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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Figure errors, sloppy science, and fraud: keeping eyes on your data (Papers: Corinne L. Williams, et al | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 30, 2019

Recent reports suggest that there has been an increase in the number of retractions and corrections of published articles due to post-publication detection of problematic data. Moreover, fraudulent data and sloppy science have long-term effects on the scientific literature and subsequent projects based on false and unreproducible claims. At the JCI, we have introduced several data screening checks for manuscripts prior to acceptance in an attempt to reduce the number of post-publication corrections and retractions, with the ultimate goal of increasing confidence in the papers we publish.

Citation Information: J Clin Invest. 2019.
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We need to talk about systematic fraud – Nature (Jennifer Byrne | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 28, 2019

Software that uncovers suspicious papers will do little for a community that does not confront organized research fraud, says Jennifer Byrne.

From where I work at the University of Sydney, you cannot see the ocean. However, in Australia, the ocean is part of our national consciousness. This is perhaps why I think of the research literature as an ocean, linking researchers in disparate yet ultimately connected fields. Just as there is growing alarm about our rising, polluted oceans, scientists are increasingly talking about the swelling research literature and its contamination by incorrect research results.

It makes sense for institutional professional development and resource material to discuss good faith errors, mistakes and small missteps. Such problems do occur, they can be costly for researchers and are easily avoided.  Ironically talking to early career researchers, higher degree candidates and more experienced researchers about fraud can distract from the message that mistakes can harm careers. Such fraud is rare, but it does occur. So, Jennifer’s point is an important one. We also need mechanisms that detect and act upon systemic fraud.

Most of the talk centres on unconscious bias and ill-informed sloppiness; conversations about intentional deception are more difficult. Unlike most faulty research practices, fraud actively evades detection. It is also overlooked because the scientific community has been unwilling to have frank and open discussions about it.

In 2015, I discovered several papers had been written about a gene that I and my colleagues first reported in 1998. All were by different authors based in China, but contained shared and strange irregularities. They also used highly similar language and figures. I think the papers came from third parties working for profit, fuelled by the pressure on authors to meet unrealistic publication expectations. (Such operations have been identified by investigative journalists.) I also think that, with most of the protein-coding and non-protein-coding genes in the human genome currently understudied, such third parties are targeting less-well-known human genes to produce low-value and possibly fraudulent papers.

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Singapore legal challenge ‘will chill academic freedom’ – Times Higher Education (Ellie Bothwell | January 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 27, 2019

Academics issue warning after news story including critical comments about country’s top universities is removed

Academics fear that the removal of an online article that included critical comments about the country’s two leading universities following a legal challenge will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

The story, “Opaque policies, xation with KPIs, rankings: why arts and humanities academics quit NUS, NTU”, which was published by the online newspaper Today, included interviews with several academics who had left or were planning to leave the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

According to the article, scholars claimed that the universities failed to retain talented academics because of their “incessant pursuit of rankings and the relative lack of academic freedom when it comes to certain projects or research initiatives”.

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The Pernicious Effects of Compression Plagiarism on Scholarly Argumentation (Papers: M. V. Dougherty | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 26, 2019

Despite an increased recognition that plagiarism in published research can take many forms, current typologies of plagiarism are far from complete. One under-recognized variety of plagiarism—designated here as compression plagiarism—consists of the distillation of a lengthy scholarly text into a short one, followed by the publication of the short one under a new name with inadequate credit to the original author. In typical cases, compression plagiarism is invisible to unsuspecting readers and immune to anti-plagiarism software. The persistence of uncorrected instances of plagiarism in all its forms—including compression plagiarism—in the body of published research literature has deleterious consequences for the reliability of scholarly communication. Not the least of these problems is that original authors are denied credit for their discoveries. When unsuspecting researchers read articles that are the products of plagiarism, they unwittingly engage the arguments of hidden original authors through the proxy of plagiarists. Furthermore, when these researchers later publish responses to the plagiarizing articles, not knowing they are engaging products of plagiarism, they create additional inefficiencies and redundancies in the body of published research. This article analyzes a suspected instance of compression plagiarism that appeared within the pages of this journal and considers the particular ways in which plagiarism of this variety weakens the quality of scholarly argumentation, with special attention paid to the field of philosophy.

Compression plagiarism Authorship Research misconduct Retractions Argumentation Scholarly communication 

Dougherty, M.V. (2019) The Pernicious Effects of Compression Plagiarism on Scholarly Argumentation. Argumentation.