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ResourcesResearch IntegrityJunior researchers are losing out by ghostwriting peer reviews – Nature (Virginia Gewin | May 2019)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Junior researchers are losing out by ghostwriting peer reviews – Nature (Virginia Gewin | May 2019)

Published/Released on May 13, 2019 | Posted by Admin on June 26, 2019 / , , , , , , ,
 


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Graduate students and postdocs who produce reviews under a senior colleague’s name receive no credit or acknowledgement for their work, and miss a chance to become acquainted with journal editors.

A large proportion of graduate students and postdocs ghostwrite peer reviews for senior colleagues and supervisors, receiving no professional credit for their work, finds a study1.

Co-authors of the article, which was posted on the preprint server bioRxiv on 26 April, surveyed 498 early-career researchers at institutions in the United States (74%), Europe (17%), Asia (4%) and elsewhere to assess how often junior scientists contribute to such reports and how they feel about them. Half of survey respondents said that they had ghostwritten a peer review, but 80% of those said that they felt the practice was unethical, according to the article.

The survey took pains to distinguish ghostwriting from co-reviewing, a well-established form of training in which an invited reviewer shares a manuscript with junior researchers to solicit their assessment of the paper’s quality; those researchers can expect to receive some type of credit for their efforts. With ghostwriting, by contrast, a principal investigator (PI) uses part or all of a junior researcher’s review contributions and provides no credit. Roughly 75% of survey respondents said that they had co-reviewed; 95% found it to be a beneficial practice and 73% deemed it ethical.

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