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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Scientific Integrity: Dropping Points – EUROSCIENTIST (Michel Morange | May 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on July 2, 2017

Scientific integrity starts with integrity at the data gathering stage

Scientific integrity has become a major issue in scientific research. Academies of science and national research institutions have published recommendations to raise awareness among scientists. The debate about scientific fraud, plagiarism, and other forms of scientific misconduct has its origin in some highly publicised cases of eminent scientists accused of publishing fake data. This is fuelled by the increasing number of scientific results which cannot be replicated. Besides, anonymous researchers surveys have revealed an unexpectedly high frequency of misconduct among early career and mid-career scientists.

As part of such misconduct, a common situation involves deliberately dropping points to eliminate “aberrant” points in a curve. This approach is the same kind of misconducts as eliminating an entire experiment because its results are too different from those of previous experiments. Or it is like discarding cells exhibiting an “aberrant” pattern of labelling from a photograph of immunostained cells.

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Black lists, white lists and the evidence: exploring the features of ‘predatory’ journals – BioMed Central Blog (David Moher & Larissa Shamseer | March 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on June 28, 2017

The discussed criteria for evaluating open access publishers are useful suggestions for all researchers, especially higher degree research candidates and other early career researchers. The need for such evaluation has become more obvious post the closing of the Beall’s list, but arguably was good practice even when that list was operating.

New research published today in BMC Medicine looks to identify the features of potentially ‘predatory’ journals: online journals that charge publications fees without providing editorial services or robust peer review. Here to tell us about their work and how it can help authors, are David Moher and Larissa Shamseer, two authors of the research.
Crime stories are typically portrayed as a fight between good and bad. Publishing biomedical research is similar. A few years ago the (now defunct) Scholarly Open Access website listed journals and publishers presumed to be bad, a ‘black list’.
To get on the black list, its curator, Jeffrey Beall, used a number of criteria, such as comprehensive instructions for authors that are easily identified on the journal’s website, from the Committee on Publication Ethics and the Open Access Scholarly Publisher’s Association. If he felt the journal and/or publisher did not meet these criteria he added it to his list. He coined the term ‘predatory’ journals and publishers to describe these entities.

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Detecting Hijacked Journals by Using Classification Algorithms (Papers: Mona Andoohgin Shahri, et al | 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on June 26, 2017


The grim and thoroughly depressing reality is that all researchers (whatever their level of experience) needs to be sleuth and sceptic in the selection of a publisher. Sadly it is not hard to find awful accounts of outputs wasted, exorbitant fees charged or reputations unfairly tarnished.

Invalid journals are recent challenges in the academic world and many researchers are unacquainted with the phenomenon. The number of victims appears to be accelerating. Researchers might be suspicious of predatory journals because they have unfamiliar names, but hijacked journals are imitations of well-known, reputable journals whose websites have been hijacked. Hijacked journals issue calls for papers via generally laudatory emails that delude researchers into paying exorbitant page charges for publication in a nonexistent journal. This paper presents a method for detecting hijacked journals by using a classification algorithm. The number of published articles exposing hijacked journals is limited and most of them use simple techniques that are limited to specific journals. Hence we needed to amass Internet addresses and pertinent data for analyzing this type of attack. We inspected the websites of 104 scientific journals by using a classification algorithm that used criteria common to reputable journals. We then prepared a decision tree that we used to test five journals we knew were authentic and five we knew were hijacked.
Hijacked journals, Internet fraud, Academic ethics, Editorial process, Spam emails

Andoohgin Shahri M, Jazi MD, Borchardt G. et al (2017)  Detecting Hijacked Journals by Using Classification Algorithms. Science and Engineering Ethics. doi:10.1007/s11948-017-9914-2

A Proposal for Considering Research Integrity from the Perspective of Behavioral Economics (Papers: Melissa S. Anderson and Jamal A. Adam | 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on June 25, 2017

Over the past 30 years, cases of scientific misconduct have tended to follow what is by now a familiar pattern: misconduct is intentionally committed, the clandestine misdeeds are revealed, institutions and funders react, investigations ensue, punishments are imposed, and the long process of correcting the research record continues on. Major cases of misconduct usually prompt institutions to review and tighten their research oversight and policies and to improve their approaches to instruction in the responsible conduct of research. When a case becomes a matter of national embarrassment, these reactions can be systemically widespread. There is, of course, variation in this general pattern, particularly in the extent of successful correction of the scientific record (16).

The trajectory of action associated with a misconduct case thus typically begins with an individual, but ownership of the problem rises through the academic research hierarchy to the officials of research institutions, funding agencies and regulatory bodies, among others. The consequences then come back down the hierarchy, often with implications that extend to several academic or administrative departments or even to entire institutions. In the U.S., three primary systemic responses to misconduct have emerged in recent decades: the development and elaboration of policies, regulations, codes of conduct and so on; instruction in the responsible conduct of research; and oversight and other mechanisms for ensuring compliance.

These approaches, though obviously valuable, are designed for general impact across disciplines and research settings. What is needed are strategies to protect research integrity in the specific contexts where the work of research is performed. This shift involves more careful consideration of the following four points…

Anderson, M. S., & Adam, J. A. (2014). A Proposal for Considering Research Integrity from the Perspective of Behavioral Economics. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education15(2), 173–176.
Publisher (Open Access0: