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Nightmare scenario: Text stolen from manuscript during review – Retraction Watch (Victoria Stern | March 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on May 27, 2017

A food science journal has retracted a paper over “a breach of reviewer confidentiality,” after editors learned it contained text from an unpublished manuscript — which one of the authors appears to have reviewed for another journal.

This awful case highlights the importance of professional development relating to the conduct of peer reviews and underlines the importance of good communication between collaborating researchers.

The publisher and editors-in-chief of the Journal of Food Process Engineering became aware of the breach when the author of the unpublished manuscript lodged a complaint that his paper, under review at another journal, had been plagiarized by the now retracted paper.
We’re hazy on a few details in this case. Although the journal editor told us the “main author” of the retracted paper reviewed the original manuscript for another journal, the corresponding author of the retracted paper said he was not to blame. (More on that below.)

Read the rest of this news story

Researchers’ Individual Publication Rate Has Not Increased in a Century (Papers: Daniele Fanelli and Vincent Larivière | 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on May 27, 2017


It can often be heard (e.g. in the popular press) that the ‘pressure to publish’ is what has fuelled the increase in retractions and research misconduct cases. This 2016 Daniele Fanelli and Vincent Larivière paper examines whether that pressure has in fact increased the volume of publications per person. The results are quite surprising.

Debates over the pros and cons of a “publish or perish” philosophy have inflamed academia for at least half a century. Growing concerns, in particular, are expressed for policies that reward “quantity” at the expense of “quality,” because these might prompt scientists to unduly multiply their publications by fractioning (“salami slicing”), duplicating, rushing, simplifying, or even fabricating their results. To assess the reasonableness of these concerns, we analyzed publication patterns of over 40,000 researchers that, between the years 1900 and 2013, have published two or more papers within 15 years, in any of the disciplines covered by the Web of Science. The total number of papers published by researchers during their early career period (first fifteen years) has increased in recent decades, but so has their average number of co-authors. If we take the latter factor into account, by measuring productivity fractionally or by only counting papers published as first author, we observe no increase in productivity throughout the century. Even after the 1980s, adjusted productivity has not increased for most disciplines and countries. These results are robust to methodological choices and are actually conservative with respect to the hypothesis that publication rates are growing. Therefore, the widespread belief that pressures to publish are causing the scientific literature to be flooded with salami-sliced, trivial, incomplete, duplicated, plagiarized and false results is likely to be incorrect or at least exaggerated.

Fanelli D, Larivière V (2016) Researchers’ Individual Publication Rate Has Not Increased in a Century. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0149504. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149504
Publisher (Open Access):

Misconduct Policies, Academic Culture and Career Stage, Not Gender or Pressures to Publish, Affect Scientific Integrity (Papers: Daniele Fanelli, et al | 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on May 26, 2017


The honesty and integrity of scientists is widely believed to be threatened by pressures to publish, unsupportive research environments, and other structural, sociological and psychological factors. Belief in the importance of these factors has inspired major policy initiatives, but evidence to support them is either non-existent or derived from self-reports and other sources that have known limitations. We used a retrospective study design to verify whether risk factors for scientific misconduct could predict the occurrence of retractions, which are usually the consequence of research misconduct, or corrections, which are honest rectifications of minor mistakes. Bibliographic and personal information were collected on all co-authors of papers that have been retracted or corrected in 2010-2011 (N=611 and N=2226 papers, respectively) and authors of control papers matched by journal and issue (N=1181 and N=4285 papers, respectively), and were analysed with conditional logistic regression. Results, which avoided several limitations of past studies and are robust to different sampling strategies, support the notion that scientific misconduct is more likely in countries that lack research integrity policies, in countries where individual publication performance is rewarded with cash, in cultures and situations were mutual criticism is hampered, and in the earliest phases of a researcher’s career. The hypothesis that males might be prone to scientific misconduct was not supported, and the widespread belief that pressures to publish are a major driver of misconduct was largely contradicted: high-impact and productive researchers, and those working in countries in which pressures to publish are believed to be higher, are less-likely to produce retracted papers, and more likely to correct them. Efforts to reduce and prevent misconduct, therefore, might be most effective if focused on promoting research integrity policies, improving mentoring and training, and encouraging transparent communication amongst researchers.

Fanelli D, Costas R, Larivière V (2015) Misconduct Policies, Academic Culture and Career Stage, Not Gender or Pressures to Publish, Affect Scientific Integrity. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0127556. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127556
Publisher (open access):

Science sting exposes how corrupt some journal publishers are – Stat (Ivan Oransky | March 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on May 24, 2017

Spring break season is here, and, like a lot of beachgoers, science too is suffering some stings — albeit not of the jellyfish kind.

In the latest ploy, reported Wednesday, a group of researchers at the University of Wroclaw, in Poland, tried to seat a fictional scholar onto the editorial boards of 360 academic publications.

The goal: to test whether, with just a CV — full of fake scientific degrees — and a profile on as well as a fake university, some would accept a scholar named “Anna O. Szust” (which translates to “Anna, a Fraud” in English) as a member of their editorial boards.

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