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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Retraction Watch: We’re officially launching our database today. Here’s what you need to know.0

Posted by Admin in on October 27, 2018
 

Readers, this is a big day for us.

We’re officially launching the Retraction Watch Database of more than 18,000 retractions, along with a six-page package of stories and infographics based on it that we developed with our partners at Science Magazine. In that package, you’ll learn about trends — some surprising, some perhaps not — and other tidbits such as which countries have the highest retraction rates. Thanks as always to our partners at Science, particularly Jeffrey Brainard and Jia You, who crunched the numbers and developed the package.

We think this is wonderful news because the database will be of great assistance to researchers of all experience levels. We know collaborating with someone with a previous retraction can be costly and citing a retracted paper is unwise, but finding reliable information hasn’t always been easy. We recommend this service for inclusion in your research integrity resources and professional development material.  Full disclosure: AHRECS proudly sponsor Retraction Watch

As readers no doubt know, we’ve been working on the database for some years. Some have asked us why it has taken so long — can’t we just pull retractions from existing databases like PubMed, or publishers’ sites? The answer is resoundingly no. All of those databases are missing retractions, whether by design or because notices aren’t transmitted well. That’s why we found more than 18,000, far more than you’ll find elsewhere. And we also went through each one and assigned it a reason, based on a detailed taxonomy we developed over eight years of reporting on retractions.
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Now that you know how much work the database is, please consider thanking Alison Abritis, our researcher, who has done the lion’s share of the work on this project. She had some help — see below — but without Alison’s expertise and painstaking efforts, we wouldn’t have a database. And true to form, Alison has created an exhaustive user’s guide that we would strongly urge you to review if you’re planning to use the database for anything other than simple searches.
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Read the rest of this notice
Access the database

The “problem” of predatory publishing remains a relatively small one and should not be allowed to defame open access – LSE Impact Blog (Tom Olijhoek and Jon Tennant | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 15, 2018
 

A recent investigation led by an international group of journalists raised concerns over the scale of the problem of deceptive publishing practices, with many researchers of standing and reputation found to have published in “predatory” journals. However, while the findings of this investigation garnered significant media attention, the robustness of the study itself was not subject to the same scrutiny. To Tom Olijhoek and Jon Tennant, the profile afforded to investigations of this type causes some to overstate the problem of predatory publishing, while often discrediting open access publishing at the same time. The real problem here is one of education around questionable journals, and should not distract from more urgent questions around the shifting scholarly ecosystem.

Writing about the scale of questionable publishing Tom Olijhoekand Jon Tennant suggest the relative scale of the problem isn’t as bad as some science reporters suggest, but that doesn’t mean it’s not having an impact that is concerning. We agree. There are plenty of open access publishers which have high editorial standards and there are some large and supposedly reputable publishers that sometimes feel like they are running an expensive protection racket.

Full disclosure: Tom Olijhoek is Editor-in-Chief of DOAJ and Jon Tennant is the founder of the Open Science MOOC.
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Imagine you want to investigate the quality of restaurants. You know beforehand there are bad restaurants. So you set up your investigation by going to a number of bad restaurants of bad reputation. What do you find? You find that a number of restaurants are really bad, an inevitable conclusion. You even find that people of standing and reputation have visited these restaurants on occasion.
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Would the conclusion here be that all restaurants are bad? Several investigations of this kind have looked into the problem of “predatory” or “questionable” publishers, the most famous being the heavily criticised and deeply flawed “sting operation” by John Bohannon in Science magazine. In science speak, this is called doing an experiment without an appropriate control group, usually sufficient for research to be desk rejected for being fundamentally flawed.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

(US) Mount Sinai multiple sclerosis researcher admits to misconduct – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 14, 2018
 

A researcher who has received millions in funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and who runs a lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York has confessed to falsifying data in a 2014 paper.

Gareth John, who studies multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases, “has expressed remorse for his actions,” according to a report released last week from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity.

John falsified data in two different figures in a 2014 paper in Development, “Combinatorial actions of Tgfβ and Activin ligands promote oligodendrocyte development and CNS myelination,” according to the report. In one figure, a Western blot, he “removed the lower set of bands, reordered the remaining bands and used those bands to represent the actin control,” among other falsifications, and in another, he cut and pasted bands “onto a blank background and used those false bands to create a graph.”

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Text recycling: acceptable or misconduct? (Papers: Stephanie Harriman and Jigisha Patel | 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on October 10, 2018
 

Abstract
Text recycling, also referred to as self-plagiarism, is the reproduction of an author’s own text from a previous publication in a new publication. Opinions on the acceptability of this practice vary, with some viewing it as acceptable and efficient, and others as misleading and unacceptable. In light of the lack of consensus, journal editors often have difficulty deciding how to act upon the discovery of text recycling. In response to these difficulties, we have created a set of guidelines for journal editors on how to deal with text recycling. In this editorial, we discuss some of the challenges of developing these guidelines, and how authors can avoid undisclosed text recycling.

The guidelines can be found here: http://media.biomedcentral.com/content/editorial/BMC-text-recycling-editorial_guidelines.pdf

Keywords: Text recycling, Self-plagiarism, Publication ethics, Transparency, Guidelines

Harriman, S., & Patel, J. (2014). Text recycling: acceptable or misconduct? BMC Medicine, 12, 148. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-014-0148-8
Publisher (Open Access): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4243367/

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