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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

The pros and cons of publishing peer reviews – Crosstalk (Deborah Sweet | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 4, 2018

At the ASAPBio/HHMI meeting on peer review in February, the topic of “open peer review” came up several times, and it’s been aired recently on social media as well. We’ve been mulling this subject at Cell Press for a while now too, and we’d like add our thoughts to the overall discussion.

This thought-provoking piece discusses open peer review (e.g. publishing reviews) and it raises some considerations that may not have occurred to you. One of the pros that isn’t discussed is that it would more readily expose illegitimate/predatory/vanity publishers.

Openness in peer review can take various forms, and some people at the ASAPBio/HHMI meeting argued strongly that all peer review should take place entirely in the open, with names attached, at all times. However, given the various legitimate concerns about requiring everyone to review non-anonymously, most people took a more pragmatic view by focusing on the idea of journals posting the reviews they obtain for published papers, retaining reviewer anonymity, in a way that some journals already do. This is the type of approach that we have also been discussing.
We can see arguments in favor of publishing reviews but also a number of caveats and questions that give us pause. Some of these points have already come up in other coverage about the meeting, posts about the overall topic, and even pilots, but for completeness we are including them here as well, as they have formed part of our discussion. Some are also fairly clear, while others are more hypothetical, but we think they all merit consideration and airing, along with broader points related to defining the underlying goal.

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If ResearchGate is Where Authors Connect and Collaborate … – Scholarly Kitchen (Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 3, 2018

When the readers of The Scholarly Kitchen last heard from me on the about ResearchGate, I suggested that ResearchGate might emerge unscathed, perhaps even strengthened, from attempts by publishers to tame it through take-down notices and lawsuits. Though the take-down notices continue and the litigation is still ongoing, the recent announcement of a negotiated agreement between ResearchGate and Springer Nature, as well as Cambridge University Press and Thieme, indicates that ResearchGate may be proving its staying power in this field.

This reflective piece discusses the wrangling, legal action and movement between ResearchGate and publishers. We have included links to seven related items.

Last October, talks between the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) and ResearchGate dissolved. Subsequently,the Coalition for Responsible Sharing (CRS) was created, which has pursued a strategy of take-down notices as well as continued discussions with ResearchGate. CRS includes Elsevier and the American Chemical Society (ACS), which are pursuing litigation against ResearchGate. Shortly thereafter, a very succinct press release appeared. In totality, it said:

ResearchGate and Springer Nature have been in serious discussions for some time about finding solutions to sharing scientific journal articles online, while at the same time protecting intellectual property rights. The companies are cautiously optimistic that a solution can be found, and we invite other publishers and societies to join the talks.

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Can soil science research dig itself out from a citation stacking scandal? – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 2, 2018

Last year, the soil science community was rocked by reports that an editor, Artemi Cerdà, was accused of citation stacking — asking authors to cite particular papers — boosting his profile, and that of journals where he worked. (Cerdà has denied the allegations.) The case had some major fallout: Cerdà resigned from two journals and the editorial board of Geoderma, additional editors resigned from their posts, and a university launched an investigation. In the midst of the mess, a group of early career scientists in the field released an open letter, urging the leaders of the community “to establish a clear road map as to how this crisis will be handled and which actions will be taken to avoid future misconducts.” Today, Jan Willem van Groenigen, Chair of the Editors in Chief of Geoderma, along with other editors at the journal, published a response to those letter-writers — including a list of the 13 papers that added 83 citations the journal has deemed “unwarranted.” The editorial includes a list of “actions we have taken to prevent citation stacking from recurring and to further strengthen the transparency of the review process” — including monitoring editors and showing authors how to report suspicious conduct.

A reviewer systematically required authors to include references to his articles and/or journals. Even though the decision has been to treat the authors as not culpable this might be an opportunity to observe they could have been treated as partly responsible and so institutions should provide advice/assistance to help ECRs respond appropriately to any such pressure. Having said that, the instructions of the reviewer appeared to have the support of the editors and you have to feel for the ECRs who found themselves subject to such apparent coercion.

Retraction Watch: It’s been nine months since the young researchers released their open letter — why respond now?.

Jan Willem van Groenigen: This is not our first response. We already responded early March 2017 to this case by online publishing a “letter to the Geoderma community” in which we stated that citation stacking had taken place in our journal. We also stated the number of affected articles and the approximate number of unwarranted citations, although we did not provide details on them like we do in our current editorial. We also announced that Prof. Cerda had withdrawn as member of our Editorial Board. I think that, after the [European Geosciences Union] journals who detected and published this misconduct first, we might have been the first journal to respond.

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Paper Accepted…Unless the Letter Was Forged – Scholarly Kitchen (Angela Cochran | April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 15, 2018

Predation. It’s discussed all the time. Predatory journals are scamming unsuspecting authors by promising quick publication, and low, low fees to a never-heard-of-before open access journal. Alternatively, it may be true that some authors are the ones taking advantage of low cost OA in order to push through shoddy work and get credit for it. Conferences are another headache. Researchers attend conferences to get their work published and to network. There is no shortage of conferences promising to do just that only for attendees to realize when they get there that all is not what was advertised. In fact, a new website with a familiar name is offering attendees help in identifying these conferences.

Another scam seems to be taking hold in certain parts of the world. Over the last 5 years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has become aware of seven fake acceptance letters for our journals. Here’s how this goes:

An author contacts us and says, “Thank you for accepting my paper. Your letter said that the paper would be in the December issue but I looked and it’s not there. Please inform me of the new publication date.”

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