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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Did the author of a now-retracted article bribe a critic to silence him?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The article has since been retracted by the Editor-in-Chief of Scientometrics, citing an investigation that uncovered “severe insufficiencies” including the use of sources and materials “without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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Scholarly communications shouldn’t just be open, but non-profit too – LSE Impact Blog (Jefferson Pooley | August 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 19, 2017

Much of the rhetoric around the future of scholarly communication hinges on the “open” label. In light of Elsevier’s recent acquisition of bepress and the announcement that, owing to high fees, an established mathematics journal’s editorial team will split from its publisher to start an open access alternative, Jefferson Pooley argues that the scholarly communication ecosystem should aim not only to be open but non-profit too. The profit motive is fundamentally misaligned with core values of academic life, potentially corroding ideals like unfettered inquiry, knowledge-sharing, and cooperative progress. There are obstacles to forging a non-profit alternative, from sustainable funding to entrenched cynicism, but such a goal is worthy and within reach.

Two big stories swept through scholarly publishing last week. Elsevier, the sprawling commercial publisher, bought bepress, the admired institutional-repository software maker. The acquisition distressed librarians and open access (OA) advocates around the world. bepress, nominally for-profit but in a mom-and-pop sense, had been swallowed whole by the ruthless profiteer that scholars love to boycott. Elsevier’s extortionate subscription pricing, its late-breaking OA opportunism, and its recent buying spree have left bepress customers – academic librarians, for the most part – feeling betrayed.

The second story cut the other way. Earlier in the week, the editors of the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics announced plans to jump ship from the journal’s owner, publishing giant SpringerNature, to start an open access alternative, Algebraic Combinatorics. The editors, joined by nearly all the editorial board, cited Springer’s practice of “double dipping” – high subscription fees and steep author charges to unlock single articles. Springer and other commercial publishers, the editors wrote in their press release announcing the move, are “profiting from the volunteer labour of the academic community, and adding little value”.

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Coming to Grips with Coauthor Responsibility – TheScientist (Catherine Offord | May 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 15, 2017

The scientific community struggles to define the duties of collaborators in assuring the integrity of published research.

When a research output is retracted there can be serious and long lasting impacts on coauthors, even if they weren’t aware of the wrongdoing. This raises the questions: do we need to consistently record the contributions of collaborators; do we need more information when a retraction occurs; and do we need more clarity about the responsibilities of coauthors? Thought provoking stuff.

When cancer researcher Ben Bonavida accepted a visiting graduate student from Japan into his lab at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) just over a decade ago, he treated Eriko Suzuki like every other student he had supervised for the past 30 years. “I met with her regularly,” Bonavida recalls. “We went over her data, she showed me all the Westerns, all the experiments.” After months spent working on the cancer therapeutic rituximab’s mechanism of action, “she presented her findings to me and the other collaborators in the lab, and based on that we published a paper in Oncogene.”

Appearing in 2007, the paper accrued nearly 40 citations over the next seven years. But in April 2014, the study gained a less favorable mention on PubPeer, a website where users anonymously discuss research articles, often raising possible causes for concern. One user noted that some of the Western blots used to support the paper’s conclusions looked suspicious. In particular, one figure appeared to contain a duplicated and slightly modified part of another image.

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Also see
The Retraction Watch online database

An interview with a COPE Co-Chair on Publication Ethics – Sage Connection (Mimi Nguyen | July 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 13, 2017

Connecting with the Community interview with Geraldine Pearson

While this item is more about COPE than publication ethics as a research integrity matter, we thought it useful to highlight the valuable work done by our friends at COPE.

Geraldine Pearson is an associate professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and the editor of the Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (JAPNA) (which we are proud to publish) and volunteers as the Co-Chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Established in 1997, COPE provides advice to editors and publishers on all aspects of publication ethics, including issues of research and publication misconduct. It also provides a forum for its members—about 10,000 worldwide—to discuss individual cases.
We recently interviewed Geraldine to learn more about her experience working with COPE and supporting ethical scientific publication. Read on for the full interview.

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