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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Publish AND perish: how the commodification of scientific publishing is undermining both science and the public good – Learning for Sustainability (Arjen Wals | December 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 19, 2018

“Everybody is writing, nobody is reading, everybody is writing for nobody.”

Academics are spending hundreds of hours a year, getting their work published, in peer-reviewed journals, providing free labor to commercial publishing companies.

The pressure to ‘produce’ and grow is huge, both in academia and in the publishing industry; this undermines quality and the university’s ability to serve the public good and, indeed, public trust in science.

Open access journal Sustainability publishes over 4000 contributions in its current Volume 10 – where most contributors will have to pay 1400 US Dollars* to have their work published. Its publisher MDPI has close to 200 journals working in a similar vein.’

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Oh, What A Tangled Web! Citation Network Underscores Editorial Conflicts of Interest – Scholarly Kitchen (Phil Davis | December 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 18, 2018

The separation of powers is as important in academic publishing as it is in government.

If readers are to trust the integrity of the editorial and peer review process, editors need to be insulated from the business of publishing, which often means keeping them away from their colleagues in marketing, sales, and advertising.

So important is the separation of powers that some publishers physically separate editorial offices from business operations and place them in different cities. If they can’t separate these divisions physically, they will often develop strong internal policies to minimize influence. For example, PLOS does not disclose to the editor whether a submitting author has applied for article processing fee assistance when reviewing a manuscript.

Similarly, many publishers have explicit rules that prevent editors from handling their own paper or the papers of authors very closely associated with them. None of these separations of roles and powers guarantee that the decision to publish is entirely free of bias, but they do demonstrate a seriousness in building an institution, a process, and a product that can be trusted.

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Pathogenic organization in science: Division of labor and retractions (John P. Walsh | 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 17, 2018

Science is increasingly a team activity, and the size of the teams has been growing. At the same time, there are concerns about an increasing rate of pathologies in science. The growth of team science suggests the need to look beyond individual-level explanations and focus on organizational structures and institutional contexts to explain pathologies in science. Drawing on the literature on organizational pathologies, we argue that division of labor may be a key factor contributing to pathologies in science. Furthermore, we examine the effects of high-stakes incentives and of institutional corruption as additional predictors of scientific pathologies. Using retractions as an indicator of pathologies, and drawing on a matched sample of 195 retracted papers and 349 paired papers that were not retracted, we develop indicators of the division of labor in the team that produced a paper and find that the rate of retractions is higher as the division of labor increases (net of team size). Additionally, we find that high-stakes incentives and institutional corruption are also associated with increased retractions. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of these findings for science policy, in particular for organizing team science projects.

Organization, Science, Pathologies, Corruption, Incentives, Division of labor

Walsh, J. P., et al. (2019). Pathogenic organization in science: Division of labor and retractions. Research Policy 48(2): 444-461.

What These Medical Journals Don’t Reveal: Top Doctors’ Ties to Industry – New York Times (Charles Ornstein and Katie Thomas | December 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 10, 2018

One is dean of Yale’s medical school. Another is the director of a cancer center in Texas. A third is the next president of the most prominent society of cancer doctors.

These leading medical figures are among dozens of doctors who have failed in recent years to report their financial relationships with pharmaceutical and health care companies when their studies are published in medical journals, according to a review by The New York Times and ProPublica and data from other recent research.

Dr. Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, the president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, for instance, declared that he had no conflicts of interest in more than 50 journal articles in recent years, including in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

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