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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(UK) King’s College London’s enquiry into Hans J Eysenck’s ‘Unsafe’ publications must be properly completed (Papers: David F Marks & Roderick D. Buchanan & Roderick D. Buchanan | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 23, 2019

This journal recently drew attention to an extensive body of highly questionable research published by Hans J. Eysenck in collaboration with Ronald Grossarth-Maticek. The subsequent enquiry by King’s College London concluded that 26 publications were unsafe and warranted retraction. However, the enquiry reviewed only a subset of the 61 questionable publications initially submitted to them, only those Eysenck co-authored with Grossarth-Maticek. The enquiry excluded publications where Eysenck was the sole author. The King’s College London enquiry must be properly completed. They have a pressing responsibility to re-convene and broaden their review to include all Eysenck’s publications based on the same body of research – including an additional 27 publications recently uncovered. The unsatisfactory nature of the KCL review process makes the case for a National Research Integrity Ombudsperson even stronger.

enquiry, fraud, H J Eysenck, King’s College London, personality, smoking, unsafe papers

Marks, D. F., & Buchanan, R. D. (2019). King’s College London’s enquiry into Hans J Eysenck’s ‘Unsafe’ publications must be properly completed. Journal of Health Psychology.
Editorial (Open Access):

Friday afternoon’s funny – Disaster recovery plan0

Posted by Admin in on December 20, 2019

Cartoon by Don Mayne

Like most of Don’s work, this cartoon poses an important question for researchers: Do you have a disaster recovery plan?  Is the plan stored away from your office and data?  If not, you’re tempting fate.

Predatory journals: no definition, no defence – Nature (Agnes Grudniewicz, et al | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 19, 2019

Leading scholars and publishers from ten countries have agreed a definition of predatory publishing that can protect scholarship. It took 12 hours of discussion, 18 questions and 3 rounds to reach.

When ‘Jane’ turned to alternative medicine, she had already exhausted radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other standard treatments for breast cancer. Her alternative-medicine practitioner shared an article about a therapy involving vitamin infusions. To her and her practitioner, it seemed to be authentic grounds for hope. But when Jane showed the article to her son-in-law (one of the authors of this Comment), he realized it came from a predatory journal — meaning its promise was doubtful and its validity unlikely to have been vetted.

While many agree  Beal’s list had significant limitations and had faulty results, the absence of a robust definition of predatory publishers has meant there is a poor defence against their toxic impact. This piece provides an excellent approach to the problem.

Predatory journals are a global threat. They accept articles for publication — along with authors’ fees — without performing promised quality checks for issues such as plagiarism or ethical approval. Naive readers are not the only victims. Many researchers have been duped into submitting to predatory journals, in which their work can be overlooked. One study that focused on 46,000 researchers based in Italy found that about 5% of them published in such outlets1. A separate analysis suggests predatory publishers collect millions of dollars in publication fees that are ultimately paid out by funders such as the US National Institutes of Health (NIH)2.

One barrier to combating predatory publishing is, in our view, the lack of an agreed definition. By analogy, consider the historical criteria for deciding whether an abnormal bulge in the aorta, the largest artery in the body, could be deemed an aneurysm — a dangerous condition. One accepted definition was based on population norms, another on the size of the bulge relative to the aorta and a third on an absolute measure of aorta width. Prevalence varied fourfold depending on the definition used. This complicated efforts to assess risk and interventions, and created uncertainty about who should be offered a high-risk operation3.

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(China) Five ways China must cultivate research integrity – Nature (Li Tang | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 14, 2019

A swift increase in scientific productivity has outstripped the country’s ability to promote rigour and curb academic misconduct; it is time to seize solutions.

How researchers in China behave has an impact on the global scientific community. With more than four million researchers, China has more science and technology personnel than any other nation. In 2008, it overtook the United Kingdom in the number of articles indexed in the Web of Science, and now ranks second in the world. In 2018, China published 412,000 papers.

But China also produces a disproportionate number of faked peer reviews and plagiarized or fraudulent publications. Its share of retracted papers is around three times that expected from its scientific output (see ‘Outsized retractions’).

The past few years have witnessed high-profile cases of faked peer reviews, image manipulations and authorships for sale, some involving prominent Chinese scientists. In May last year, China asked two groups to foster research integrity and manage misconduct cases: its Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) . In November 2018, 41 national government agencies endorsed a set of 43 penalties for major academic misconduct. These range from terminating grants to restricting academic promotion and revoking business licences. This year, the government issued a foundational document to promote the scientific enterprise and foster a culture of academic integrity1.

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