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(US) Highly cited researcher banned from journal board for citation abuse – Nature (Richard Van Noorden | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 19, 2020
 

Investigation finds that biophysicist Kuo-Chen Chou repeatedly suggested dozens of citations be added to papers

A US-based biophysicist who is one of the world’s most highly cited researchers has been removed from the editorial board of one journal and barred as a reviewer for another, after repeatedly manipulating the peer-review process to amass citations to his own work.

On 29 January, three editors at the Journal of Theoretical Biology (JTB) announced in an editorial that the journal had investigated and barred an unnamed editor from the board for “scientific misconduct of the highest order”.

The journal’s publisher, Elsevier, confirmed to Nature that the barred editor is Kuo-Chen Chou, who founded and runs an organization that he calls the Gordon Life Science Institute, in Boston, Massachusetts. According to the editorial, Chou asked authors of dozens of papers he was editing to cite a long list of his publications — sometimes more than 50 — and suggested that they change the titles of their papers to mention an algorithm he had developed.

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(India) India’s Fight Against Predatory Journals: An Interview with Professor Bhushan Patwardhan – Scholarly Kitchen (Tao Tao | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 19, 2020
 

Predatory journals find most of their prey in developing countries, and in particular, among emerging economies where research output is rapidly growing. Bhushan Patwardhan is a biomedical researcher and Professor of Health Sciences at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) of India, and the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, published by Elsevier. He is also the current Vice Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) which plays a key part in India’s anti-predatory journals efforts. In this interview, Professor Patwardhan tells us about India’s battle against predatory journals.

Can you tell us about the UGC and its mission?

Great interview from February 2020 about India’s renewed fight against the questionable publisher industry. We have included links to 47 related items.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) is a statutory organization established by the Government of India for the coordination, determination, and maintenance of standards of teaching, examination, and research in university education. To deal with the problem of predatory journals, UGC created a white list of quality journals as a proactive step. However, due to some flaws during the list’s creation and implementation, it was polluted with poor-quality journals and faced severe criticism. A large number of poor-quality journals were included in the UGC approved list, which opened the floodgates for desperate authors. Nevertheless, the UGC India was the only one of the ten most common funders who provided guidance about journal selection on its website.
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As a researcher and professor, how did you get involved in the UGC?

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As a member of COPE, I have been keeping track of predatory publishers. It was noticed in 2015 that a large number of faculty members from Indian universities were falling prey to predatory publishers, and hence an effort to prepare ‘Guidelines for Research Publications’ was undertaken at SPPU. In 2017, a Center for Publication Ethics was established. We created a group of like-minded academicians and developed a robust protocol to analyze the UGC list, and found that over 88% of journals recommended by universities for inclusion in the UGC list were of poor quality. The results were published on 25th March 2018 in Current Science and attracted attention from media, the academic community, and regulators. Our efforts to curate the UGC approved list of journals resulted in the removal of over 3,000 predatory journals from the original list of nearly 5,000 titles. As of now the UGC approved list of Journals stands canceled and is replaced with UGC-CARE Reference List of Quality Journals (UGC-CARE List).
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(Australia) Mums and dads ‘bigger problem’ than essay mills – Times Higher Education (John Ross | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 18, 2020
 

Prominence of gratis services causes ‘uneasiness’ among researchers, as Australia eyes law against contract cheating

After Australia’s higher education regulator declared it would not pursue innocent parents over contract cheating allegations, a conference heard that parents were the biggest problem.

Academic integrity expert Cath Ellis said friends and family comprised the largest category of academic cheating service provision. They were followed by custom writing sites; “legitimate learning sites” such as  le-sharing websites; “legitimate non-learning sites” such as eBay, Facebook and odd jobs market Airtasker; and paid exam takers.

“That’s the size order of the problem, based on my own research,” Dr Ellis told the conference of Australia’s Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, adding that unpaid cheating services had just as serious consequences as commercial ones. “Payment isn’t an issue when we’re talking about contract cheating.”

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(US) Female scientists allege discrimination, neglect of research on women at NIH’s child health institute – Science (Meredith Wadman | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 17, 2020
 

In November 2014, nine senior female scientists at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) requested a meeting with their director. Their concern: that the careers of women at the institute’s Division of Intramural Research (DIR) were being stymied by its powerful scientific director, Constantine Stratakis. They complained that the number of tenured and tenure-track female scientists in the then–$177 million division was at a historic low, and they said women were starkly lacking among its leaders. They wanted more women recruited and better retention of female talent.

After the meeting, then-NICHD Director Alan Guttmacher wrote in an email forwarded to the women: “There is wide agreement that we have a serious problem.” He added that he looked forward to “action … which actually makes a difference.”

But today, fewer female scientists run labs in DIR than in 2014, when one in four lab leaders was a woman. In 2011, the year Stratakis became permanent scientific director, 27% of DIR labs were run by women, compared with 23% today. At leading children’s research hospitals canvassed by Science, comparable percentages range from 30% to 47% (see table).

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