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ResourcesResearch IntegrityNIH to researchers: Don’t publish in bad journals, please – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | December 2017)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

NIH to researchers: Don’t publish in bad journals, please – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | December 2017)

 


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The U.S. National Institutes of Health has noticed something: More of the research it’s funding is ending up in questionable journals. Recently, the agency issued a statement highlighting some qualities of these journals — aggressively soliciting submissions, failing to provide clear information about pricing — and urging researchers to avoid them. The NIH’s goal: to “help protect the credibility of papers arising from its research investment.” We asked the NIH for more information about the guide notice; a representative returned responses, asking that we attribute them to the NIH Office of Extramural Research.

It’s great to see a peak research funding body taking this tangible step to tackle illegitimate publishers. We believe research projects that were funded out of public tax dollars should be accessible without the community having to pay large subscription fees. Open Access is the obvious answer. But illegitimate publishers with their poor/non-existent editorial standards and otherwise poor quality means publishing with them effectively squanders public money. We hope to see Australasian research funding bodies adopt similar positions as the NIH.

Retraction Watch: What prompted the NIH to issue this guide notice? Was there an incident?
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NIH: NIH continually seeks ways to improve the quality, significance, and impact of funded research. Several recent articles have raised concerns about the practices of some journals and publishers, and we became aware that NIH research is sometimes published in journals that do not adhere to established best practices.
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RW: The guide notice says: “The NIH has noted an increase in the numbers of papers reported as products of NIH funding which are published in journals or by publishers that do not follow best practices promoted by professional scholarly publishing organizations.” Can you tell us any more about the numbers underlying that statement?

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NIH: We do not have hard numbers to share with you. That said, we have noticed reports from the community related to this topic.

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