractions due to problems with the data may be reduced by appropriate data sharing and deposition before publication. Adopting a checklist (linked to COPE guidelines) and templates for various classes of retraction notices would increase transparency of retraction notices in future.

Moylan EC and Kowalczuk MK (2016) Why articles are retracted: a retrospective cross-sectional study of retraction notices at BioMed Central. BMJ Open 6(11) doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012047
Publisher (Open Access):

Ranking major and minor research misbehaviors: results from a survey among participants of four World Conferences on Research Integrity (Papers: Lex M. Bouter, at al | 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on January 17, 2017


Codes of conduct mainly focus on research misconduct that takes the form of fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. However, at the aggregate level, lesser forms of research misbehavior may be more important due to their much higher prevalence. Little is known about what the most frequent research misbehaviors are and what their impact is if they occur.

A survey was conducted among 1353 attendees of international research integrity conferences. They were asked to score 60 research misbehaviors according to their views on and perceptions of the frequency of occurrence, preventability, impact on truth (validity), and impact on trust between scientists on 5-point scales. We expressed the aggregate level impact as the product of frequency scores and truth, trust and preventability scores, respectively. We ranked misbehaviors based on mean scores. Additionally, relevant demographic and professional background information was collected from participants.

Response was 17% of those who were sent the invitational email and 33% of those who opened it. The rankings suggest that selective reporting, selective citing, and flaws in quality assurance and mentoring are viewed as the major problems of modern research. The “deadly sins” of fabrication and falsification ranked highest on the impact on truth but low to moderate on aggregate level impact on truth, due to their low estimated frequency. Plagiarism is thought to be common but to have little impact on truth although it ranked high on aggregate level impact on trust.

We designed a comprehensive list of 60 major and minor research misbehaviors. Our respondents were much more concerned over sloppy science than about scientific fraud (FFP). In the fostering of responsible conduct of research, we recommend to develop interventions that actively discourage the high ranking misbehaviors from our study.


Research integrity, Responsible conduct of research, Questionable research practices, Sloppy science, Research misconduct Fabrication, Falsification, Plagiarism

Bouter LME, Tijdink J, Axelsen N, Martinson BC and Riet G (2016) Ranking major and minor research misbehaviors: results from a survey among participants of four World Conferences on Research Integrity. Research Integrity and Peer Review 1:17 DOI: 10.1186/s41073-016-0024-5
Publisher (Open Access):

Conceptualizing Fraudulent Studies as Viruses: New Models for Handling Retractions (Papers: Kathleen Montgomery & Amalya L. Oliver | 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on January 9, 2017


This paper addresses the growing problem of retractions in the scientific literature of publications that contain bad data (i.e., fabricated, falsified, or containing error), also called “false science.” While the problem is particularly acute in the biomedical literature because of the life-threatening implications when treatment recommendations and decisions are based on false science, it is relevant for any knowledge domain, including the social sciences, law, and education. Yet current practices for handling retractions are seen as inadequate. We use the metaphor of a virus to illustrate how such studies can spread and contaminate the knowledge system, when they continue to be treated as valid. We suggest drawing from public health models designed to prevent the spread of biological viruses and compare the strengths and weaknesses of the current governance model of professional self-regulation with a proposed public health governance model. The paper concludes by considering the value of adding a triple-helix model that brings industry into the university-state governance mechanisms and incorporates bibliometric capabilities needed for a holistic treatment of the retraction process.

Knowledge management, Governance, False science, Bad data, Infection, Contact reporting, Retraction, Triple helix

Montgomery K & Oliver AL (2016) Conceptualizing Fraudulent Studies as Viruses: New Models for Handling Retractions. Minerva. doi:10.1007/s11024-016-9311-z