ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Resource Library

Research Ethics MonthlyAbout Us

ResourcesResearch results

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Why Cell Systems is publishing Peer Reviews – Crosstalk (Carly Britton | December 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 29, 2018

Quincey Justman‘s first editorial as Editor-in-Chief of Cell Systems highlights a new type of article: the Peer Review, which showcases the contributions to science that peer reviewers make every day. The Peer Review is separate from, but complementary to, broader forthcoming experiments with transparent peer review conducted by Molecular Cell, Developmental Cell, and Cell Systems.

The first Peer Review from Cell Systems, by John Doyle, Noah Olsman, and Fangzhou Xiao, evaluates the research article “Cytoplasmic Amplification of Transcriptional Noise Generates Substantial Cell-to-Cell Variability,” by Maike Hansen, Leor Weinberger, and their colleagues. Both pieces were published in the October 24 issue of Cell Systems.

Quincey sat down with Cell Press Press Officer Carly Britton to answer some questions about why she wanted to publish this Peer Review.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

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.’

Read the rest of this discussion piece

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.

Funder open access platforms – a welcome innovation? – LSE Impact Blog (Tony Ross-Hellauer, et al | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 15, 2018

Funding organisations commissioning their own open access publishing platforms is a relatively recent development in the OA environment, with the European Commission following the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation in financing such an initiative. But in what ways, for better or worse, do these new platforms disrupt or complement the scholarly communications landscape? Tony Ross-Hellauer, Birgit Schmidt and Bianca Kramer examine the ethical, organisational, and economic strengths and weaknesses of funder OA platforms to scope the opportunities and threats they present in the transition to OA. While they may help to increase OA uptake, control costs, and lower the administrative burden on researchers, possible unintended consequences include conflicts of interest, difficulties of scale, or potential vendor lock-in.

The link here to research integrity may not be obvious, but we are fans of open access, believe publically funded research should be accessible to the public not locked behind a paywall and the Plan S talk is a bit of hot topic globally in academia (albeit less so than CRISPR and the birth of modified babies).

In the age of open access (OA), research funding organisations have taken a more active interest in academic publishing. They are increasingly mandating their beneficiaries to publish OA, supporting infrastructures and directly funding publishing (via article processing charges).

A step-change in this engagement is the recent phenomenon of OA publishing platforms commissioned by funding organisations. Examples include those of the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation, as well as recently announced initiatives from public funders like the Irish Health Research Board and the European Commission. As the number of such platforms increases, it becomes critical to assess in which ways, for better or worse, this emergent phenomenon complements or disrupts the scholarly communication landscape.


Read the rest of this discussion piece