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(France) French hydroxychloroquine-COVID-19 study withdrawn – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | May 2020)

Published/Released on May 21, 2020 | Posted by Admin on May 25, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

The authors of a preprint on use of hydroxychloroquine — the controversial drug heavily promoted by, and now apparently taken by, President Trump, at least for a few more days — along with azithromycin for COVID-19 have withdrawn the paper. [colored_box]The preprint, “More

The authors of a preprint on use of hydroxychloroquine — the controversial drug heavily promoted by, and now apparently taken by, President Trump, at least for a few more days — along with azithromycin for COVID-19 have withdrawn the paper. [colored_box]The preprint, “Hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin: a potential interest in reducing in-hospital morbidity due to COVID-19 pneumonia (HI-ZY-COVID)?” was posted to medRxiv on May 11 by authors at Hopital Raymond Poincare, and sometime yesterday replaced with this statement: .

The authors have withdrawn this manuscript and do not wish it to be cited. Because of controversy about hydroxychloroquine and the retrospective nature of their study, they intend to revise the manuscript after peer review.

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(France) He Was a Science Star. Then He Promoted a Questionable Cure for Covid-19 – New York Times Magazine (Scott Sayare | May 2020)

Published/Released on May 12, 2020 | Posted by Admin on May 23, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

The man behind Trump’s favorite unproven treatment has made a great career assailing orthodoxy. His claim of a 100 percent cure rate shocked scientists around the world.

When diagnosing the ills afflicting modern science, an entertainment that,... More

The man behind Trump’s favorite unproven treatment has made a great career assailing orthodoxy. His claim of a 100 percent cure rate shocked scientists around the world.

When diagnosing the ills afflicting modern science, an entertainment that, along with the disparagement of his critics and fellow researchers, he counts among his great delights, the eminent French microbiologist Didier Raoult will lightly stroke his beard, lean back in his seat and, with a thin but unmistakable smile, declare the poor patient to be stricken with pride. Raoult, who has achieved international fame since his proposed treatment for Covid-19 was touted as a miracle cure by President Trump, believes that his colleagues fail to see that their ideas are the products of mere intellectual fashions — that they are hypnotized by methodology into believing that they understand what they do not and that they lack the discipline of mind that would permit them to comprehend their error. “Hubris,” Raoult told me recently, at his institute in Marseille, “is the most common thing in the world.” It is a particularly dangerous malady in doctors like him, whose opinions are freighted with the responsibility of life and death. “Someone who doesn’t know is less stupid than someone who wrongly thinks he does,” he said. “Because it is a terrible thing to be wrong.”

[colored_box]Raoult, who founded and directs the research hospital known as the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection, or IHU, has made a great career assailing orthodoxy, in both word and practice. “There’s nothing I like more than blowing up a theory that’s been so nicely established,” he once said. He has a reputation for bluster but also for a certain creativity. He looks where no one else cares to, with methods no one else is using, and finds things. In just the past 10 years, he has helped identify nearly 500 novel species of human-borne bacteria, about one-fifth of all those named and described. Until recently, he was perhaps best known as the discoverer of the first giant virus, a microbe that, in his opinion, suggests that viruses ought to be considered a fourth and separate domain of living things. The discovery helped win him the Grand Prix Inserm, one of France’s top scientific prizes. It also led him to believe that the tree of life suggested by Darwinian evolution is “entirely false,” he told me, and that Darwin himself “wrote nothing but inanities.” He detests consensus and comity; he believes that science, and life, ought to be a fight. .

It is in this spirit that, over the objections of his peers, and no doubt because of them, too, he has promoted a combination of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, and azithromycin, a common antibiotic, as a remedy for Covid-19. He has taken to declaring, “We know how to cure the disease.” Trump was not the only one eager to embrace this possibility. By the time I arrived in Marseille, some version of Raoult’s treatment regimen had been authorized for testing or use in France, Italy, China, India and numerous other countries. One in every five registered drug trials in the world was testing hydroxychloroquine. .

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(US) JetBlue’s Founder Helped Fund A Stanford Study That Said The Coronavirus Wasn’t That Deadly – Buzzfeed News (Stephanie M. Lee | May 2020)

A Stanford whistleblower complaint alleges that the controversial John Ioannidis study failed to disclose important financial ties and ignored scientists’ concerns that their antibody test was inaccurate. A highly influential coronavirus antibody study was funded in part by David Neeleman, the... More

A Stanford whistleblower complaint alleges that the controversial John Ioannidis study failed to disclose important financial ties and ignored scientists’ concerns that their antibody test was inaccurate. A highly influential coronavirus antibody study was funded in part by David Neeleman, the JetBlue Airways founder and a vocal proponent of the idea that the pandemic isn’t deadly enough to justify continued lockdowns. That’s according to a complaint from an anonymous whistleblower, filed with Stanford University last week and obtained by BuzzFeed News, about the study conducted by the famous scientist John Ioannidis and others. The complaint cites dozens of emails, including exchanges with the airline executive while the study was being conducted. The study — released as a non-peer-reviewed paper, or preprint, on April 17 — made headlines around the world with a dramatic finding: Based on antibodies in thousands of Silicon Valley residents’ blood samples, the number of coronavirus infections was up to 85 times higher than believed. This true infection count was so high that it would drive down the virus’s local fatality rate to 0.12%–0.2% — far closer to the known death rate for the flu.

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There is no black and white definition of predatory publishing – London School of Economics (Kyle Siler | May 2020)

Published/Released on May 13, 2020 | Posted by Admin on May 20, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

The nature and extent of predatory publishing is highly contested. Whilst debates have often focused defining journals and publishers as either predatory or not predatory. Kyle Siler argues that predatory publishing encompasses a spectrum of activities and that by understanding this ambiguity, we can better understand and make... More

The nature and extent of predatory publishing is highly contested. Whilst debates have often focused defining journals and publishers as either predatory or not predatory. Kyle Siler argues that predatory publishing encompasses a spectrum of activities and that by understanding this ambiguity, we can better understand and make value judgements over where legitimacy lies in scholarly communication.


[colored_box]Predatory publishing has emerged as a professional problem for academics and their institutions, as well as a broader societal concern. As these journals have proliferated, they have brought to the fore a debate over what constitutes legitimate science, which has been centred on attempts to define and demarcate predatory from non-predatory publications. However, given the complexity of academic publishing – and what constitutes legitimacy – establishing a concrete definition has proved challenging. There is considerable diversity in the types, combinations and degrees of illegitimacy in questionable academic journals, which ultimately raises the question: is it possible to define predatory publishing in such a binary way? .

Predatory publishing bug or feature? . A key feature of many open access business models is the Article Processing Charge (APC). Whereby, publishers instead of receiving flat subscription fees, are remunerated for each published article. This provides a ‘predatory’ incentive for less scrupulous publishers to publish articles quickly and without appropriate quality control, as, after all, rejected articles consume publisher resources but yield no revenue. .

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How to manage a multi-author megapaper – Nature Index (Jack Leeming | November 2019)

Published/Released on November 22, 2019 | Posted by Admin on May 19, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

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Kinder publishing practices should become the new normal – Times Higher Education (Phil Emmerson | April 2020)

Varying personal circumstances highlight the need for accommodations that outlive the coronavirus, says Phil Emmerson

The impact on teaching of the forced closure of university campuses around the world has understandably dominated institutional and press attention, with lecturers scrambling to learn new technologies and pedagogies... More

Varying personal circumstances highlight the need for accommodations that outlive the coronavirus, says Phil Emmerson

The impact on teaching of the forced closure of university campuses around the world has understandably dominated institutional and press attention, with lecturers scrambling to learn new technologies and pedagogies so that disruption is minimised. But the implications of the coronavirus-related shutdown on research is also huge. Limited or no access to labs and research participants combined with the need to share home workspaces with other family members present considerable challenges to productivity. Moreover, many academics are overwhelmed by worry. Some have family members who are unwell, or are unwell themselves. Some have had to take over the primary care of loved ones. Many are also having to home-school their children. These caring roles mostly fall to women.

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Scientific and Scholarly Meetings in the Time of Pandemic – Scholarly Kitchen (Michael Clarke | April 2020)

Published/Released on April 29, 2020 | Posted by Admin on May 10, 2020 | Keywords: , , ,

A question on the minds of many executives at scientific and scholarly societies is whether it will be possible to hold a large in-person meeting (or any gathering over a hundred people) before a vaccine or drug is widely available or the pandemic otherwise subsides. Conference organizers with meetings... More

A question on the minds of many executives at scientific and scholarly societies is whether it will be possible to hold a large in-person meeting (or any gathering over a hundred people) before a vaccine or drug is widely available or the pandemic otherwise subsides. Conference organizers with meetings in the spring of 2020 (including the Society for Scholarly Publishing, the publisher of The Scholarly Kitchen) have been forced to either cancel events or scramble to move meetings to an online format in the wake of the rapidly moving public health situation. Those with events further out on the calendar, have the luxury of more time to prepare for alternative scenarios. While governments around the world are developing plans to ease restrictions and reboot as much economic activity as possible without triggering a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, the return of large events like arena sports, concerts, and conferences (especially international conferences) is surely last on the list of economic activities to be restarted. The governor of California, for example, outlined a 4 stage plan for reopening the the world’s 5th largest economy yesterday; sporting events, concerts, and conferences are dead last (Stage 4), “once therapeutics have been delivered.” It is one thing to reopen a bookstore, barbershop, boutique, school, or restaurant. It is another thing entirely to bring thousands (or tens of thousands) of people — people who live in different cities and regions of the world — together in the same venue. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) explored this issue as it pertains to spectator sports, but the issues are largely the same for academic conferences:

The prevalence of cases is unlikely to sink low enough by this fall to host a football game without the high risk of someone infected being in the crowd. The more people in the crowd, the greater the chance that at least one is infected, and the more people the infected will be in contact with. All it takes is one game to trigger a local outbreak.

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(India) ‘Self-Plagiarism, Text Recycling Not Acceptable’: UGC – NDTV (Anisha Kumari | April 2020)

Published/Released on April 21, 2020 | Posted by Admin on May 8, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

In a notice now available on UGC website, the Commission says that reproduction of one's own previously published work without citation is not acceptable.

New Delhi: In a bid to check self-plagiarism in the academia, University Grants Commission (UGC) has released guidelines and... More

In a notice now available on UGC website, the Commission says that reproduction of one's own previously published work without citation is not acceptable.

New Delhi: In a bid to check self-plagiarism in the academia, University Grants Commission (UGC) has released guidelines and will be issuing parameters to evaluate instances of text recycling/self-plagiarism soon. [colored_box]In a notice now available on UGC website, the Commission says that reproduction of one's own previously published work without citation is not acceptable. . "Reproduction, in part or whole, of one's own previously published work without adequate citation and proper acknowledgement and claiming the most recent work as new and original for any academic advantage amounts to 'text-recycling' (also known as 'self-plagiarism') and is not acceptable," reads the UGC notice. .

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The ethics of authorship and preparation of research publications – World Aquaculture Society (Carole R. Engle | April 2020)

Published/Released on April 21, 2020 | Posted by Admin on May 7, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Graduate students around the world are commonly required to take classes on research ethics that include content related to the ethics of authorship. Scientific journals have established formal policies on the ethics of authorship that are often readily accessible to authors on journal websites.

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Graduate students around the world are commonly required to take classes on research ethics that include content related to the ethics of authorship. Scientific journals have established formal policies on the ethics of authorship that are often readily accessible to authors on journal websites.

1 BACKGROUND

Part of a journal editor's responsibility relates to ethical issues associated with the articles published in the journal. While the majority of authors who submit articles to the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society (JWAS) adhere routinely to high ethical standards of authorship, there always are a few exceptions. In some cases, the behavior in question appears unintentional, caused by either a lack of understanding of the issues involved or students and young scientists who lack understanding of publishing ethics. In other cases, however, the unethical behavior is deliberate. Whether deliberate or unintentional, however, the consequences for research misconduct from unethical behavior are intolerable and can be severe. This editorial is written to provide clarity about what constitutes ethical and unethical practices related to publishing in scientific journals and to encourage authors to adhere to them when submitting to JWAS. [colored_box]Graduate students around the world are commonly required to take classes on research ethics that include content related to the ethics of authorship. Scientific journals have established formal policies on the ethics of authorship that are often readily accessible to authors on journal websites. In attempting to avoid ethical problems, the manuscript submission process of many journals requires the submitting author to check boxes in response to a series of statements that attest to adherence to key ethical considerations. Authors of articles with decisions to accept must also sign a copyright agreement, a legally binding agreement with the publisher designed to clarify publishing rights and prevent ethical mishaps. Given the stated precautions, it is frankly difficult as an editor to understand why there continues to be so many instances of unethical behavior on the part of authors who submit manuscripts to scientific journals. . The issue of the pressures today on young scientists to focus on the number of articles published and not necessarily the quality is a longstanding topic (Arlinghaus, 2014; Siegel & Baveye, 2010). There is no question that systems which evaluate research scientists exclusively on the number of articles published fuel the competition to publish as many articles as possible, regardless of how small a contribution an individual article makes to the scientific literature (Engle, 2018). Ultimately, however, each scientist is responsible for his/her own actions in response to such existing pressures, and each scientist must personally reflect on whether his/her actions are right or wrong and whether they violate ethical standards. Unethical behavior by research scientists is a form of misconduct that can lead to serious consequences that may include termination of employment. The following issues describe several types of unethical behaviors related to publishing. The final section provides guidelines designed to consistently adhere to high ethical standards when publishing scientific articles.

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Testing of Support Tools for Plagiarism Detection (Papers: Tomáš Foltýnek, et al | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 11, 2020 | Posted by Admin on May 6, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Abstract There is a general belief that software must be able to easily do things that humans find difficult. Since finding sources for plagiarism in a text is not an easy task, there is a wide-spread expectation that it must be simple for software to determine... More

Abstract There is a general belief that software must be able to easily do things that humans find difficult. Since finding sources for plagiarism in a text is not an easy task, there is a wide-spread expectation that it must be simple for software to determine if a text is plagiarized or not. Software cannot determine plagiarism, but it can work as a support tool for identifying some text similarity that may constitute plagiarism. But how well do the various systems work? This paper reports on a collaborative test of 15 web-based text-matching systems that can be used when plagiarism is suspected. It was conducted by researchers from seven countries using test material in eight different languages, evaluating the effectiveness of the systems on single-source and multi-source documents. A usability examination was also performed. The sobering results show that although some systems can indeed help identify some plagiarized content, they clearly do not find all plagiarism and at times also identify non-plagiarized material as problematic.

Keywords text-matching software, software testing, plagiarism, plagiarism detection tools, usability testing

Foltýnek, T., Dlabolová, D., Anohina-Naumeca, A., Razı, S., Kravjar, J., Kamzola, L., Guerrero-Dib, J., Çelik, O. & Weber-Wulff}, D. (2020) Testing of Support Tools for Plagiarism Detection. arXiv Publisher (Open Access): https://arxiv.org/pdf/2002.04279.pdf

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(China) Chinese state censorship of COVID-19 research represents a looming crisis for academic publishers – London School of Economics Impact Blog (George Cooper | April 2020)

Published/Released on April 24, 2020 | Posted by Admin on May 4, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

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Pseudoscience and COVID-19 — we’ve had enough already – Nature (Timothy Caulfield | April 2020)

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Report: Gender Diversity in Research is Improving, But We Still Have Work To Do – Scholarly Kitchen (Bamini Jayabalasingham, et al | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 10, 2020 | Posted by Admin on May 2, 2020 | Keywords: , ,

Editor’s Note: This guest post, in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, is by Bamini Jayabalasingham, PhD, Senior Product Manager, Analytical ServicesYlann Schemm, MADirector, Elsevier Foundation and Co-chair, Gender Working Group; and Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski, PhD, Vice President, Research Intelligence, Global Strategic Networks and Co-chair, Gender Working Group — all... More

Editor’s Note: This guest post, in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, is by Bamini Jayabalasingham, PhD, Senior Product Manager, Analytical ServicesYlann Schemm, MADirector, Elsevier Foundation and Co-chair, Gender Working Group; and Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski, PhD, Vice President, Research Intelligence, Global Strategic Networks and Co-chair, Gender Working Group — all work for Elsevier. [colored_box]Women are gaining in terms of overall participation in research globally, even approaching parity in some areas of the world, and that is cause for celebration. But it’s not yet time to close the book on gender equity efforts – there is still a lot to be done, especially when it comes to addressing the gender gap in terms of inclusion with regard to research funding, patents and career longevity. . Those are a few of the takeaways of the new report by Elsevier, The Researcher Journey Through a Gender Lens. Building on the insights from our two previous reports on gender in research (you can read about the 2017 report Gender in the Global Research Landscape here), this new report is an examination of research participation, career progression, and perceptions across the globe. . The report is part of Elsevier’s commitment to inclusion and diversity and to advancing gender equity in research. Using an evidence-based approach that tapped into our robust data and analytics expertise, we developed this latest report to understand how gender impacts the researcher journey.

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(Korea) Korean professors indicted in admissions case tied to politics – Times Higher Education (Joyce Lau | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 02, 2020 | Posted by Admin on May 1, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Former justice minster and wife alleged to have faked materials for children’s university applications

A former South Korean justice minister and his wife, both university professors, have been charged following an academic misconduct investigation tied to their children’s university applications. Cho Kuk, the former minister... More

Former justice minster and wife alleged to have faked materials for children’s university applications

A former South Korean justice minister and his wife, both university professors, have been charged following an academic misconduct investigation tied to their children’s university applications. Cho Kuk, the former minister who is a professor at Seoul National University, and Chung Kyung-shim, a Dongyang University professor, were indicted on multiple charges on 31 December, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office confirmed to Times Higher Education.  The charges against Professor Cho, which come after months of investigation into academic misconduct, include bribery, falsifying documents and obstruction of business, the Yonhap news agency reported. Professors Cho and Chung are accused of faking materials for their son’s application to law school and their daughter’s entry to medical school.

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Data retention scheme is being abused exactly as critics predicted | Crikey (Bernard Keane | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 25, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 30, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

A review of the Abbott government's data retention scheme has shown it is being widely abused by scores of bodies around the country.

A review of the mass surveillance scheme established by the Abbott government six years ago has revealed how it is being... More

A review of the Abbott government's data retention scheme has shown it is being widely abused by scores of bodies around the country.

A review of the mass surveillance scheme established by the Abbott government six years ago has revealed how it is being widely abused in ways voters were assured would never happen. [colored_box]The government’s data retention regime, which compels communications providers to retain personal information on service use by customers for two years, is currently the subject of a statutory review by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. . When the Abbott government introduced the scheme in 2014, it assured Australians that the unprecedented level of surveillance of their communications metadata — which can be used to construct a detailed portrait of an individual’s life beyond that provided by any content they may use — would be subject to strict controls. . Its use would be limited to serious offences and a small number of security agencies — just 22 across the state and federal governments. . Those commitments have turned out to be false. . .

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(COVID-19) Underpromise, overdeliver – Science (Editorial – H. Holden Thorp | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 27, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 27, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

The majority of crises that most of us have lived through have not looked to science for immediate answers. In many cases, much of the scientific analysis came after the fact—the effects of climate change on extreme weather events; the causes of nuclear accidents; and the virology of... More

The majority of crises that most of us have lived through have not looked to science for immediate answers. In many cases, much of the scientific analysis came after the fact—the effects of climate change on extreme weather events; the causes of nuclear accidents; and the virology of outbreaks that were contained such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002–2003 or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012. Now, science is being asked to provide a rapid solution to a problem that is not completely described.

[colored_box]I am worried that science may end up overpromising on what can be delivered in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This isn't because I think the scientific community has bad intentions or will purposefully overhype anything, but because of what science can report in real time. It is difficult to share progress with adequate caveats about how long things might take or whether they will work at all. The scientific method is a very deliberate process that has been honed over time: Basic research, which describes the problem, is followed by applied research that builds on that understanding. Now, scientists are trying to do both at the same time. This is not just fixing a plane while it's flying—it's fixing a plane that's flying while its blueprints are still being drawn. .

On the testing side, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology is allowing folks to know quickly whether they are infected with SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of COVID-19. However, a negative PCR test result may lead a person to erroneously conclude that they're in the clear, which is a danger to controlling the spread. We urgently need serology tests that show whether someone has had the infection and recovered. And we must be able to identify individuals who have some immunity to SARS-CoV-2 because understanding their biology may contribute to helping the world recover. .

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(Australia) Medical journal fast-tracks free publication of COVID-19 research – ResearchProfessionalNews (Rosslyn Beeby | April 2020)

Rapid review ‘risks errors, but being too slow with information sharing is a bigger risk’ [colored_box]Australia’s leading peer-reviewed medical journal has launched a rapid online publication process for COVID-19 research papers and is providing free public access to these studies. . The Medical Journal of Australia has introduced the changes... More

Rapid review ‘risks errors, but being too slow with information sharing is a bigger risk’ [colored_box]Australia’s leading peer-reviewed medical journal has launched a rapid online publication process for COVID-19 research papers and is providing free public access to these studies. . The Medical Journal of Australia has introduced the changes so that “the newest data and viewpoints are released as soon as possible”. . Nicholas Talley, the journal’s editor-in-chief, said the MJA had “stepped up to do its part in the crisis” by developing an ultra-rapid review of papers submitted to the journal. . The preprint papers are published on the MJA website in a section called Online First. .

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Will the coronavirus kill off the ‘dinosaur’ world of academic publishing? – South China Morning Post (Linda Lew | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 16, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 26, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

  • The deadly pandemic has brought back a long-running debate about companies profiting from the publication of research often freely supplied by the author
  • As the biggest names in the business respond to academics’ demands to bring down paywalls,... More

    • The deadly pandemic has brought back a long-running debate about companies profiting from the publication of research often freely supplied by the author
    • As the biggest names in the business respond to academics’ demands to bring down paywalls, new platforms are getting fresh studies out to the public
    Medical researchers in Asia, Europe and the United States are working around the clock on ways to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, hunting for clues and crunching data from decades of studies on pathogens similar to the new coronavirus

    The importance of that research was stressed on Friday when science authorities from 12 countries, including the US, Italy, and South Korea, released a statement urging corporate publishers of academic papers to make all relevant information openly and quickly available.

    “[We] urge publishers to voluntarily agree to make their Covid-19 and coronavirus-related publications, and the available data supporting them, immediately accessible,” it said.

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(Germany) Study claiming new coronavirus can be transmitted by people without symptoms was flawed – Science (Kai Kupferschmidt | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 03, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 25, 2020 | Keywords: , , ,

A paper published on 30 January in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) about the first four people in Germany infected with a novel coronavirus made many headlines because it seemed to confirm what public health experts feared: that someone who has no symptoms from infection with... More

A paper published on 30 January in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) about the first four people in Germany infected with a novel coronavirus made many headlines because it seemed to confirm what public health experts feared: that someone who has no symptoms from infection with the virus, named 2019-nCoV, can still transmit it to others. That might make controlling the virus much harder. [colored_box]Chinese researchers had previously suggested asymptomatic people might transmit the virus but had not presented clear-cut evidence. “There’s no doubt after reading [the NEJM] paper that asymptomatic transmission is occurring,” Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told journalists. “This study lays the question to rest.” . But now, it turns out that information was wrong. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German government’s public health agency, has written a letter to NEJM to set the record straight, even though it was not involved in the paper. .

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People will not trust unkind science – Nature (Gail Cardew | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 04, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 22, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

A mean and aggressive research working culture threatens the public’s respect for scientists and their expertise, says Gail Cardew.

Earlier this month, a survey from Wellcome in London confirmed that unkindness, and worse, is pervasive in science (see More

A mean and aggressive research working culture threatens the public’s respect for scientists and their expertise, says Gail Cardew.

Earlier this month, a survey from Wellcome in London confirmed that unkindness, and worse, is pervasive in science (see go.nature.com/2sanh3i). Academic leaders expressed alarm — both for the health of young researchers and for how such pressure could erode the quality of science. I think there is more to worry about. [colored_box]What hope is there for those in science to build a trusting and respectful relationship with the public when so many scientists are schooled in a culture lacking these qualities? . The need for trust and respect is particularly acute now, when people, as the British politician Michael Gove infamously put it, “have had enough of experts”. Similar arguments have come from around the world. . According to a 2019 report by public-opinion research firm Ipsos Mori, the way people behave, especially their ability to think of others’ interests, influences their trustworthiness. Competence is not enough (go.nature.com/37lydga). This is backed up by a survey of people living on potentially contaminated land, which found that citizens who said they did not trust the science were not questioning scientists’ expertise, but whether scientists shared the public’s interest (go.nature.com/2giuvyb). .

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(US) Sexual misconduct legal battle raises questions about microbe researcher’s work – Science (Gretchen Vogel | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 19, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 22, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

A researcher famed for his work on the microbiomes of hunter-gatherers has been accused by several women of sexual assault, according to U.S. court documents. Jeff Leach, a resident of Terlingua, Texas, co-founded a major open-source, crowdfunded project on the microbiome and is the co-author of multiple papers on... More

A researcher famed for his work on the microbiomes of hunter-gatherers has been accused by several women of sexual assault, according to U.S. court documents. Jeff Leach, a resident of Terlingua, Texas, co-founded a major open-source, crowdfunded project on the microbiome and is the co-author of multiple papers on gut microbes, including one in Science. In the publicity resulting from the allegations, other questions have emerged about Leach’s academic qualifications and his behavior in the field. The sexual assault accusations came to light as a result of a defamation suit Leach filed in September 2019. In July 2019, Katy Schwartz, who worked at the Terlingua tourist lodge that Leach runs, filed a police report alleging that he had sexually assaulted her. Schwartz did not press charges, but asserts in court documents that she wanted her experience documented because she feared Leach could be a danger to others. In the wake of the lawsuit against Schwartz, three other local women filed affidavits. One alleged that Leach had assaulted her, putting his hand up her shorts “without any warning.” A second alleged that he raped her in a “violent assault” for which “there was no consent.” A third affidavit alleged that Leach sexually assaulted a woman, became violent during an argument, and threatened her with litigation.

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Developing Grad Students’ Scientific Literacy Skills – Inside Higher Ed (David A. Sanders | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 20, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 21, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

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(Australia) Thousands of researchers in Australia appear on editorial boards of ‘predatory’ journals – Nature Index (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | April 2020)

Published/Released on April 15, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 19, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

One in four said they were not aware of their names being used.

More than 3,700 researchers based at Australian institutions — roughly 7% of the country’s academic community — as of mid-2019 appeared on the editorial boards of journals that are potentially predatory. [colored_box]That’s... More

One in four said they were not aware of their names being used.

More than 3,700 researchers based at Australian institutions — roughly 7% of the country’s academic community — as of mid-2019 appeared on the editorial boards of journals that are potentially predatory. [colored_box]That’s the finding of a new study, which examined how often researchers affiliated with Australian universities are listed on the editorial boards of journals with ‘questionable’ reputations. . Conducted by Michael Downes, an independent researcher in Queensland, Australia, the study looked at the 1,165 “potential predatory publishers” identified by librarian Jeffrey Beall on his widely read but controversial blog. The blog was discontinued in 2017, but the list remains online. . According to Downes, one-third of these publishers have disappeared, haven’t thrived, or have become inactive since 2017. In addition to those that remain active, Downes identified 162 journals that he classified as potentially predatory. .

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

Published/Released on February 06, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 19, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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... More

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)

Published/Released on February 05, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 19, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

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... More

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? [colored_box]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. . As a researcher and professor, how did you get involved in the UGC? . 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)

Published/Released on November 29, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 18, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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... More

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)

Published/Released on April 02, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 17, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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.... More

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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(UK) Funding warning in new UK research integrity concordat – Times Higher Education (Jack Grove | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 25, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 17, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

Tough sanctions on institutions that ignore research integrity rules in new concordat backed by Universities UK and research funders

UK universities risk being barred from accessing public research funding if they do not have structures in place to guard against... More

Tough sanctions on institutions that ignore research integrity rules in new concordat backed by Universities UK and research funders

UK universities risk being barred from accessing public research funding if they do not have structures in place to guard against research misconduct. Under a revised concordat (https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2019/the-concordat-to-support-research-integrity.pdf) to support research integrity, published on 25 October and signed by UK Research and Innovation – which distributes more than £7 billion annually, mainly through its seven research councils and Research England – funders of research have agreed to “only provide funding to organisations that can demonstrate that appropriate structures are in place to ensure research integrity in their research activities”. The concordat, which replaces a 2012 agreement (https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Pages/research-concordat.aspx) on research integrity, has also been signed by the Wellcome Trust, which spends almost £1 billion a year on research, the National Institute for Health Research and other regional research funding bodies, as well as Universities UK.

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Hydroxychloroquine-COVID-19 study did not meet publishing society’s “expected standard” – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | April 2020)

Published/Released on April 06, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 15, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

The paper that appears to have triggered the Trump administration’s obsession with hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for infection with the novel coronavirus has received a statement of concern from the society that publishes the journal in which the work appeared. [colored_box]The April 3, 2020, notice, from the International... More

The paper that appears to have triggered the Trump administration’s obsession with hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for infection with the novel coronavirus has received a statement of concern from the society that publishes the journal in which the work appeared. [colored_box]The April 3, 2020, notice, from the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, states that the March 20 article, “Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of Covid-19: results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial

does not meet the [International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy’s] expected standard, especially relating to the lack of better explanations of the inclusion criteria and the triage of patients to ensure patient safety.

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The Mess That Is Science Publishing – The James G. Center for Academic Renewal (John Staddon | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 24, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 15, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

The rumored proposal will require free, immediate access to all reports of government-funded scientific research. The rumor is credible enough that an association of 210 academic and research libraries has written to the president in support of the idea. The research-publication system is a mess, and open access would be... More

The rumored proposal will require free, immediate access to all reports of government-funded scientific research. The rumor is credible enough that an association of 210 academic and research libraries has written to the president in support of the idea. The research-publication system is a mess, and open access would be one small step toward a fix. History But first, a little history. When scientific publishing began, scientists were few, many were amateurs, being a scientist was not a career, and publishing costs—copyediting, printing, distribution—were high. In 1800, only about thirty scientific and medical journals existed; by 1900, the number had grown to 700. Now, there are estimated to be more than twenty thousand. And they cost! Not the $100 or so per annum you can expect to pay for People magazine or Scientific American, but sometimes thousands of dollars. Although the most prestigious science journals, the weeklies Science (published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science) and Nature (published by Macmillan) cost less than $100, more obscure journals can cost much, much more. The Taylor & Francis Journal of Co-ordination Chemistry (just what is that, one wonders?), for 24 issues, costs $18,041 per year. That is an institutional rate. Many Elsevier journals do not even advertise rates for individuals and their website makes it pretty clear that the institutional rate often involves negotiation.

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Insights into Publication Ethics: An interview with Professor Michael V. Dougherty – Brill (December 2019)

Published/Released on December 05, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 14, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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(UK) Data From A Top Geneticist’s Lab Was Flagged To A Major UK University. It Didn’t Launch A Formal Investigation Until A Decade Later – Buzzfeed (Peter Aldhous | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 25, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 14, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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(US) Science groups, senator warn Trump administration not to change publishing rules – Science (Jeffrey Brainard & David Malakoff | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 18, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 14, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

More than 125 scientific societies and journal publishers, as well as an influential U.S. senator, are urgently warning the Trump administration not to move forward with a rumored executive order that would make all papers produced by federally funded research immediately free to the public. In three separate letters,... More

More than 125 scientific societies and journal publishers, as well as an influential U.S. senator, are urgently warning the Trump administration not to move forward with a rumored executive order that would make all papers produced by federally funded research immediately free to the public. In three separate letters, they argue such a move would be costly, could bankrupt many scientific societies that rely on income from journal subscriptions, and would harm the scientific enterprise. The White House won’t comment on whether the administration is considering issuing an executive order that would change publishing rules, and society officials say they have learned no details—nor been asked for input. But if the murmuring is accurate, the order would represent a major change from current U.S. policy, which allows publishers to keep papers that report the results of federally funded studies behind a paywall for up to 1 year. That 2013 policy was the compromise result of a fierce battle between open-access advocates, who wanted free immediate public access to the fruits of federally funded research, and scientific societies and publishers, who argued such a policy would destroy a long-standing, subscription-based business model that has well served society and scientists. The new letters restate that argument. “Going below the current 12 month ‘embargo’ would make it very difficult for most American publishers to invest in publishing these articles,” argues a letter to President Donald Trump released today by the Association of American Publishers in Washington, D.C., and signed by more than 125 research and publishing groups.

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Celebrating 6 Months of Published Peer Review at PLOS – PLOS Blog (December 2019)

Published/Released on December 05, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 13, 2020 | Keywords: , , ,

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Why sexual harassment needs tougher punishment – Nature (Gemma Conroy | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 03, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 13, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Grant and funding withdrawals should be considered, say researchers.

Funding agencies should cut off grant money to researchers who have been found guilty of sexual misconduct. [colored_box]That’s one of the recommendations from a panel of 21 US-based scientists calling for stronger policies to address sexual... More

Grant and funding withdrawals should be considered, say researchers.

Funding agencies should cut off grant money to researchers who have been found guilty of sexual misconduct. [colored_box]That’s one of the recommendations from a panel of 21 US-based scientists calling for stronger policies to address sexual harassment and gender bias in science. . Their statement, published in Science, is in response to a 2018 US National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) report, which advised that sexual misconduct should have consequences as severe as those associated with research misconduct. .

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Strong caveats are lacking as news stories trumpet preliminary COVID-19 research – HealthNewsReview (Mary Chris Jaklevic | April 2020)

For years medical researchers held off while scientists in other fields embraced online platforms for posting rough drafts of manuscripts, known as preprints. [colored_box]Those websites accelerate basic science by allowing researchers to disseminate findings and get feedback on their work before submitting them to a traditional journal. . Some argue... More

For years medical researchers held off while scientists in other fields embraced online platforms for posting rough drafts of manuscripts, known as preprints. [colored_box]Those websites accelerate basic science by allowing researchers to disseminate findings and get feedback on their work before submitting them to a traditional journal. . Some argue that such rapid data sharing is ideally suited for infectious disease outbreaks like the one we’re experiencing now. However, the prospect of public access to unvetted work sparked worry about potential health scares and patients demanding unproven treatments. A BMJ editorial put it this way: “Can the need for speed be balanced with suitable safeguards to protect the public?” . We’re now finding out. . A medical preprint server called medRxiv (pronounced “med-archive”) went live last summer. It’s a partnership of BMJ (publisher of The BMJ), Yale University, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. .

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The Science of This Pandemic Is Moving at Dangerous Speeds – WIRED (Adam Marcus & Ivan Oransky | March 2020)

Much of the research that emerges in the coming weeks will turn out to be unreliable, even wrong. We'll be OK if we remember that.

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION has made many stumbles in its response to the coronavirus pandemic, but one of the key... More

Much of the research that emerges in the coming weeks will turn out to be unreliable, even wrong. We'll be OK if we remember that.

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION has made many stumbles in its response to the coronavirus pandemic, but one of the key failures was not having enough kits to test for the pathogen once it appeared in the United States. Instead of accepting kits from other countries—including the ones approved by the World Health Organization—the White House went its own way. On March 17, Deborah Birx, the physician coordinating the administration’s scientific response to the Covid-19 outbreak in the United States, tried to explain the rejections. "It doesn't help to put out a test where 50 percent or 47 percent are false positives," Birx told reporters, suggesting that at least some overseas tests were deeply flawed. A few days later, FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn again mentioned the 47-percent error rate in an interview with National Public Radio, attributing it to “an abstract that was recently published in the literature.” He continued: “What that means is that if you had a positive test, it was pretty close to a flip of a coin as to whether it was real or not. That sounds reasonable. After all, a test that is no better than a coin flip would do far more harm than good, burdening an already overwhelmed health care system with a tidal wave of well but worried people. Birx is a highly respected scientist whose résumé includes taking on the AIDS epidemic, and Hahn heads perhaps the nation’s most important health agency. But in this case, they appear to have relied on data that, for reasons that are still unclear, has been withdrawn from the scientific literature

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Science Communications In the Time of Coronavirus – WYNC Studios (March 2020)

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(China) How to tackle academic misconduct among China’s top scientists – Times Higher Education (Futao Huang | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 12, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 11, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Preventing unethical behaviour requires regulatory and institutional reforms, as well as lead researchers remaining close to work done in their name, says Futao Huang

Since the implementation of China’s national strategy to build world-class universities in 1998, the country has rapidly increased its output... More

Preventing unethical behaviour requires regulatory and institutional reforms, as well as lead researchers remaining close to work done in their name, says Futao Huang

Since the implementation of China’s national strategy to build world-class universities in 1998, the country has rapidly increased its output of scientific papers. According to the US National Science Foundation’s 2018 Science and Engineering Indicators report, China published more than 426,000 studies in 2016, accounting for 18.6 per cent of the publications indexed in Elsevier’s Scopus database. This means that China has surpassed the US to become the world’s largest producer of research papers. [colored_box]However, as early as 2002, the number of cases of academic dishonesty among top scientists in China had begun to rise. According to a 2018 report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, there were 64 cases of academic dishonesty between 2007 and 2017. In 2016, at least 10 scientists were questioned and charged. These incidents occurred at 46 universities and one national research institute. More than 65 per cent of academic misconduct cases took place at leading national universities; and 16 of the universities were included in the Project 985 national excellence initiative and 12 were participants in Project 211. . By academic rank, 38 of the accused academics were professors, and eight were associate professors. Among the more recent incidents of alleged misconduct is that of the immunologist Cao Xuetao, president of Nankai University in Tianjin, who faces questions about image manipulation in dozens of papers produced by laboratories that he leads. .

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(US) She Blew the Whistle on Pathogens That Escaped From a Government Lab. Now She’s Being Fired – Vice (Maddie Bender | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 28, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 10, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

A scientist who manages a biosafety lab in Washington State says she's being retaliated against for reporting a leak of an unknown quantity of unknown aquatic pathogens into Lake Washington. A career scientist who works for the U.S. government is alleging that her supervisors have retaliated... More

A scientist who manages a biosafety lab in Washington State says she's being retaliated against for reporting a leak of an unknown quantity of unknown aquatic pathogens into Lake Washington. A career scientist who works for the U.S. government is alleging that her supervisors have retaliated against her for sounding an alarm about biosafety and workplace hazards. Her lawyers claim that she has been unfairly targeted for complaining about a litany of issues at a government science research center since 2017, including requesting an investigation after an unknown quantity of pathogens were released from her organization’s biosafety laboratory into the second-largest body of water in Washington State. Evi Emmenegger worked at the Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC) in Seattle since 1996 until this January, when she was placed on administrative leave and served with a notice of proposed separation. The center is a branch of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which studies natural resources and environmental and ecosystem health, water use, and Earth science. Emmenegger managed an aquatic biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) lab, one of the few in the U.S. built for studying aquatic pathogens that pose a high risk to the environment. She also conducted research on fish diseases in a BSL-2 facility and the BSL-3 lab contained within it.

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(US) Fired cancer scientist says ‘good people are being crushed’ by overzealous probes into possible Chinese ties – Science (Jeffrey Mervis | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 11, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 10, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

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A message for mentors from dissatisfied graduate students – Nature (Chris Woolston | November 2019)

Published/Released on November 20, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 8, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

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New deals could help scientific societies survive open access – Science (Jeffrey Brainard | September 2019)

Published/Released on September 16, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 7, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

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Coronavirus is a Wakeup Call for Academic Conferences. Here’s Why – Scholarly Kitchen (Sami Benchekroun and Michelle Kuepper | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 25, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 6, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

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Does Research Have Any Value in a Refugee Crisis? – Scholarly Kitchen (Haseeb Irfanullah | April 2020)

Bangladesh is now hosting more than 859,000 Rohingyas — the ethnic Muslim minority of Myanmar — at 34 refugee camps on its southeastern Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf peninsula. Between 25 August and 31 December 2017, over 723,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh to save themselves from More

Bangladesh is now hosting more than 859,000 Rohingyas — the ethnic Muslim minority of Myanmar — at 34 refugee camps on its southeastern Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf peninsula. Between 25 August and 31 December 2017, over 723,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh to save themselves from genocide in Myanmar. These people are staying in camps created by clearing 2,500 hectares of forestland. The Government of Bangladesh, donors, UN agencies, and national and international NGOs are collectively managing this unmeasurable humanitarian crisis. [colored_box]The challenges around this crisis are multi-dimensional and complex — fulfilling refugees’ everyday basic needs, protecting them from illegal exploitation, ensuring the future of the 55% who are children, saving them from epidemics and pandemics, reducing potential tension between the Rohingya refugees and the Bangladeshi hosts, and tackling geopolitics around this crisis to name but a few. To researchers, this crisis gives a tremendous opportunity to explore the situations, explain the challenges, test ideas and innovations, recommend solutions, and evaluate actions. . But academic research takes time. Response to humanitarian emergencies like a refugee crisis, on the other hand, is all about urgent action. Here a delay can be a question of life or death. Refugee crises thus demand actions based upon past experiences — what worked and what could work given certain factors within a specific context and ground reality. .

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(US) Ex-Stony Brook prof pleads guilty to swiping $200K of cancer research funds – New York Post (Andrew Denney | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 14, 2020 | Posted by Admin on April 4, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

A former Stony Brook University professor on Tuesday pleaded guilty to siphoning off hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money intended for cancer research and using the cash for his own personal expenses. [colored_box]Geoffrey Girnun, 49, admitted in a Long Island federal court to stealing $78,000 in... More

A former Stony Brook University professor on Tuesday pleaded guilty to siphoning off hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money intended for cancer research and using the cash for his own personal expenses. [colored_box]Geoffrey Girnun, 49, admitted in a Long Island federal court to stealing $78,000 in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and $147,000 from the college, according to federal prosecutors. . Between 2013 to 2017, the feds say Girnun had the cash wired to two shell companies under his control that he falsely claimed were providing equipment for cancer-research projects. .

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What not to do in graduate school – Nature (Buddini Karawdeniya | July 2019)

Published/Released on July 19, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 3, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Six limiting maxims PhD students should avoid.

During my time as a graduate student researching analytical sensors in the Dwyer laboratory at The University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, I made a lot of mistakes — some of which matured into valuable lessons.... More

Six limiting maxims PhD students should avoid.

During my time as a graduate student researching analytical sensors in the Dwyer laboratory at The University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, I made a lot of mistakes — some of which matured into valuable lessons. If you are already in graduate school, or have decided to start, here are six things I recommend you do not do. Compare yourself with others I’ve met many scientists who spiral into stress and disappointment because they compare themselves unfavourably with others. Every research field, project and graduate student is unique. In some fields, it can take years to find a breakthrough worth publishing; in others, it’s easier to publish frequently. I became worried by the third year of my PhD, when it seemed as if it was taking me longer than others to publish my research project. It took me almost six years to complete my PhD, but my hard work paid off when I published a piece on my flagship project in Nature Communications, alongside almost a dozen other publications and two patent applications from various other projects. Instead of looking at what others are doing, learn to be introspective. Grow from your mistakes, and find more efficient and effective work tactics. Blindly trust your data I have learnt to be suspicious of my data. Consider what could go wrong when obtaining them — if something seems weird or wrong in some way, it probably is. I was once designing a sensor that would detect minuscule amounts of chemicals with a laser. One day, thrillingly, the signal looked fabulous: the laser power was turned all the way to the highest setting instead of my usual setting; and the higher the laser power, the higher the signal. Although it looked great, it turned out that the equipment was enormously overestimating the sensing performance and was therefore producing useless data. Be aware of issues such as sample contamination, labelling errors or faulty instrument calibrations. Just because you yourself obtained the data, do not blindly trust them.

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“I was shocked. I felt physically ill.” And still, she corrected the record – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 26, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 30, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Two years ago, Julia Strand, an assistant professor of psychology at Carleton College, published a paper in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review about how people strain to listen in crowded spaces (think: when they’re doing the opposite of social distancing). [colored_box]The article, titled “Talking points: A modulating circle reduces listening... More

Two years ago, Julia Strand, an assistant professor of psychology at Carleton College, published a paper in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review about how people strain to listen in crowded spaces (think: when they’re doing the opposite of social distancing). [colored_box]The article, titled “Talking points: A modulating circle reduces listening effort without improving speech recognition,” was a young scientist’s fantasy — splashy, fascinating findings in a well-known journal — and, according to Strand, it gave her fledgling career a jolt. . The data were “gorgeous,” she said, initially replicable and well-received: .

'We planned follow-up studies, started designing an app … for use in clinical settings, and I wrote and was awarded a National Institute of Health grant (my first!) to fund the work." .

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APA chief publishing officer: Ignore paper removal request – Eiko blog (January 2020)

Published/Released on January 03, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 28, 2020 | Keywords: , , ,

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(US) Nobel Prize-winning scientist Frances Arnold retracts paper – BBC News (January 2020)

Published/Released on January 03, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 27, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

American scientist Frances Arnold, who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry, has retracted her latest paper. [colored_box]Prof Arnold shared the award with George P Smith and Gregory Winter for their research on enzymes in 2018. . A subsequent paper on enzymatic synthesis of beta-lactams was published in the journal Science... More

American scientist Frances Arnold, who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry, has retracted her latest paper. [colored_box]Prof Arnold shared the award with George P Smith and Gregory Winter for their research on enzymes in 2018. . A subsequent paper on enzymatic synthesis of beta-lactams was published in the journal Science in May 2019. . It has been retracted because the results were not reproducible, and the authors found data missing from a lab notebook. . Reproduction is an essential part of validating scientific experiments. If an experiment is a success, one would expect to get the same results every time it was conducted. .

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(US and China) KU researcher charged with failing to disclose conflict of interest with Chinese university – KMBC News (August 2019)

Published/Released on August 21, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 25, 2020 | Keywords: , , ,

A researcher at the University of Kansas was indicted Thursday on federal charges of hiding the fact he was working full-time for a Chinese university while doing research at KU funded by the U.S. government. Feng “Franklin” Tao, 47, of Lawrence, Kansas, is charged with one count of wire fraud... More

A researcher at the University of Kansas was indicted Thursday on federal charges of hiding the fact he was working full-time for a Chinese university while doing research at KU funded by the U.S. government. Feng “Franklin” Tao, 47, of Lawrence, Kansas, is charged with one count of wire fraud and three counts of program fraud, according to Jim Cross, the public information officer for U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister in the District of Kansas. Tao is an associate professor at KU’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis. He was employed since August 2014 by the CEBC, the mission of which is to conduct research on sustainable technology to conserve natural resources and energy.

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10 Types of Plagiarism in Research – Wiley (Helen Eassom | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 05, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 25, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

[colored_box]Last year, we wrote about the steps Wiley is taking to target plagiarism. For each manuscript submitted to a Wiley Open Access journal using the ScholarOne submission system, an automatic report is generated using the iThenticate anti-plagiarism software, a process that benefits authors and editors alike by ensuring high... More

[colored_box]Last year, we wrote about the steps Wiley is taking to target plagiarism. For each manuscript submitted to a Wiley Open Access journal using the ScholarOne submission system, an automatic report is generated using the iThenticate anti-plagiarism software, a process that benefits authors and editors alike by ensuring high ethical standards across the open access programme. Plagiarism however, continues to be a huge problem in scientific publishing. In order to address these ongoing issues, a deeper knowledge and understanding of the nature of plagiarism is required. With this in mind, iThenticate have conducted a survey of scientific researchers, in which respondents were asked to both rate the severity and commonness of ten forms of plagiarism. The following infographic (used with permission from iThenticate) shows the ten types, along with percieved commonness and seriousness. You can also view the survey summary here.

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NSF tallies 16 cases of alleged harassment by grantees in first year of new rules – Science (Jeffrey Mervis | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 28, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 25, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

It’s been 1 year since the National Science Foundation (NSF) implemented a new policy governing when universities must tell it about possible sexual harassment by grantees. Despite adopting a narrow definition of who is covered, agency officials say they are surprised by how many notifications—16 to date—they... More

It’s been 1 year since the National Science Foundation (NSF) implemented a new policy governing when universities must tell it about possible sexual harassment by grantees. Despite adopting a narrow definition of who is covered, agency officials say they are surprised by how many notifications—16 to date—they have received. [colored_box]The rules apply only to researchers who received an award after 22 October 2018 or a recent amendment to an earlier award, and kick in only when an institution takes what is called an “administrative action.” That could range from monitoring someone’s behavior to banning the alleged perpetrator from campus. Institutions must also notify NSF of the final decision in a harassment investigation involving an NSF grantee, the end of a process that can drag on for years. . If followed by institutions, the notification rules should reduce the chances that the agency is blindsided by media reports of current grantees who are found guilty of harassment. But the rules will not create a database of all sexual harassment investigations at NSF-funded institutions, nor was that NSF’s intention. Rather, the rule addresses NSF’s obligation to ensure a “safe and secure” research environment at places where it is spending money. .

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(China/US) Stolen Research: Chinese Scientist Is Accused of Smuggling Lab Samples – New York Times (Ellen Barry | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 31, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 25, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Zaosong Zheng, a promising cancer researcher, confessed that he had planned to take the stolen samples to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, and publish the results under his own name

BOSTON — Zaosong Zheng was preparing to board Hainan Airlines Flight 482, nonstop... More

Zaosong Zheng, a promising cancer researcher, confessed that he had planned to take the stolen samples to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, and publish the results under his own name

BOSTON — Zaosong Zheng was preparing to board Hainan Airlines Flight 482, nonstop from Boston to Beijing, when customs officers pulled him aside.

Inside his checked luggage, wrapped in a plastic bag and then inserted into a sock, the officers found what they were looking for: 21 vials of brown liquid — cancer cells — that the authorities say Mr. Zheng, 29, a cancer researcher, took from a laboratory at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Under questioning, court documents say, Mr. Zheng acknowledged that he had stolen eight of the samples and had replicated 11 more based on a colleague’s research. When he returned to China, he said, he would take the samples to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital and turbocharge his career by publishing the results in China, under his own name.

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Articles in ‘predatory’ journals receive few or no citations – Science (Jeffrey Brainard | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 07, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 24, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

Six of every 10 articles published in a sample of “predatory" journals attracted not one single citation over a 5-year period, according to a new study. Like many open-access journals, predatory journals charge authors to publish, but they offer little or no peer review or other quality controls and often... More

Six of every 10 articles published in a sample of “predatory" journals attracted not one single citation over a 5-year period, according to a new study. Like many open-access journals, predatory journals charge authors to publish, but they offer little or no peer review or other quality controls and often use aggressive marketing tactics. The new study found that the few articles in predatory journals that received citations did so at a rate much lower than papers in conventional, peer-reviewed journals. [colored_box]The authors say the finding allays concerns that low-quality or misleading studies published in these journals are getting undue attention. “There is little harm done if nobody reads and, in particular, makes use of such results,” write Bo-Christer Björk of the Hanken School of Economics in Finland and colleagues in a preprint posted 21 December 2019 on arXiv. . But Rick Anderson, an associate dean at the University of Utah who oversees collections in the university’s main library, says the finding that 40% of the predatory journal articles drew at least one citation “strikes me as pretty alarming.” .

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A toast to the error detectors – Nature (Simine Vazire | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 30, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 24, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

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5 Things We Learned About Peer Review in 2019 – PLOS Blog (Hilda Bastian | December 2019)

Published/Released on March 31, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 24, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

For something so fundamental to the practice of science, it’s perplexing that it took so long for serious research into editorial peer review to get off the ground. The earliest experimental study I could find was published in 1977, and there still aren’t many of them. I guess it’s... More

For something so fundamental to the practice of science, it’s perplexing that it took so long for serious research into editorial peer review to get off the ground. The earliest experimental study I could find was published in 1977, and there still aren’t many of them. I guess it’s a classic case of fish not seeing the water they’re swimming in. I’ve written a couple of posts covering milestones in peer review research up to the end of 2018. If you want to catch up on the main things we know about peer review at journals, there are links to those at the bottom of this post. Now let’s get straight to the year’s highlights – and please let me know via the comments or Twitter if you know of more studies that have moved us forward. 1. Peer review might sometimes be a kind of academic matchmaking, increasing the chances of future scientific collaboration. [Exploratory study of co-authorship networks.] The data come from only one journal, it wasn’t a dramatic phenomenon, and there are other possible explanations for the results. So there are big caveats here. Still, this study adds some substance to the theory that editors selecting peer reviewers could be influencing future co-authorship. And it certainly broadens the perspective we should have of peer review’s potential impact.

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Scientists reveal what they learnt from their biggest mistakes – Nature Index (Gemma Conroy | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 03, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 23, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

How retractions can be a way forward.

Be it a botched experiment or a coding error, mistakes are easily made but harder to handle, particularly if they find their way into a published paper. Although retracting a paper due to an error may not seem... More

How retractions can be a way forward.

Be it a botched experiment or a coding error, mistakes are easily made but harder to handle, particularly if they find their way into a published paper. Although retracting a paper due to an error may not seem a desirable career milestone, it is seen as important for building trust within the research community and upholding scientific rigor. A 2017 study found that authors who retract their papers due to a mistake earn praise from peer-reviewers and other researchers for their honesty. Below are four lessons from researchers who have retracted flawed papers.

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Publishers roll out alternative routes to open access – Science (Jeffrey Brainard | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 09, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 21, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

In the push for “open access” (OA)—making scientific papers immediately free to everyone—it’s easy to forget that publishing costs haven’t vanished. They have simply shifted from subscriptions paid mostly by university librarians to fees charged to authors. Those article-processing fees (APCs), which can be several thousand dollars per paper,... More

In the push for “open access” (OA)—making scientific papers immediately free to everyone—it’s easy to forget that publishing costs haven’t vanished. They have simply shifted from subscriptions paid mostly by university librarians to fees charged to authors. Those article-processing fees (APCs), which can be several thousand dollars per paper, raise concerns of their own. Universities fear they could end up paying more to help their scientists publish their work than they do now for subscriptions. Scientists who have small research budgets fret that they won’t be able to afford APCs. And some nonprofit scientific societies that publish journals worry APCs won’t generate enough revenue to support other activities, such as meetings and training. [colored_box]Now, two nonprofit publishers of prominent journals have debuted new ways to support OA journals without shifting the burden entirely to authors. “Everybody that we work with is watching these two [new models] closely,” says Michael Clarke, managing partner of the consulting firm Clarke & Esposito, which advises publishers. “There is not currently a good solution.” . One approach, called Subscribe to Open and implemented today by Annual Reviews, would transform the nature of subscriptions. To make a journal freely available, institutions would be asked for a contribution equivalent to their previous subscription—minus a 5% discount that Annual Reviews is offering to retain a critical mass of paying institutions. To deter freeloading, Annual Reviews says it will reimpose paywalls and rescind the discount if not enough subscribers renew each year. It is planning to pilot the approach in up to five of its 51 titles, many of which are widely cited. .

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‘Broken access’ publishing corrodes quality – Nature (Adriano Aguzzi | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 12, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 21, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

Funders should award competitive grants directly to journals to underwrite the costs of open access, urges Adriano Aguzzi.

I’m passionately in favour of everyone having open access to the results of the scientific research that their taxes pay for. But I think there are... More

Funders should award competitive grants directly to journals to underwrite the costs of open access, urges Adriano Aguzzi.

I’m passionately in favour of everyone having open access to the results of the scientific research that their taxes pay for. But I think there are deep problems with one of the current modes for delivering it. The author-pays model (which I call broken access) means journals increase their profits when they accept more papers and reject fewer. That makes it all too tempting to subordinate stringent acceptance criteria to the balance sheet. This conflict of interest has allowed the proliferation of predatory journals, which charge authors to publish papers but do not provide the expected services and offer no quality control.

The problem is not addressed, in my view, by the Plan S updates announced in May by a group of mainly European funders and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington. Plan S is the push to make the research these agencies fund open access on publication from 1 January 2021. I am concerned the implementation of this honourable goal could cause long-term damage to the integrity of the scientific record.

But I know of a fix, and I have seen it in operation. I propose a model in which journals compete not for libraries’ or authors’ money, but for funds allocated by public-research agencies. The major agencies should call for proposals, similar to research-grant applications. Any publisher could apply with its strategic plans and multi-year budgets; applications would be reviewed by panels of scientists and specialists in scientific publishing.

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Plan S and the Transformation of Scholarly Communication: Are We Missing the Woods? – Scholarly Kitchen (Alison Mudditt | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 03, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 21, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

At the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) Annual Meeting in San Diego last Thursday, those unfortunate enough to be speaking during the 4pm slot lost their audience as everyone’s attention turned to their phones. The wait was over! Revised Plan S implementation guidelines were released last Thursday... More

At the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) Annual Meeting in San Diego last Thursday, those unfortunate enough to be speaking during the 4pm slot lost their audience as everyone’s attention turned to their phones. The wait was over! Revised Plan S implementation guidelines were released last Thursday or Friday, depending on what part of the globe you were in. If nothing else, Plan S is the gift that keeps on giving for bloggers, pundits, and consultants and this will certainly not be the last word on the revised guidelines you read here in the Scholarly Kitchen. I’m going to use the opportunity of having the first word here to take a step back to look at the bigger picture (so those of you looking for the play-by-play will have to wait!). Today, I’m more interested in how Plan S may or may not contribute to a more fundamental remake of scholarly communication – one that is more fit for purpose in this digital century, rather than one that continues to be driven by the legacy of the print era. And yes, I do worry that in all of the wrangling about what is and isn’t Plan S compliant, we’re far too focused on the trees and are not asking the right questions. My initial disclaimer, if it’s not obvious, is that I am completely supportive of the driving principles and objectives of Plan S. I lead an organization that is – and always has been – Plan S compliant from top to toe. But more than that, I share the goal of a future in which the research literature is fully and immediately open with liberal rights of reuse. And so, I am pleased to see that this bold goal not only remains unchanged but that the feedback process has encouraged (or, in some cases, perhaps forced) stakeholders to support these general principles:

‘The feedback received has shown that the overall goal of achieving full and immediate Open Access is widely supported by those who responded. The overall objective of Plan S has thus not been challenged.’

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Ambitious open-access Plan S delayed to let research community adapt – Nature (Holly Else | May 2019)

Published/Released on May 31, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 21, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

Funders behind the policy tweak rules after major consultation.

A major push by some science agencies to make the research they fund open-access on publication — Plan S — has been delayed by a year. Funders now don’t have to start implementing the initiative... More

Funders behind the policy tweak rules after major consultation.

A major push by some science agencies to make the research they fund open-access on publication — Plan S — has been delayed by a year. Funders now don’t have to start implementing the initiative until 2021, the agencies announced today, to give researchers and publishers more time to adapt to the changes the bold plan requires. The funders, together called Coalition S, say they are also now prepared to give publishers more flexibility in how they transform paywalled or part-paywalled journals into fully open-access titles to become compliant with Plan S, and they will not necessarily place a cap on journals’ open-access publishing fees as they’d previously stated. The group of 19 mainly European funders behind the plan made the changes after a public consultation drew hundreds of responses from publishers, academic libraries and researchers (see ‘Five key changes to Plan S’). “2020 was considered to be too ambitious by the research community and publishers genuinely wishing to change,” says Marc Schiltz, president of Science Europe, a Brussels-based advocacy group that represents European research agencies and officially launched the policy last year.

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Want to do better science? Admit you’re not objective – Nature (Angela Saini | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 09, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 19, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

When science is viewed in isolation from the past and politics, it’s easier for those with bad intentions to revive dangerous and discredited ideas.

One of the world’s leading universities — University College London (UCL) — has completed an inquiry into its support for... More

When science is viewed in isolation from the past and politics, it’s easier for those with bad intentions to revive dangerous and discredited ideas.

One of the world’s leading universities — University College London (UCL) — has completed an inquiry into its support for the discredited pseudoscience of eugenics. Funds linked to Francis Galton, a racist who believed it was possible to improve the British population through selective breeding, and who founded the Eugenics Records Office at UCL in 1904, continue to line the university’s coffers to the value of more than £800,000 (US$1 million). [colored_box]The inquiry’s report, released on 28 February, recommended renaming lecture theatres and buildings bearing Galton’s name and that of another prominent geneticist. Although this is welcome, it does not acknowledge just how much yesterday’s mistakes survive in modern science. . As I found while writing my 2019 book Superior: The Return of Race Science, geneticists today rightly treat eugenics as a laughable proposition, and the concept of biological race — the belief that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups with meaningful differences between them — as easily debunked nonsense. But this ignores how these ideas manifest in the real world. They can only be truly understood as age-old intellectual threads, embedded in politics as much now as ever. .

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Hundreds of scientists have peer-reviewed for predatory journals – Nature (Richard Van Noorden | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 11, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 18, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Many of these titles have some editorial oversight — but the quality of reviews is in question.

Hundreds of scientists who post their peer-review activity on the website Publons say they’ve reviewed papers for journals termed ‘predatory’... More

Many of these titles have some editorial oversight — but the quality of reviews is in question.

Hundreds of scientists who post their peer-review activity on the website Publons say they’ve reviewed papers for journals termed ‘predatory’ — although they might not know it. An analysis of the site has found that it hosts at least 6,000 records of reviews for more than 1,000 predatory journals. The researchers who review most for these titles tend to be young, inexperienced and affiliated with institutions in low-income nations in Africa and the Middle East, according to the study, posted to the bioRxiv preprint server on 11 March. [colored_box]The study is the largest yet to examine claims that scientists review for predatory journals. A popular conception of these journals is that they generally publish any manuscript they’re offered for a fee and don’t offer peer review. In fact, journals can be defined as predatory while providing peer review, because they might be deceptive in other ways. But the peer review that these journals conduct might not be to the standard most researchers recognize, says Matt Hodgkinson, head of research integrity at the publisher Hindawi in London. “They are likely going through the motions and using these reviewers as a fig leaf,” he says. . The reviews, if genuine, might be “a waste of valuable time and effort” by researchers, the study says. Its authors suggest that funders and research institutions should warn against reviewing for predatory titles. .

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(Australia) Industrial umpire lashes universities ‘obsessed’ with rankings and reputation – Sydney Morning Herald (Nick Bonyhady & Natassia Chrysanthos | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 11, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 15, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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(China) Chinese scientist Li Ning gets 12 years in prison for embezzling US$4.3 million of government funds – South China Morning Post (Stephen Chen | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 03, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 14, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

  • More

    • Cloning expert and his colleague Zhang Lei from China Agricultural University in Beijing found guilty of moving funds to private firms the pair controlled
    • Court rejects claims money was moved to prevent a funding gap
    A Chinese scientist arrested in 2014 for embezzling more than 34 million yuan (US$4.3 million) of research funds has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

    [colored_box]Dr Li Ning, an expert in cloning and former director of the State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, was found guilty of illegally transferring the funds in the form of “investments” to several companies he controlled, though there was no evidence he spent any of the money on himself, the Intermediate People’s Court of Songyuan in northeast China’s Jilin province said in its verdict. .

    Li was also fined 3 million yuan, while his assistant, Dr Zhang Lei, was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison and fined 200,000 yuan on the same charge. .

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Open Peer Review in the Humanities – Scholarly Kitchen (Seth Denbo | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 04, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 13, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Editor’s Note:  Today’s post is by Seth Denbo, Director of Scholarly Communication and Digital Initiatives at the American Historical Association. Open peer review hasn’t caught on in the humanities. Nearly ten years ago, a few notable experiments attracted the attention of the New York Times. The “Web Alternative to... More

Editor’s Note:  Today’s post is by Seth Denbo, Director of Scholarly Communication and Digital Initiatives at the American Historical Association. Open peer review hasn’t caught on in the humanities. Nearly ten years ago, a few notable experiments attracted the attention of the New York Times. The “Web Alternative to the Venerable Peer Review,” as the headline in the print edition on August 24, 2010 dubbed it, was presented as an innovation that would revolutionize the way scholars evaluated each other’s work. Breathlessly excited about the potential of web-based open review for “generating discussion, improving works in progress, and sharing information rapidly,” the Times contrasted this with what was presented as the purely “up-or-down judgment” of customary review practices. Openness was said to be central to the attractiveness of these new forms of peer review. Flash forward to the present, and little widespread change in humanities peer review has occurred. Many articles on peer review have pointed out that the systematic practices we think of as central to scholarship and scholarly communication evolved as recently as the mid-20th century. Melinda Baldwin has written on how peer review did not come to be seen as necessary for scholarly legitimacy until the Cold War. Ben Schmidt has shown that the phrase “peer review” doesn’t enter the lexicon until the 1970s. Despite the relative recent emergence of systematic practices, peer review is central to scholarship. And, within a range of different ways of organizing review and masking the identity of author, reviewer, or both, a more-or-less closed process still dominates in humanities journals and book publishing. These long-standing practices still seem to provide editors with the evaluation they require to maintain quality and the feedback that assists authors in improving their work. Alex Lichtenstein, editor of the American Historical Review (AHR), recently wrote “as an editor I especially value the developmental as well as evaluative role” provided by the current double-blind peer review practices and structures that he directs as editor. Despite his commitment to double-blind review, Lichtenstein is overseeing the AHR’s first foray into experimenting with open review. “History Can be Open Source: Democratic Dreams and the Rise of Digital History” by Joseph L. Locke and Ben Wright is currently posted on ahropenreview.com for an open, public comment period that will run until early April. In parallel, the editors have invited several reviewers to submit more traditional peer reports. Those reviewers have been given the option of anonymity, but their reviews will be public.

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How Academic Science Gave Its Soul to the Publishing Industry – Issues in Science and Technology (Mark Neff | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 27, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 9, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Self-governance of science was supposed to mean freedom of inquiry, but it also ended up serving the business model of scientific publishers while undermining the goals of science policy.

America’s globally preeminent university research enterprise is constructed on two bedrock principles of self-governance. The... More

Self-governance of science was supposed to mean freedom of inquiry, but it also ended up serving the business model of scientific publishers while undermining the goals of science policy.

America’s globally preeminent university research enterprise is constructed on two bedrock principles of self-governance. The first is autonomy: academic scientists should be left free to determine their own research agendas. The second is internal accountability: the quality of academic science is best assessed by academic scientists. The commitment to scientific self-governance carries with it a policy requirement as well: support for research will mostly have to come from the federal government; companies will never make the necessary investments in undirected research because they cannot capture the economic benefits for themselves. [colored_box]The origin story of how this arrangement came about is a familiar one. During World War II, civilian scientists and engineers developed pivotal innovations that contributed to the allied victory. Their work was funded, overseen, and coordinated by the US Office of Scientific Research and Development, directed by Vannevar Bush, formerly the president of the Carnegie Institution for Science and a dean of engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Closely administered for relevance in advancing the war effort, wartime research and development activities were managed in a manner antithetical to contemporary ideals of scientific self-governance. Following the war, Bush made a pitch in his now famous report Science, The Endless Frontier that to secure social and economic benefits in the postwar period, including more and better paying jobs, more productive agriculture, and innovative industrial products desired by consumers, “the flow of scientific knowledge must be both continuous and substantial.” To achieve this knowledge flow he felt that the government should provide generous funding for the scientific community, as it had during the war. . But counter to the coordinated wartime R&D effort he had headed, Bush insisted that scientists must be allowed to work “on subjects of their own choice, in the manner dictated by their curiosity for the exploration of the unknown.” Such curiosity-driven basic science would yield essential but unpredictable benefits at unknowable points downstream, he argued, and was an essential prerequisite for solving social problems. The quality of a proposed research project could not therefore be judged by its potential benefits to society—those were unforeseeable. Scientists would judge scientific merit according to their own internal criteria. .

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Neff, Mark W. “How Academic Science Gave Its Soul to the Publishing Industry.” Issues in Science and Technology 36, no. 2 (Winter 2020): 35–43.

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(China) How China’s New Policy May Change Researchers’ Publishing Behavior – Scholarly Kitchen (Dr. Jie Xu | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 03, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 8, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

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(China) China bans cash rewards for publishing papers – Nature (Smriti Mallapaty | February 2020)

Published/Released on March 28, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 8, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

New policy tackles perverse incentives that drive ‘publish or perish’ culture and might be encouraging questionable research practices.

Chinese institutions have been told to stop paying researchers bonuses for publishing in journals, as part of a new national policy to cut perverse incentives that... More

New policy tackles perverse incentives that drive ‘publish or perish’ culture and might be encouraging questionable research practices.

Chinese institutions have been told to stop paying researchers bonuses for publishing in journals, as part of a new national policy to cut perverse incentives that encourage scientists to publish lots of papers rather than focus on high-impact work. [colored_box]In an order released last week, China’s science and education ministries also say that institutions must not promote or recruit researchers solely on the basis of the number of papers they publish, or their citations. Researchers are welcoming the policy, but say that it could reduce the country’s competitiveness in science. . In China, one of the main indicators currently used to evaluate researchers, allocate funding and rank institutions is metrics collected by the Science Citation Index (SCI), a database of articles and citation records for more than 9,000 journals. Since 2009, articles in these journals written by authors from Chinese institutions increased from some 120,000 a year to 450,000 in 2019. Some institutions even pay researchers bonuses for publishing in them. .

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Female researchers in Australia less likely to win major medical grants than males – Nature (Bianca Nogrady | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 17, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 7, 2020 | Keywords: , ,

The results come despite a gender equity push at the National Health and Medical Research Council.

[colored_box]Female scientists in Australia were less likely to win a major type of medical-research grants this year than their male counterparts, despite an overhaul of the country’s science... More

The results come despite a gender equity push at the National Health and Medical Research Council.

[colored_box]Female scientists in Australia were less likely to win a major type of medical-research grants this year than their male counterparts, despite an overhaul of the country’s science funding that was supposed to address gender inequity. . The funding imbalance occurred in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) ‘investigator grants’, which were first awarded to individuals in late August, and was particularly severe at senior levels. Only 29.4% of senior women (5 out of 17) who applied for a grant were successful, compared with 49.3% (37 out of 75) male applicants who had the same level of experience. . “We’re putting millions of dollars into programmes and time and effort to maintain women in STEM, but then we only fund five [senior women]. It’s a poor message,” says Marguerite Evans-Galea, a molecular biologist in Melbourne and the co-founder of the non-profit association Women in STEMM Australia. . The results were released on the NHMRC's website. Grant application success rates were more closely matched between men and women at the early- and mid-career stages, with the big discrepancy appearing for senior leaders (see ‘Who gets the grants?’). But overall, success rates were higher for men than for women (14.9% versus 11.3%), reflecting a consistent pattern in the agency’s funding outcomes since 2001. Men also received more money in total this year, partly because they won more grants than women. ..

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(Taiwan) Researcher formerly of OSU and Taiwan’s Academia Sinica gets 10-year ban – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 25, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 6, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

After a 20-month investigation, Taiwan’s leading science institution has hit a former star cancer researcher with a 10-year ban for research misconduct. [colored_box]Academia Sinica (AS) said its inquiry found that Ching-shih Chen, formerly a distinguished research fellow at the center, was guilty of fabricating or falsifying data in... More

After a 20-month investigation, Taiwan’s leading science institution has hit a former star cancer researcher with a 10-year ban for research misconduct. [colored_box]Academia Sinica (AS) said its inquiry found that Ching-shih Chen, formerly a distinguished research fellow at the center, was guilty of fabricating or falsifying data in several of the nearly two dozen papers he’d published while affiliated with the institution from 2014 to 2018. AS said Chen was being directed to retract one of the affected papers and correct three others. . A 2018 article in the Taipei Times quoted an AS official, Henry Sun, saying that Chen, who resigned his post there that year, admitted that his staff had “beautified” his results and that he kept loose reins over this lab. .

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(Europe) Science shouldn’t be for sale – we need reform to industry-funded studies to keep people safe – The Guardian (Carey Gillam

Published/Released on February 19, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 3, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

We must be able to trust the integrity of scientific research as we work to protect our families and our planet

Not again. News out of Europe last week revealed that more than 20 scientific studies... More

We must be able to trust the integrity of scientific research as we work to protect our families and our planet

Not again. News out of Europe last week revealed that more than 20 scientific studies submitted to regulators to prove the safety of the popular weedkilling chemical glyphosate came from a large German laboratory that has been accused of fraud and other wrongdoing. [colored_box]The findings come amid global debate over whether or not glyphosate causes cancer and other health problems and if regulators and chemical companies proclaiming the chemical’s safety actually have credible science on their side.Amid a government investigation into the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT), investigators representing three European non-profit consumer advocacy groups are raising concerns about the validity of the glyphosate studies generated by the Hamburg facility. No significant concerns with glyphosate were found, according to the tests, three of which looked for glyphosate-related mutagenicity. Monsanto and other chemical companies needed those studies and others to submit to regulators in order to obtain re-approval to sell glyphosate herbicide products in Europe. . Amid a government investigation into the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT), investigators representing three European non-profit consumer advocacy groups are raising concerns about the validity of the glyphosate studies generated by the Hamburg facility. No significant concerns with glyphosate were found, according to the tests, three of which looked for glyphosate-related mutagenicity. Monsanto and other chemical companies needed those studies and others to submit to regulators in order to obtain re-approval to sell glyphosate herbicide products in Europe. .

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How Universities Cover Up Scientific Fraud – Areo (Justin T Pickett | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 20, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 1, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

I learned a hard lesson last year, after blowing the whistle on my coauthor, mentor and friend: not all universities can be trusted to investigate accusations of fraud, or even to follow their own misconduct policies. Then I found out how widespread the problem is: experts have... More

I learned a hard lesson last year, after blowing the whistle on my coauthor, mentor and friend: not all universities can be trusted to investigate accusations of fraud, or even to follow their own misconduct policies. Then I found out how widespread the problem is: experts have been sounding the alarm for over thirty years. [colored_box]One in fifty scientists fakes research by fabricating or falsifying data. They make off with government grant money, which they share with their universities, and their made-up findings guide medical practice, public policy and ordinary people’s decisions about things like whether or not to vaccinate their children. The fraudulent science we know about has caused thousands of deaths and wasted millions in taxpayer dollars. That is only scratching the surface, however—because most fraudsters are never caught. As Ivan Oransky notes in Gaming the Metrics, “the most common outcome for those who commit fraud is: a long career.” . There are two reasons for this. First, many scientists who witness fraud don’t report it, because they believe nothing would happen if they did and they fear retaliation. Second, when fraud is reported, the job of investigating it falls to the fraudsters’ universities. Most whistleblowers inform their universities directly. Even if they don’t, federal agencies, like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, refer fraud accusations back to universities for investigation, and publishers and the Committee on Publication Ethics tell journal editors to do the same. .

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(US) Texas A&M chancellor fires back at Harvard over criticism of controversial beef study – The Texas Tribune (Sami Sparber | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 22, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 29, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

John Sharp sent Harvard’s president an open letter calling for an investigation into Harvard scientists whose actions he said “are false and harmful to Texas A&M University and its faculty.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that a Texas A&M researcher... More

John Sharp sent Harvard’s president an open letter calling for an investigation into Harvard scientists whose actions he said “are false and harmful to Texas A&M University and its faculty.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that a Texas A&M researcher received funding from a beef industry-backed program for research separate from the study on the risks of eating red meat. Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp called out Harvard on Wednesday after some Harvard faculty alleged that Texas A&M food scientists are beholden to the beef industry. Sharp fired back with an open letter urging Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow to investigate faculty who he says “mischaracterized scientific research and falsely accused Texas A&M scientists of selling out to industry interests.” The accusations against scientists at A&M — the leading agriculture school in the nation's largest beef-producing state — coincide with an emerging scientific dispute over the health benefits of curtailing meat consumption. And A&M is pushing back hard in defense of its researchers.

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Friday afternoon’s funny – Become a chief investigator

Published/Released on February 28, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 28, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

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Oops!… I Did It Again. When to correct or retract? – Science Integrity Digest (Elisabeth Bik | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 08, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 27, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

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CRediT Check – Should we welcome tools to differentiate the contributions made to academic papers? – LSE Blog (Elizabeth Gadd | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 20, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 26, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Elsevier is the latest in a lengthening list of publishers to announce their adoption for 1,200 journals of the CASRAI Contributor Role Taxonomy (CRediT). Authors of papers in these journals will be required to define their contributions in relation to a predefined taxonomy of 14... More

Elsevier is the latest in a lengthening list of publishers to announce their adoption for 1,200 journals of the CASRAI Contributor Role Taxonomy (CRediT). Authors of papers in these journals will be required to define their contributions in relation to a predefined taxonomy of 14 roles. In this post, Elizabeth Gadd weighs the pros and cons of defining contributorship in a more prescriptive fashion and asks whether there is a risk of incentivising new kinds of competitive behaviour and forms of evaluation that doesn’t benefit researchers.

Getting named on a journal article is the ultimate prize for an aspiring academic. Not only do they get the paper on their CV (which can literally be money in the bank), but once named, all the subsequent citations accrue to each co-author equally, no matter what their contribution.

[colored_box] Original tweet by Ali Chamkha, retweeted with comment by Damien Debecker. 3 January 2020 .

However, as this tweet demonstrates, getting named on a journal article is not the same as having a) done the lion’s share of the research and/or b) actually writing the journal article. And there is a lot of frustration about false credit claims. Gift authorshipghost authorshippurchased authorship, and wrangles about author order abound. To address these problems there is some helpful guidance from organisations like the International Council of Medical Journal Editors, the British Sociological Association and the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) about what constitutes an author. Perhaps most significantly, in 2014 we saw the launch of CASRAI’s Contributor Role Taxonomy, CRediT.

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Philosophers clash over race science paper – Times Higher Education (Jack Grove | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 04, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 25, 2020 | Keywords: , , ,

Furore over Oxford doctoral student’s journal article reignites debate over the limits of free speech

Academics have clashed over a journal paper that explores the idea that intelligence might be linked to race. [colored_box]Mark Alfano, who holds academic posts at Sydney’s More

Furore over Oxford doctoral student’s journal article reignites debate over the limits of free speech

Academics have clashed over a journal paper that explores the idea that intelligence might be linked to race. [colored_box]Mark Alfano, who holds academic posts at Sydney’s Macquarie University and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, launched a petition last month that calls for the leadership of the journal Philosophical Psychology to resign, apologise or retract an article written by Nathan Cofnas, a doctoral student at the University of Oxford. . The paper, published in December, considers how society might need to respond differently if, “in a very short time”, science concludes that some races are more intelligent than others. .

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Is research integrity training a waste of time? – Nature (Gemma Conroy | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 12, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 24, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Building good research practices begins before entering the lab.

More training and clear guidelines are favoured as fixes for bad research practices, but a new study suggests that these efforts are wasted if researchers are inherently dishonest. [colored_box]The study published... More

Building good research practices begins before entering the lab.

More training and clear guidelines are favoured as fixes for bad research practices, but a new study suggests that these efforts are wasted if researchers are inherently dishonest. [colored_box]The study published in BMC Medical Ethics revealed that childhood education and personality traits have a greater influence on how researchers conduct their work than formal training in research integrity. . The authors write that while it is possible to teach professional scientists the rules of rigorous research, “it might be far too late to imbue them with integrity that they do not already have.” . Institutions around the world are grappling with how to best tackle the problem of research misconduct. . But even after two decades of mandated training in responsible conduct for researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation in the US, “the evidence on effectiveness of these trainings in changing behavior of researchers remains inconsistent and weak”, according to the paper. .

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Honesty in authorship. Who’s on first? – Hindawi (Eva Amsen | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 30, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 23, 2020 | Keywords: , , ,

Research is a collaborative effort, and that collaboration extends to being honest and open about who gets an author credit.

Having your name on a published paper helps strengthen your academic record and improves your chances of securing funding for future projects. But... More

Research is a collaborative effort, and that collaboration extends to being honest and open about who gets an author credit.

Having your name on a published paper helps strengthen your academic record and improves your chances of securing funding for future projects. But when you are preparing a manuscript for submission, it’s important to be honest about the contributions of every possible author on the paper, to make sure that everyone involved gets the credit they deserve. This post introduces some of the guidelines and criteria that authors and journals can refer to when deciding who earned a place on the author list. It also touches on some tricky situations, such as equal contributors or very long author lists. Identifying author contribution The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has prepared criteria that each author on a paper should meet. Several journals refer to these criteria in their own policies, particularly in the biomedical sciences.

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(US) US biomedical agency has investigated hundreds claims of inappropriate conduct this year – Nature (Nidhi Subbaraman | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 13, 2019 | Posted by Admin on February 22, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

The director of the US National Institutes of Health says the agency will begin revising its policies on harassment next year.

Nearly 40% of women trainees polled by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) between January and March 2019 reported being sexually harassed... More

The director of the US National Institutes of Health says the agency will begin revising its policies on harassment next year.

Nearly 40% of women trainees polled by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) between January and March 2019 reported being sexually harassed at work. [colored_box]Those are the results of a staff survey delivered to NIH director Francis Collins and a panel of his advisers on 12 December. It identified young women, people from sexual and gender minorities and those with disabilities as those most vulnerable to harassment. . The elite panel also reviewed a long-awaited report commissioned by the NIH that charged the agency to work rapidly stop sexual harassment in science labs. But agency watchers who have pressed the NIH to act for more than a year were left without a clear timeline for changes. . “It’s no longer time to consider — it’s time to act,” says Scout, deputy director of the US National LGBT Cancer Network and a member of the Working Group on Changing the Culture to End Sexual Harassment, which prepared the report. .

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The Intellectual and Moral Decline in Academic Research – James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal (Edward Archer | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 29, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 20, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

For most of the past century, the United States was the pre-eminent nation in science and technology. The evidence for that is beyond dispute: Since 1901, American researchers have won more Nobel prizes in medicine, chemistry, and physics than any other nation. Given our history of discovery, innovation, and... More

For most of the past century, the United States was the pre-eminent nation in science and technology. The evidence for that is beyond dispute: Since 1901, American researchers have won more Nobel prizes in medicine, chemistry, and physics than any other nation. Given our history of discovery, innovation, and success, it is not surprising that across the political landscape Americans consider the funding of scientific research to be both a source of pride and a worthy investment. [colored_box]Nevertheless, in his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned that the pursuit of government grants would have a corrupting influence on the scientific community. He feared that while American universities were “historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery,” the pursuit of taxpayer monies would become “a substitute for intellectual curiosity” and lead to “domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment…and the power of money.” . Eisenhower’s fears were well-founded and prescient. . My experiences at four research universities and as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research fellow taught me that the relentless pursuit of taxpayer funding has eliminated curiosity, basic competence, and scientific integrity in many fields. .

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The Repetition Compulsion – Inside Higher Ed (Scott McLemee | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 10, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 16, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Scott McLemee explores various scholars' rationales for self-plagiarism.

Last spring the American Society for Engineering Education's magazine Prism ran an opinion piece titled "Plagiarism Is Not a Victimless Crime" by Adrian Bejan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University. It ended with an admonishment... More

Scott McLemee explores various scholars' rationales for self-plagiarism.

Last spring the American Society for Engineering Education's magazine Prism ran an opinion piece titled "Plagiarism Is Not a Victimless Crime" by Adrian Bejan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University. It ended with an admonishment to scholarly editors and publishers: "Exposing plagiarists without implementing an unforgiving policy (punishment) that terminates the practice is to do nothing." So far, so punitive. But in an interesting detour, Bejan threw down the gauntlet at publishers who "playact as enemies of plagiarism" by accusing authors of "self-plagiarism" when they recycle portions of their own work. "The term is nonsense," Bejan wrote. "One does not steal from oneself; one owns what one creates. Accusing the creative author of self-plagiarism is like accusing Picasso, Matisse and Brancusi of thievery because they sold many pieces of art that looked like their own art from a few years back." The first part of his complaint -- what we might call the argument from oxymoronicism -- is sure to be raised whenever the concept of self-plagiarism comes up. Less familiar, perhaps, is the notion of self-copying as one of the privileges of creativity. Bejan may be responding to an essay by David Goldblatt called "Self-Plagiarism" (the top JSTOR search result on the topic by relevance) that appeared in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism in 1984. Goldblatt's understanding of originality is stringent, almost punishing. Artists who "ride on the coattails of their previous successes" -- who "mak[e] no aesthetic progress" and resort to "insignificantly repeating features that have been created at some other time, even if those features were created by the artist him or herself" -- are guilty of "enjoying the status of 'artist' when that status has expired." Aesthetic progress, it seems, is a jealous god, and vengeful in his wrath. Bejan's remarks on Picasso et al. seem a lot more generous.

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Opinion: Exorcising Ghostwriting from Peer Review – TheScientist (James L. Sherley | January 2020)

Published/Released on February 13, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 15, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Training young scientists to review submitted manuscripts should be an academic exercise, not a facet of professional scientific publishing.

On November 4, 2019, The Scientist ran a revealing Q&A highlighting a recent survey published in eLife. Responses from early career... More

Training young scientists to review submitted manuscripts should be an academic exercise, not a facet of professional scientific publishing.

On November 4, 2019, The Scientist ran a revealing Q&A highlighting a recent survey published in eLife. Responses from early career researchers (ECRs) and other scientists drew attention to a widespread, unethical practice to which academic scientists have too long resigned themselves—peer review ghostwriting (8:e48425, 2019). [colored_box]As defined in that paper, peer review ghostwriting occurs when scientists hand over manuscripts that they have agreed to review for journal editors to graduate students or postdocs in their research groups. The involvement of the junior scientists is not typically disclosed to the journal, so editors work under the impression that the invited reviewer developed and wrote the resulting manuscript review themselves. . Survey results reported in the eLife paper provided the first quantitative evidence for the prevalence of this practice, as well as for the practice the study authors refer to as co-reviewing. In a strict sense, co-reviewing happens when a trainee is involved in developing and writing the review and their contribution is disclosed to journal editors. Some consider this transparent form of collaborative peer review a valuable part of scientific training, and the eLife study authors even argue that journals should codify co-review. But in my experience, the involvement of co-reviewers is sometimes not disclosed to the journals, just as is the case with ghostwriters. .

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When it comes to good practice in science, we need to think global but act local – Nature (Editorial | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 11, 2019 | Posted by Admin on February 15, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

International codes of conduct are important, but grass-roots efforts are the key to embedding research integrity.

When it comes to research integrity, scientists use the language of aspiration, whereas policymakers talk about hard rules and enforcement. [colored_box]That’s one conclusion from an in-depth analysis of published... More

International codes of conduct are important, but grass-roots efforts are the key to embedding research integrity.

When it comes to research integrity, scientists use the language of aspiration, whereas policymakers talk about hard rules and enforcement. [colored_box]That’s one conclusion from an in-depth analysis of published research and policy documents in research integrity (S. P. J. M. Horbach and W. Halffman Sci. Eng. Ethics 23, 1461–1485; 2017). There are other disconnects, too. Countries, disciplines and sectors often approach integrity in different ways. For some, it can be confined to preventing data fabrication, falsification and plagiarism. But integrity is much broader, encompassing quality and relevance, as well as recognition of diversity and inclusion. . The need for a unified approach is slowly gaining recognition. The World Science Forum, a biennial meeting of researchers and policymakers from different countries, issued a declaration at its November conference in Budapest that called for, among other things, “harmonisation and enforcement of standards of conduct of scientific research across borders and across public and private research”. The declaration also supported processes by which scientists “can report suspected research misconduct and other irresponsible research practices, without fear of reprisal”, and it urged clearer procedures for responding to such concerns. .

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Friday afternoon’s funny – Peril ahead?

Published/Released on February 14, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 14, 2020 | Keywords: , , ,

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‘Avalanche’ of spider-paper retractions shakes behavioural-ecology community – Nature (Giuliana Viglione | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 07, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 12, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

Allegations of fabricated data have prompted a university investigation and some soul-searching.

A complex web is unravelling in the field of spider research. On 5 February, McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, confirmed that it was investigating allegations that behavioural ecologist Jonathan Pruitt fabricated data... More

Allegations of fabricated data have prompted a university investigation and some soul-searching.

A complex web is unravelling in the field of spider research. On 5 February, McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, confirmed that it was investigating allegations that behavioural ecologist Jonathan Pruitt fabricated data in at least 17 papers on which he was a co-author. [colored_box]Since concerns about his work became public in late January, scientists have rushed to uncover the extent of questionable data in Pruitt’s studies. Publishers are now trying to keep up with requests for retractions and investigations. According to a publicly available spreadsheet maintained by Daniel Bolnick, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, seven papers have been retracted or are in the process of being retracted; five further retractions have been requested by Pruitt’s co-authors; and researchers have flagged at least five more studies as containing possible data anomalies. . Pruitt, who is reportedly doing field research in Australia and the South Pacific, told Science last week that he had not fabricated or manipulated data in any way. He did not respond to multiple requests from Nature for comment on the mounting list of retractions, or the accusation that he fabricated data. .

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Universities told to appoint research integrity ‘counsellors’ – Times Higher Education (Ellie Bothwell | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 27, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 10, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

But paper from League of European Research Universities says that anonymous reports of research misconduct should be avoided

Universities should appoint “confidential counsellors” at a faculty level to advise staff and students on research integrity issues, according to a new report from some of... More

But paper from League of European Research Universities says that anonymous reports of research misconduct should be avoided

Universities should appoint “confidential counsellors” at a faculty level to advise staff and students on research integrity issues, according to a new report from some of Europe’s leading institutions. [colored_box]An advice paper published by the League of European Research Universities says it is “important that researchers are able to...obtain strictly confidential advice”, adding that “in many cases researchers face problems that they do not immediately want to share with their colleagues”. . This is particularly an issue when the researcher’s career is partly dependent on their colleague, such as in the case of a PhD student and their supervisor, it says. . Antoine Hol, professor of jurisprudence at Utrecht University, chair of the Leru research integrity group and co-author of the paper, said that it was relatively common for universities to have confidential counsellors or advisers at a university level, but it was important for institutions to make such appointments at a faculty level so that they are easily accessible and understand the specific culture that researchers might be facing. .

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(Egypt) Professor Obbink and missing EES papyri – Egypt Exploration Society (October 2019)

Published/Released on October 14, 2019 | Posted by Admin on February 8, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

On 25 June 2019 the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) posted a statement on its website that it was working with the Museum of the Bible (MOTB) to clarify whether any texts from the EES Oxyrhynchus collection had been sold or offered for sale to Hobby Lobby or its agents,... More

On 25 June 2019 the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) posted a statement on its website that it was working with the Museum of the Bible (MOTB) to clarify whether any texts from the EES Oxyrhynchus collection had been sold or offered for sale to Hobby Lobby or its agents, and if so, when and by whom. This was in response to the online publication by Dr Brent Nongbri, following its release by Professor Michael Holmes of the MOTB, of a redacted copy of a contract of 17 January 2013 between Professor Dirk Obbink and Hobby Lobby Stores for the sale of six items to Hobby Lobby, including four New Testament fragments probably of EES provenance. This statement reports our findings to date. . [colored_box]With the help of photographs provided by the MOTB, the EES has so far identified thirteen texts from its collection, twelve on papyrus and one on parchment, all with biblical or related content, which are currently held by the MOTB (see the attached list). These texts were taken without authorisation from the EES, and in most of the thirteen cases the catalogue card and photograph are also missing. Fortunately, the EES has back-up records which enable us to identify missing unpublished texts. For clarity, we note that the four texts specified in the handwritten list made public alongside the 2013 contract, which are probably the texts of that contract, remain in the EES collection, and two have been published as P.Oxy. LXXXIII 5345 and 5346. . The Board of Trustees of the MOTB has accepted the EES claim to ownership of the thirteen pieces identified to date, and is arranging to return them to the EES. The EES is grateful to the MOTB for its co-operation, and has agreed that the research on these texts by scholars under the auspices of the MOTB will receive appropriate recognition when the texts are published in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri series. .

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(Russia) Putin wanted Russian science to top the world. Then a huge academic scandal blew up – The Washington Post (Robyn Dixon | January 2020)

Published/Released on February 17, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 7, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

MOSCOW — Eight years ago, President Vladimir Putin decreed that Russia must become a leading scientific power. That meant at least five top-100 Russian universities by 2020, and a dramatic increase in the number of global citations of Russian scientific papers. [colored_box]Now a group at the center of Putin’s aspirations,... More

MOSCOW — Eight years ago, President Vladimir Putin decreed that Russia must become a leading scientific power. That meant at least five top-100 Russian universities by 2020, and a dramatic increase in the number of global citations of Russian scientific papers. [colored_box]Now a group at the center of Putin’s aspirations, the Russian Academy of Sciences, has dropped a bombshell into the plans. A commission set up by the academy has led to the retraction of at least 869 Russian scientific articles, mainly for plagiarism. . “This is the largest retraction in Russian scientific history. Never before have hundreds of papers been retracted,” said Andrei Zayakin, scientific secretary of the RAS Commission for Countering the Falsification of Scientific Research. “Before two years ago, there might have been single cases, but not even dozens.” .

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Competition drives researchers to counselling – and exit door – Times Higher Education (Jack Grove | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 15, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 5, 2020 | Keywords: , ,

Poll of 4,000 researchers reveals half have sought or wanted help for mental health problems, and four in 10 are victims of bullying or harassment

Half of researchers have sought or wanted professional help to deal with anxiety or depression, according to a landmark... More

Poll of 4,000 researchers reveals half have sought or wanted help for mental health problems, and four in 10 are victims of bullying or harassment

Half of researchers have sought or wanted professional help to deal with anxiety or depression, according to a landmark survey that blames competition and targets for creating an “aggressive” culture of bullying and overwork. [colored_box]Thirty-four per cent of the 4,000 researchers who completed the Wellcome Trust poll, most of whom were based in the UK, said that they had sought professional help for depression or anxiety during their research career, and a further 19 per cent had wanted to do so. . Women were more likely to have sought help than men, with 38 per cent having done so, compared with 25 per cent of males. Only 44 per cent of respondents agreed that their workplace offered adequate well-being support. Among other findings, the survey, published on 15 January, reveals:
  • Forty-three per cent of respondents said that they had experienced bullying or harassment at work, with women more likely to be victims (49 per cent) than men (34 per cent).
.

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Universities must overhaul the toxic working culture for academic researchers – The Guardian (Anton Muscatelli | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 16, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 4, 2020 | Keywords:

A survey has warned that researchers are too stressed. It’s up to universities to improve their working environment

Academic research is an exciting, creative and varied endeavour, yet there is growing evidence that our culture has developed unhealthy levels of anxiety and stress. As... More

A survey has warned that researchers are too stressed. It’s up to universities to improve their working environment

Academic research is an exciting, creative and varied endeavour, yet there is growing evidence that our culture has developed unhealthy levels of anxiety and stress. As the UK increases research and development spending – all the more important after Brexit – we will see much-needed growth in the number and significance of researchers. Yet it’s clear that we also need to make changes to their working conditions. This is underscored by a new survey from research funder Wellcome, which says that 78% of researchers think that high levels of competition are creating unkind working conditions, while 57% warn of a long-hours culture. The findings resonate with my own experience: I have seen this stress during my academic career and through my conversations as a university leader. They also mirror the results of our own recent internal survey on research culture. This is why I believe that universities must unite to create a research culture that is truly supportive and will sustain our talented research community as they address the social, economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century.

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Tell it like it is – Nature Human Behaviour (Editorial | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 21, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 2, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Every research paper tells a story, but the pressure to provide ‘clean’ narratives is harmful for the scientific endeavour.

Research manuscripts provide an account of how their authors addressed a research question or questions, the means they used to do so, what they found... More

Every research paper tells a story, but the pressure to provide ‘clean’ narratives is harmful for the scientific endeavour.

Research manuscripts provide an account of how their authors addressed a research question or questions, the means they used to do so, what they found and how the work (dis) confirms existing hypotheses or generates new ones. The current research culture is characterized by significant pressure to present research projects as conclusive narratives that leave no room for ambiguity or for conflicting or inconclusive results. [colored_box]The pressure to produce such clean narratives, however, represents a significant threat to validity and runs counter to the reality of what science looks like. . Prioritizing conclusive over transparent research narratives incentivizes a host of questionable research practices: hypothesizing after the results are known, selectively reporting only those outcomes that confirm the original predictions or excluding from the research report studies that provide contradictory or messy results. Each of these practices damages credibility and presents a distorted picture of the research that prevents cumulative knowledge. .

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What To Do When You Don’t Trust Your Data Anymore – Laskowski Lab at UC Davis (January 2020)

Published/Released on January 29, 2020 | Posted by Admin on February 1, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Science is built on trust. Trust that your experiments will work. Trust in your collaborators to pull their weight. But most importantly, trust that the data we so painstakingly collect are accurate and as representative of the real world as they can be. [colored_box]And so when I realized that I... More

Science is built on trust. Trust that your experiments will work. Trust in your collaborators to pull their weight. But most importantly, trust that the data we so painstakingly collect are accurate and as representative of the real world as they can be. [colored_box]And so when I realized that I could no longer trust the data that I had reported in some of my papers, I did what I think is the only correct course of action. I retracted them. . Retractions are seen as a comparatively rare event in science, and this is no different for my particular field (evolutionary and behavioral ecology), so I know that there is probably some interest in understanding the story behind it. This is my attempt to explain how and why I came to the conclusion that these papers needed to be removed from the scientific record. .

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(China) Publishers urged to take stronger stance on Uighur persecution – Times Higher Education (Ellie Bothwell | January 2020)

Scholars say ensuring vulnerable minorities have given consent to use of their data does not go far enough

Academics are pushing journal publishers to take more drastic action in response to China’s crackdown on minority Muslims in the wake of increasing scrutiny over the... More

Scholars say ensuring vulnerable minorities have given consent to use of their data does not go far enough

Academics are pushing journal publishers to take more drastic action in response to China’s crackdown on minority Muslims in the wake of increasing scrutiny over the global science community’s role in the continued persecution. There have been rising concerns over Western journals’ publication of papers focusing on the DNA of minority ethnic groups by Chinese scientists affiliated with the country’s surveillance agencies. More than 1 million Uighurs and other members of predominantly Muslim minority groups are believed to have been locked up in internment camps and there are worries that this research is being used to build databases, facial recognition systems and other methods for monitoring these groups.

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Working with research integrity – guidance for research performing organisations: The Bonn PRINTEGER Statement (Resource | February 2018)

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Research intelligence: how to sniff out errors and fraud – Times Higher Education (Jack Grove | January 2020)

A growing number of data detectives are on the hunt for sloppy science and dodgy statistics. Jack Grove examines the methods they use

These days it is not just co-authors or peer reviewers who are checking journal papers for errors: a growing number of... More

A growing number of data detectives are on the hunt for sloppy science and dodgy statistics. Jack Grove examines the methods they use

These days it is not just co-authors or peer reviewers who are checking journal papers for errors: a growing number of self-appointed fraud busters are scanning scientific literature for flaws. This unpaid and mostly anonymous endeavour has led to the retractions of hundreds of papers and even disciplinary action where wrongdoing is exposed. So how can scholars catch errors when reviewing others’ papers, or when double-checking their own work or that of collaborators?

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Evaluating ethics oversight during assessment of research integrity (Papers: Andrew Grey, et al | November 2019)

Published/Released on January 24, 2020 | Posted by Admin on January 24, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

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(US) New eLife editor Michael Eisen wants to shake up scientific publishing – Berkeley News (Robert Sanders | April 2019)

Published/Released on April 04, 2019 | Posted by Admin on January 24, 2020 | Keywords: , , , ,

The University of California system’s recent decision to walk away from negotiations with scholarly journal publishing giant Elsevier highlights once again the many problems within the scientific publishing business, a $10 billion-per-year worldwide enterprise that is the bedrock of modern science. Publishers like Elsevier, Springer... More

The University of California system’s recent decision to walk away from negotiations with scholarly journal publishing giant Elsevier highlights once again the many problems within the scientific publishing business, a $10 billion-per-year worldwide enterprise that is the bedrock of modern science. Publishers like Elsevier, Springer — which publishes the high-impact journal Nature —and dozens of other for-profit companies and nonprofit scientific societies are an essential part of the give-and-take of science, offering a place to publish and share new results. But they also charge for scientists and the public to read those results, much of which the public originally funded through federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The UC most recently paid Elsevier $11 million for a year’s worth of access to its journals, which include the well-known medical journal The Lancet and more than 2,500 lesser-known titles, from Poetics to Fungal Biology. Michael Eisen, a professor of molecular and cell biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, has done his part to disrupt the stodgy business, which he thinks not only takes advantage of authors and universities, but distorts the process of science. As a founder 19 years ago of the first open access journal, PLOS (Public Library of Science), he sought to establish a new business model where scientists pay to publish, while anyone can view the results for free. Other journals slowly moved in that direction, but even today, only about 20 percent of all published research is open access, and almost none of the papers appearing in high profile publications like Nature, Science and PNAS(Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) can be read by the public without charge. Appointed last month the editor-in-chief of the open access journal eLife — Berkeley Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman is stepping down as founding editor — Eisen has a new platform to shake up the field of science publishing and help make it serve scientists and the public.

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Eleven tips for working with large data sets – Nature (Anna Nowogrodzki | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 13, 2020 | Posted by Admin on January 22, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , ,

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Meta-analysis study indicates we publish more positive results – ARS Technica (John Timmer | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 30, 2019 | Posted by Admin on January 13, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Meta-analyses will only produce more reliable results if the studies are good.

While science as a whole has produced remarkably reliable answers to a lot of questions, it does so despite the fact that any individual study may not be reliable. Issues like small... More

Meta-analyses will only produce more reliable results if the studies are good.

While science as a whole has produced remarkably reliable answers to a lot of questions, it does so despite the fact that any individual study may not be reliable. Issues like small errors on the part of researchers, unidentified problems with materials or equipment, or the tendency to publish positive answers can alter the results of a single paper. But collectively, through multiple studies, science as a whole inches towards an understanding of the underlying reality. [colored_box]A meta-analysis is a way to formalize that process. It takes the results of multiple studies and combines them, increasing the statistical power of the analysis. This may cause exciting results seen in a few small studies to vanish into statistical noise, or it can tease out a weak effect that's completely lost in more limited studies. . But a meta-analysis only works its magic if the underlying data is solid. And a new study that looks at multiple meta-analyses (a meta-meta-analysis?) suggests that one of those factors—our tendency to publish results that support hypotheses—is making the underlying data less solid than we like. Publication bias It's possible for publication bias to be a form of research misconduct. If a researcher is convinced of their hypothesis, they might actively avoid publishing any results that would undercut their own ideas. But there's plenty of other ways for publication bias to set in. Researchers who find a weak effect might hold off on publishing in the hope that further research would be more convincing. Journals also have a tendency to favor publishing positive results—one where a hypothesis is confirmed—and avoid publishing studies that don't see any effect at all. Researchers, being aware of this, might adjust the publications they submit accordingly. .

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Russian journals retract more than 800 papers after ‘bombshell’ investigation – Science (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 08, 2020 | Posted by Admin on January 11, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

Academic journals in Russia are retracting more than 800 papers following a probe into unethical publication practices by a commission appointed by the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). The moves come in the wake of several other queries suggesting the vast Russian scientific literature is riddled with plagiarism, self-plagiarism,... More

Academic journals in Russia are retracting more than 800 papers following a probe into unethical publication practices by a commission appointed by the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). The moves come in the wake of several other queries suggesting the vast Russian scientific literature is riddled with plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and so-called gift authorship, in which academics become a co-author without having contributed any work.

The RAS commission’s preliminary report documenting the problems and journals’ responses to them is “a bombshell,” says Gerson Sher, a former staffer at the U.S. National Science Foundation and the author of a recent book on U.S.-Russia science cooperation. The report, released yesterday, “will reinforce the suspicions and fears of many—that their country is not going down the right path in science and that it’s damaging its own reputation,” says Sher, who applauds RAS for commissioning the investigation.
Russia’s roughly 6000 academic journals, the vast majority published in Russian, are popular among the country’s academics. A 2019 study found that Russian authors publish far more in domestic journals than, for instance, their counterparts in Poland, Germany, or Indonesia. But standards are often low. In March 2018, for instance, Dissernet, a network aimed at cleaning up the Russian literature, identified more than 4000 cases of plagiarism and questionable authorship among 150,000 papers in about 1500 journals.
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(Queensland, Australia) Ex-judge to investigate controversial marine research – Times Higher Education (John Ross | January 2020)

Published/Released on January 08, 2020 | Posted by Admin on January 11, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,

An Australian university has launched an investigation into the research record of a discredited scientist it educated, as findings by academics who supervised her doctoral training are challenged. James Cook University said it has appointed an external panel to look for evidence of misconduct... More

An Australian university has launched an investigation into the research record of a discredited scientist it educated, as findings by academics who supervised her doctoral training are challenged. James Cook University said it has appointed an external panel to look for evidence of misconduct in the research conducted by marine biologist Oona Lönnstedt between 2010 and 2014, when she was undertaking PhD studies at the Queensland institution. The university said the panel’s as yet unidentified members include “eminent academics with expertise in field work, marine science and ethics” and a former federal court judge.

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(India) PhD students to mandatorily learn about research and publication ethics – The Times of India (Sheetal Banchariya | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 30, 2019 | Posted by Admin on January 7, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

UGC has made a two-credit course compulsory at the PhD level looking at the increasing cases of plagiarism and publication misconducts. [colored_box]With an increase in researches, maintaining quality remains a concern for Indian universities. To introduce students to the basics of research, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved a... More

UGC has made a two-credit course compulsory at the PhD level looking at the increasing cases of plagiarism and publication misconducts. [colored_box]With an increase in researches, maintaining quality remains a concern for Indian universities. To introduce students to the basics of research, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved a two-credit course on research ethics and publication misconducts. . All the PhD students will have to mandatorily pursue the 30-hour course from the academic session 2020-21. The course is divided into six units focussing on the basics of philosophy of science and ethics, research integrity, publication ethics and hands-on sessions to identify research misconducts and predatory publishers. "In the last 15 years, the number of cases related to unethical practices such as plagiarism, pay and publish have increased. The course follows the management principle known as Corrective and Prevention Actions (CAPA), which will help students identify and stay away from the predatory publishers and dubious journals," says Bhushan Patwardhan, vice chairman, UGC.

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(China/Gene) Chinese scientist who produced genetically altered babies sentenced to 3 years in jail – Science (Dennis Normile | December 2019)

He Jiankui, the Chinese researcher who stunned the world last year by announcing he had helped produce genetically edited babies, has been found guilty of conducting “illegal medical practices” and sentenced to 3 years in prison. [colored_box]A court in Shenzhen found that He and two collaborators forged... More

He Jiankui, the Chinese researcher who stunned the world last year by announcing he had helped produce genetically edited babies, has been found guilty of conducting “illegal medical practices” and sentenced to 3 years in prison. [colored_box]A court in Shenzhen found that He and two collaborators forged ethical review documents and misled doctors into unknowingly implanting gene-edited embryos into two women, according to Xinhua, China’s state-run press agency. One mother gave birth to twin girls in November 2018; it has not been made clear when the third baby was born. The court ruled that the three defendants had deliberately violated national regulations on biomedical research and medical ethics, and rashly applied gene-editing technology to human reproductive medicine. . All three pleaded guilty, according to Xinhua. The court also fined He, formerly of the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) and known as JK to friends and colleagues, 3 million Chinese yuan ($429,000). His collaborators were identified as Zhang Renli, of a medical institution in Guangdong province, and Qin Jinzhou, from a Shenzhen medical institution; Zhang received a 2-year prison sentence and was fined 1 million yuan, according to Xinhua, whereas Qin was given 18 months in prison with a 2-year reprieve, and a 500,000 yuan fine. .

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Don’t let researchers recommend who reviews their work – Nature Index (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | November 2019)

Published/Released on November 22, 2019 | Posted by Admin on January 3, 2020 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Some funders and publishers call it unethical, for others, it's par for the course.

Why do some other funders and scholarly publishers still allow researchers to suggest reviewers to evaluate their work? The US National Science Foundation and the UK Research and Innovation — Britain’s... More

Some funders and publishers call it unethical, for others, it's par for the course.

Why do some other funders and scholarly publishers still allow researchers to suggest reviewers to evaluate their work? The US National Science Foundation and the UK Research and Innovation — Britain’s central research funder — are among those who still consider recommended reviewers, even though the evidence is clear that using these referees leaves the process open to bias and misconduct. Between 2012 and 2016, more than 500 papers were retracted for compromised, rigged, or faked peer review. This was largely due to authors giving fake email addresses for real experts or fabricating experts entirely when suggesting who would be fit to evaluate their work.

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(China) Academic misconduct standards to be tightened – China Daily Global (Li Yan | October 2019)

China has strengthened its fight against academic misconduct by publishing new standards defining plagiarism, fabrication, falsification and other violations of research integrity. Experts believe the clarity will make it easier to discipline researchers who violate the rules. The document, issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology, has been adopted... More

China has strengthened its fight against academic misconduct by publishing new standards defining plagiarism, fabrication, falsification and other violations of research integrity. Experts believe the clarity will make it easier to discipline researchers who violate the rules. The document, issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology, has been adopted by 20 government agencies ranging from China's Supreme People's Court to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Depending on the severity of the offense, punishments can range from canceling a project's funding to revoking the offender's titles and permanently banning them from promotion or other research positions. Institutes that connive with or shield violators will also be punished with budget cuts or judicial action.

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A reviewer stole a manuscript and published it himself. But you wouldn’t know it from this retraction notice – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 14, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 30, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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Friday afternoon’s funny – Who wins?

Published/Released on December 27, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 27, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

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Gazing into the Abyss of P-Hacking: HARKing vs. Optional Stopping – R-Bloggers (Angelika Stefan | November 2019)

Almost all researchers have experienced the tingling feeling of suspense that arises right before they take a look at long-awaited data: Will they support their favored hypothesis? Will they yield interesting or even groundbreaking results? In a perfect world (especially one without publication bias), the cause of this suspense... More

Almost all researchers have experienced the tingling feeling of suspense that arises right before they take a look at long-awaited data: Will they support their favored hypothesis? Will they yield interesting or even groundbreaking results? In a perfect world (especially one without publication bias), the cause of this suspense should be nothing else but scientific curiosity. However, the world, and specifically the incentive system in science, is not perfect. A lot of pressure rests on researchers to produce statistically significant results. For many researchers, statistical significance is the cornerstone of their academic career, so non-significant results in an important study can not only question their scientific convictions but also crash their hopes of professional promotion. (Although, fortunately things are changing for the better). Now, what does a researcher do confronted with messy, non-significant results? According to several much-cited studies (for example John et al., 2012; Simmons et al., 2011), a common reaction is to start sampling again (and again, and again, …) in the hope that a somewhat larger sample size can boost significance. Another reaction is to wildly conduct hypothesis tests on the existing sample until at least one of them becomes significant (see for example: Simmons et al., 2011; Kerr, 1998 ). These practices, along with some others, are commonly known as p-hacking, because they are designed to drag the famous p-value right below the mark of .05 which usually indicates statistical significance. Undisputedly, p-hacking works (for a demonstration try out the p-hacker app). The two questions we want to answer in this blog post are: How does it work and why is that bad for science? As many people may have heard, p-hacking works because it exploits a process called alpha error accumulation which is covered in most introductory statistics classes (but also easily forgotten again). Basically, alpha error accumulation means that as one conducts more and more hypothesis tests, the probability increases that one makes a wrong test decision at least once. Specifically, this wrong test decision is a false positive decision or alpha error, which means that you proclaim the existence of an effect although, in fact, there is none. Speaking in statistical terms, an alpha error occurs when the test yields a significant result although the null hypothesis (“There is no effect”) is true in the population. This means that p-hacking leads to the publication of an increased rate of false positive results, that is, studies that claim to have found an effect although, in fact, their result is just due to the randomness of the data. Such studies will never replicate.

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Rude paper reviews are pervasive and sometimes harmful, study find – Science (Christie Wilcox | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 12, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 26, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

There’s a running joke in academia about Reviewer 2. That’s the reviewer that doesn’t bother to read the manuscript a journal has sent out for evaluation for possible publication, offers condescending or outright offensive comments, and—of course—urges the irrelevant citation of their own work. Such... More

There’s a running joke in academia about Reviewer 2. That’s the reviewer that doesn’t bother to read the manuscript a journal has sent out for evaluation for possible publication, offers condescending or outright offensive comments, and—of course—urges the irrelevant citation of their own work. Such unprofessional conduct is so pervasive there’s even a whole Facebook group, more than 25,000 members strong, named “Reviewer 2 Must Be Stopped!” But it is no laughing matter, concludes a new study that finds boorish reviewer comments can have serious negative impacts, especially on authors belonging to marginalized groups. Peer reviewers are supposed to ensure that journals publish high-quality science by evaluating manuscripts and offering suggestions for improvement. But often, referee comments stray far from that mission, found the new PeerJ study, which surveyed 1106 scientists from 46 countries and 14 disciplines. More than half of the respondents—who were promised anonymity—reported receiving at least one “unprofessional” review, and a majority of those said they had received multiple problematic comments. Those comments tended to personally target a scientist, lack constructive criticism, or were just unnecessarily harsh or cruel, the authors report. For example, one author received a review that stated: “The phrases I have so far avoided using in this review are ‘lipstick on a pig’ and ‘bullshit baffles brains.’” Another reported receiving this missive: “The author’s last name sounds Spanish. I didn’t read the manuscript because I’m sure it’s full of bad English.”

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(Europe) Psychology researcher committed misconduct, says university – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 24, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 24, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

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Predatory journals: no definition, no defence – Nature (Agnes Grudniewicz, et al | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 11, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 19, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Leading scholars and publishers from ten countries have agreed a definition of predatory publishing that can protect scholarship. It took 12 hours of discussion, 18 questions and 3 rounds to reach.

When ‘Jane’ turned to alternative medicine, she had already exhausted radiotherapy, chemotherapy and... More

Leading scholars and publishers from ten countries have agreed a definition of predatory publishing that can protect scholarship. It took 12 hours of discussion, 18 questions and 3 rounds to reach.

When ‘Jane’ turned to alternative medicine, she had already exhausted radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other standard treatments for breast cancer. Her alternative-medicine practitioner shared an article about a therapy involving vitamin infusions. To her and her practitioner, it seemed to be authentic grounds for hope. But when Jane showed the article to her son-in-law (one of the authors of this Comment), he realized it came from a predatory journal — meaning its promise was doubtful and its validity unlikely to have been vetted. [colored_box]Predatory journals are a global threat. They accept articles for publication — along with authors’ fees — without performing promised quality checks for issues such as plagiarism or ethical approval. Naive readers are not the only victims. Many researchers have been duped into submitting to predatory journals, in which their work can be overlooked. One study that focused on 46,000 researchers based in Italy found that about 5% of them published in such outlets1. A separate analysis suggests predatory publishers collect millions of dollars in publication fees that are ultimately paid out by funders such as the US National Institutes of Health (NIH)2. . One barrier to combating predatory publishing is, in our view, the lack of an agreed definition. By analogy, consider the historical criteria for deciding whether an abnormal bulge in the aorta, the largest artery in the body, could be deemed an aneurysm — a dangerous condition. One accepted definition was based on population norms, another on the size of the bulge relative to the aorta and a third on an absolute measure of aorta width. Prevalence varied fourfold depending on the definition used. This complicated efforts to assess risk and interventions, and created uncertainty about who should be offered a high-risk operation3. .

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(US) Politics and Open Access – Scholarly Kitchen (Robert Harington | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 16, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 18, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Rumors have been circulating in recent weeks of an impending US Executive Order focusing on public access to federally funded research and open data. It appears that there is indeed a document making the rounds of Federal Funding Agencies for comment. The order has apparently been in the works... More

Rumors have been circulating in recent weeks of an impending US Executive Order focusing on public access to federally funded research and open data. It appears that there is indeed a document making the rounds of Federal Funding Agencies for comment. The order has apparently been in the works for a while now, emanating from the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which has been tight-lipped about the existence of the order. There seems to be little concern over the fate of non-profit and society publishers. Among the likely recommendations appears to be that of a zero embargo on published journal articles. Essentially, this means that articles from researchers who are federally funded will be freely available immediately following publication. If you add this to the Plan S initiative from Europe, you may be forgiven for predicting the end of academic publishing as we know it. At the very least you may imagine the forthcoming discussions that will ensue, with hackles raised on all sides and little empathy shown for differing viewpoints. Here I want to explore the environment. It may be useful to provide insight into what a zero embargo could do to the publishing landscape, as well as how researchers may respond. First though I thought it may be useful to understand exactly how an Executive Order works here in the US, especially for those who may be reading in other parts of the world.

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‘A long and lonely process:’ Whistleblowers in a misconduct case speak out – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | )

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(China) Five ways China must cultivate research integrity – Nature (Li Tang | November 2019)

Published/Released on November 26, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 14, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,

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The science institutions hiring integrity inspectors to vet their papers – Nature (Alison Abbott | November 2019)

Published/Released on November 19, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 13, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,

Some researchers have their manuscripts screened for errors before they go to journals

On 15 June 2017, scientists at a respected biological institute in Germany were thrown into crisis by an alarming announcement. An investigation into the Leibniz Institute on Aging had found that... More

Some researchers have their manuscripts screened for errors before they go to journals

On 15 June 2017, scientists at a respected biological institute in Germany were thrown into crisis by an alarming announcement. An investigation into the Leibniz Institute on Aging had found that its director, cell biologist Karl Lenhard Rudolph, had published eight papers with data errors, including improperly edited or duplicated parts of images. [colored_box]Investigators didn’t find deliberate fraud, but Rudolph wasn’t able to present original data to explain the problems. The Leibniz Association, which runs the institute in Jena and had commissioned the probe, concluded that Rudolph hadn’t supervised his lab group properly, and so was guilty of “grossly negligent scientific misconduct”. It applied the strictest sanctions it could, barring the institute from applying for research funding from the association while under Rudolph’s leadership for three years. It also ordered the centre to undergo an international review, even though the last one had been completed only a couple of years earlier. Rudolph resigned as director. . It was the second calamity in a year for the centre, which is also known as the Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI). Police had raided it in 2016 after allegations that the centre had violated European regulations on animal experiments. The experiments were suspended, and although the FLI was cleared of the allegations, not all of the experiments had been re-authorized when the Rudolph affair broke. “The second crisis sent us into shock — it seemed more personal,” says molecular geneticist Christoph Englert, a group leader at the FLI, which employs 270 scientists. Most researchers at the centre hadn’t even known their director was under investigation. .

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Disaster-zone research needs a code of conduct – Nature (JC Gaillard & Lori Peek | November 2019)

Published/Released on November 20, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 10, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Study the effects of earthquakes, floods and other natural hazards with sensitivity to ethical dilemmas and power imbalances.

A magnitude-7.0 earthquake rocked Anchorage, Alaska, in late November 2018. Roads buckled and chimneys tumbled from rooftops. Business operations were disrupted. Schools were damaged across the... More

Study the effects of earthquakes, floods and other natural hazards with sensitivity to ethical dilemmas and power imbalances.

A magnitude-7.0 earthquake rocked Anchorage, Alaska, in late November 2018. Roads buckled and chimneys tumbled from rooftops. Business operations were disrupted. Schools were damaged across the district. This was the largest earthquake to shake the region in a generation, and there was much to learn. What was the state of the infrastructure? Might further quakes occur? How did people respond? Teams of scientists and engineers from across the United States mobilized to conduct field reconnaissance in partnership with local researchers and practitioners. These efforts were coordinated through the clearing house set up by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute in Oakland, California, which provided daily in-person and online briefings, as well as a web portal for sharing data. [colored_box]But researchers are not always so welcome in disaster zones. After the deadly Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami on 26 December 2004, hundreds of academics from countries including Japan, Russia, France and the United States rushed to the region to collect perishable data. This influx of foreign scientists angered and fatigued some locals; many declined researchers’ requests for interviews. The former governor of Aceh province, Indonesia, where more than 128,000 people died, described foreign researchers as “guerrillas applying hit-and-run tactics”1. Yet research on tsunami propagation and people’s response to the event has led to improved warnings and emergency-response plans. . When, on 28 September 2018, an earthquake and tsunami hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, dozens of researchers found themselves unable to enter the country2. Indonesian law now requires foreign scientists to obtain a special visa before they can begin research. Data-collection protocols must be submitted to the government in advance and projects must have an Indonesian partner. Violators could face criminal charges and even prison. .

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Citizen scientists ‘deserve more credit’ – Cosmos (Nick Carne | December 2019)

Published/Released on December 05, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 9, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Researchers say academic journals should recognise non-professional input and indigenous knowledge.

Academic journals should allow citizen scientists and indigenous knowledge to be formally recognised on papers, researchers have suggested. Writing in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, a team led by Georgia... More

Researchers say academic journals should recognise non-professional input and indigenous knowledge.

Academic journals should allow citizen scientists and indigenous knowledge to be formally recognised on papers, researchers have suggested. Writing in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, a team led by Georgia Ward-Fear from Australia’s Macquarie University and Greg Pauly from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, US, argues that changes in technology mean non-professionals are taking greater roles in science work. “Members of the general public have become pivotal contributors to research, resulting in thousands of scientific publications and measurable conservation impacts,” says Ward-Fear. “The question is: how should we credit that input?”

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Lycoming College’s “Plagiarism Game” receives a one-up through new coding – Norhcentral PA (NCPA Staff | November 2019)

Published/Released on November 22, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 8, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

“It is a quiet day at Lycoming… when suddenly the campus is taken over by Plagiarism goblins who want to destroy its academic integrity! You are the only person left who can destroy the goblins and restore order to the College!” [colored_box]So begins “Goblin Threat,” also known throughout the Lycoming... More

“It is a quiet day at Lycoming… when suddenly the campus is taken over by Plagiarism goblins who want to destroy its academic integrity! You are the only person left who can destroy the goblins and restore order to the College!” [colored_box]So begins “Goblin Threat,” also known throughout the Lycoming College campus as the Plagiarism Game. Created more than 10 years ago by Mary Broussard, professor and instructional services librarian and coordinator of reference and web services at Lycoming College’s Snowden Library, the game has steadily risen in popularity, receiving more than 200,000 page views in 2018, according to Google Analytics. . The game revolves around the player traveling through Lycoming College and defeating “plagiarism goblins” by correctly answering questions about plagiarism. Broussard always had an interest in game-based learning, so she applied that interest toward making both an informative and entertaining game. “The point was to make it more enjoyable than a straightforward tutorial on plagiarism,” she said. .

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We’re All ‘P-Hacking’ Now – Wired (Christie Aschwanden | November 2019)

Published/Released on November 26, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 7, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

An insiders' term for scientific malpractice has worked its way into pop culture. Is that a good thing?

It’s got an entry in the Urban Dictionary, been discussed on Last... More

An insiders' term for scientific malpractice has worked its way into pop culture. Is that a good thing?

It’s got an entry in the Urban Dictionary, been discussed on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, scored a wink from Cards Against Humanity, and now it’s been featured in a clue on the TV game show Jeopardy. Metascience nerds rejoice! The term p-hacking has gone mainstream. Results from a study can be analyzed in a variety of ways, and p-hacking refers to a practice where researchers select the analysis that yields a pleasing result. The p refers to the p-value, a ridiculously complicated statistical entity that’s essentially a measure of how surprising the results of a study would be if the effect you’re looking for wasn’t there. Suppose you’re testing a pill for high blood pressure, and you find that blood pressures did indeed drop among people who took the medicine. The p-value is the probability that you’d find blood pressure reductions at least as big as the ones you measured, even if the drug was a dud and didn’t work. A p-value of 0.05 means there’s only a 5 percent chance of that scenario. By convention, a p-value of less than 0.05 gives the researcher license to say that the drug produced “statistically significant” reductions in blood pressure.

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Chinese ministry investigates duplications in papers by university president – Nature (Andrew Silver | November 2019)

Published/Released on November 27, 2019 | Posted by Admin on December 6, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Four journals also say they are scrutinizing papers coauthored by Cao Xuetao after scientists raise questions about images on Twitter and PubPeer.

The Chinese education ministry is investigating scientific articles authored by high-profile immunologist and university president Cao Xuetao, following suggestions that dozens of... More

Four journals also say they are scrutinizing papers coauthored by Cao Xuetao after scientists raise questions about images on Twitter and PubPeer.

The Chinese education ministry is investigating scientific articles authored by high-profile immunologist and university president Cao Xuetao, following suggestions that dozens of papers contain potentially problematic images. Four journals also say they are examining papers from Cao. The scrutiny comes after US microbiologist Elisabeth Bik raised concerns two weeks ago on Twitter and the post-publication peer-discussion site PubPeer about images in papers written by Cao and his group. Cao is the president of Nankai University in Tianjin, and his team has pioneered the development of cancer immunotherapies in China. He says that his group is investigating the papers in question, and he is confident that the issues raised do not affect the papers’ conclusions. Cao has been a prominent voice for strengthening research integrity in China, and gave a speech on the topic at the prestigious Great Hall of the People in Beijing earlier this month.

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Quintet of study retractions rocks criminology community – Science (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | November 2019)

Criminology researchers are retracting five studies that have sparked a bitter battle over potential scientific misconduct and issues of race. The episode has riveted the criminology community—and severed a once close relationship after one of the researchers accused his former mentor of falsifying data. On 10 November, Justin Pickett, a... More

Criminology researchers are retracting five studies that have sparked a bitter battle over potential scientific misconduct and issues of race. The episode has riveted the criminology community—and severed a once close relationship after one of the researchers accused his former mentor of falsifying data. On 10 November, Justin Pickett, a criminologist at the State University of New York in Albany, announced on Twitter that he and his co-authors have agreed to retract a 2011 study published in Criminology that examined public support for taking a suspect’s ethnicity into account at sentencing. Four additional disputed papers, published between 2015 and this year in the journals Criminology, Social Problems, and Law & Society Review, have been or are in the process of being be retracted with the agreement of all the authors, ScienceInsider has learned. Eric Stewart, Pickett’s former mentor and a criminologist at Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, is a co-author of all five studies. The studies being retracted cover a range of topics. Two found that the number of black people lynched in a U.S. county 100 years ago influences whether white people in the same area today perceive black people as a threat and favor harsh punishments for them. Another examined the role of social context in antiblack and anti-Latino sentiment in the U.S. criminal justice system.

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‘Science by tweet’ prompts expression of concern, irking authors – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 23, 2019 | Posted by Admin on November 29, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

The leader of an international team of genetics researchers is seething after a journal responded to critical tweets about their paper by issuing an expression of concern. [colored_box]The article, “Exome sequencing in multiple sclerosis families identifies 12 candidate genes and nominates biological pathways for the genesis... More

The leader of an international team of genetics researchers is seething after a journal responded to critical tweets about their paper by issuing an expression of concern. [colored_box]The article, “Exome sequencing in multiple sclerosis families identifies 12 candidate genes and nominates biological pathways for the genesis of disease,” was published in PLOS Genetics in early June 2019 by a group led by Carles Vilariño-Güell, of the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. . Less than a week after publication, according to Vilariño-Güell, the journal notified him that:

There are 93 tweets in the conversation about the paper started by Daniel MacArthur. It is overwhelmingly negative towards the journal and paper. In addition to MacArthur (32.9k followers) weighing in, other names and influencers including Jeffrey Ross-Ibarrra (UC Davis, 6.2k followers), Heidi Rehm (Mass General, 4.4k followers), Manuel Rivas (Stanford, 2.2k followers), etc. One positive tweet appears responding to PLOS Genetics’ own coverage of this paper.

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We are all complicit in harassment and abuse – Nature (Virginia Valian | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 01, 2019 | Posted by Admin on November 27, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

In August, a prominent professor issued a public apology to Jeffrey Epstein’s victims. He said he had not known about the nature of Epstein’s crimes when he accepted donations from the financial tycoon and serial abuser of underage girls, but he acknowledged responsibility for helping to burnish the criminal’s... More

In August, a prominent professor issued a public apology to Jeffrey Epstein’s victims. He said he had not known about the nature of Epstein’s crimes when he accepted donations from the financial tycoon and serial abuser of underage girls, but he acknowledged responsibility for helping to burnish the criminal’s reputation: information was there for the learning, had he thought to look for it. The vast majority of scholars will never have crossed paths with Epstein, but many of us — myself included — are guilty of lapses, of instances when we failed to recognize or take steps to prevent abuse. It is past time for us to create effective ways to intervene. Funding agencies have moved to curtail abuse, but they also helped to create a system that abets it. Research institutions tend to have money and power concentrated in too few hands. They tend to ignore reports of misconduct to ‘protect’ the school.

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(Australia) Skin cancer doctor in hot water after papers retracted – The Age (Liam Mannix and Tom Cowie | November 2019)

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‘Misunderstanding of the academic rules’ leads to retraction of arthritis paper – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 22, 2019 | Posted by Admin on November 19, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

A group of arthritis researchers in China have lost a 2019 paper which was effectively an English-language reprint of an earlier article in a Chinese journal. Two of the authors blamed a “misunderstanding of the academic rules” on the part of their colleagues for the duplication. [colored_box]The article, “The clinical... More

A group of arthritis researchers in China have lost a 2019 paper which was effectively an English-language reprint of an earlier article in a Chinese journal. Two of the authors blamed a “misunderstanding of the academic rules” on the part of their colleagues for the duplication. [colored_box]The article, “The clinical significance of serum sCD25 as a sensitive disease activity marker for rheumatoid arthritis,” appeared in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology. But, as the retraction notice explains, the work wasn’t original: .

We, the Editor and Publishers of the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, have retracted the following article: .

H Sun, Y Wang, H Yao, L Wang, S Wu, Y Si, Y Meng, J Xu, Q Wang, X Sun & Z Li (2019). The clinical significance of serum sCD25 as a sensitive disease activity marker for rheumatoid arthritis. Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology 48(5). DOI: 10.1080/03009742.2019.1574890.

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Born Digital – The Expanding Universe of Research Content – Scholarly Kitchen (Judy Luther | November 2019)

Published/Released on November 06, 2019 | Posted by Admin on November 18, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

Beginning with the launch of the Internet, enabling technologies have expanded the number of formats that are widely used. Images, audio, video, data, code, and other forms of digital content are common in the researcher’s workflow and have become a necessary part of scholarly communications. Meanwhile, scholarly publishing has... More

Beginning with the launch of the Internet, enabling technologies have expanded the number of formats that are widely used. Images, audio, video, data, code, and other forms of digital content are common in the researcher’s workflow and have become a necessary part of scholarly communications. Meanwhile, scholarly publishing has remained predominantly page based and dependent on PDFs, though that may be about to change. DOIs signal research content DOIs have been associated with scholarly publishing since Crossref began providing connections between research articles in 1999. When Datacite was launched a decade later, they expanded to providing DOIs for datasets and other research objects. Then three years ago, Crossref released a schema for Preprints as the precursor to the published work. Amy Brand’s recent post in the Scholarly Kitchen noted that 87% of Crossref DOIs are assigned to journal articles and book chapters, with only 5.5% assigned to conferences. The remaining items are almost all text based works. As a result, DOIs have primarily represented published works and data as supplemental material to the Version of Record. This signaled that research had been reviewed, curated, published, and preserved for future reference as part of the scholarly record. Given that library budgets funded these publications, preservation was an essential requirement as the digital content was no longer housed within each institution.

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Contract cheating will erode trust in science – Nature (Tracey Bretag | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 30, 2019 | Posted by Admin on November 13, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,

To combat academic dishonesty, focus on educational systems and not just individual offenders, says Tracey Bretag.

Stories of students paying others to do their work come from all around the world. In the 2015 MyMaster scandal in Australia, hundreds of students who were enrolled... More

To combat academic dishonesty, focus on educational systems and not just individual offenders, says Tracey Bretag.

Stories of students paying others to do their work come from all around the world. In the 2015 MyMaster scandal in Australia, hundreds of students who were enrolled in more than a dozen universities paid a total of at least Aus$160,000 (US$108,000) to a ‘service’ that provided ghost-written essays and responses to online tests. In 2018, YouTube stars on more than 250 channels received money for promoting a cheating service called EduBirdie. Similar companies have been uncovered in the United States and elsewhere. Scientists should not deceive themselves: they are not immune. [colored_box]Academics call this ‘contract cheating’. My colleagues and I have assembled what is, to our knowledge, the largest data set on the topic — with responses from some 14,000 students and 1,000 teachers across 8 Australian universities. We found that roughly 6% of students have engaged in the practice; that most who cheat do so more than once; and that both post- and undergraduate students engage in it. Cheating is not new, but the proliferation of commercial, online services in the past 5–10 years has made it easier than ever. . And cheating is becoming increasingly normal. Since the 1990s, universities around the world have reimagined themselves as commercial enterprises that promote educational ‘products’ to student ‘consumers’. In 2017, a commentator likened the brash marketing strategies of some UK universities to the advertising of shampoo, and hundreds of academic papers have openly criticized the ‘marketization’ of higher education. It’s no wonder students opt to take the most convenient route to an academic credential — just as they would shop around for any other deal. In our survey, more than one-third of teachers specifically blamed contract cheating on the commercialization of higher education. .

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“Do we have the will to do anything about it?” James Heathers reflects on the Eysenck case – Retraction Watch (James Heathers | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 07, 2019 | Posted by Admin on November 12, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

We have a tension about resolving inaccuracies in scientific documents when they’re past a certain age. [colored_box]Specifically, what should we do with old papers that are shown to be not just wrong, which is a fate that will befall most of them, but seriously misleading, fatally flawed, or overwhelmingly likely to... More

We have a tension about resolving inaccuracies in scientific documents when they’re past a certain age. [colored_box]Specifically, what should we do with old papers that are shown to be not just wrong, which is a fate that will befall most of them, but seriously misleading, fatally flawed, or overwhelmingly likely to be fabricated, i.e. when they reach the (very high) threshold we set for retraction? . To my way of thinking, there are three components of this: . (1) the continuing use of the documents themselves as citable objects in contemporary research – some research stays current and relevant, other research is consigned to obscurity, or is so completely superseded that it has no bearing on contemporary research whatsoever. . (2) the profile of the authors – some authors of such documents are alive, famous, and have theories with contemporary relevance. Others are dead, obscure, and have theories which have no continuation in any other papers. Like it or not, these authors are treated differently. .

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We’re Incentivizing Bad Science – Scientific American (James Zimring | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 29, 2019 | Posted by Admin on November 11, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Current research trends resemble the early 21st century’s financial bubble

Whatever you might want to say about humans, our behavior is profoundly affected by the incentive structures we encounter. Imagine what might happen if banks that issued home loans no longer made money off... More

Current research trends resemble the early 21st century’s financial bubble

Whatever you might want to say about humans, our behavior is profoundly affected by the incentive structures we encounter. Imagine what might happen if banks that issued home loans no longer made money off the interest, but rather made money by blending the loans into investment bonds that they then sold to investors. There are a limited number of people fortunate enough to afford a home. Once all those people had mortgages, the banks would then become a mortgage-backed–security factory that had run out of raw materials to make its product. The banks could simply stop making money—or they could start making loans to anyone who applied, regardless of people’s ability to pay. After all, once the loans were sold to investors, the risk was no longer the bank’s. Of course, the rating agencies are designed to alert us to risk, but they get paid to do so by the banks, and angering your only customer base is not good business. Prior to 2008, without the intention of doing so, the system had evolved such that the bankers were specifically incentivized to inflate a massive bubble in the economy, built upon bad loans and unsustainable debt, and make a fortune doing it at no risk to themselves—and this is precisely what they did. So, let’s imagine what might happen if the rules of professional science evolved such that scientists were incentivized to publish as many papers as they could and if those who published many papers of poor scientific rigor were rewarded over those who published fewer papers of higher rigor? What would happen if scientists weren’t rewarded for the long-term reproducibility and rigor of their findings, but rather became a factory that produced and published highly exciting and innovative new discoveries, and then other scientists and companies spent resources on the follow up studies and took all the risk?

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Highlight negative results to improve science – Nature (Devang Mehta | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 04, 2019 | Posted by Admin on November 10, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

Publishers, reviewers and other members of the scientific community must fight science’s preference for positive results — for the benefit of all, says Devang Mehta.

Near the end of April, my colleagues and I published an More

Publishers, reviewers and other members of the scientific community must fight science’s preference for positive results — for the benefit of all, says Devang Mehta.

Near the end of April, my colleagues and I published an unusual scientific paper — one reporting a failed experiment — in Genome Biology. Publishing my work in a well-regarded peer-reviewed journal should’ve been a joyous, celebratory event for a newly minted PhD holder like me. Instead, trying to navigate through three other journals and countless revisions before finding it a home at Genome Biology has revealed to me one of the worst aspects of science today: its toxic definitions of ‘success’. Our work started as an attempt to use the much-hyped CRISPR gene-editing tool to make cassava (Manihot esculenta) resistant to an incredibly damaging viral disease, cassava mosaic disease. (Cassava is a tropical root crop that is a staple food for almost one billion people.) However, despite previous reports that CRISPR could provide viral immunity to plants by disrupting viral DNA, our experiments consistently showed the opposite result. In fact, our paper also showed that using CRISPR as an ‘immune system’ in plants probably led to the evolution of viruses that were more resistant to CRISPR. And although this result was scientifically interesting, it wasn’t the ‘positive’ result that applied scientists like me are taught to value. I had set off on my PhD trying to engineer plants to be resistant to viral diseases, and instead, four years later, I had good news for only the virus.

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South Korea clamps down on academics attending ‘weak’ conferences – Nature (Mark Zastrow | November 2019)

Published/Released on November 06, 2019 | Posted by Admin on November 7, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

A new policy will attempt to stop researchers travelling to meetings with little academic value.

South Korea’s education ministry wants to stop academics from participating in conferences that it considers “weak” and of little academic value. The ministry announced on 17 October that it... More

A new policy will attempt to stop researchers travelling to meetings with little academic value.

South Korea’s education ministry wants to stop academics from participating in conferences that it considers “weak” and of little academic value. The ministry announced on 17 October that it will require all universities to adopt measures to vet academics’ travel to overseas conferences so as to “prevent researchers from engaging in poor academic activities”. [colored_box]The ministry’s order comes after a report that it released in May which found that 574 professors from 90 universities around the country had participated in conferences that it called “weak”. . It is thought that some researchers knowingly elect to pay the fees to attend conferences of little value, or publish in low quality journals1 — some of which are considered ‘predatory’ — because they are a quick and easy way to add a publication or presentation to their CVs, or gain experience in presenting at international conferences. . Changgu Lee, a materials scientist at Sungkyunkwan University in Suwon, welcomes the oversight from the education authority. “Those who have lots of research money and want to have a vacation in a nice place without being bothered by academic responsibility attend those conferences,” he says. .

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Where Research Meets Profits – Inside Higher Ed (Colleen Flaherty | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 23, 2019 | Posted by Admin on November 6, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Recent allegations of copyright violations against a professor who shared his own work on his website spark debate about ownership and whether peer reviewers should be paid.

Like many academics, William Cunningham, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, shares his own articles... More

Recent allegations of copyright violations against a professor who shared his own work on his website spark debate about ownership and whether peer reviewers should be paid.

Like many academics, William Cunningham, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, shares his own articles -- published and soon-to-be -- on his website. And like most academics, he does so in the interest of science, not personal profit. So Cunningham and hundreds of his colleagues were recently irked by a takedown notice he received from the American Psychological Association, telling him that the articles he had published through the organization and then posted on his website were in violation of copyright law. The notice triggered a chain of responses -- including a warning from his website platform, WordPress, that multiple such violations put the future of his entire website at risk. And because the APA had previously issued similar takedown notices, the threat of losing his website seemed real to Cunningham. In response, psychologists started a petition to the APA, saying that if it didn’t stop policing authors’ personal websites for the sharing of science, then it needed to pay peer reviewers $300 for each article review.

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Venice ‘time machine’ project suspended amid data row – Nature (Davide Castelvecchi Davide Castelvecchi | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 25, 2019 | Posted by Admin on November 2, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Disagreements among international partners leave plans to digitize the Italian city’s history in limbo.

Like the city itself, an ambitious effort to digitize ten centuries’ worth of documents that record the history of Venice is at risk of sinking. Two key partners have suspended... More

Disagreements among international partners leave plans to digitize the Italian city’s history in limbo.

Like the city itself, an ambitious effort to digitize ten centuries’ worth of documents that record the history of Venice is at risk of sinking. Two key partners have suspended the Venice Time Machine project after reaching an impasse over issues surrounding open data and methodology. The State Archive of Venice and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) say they have had to pause data collection, and the archive’s director has raised questions about the usability of the 8 terabytes of information that have already been collected. [colored_box]The project sought to digitize documents that stretch over 80 kilometres of shelves in the state archive. These record the minutiae of the city’s administration — from financial transactions to citizens’ addresses and family connections — during its heyday in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance as a republic that for centuries dominated trade in the eastern Mediterranean. Many are written in Latin or the Venetian dialect, and have never been read by modern historians. . The goal was to make this information freely available online to researchers worldwide. The project also aimed to push the state-of-the-art in text-recognition technology for handwritten documents, using machine learning to automatically read millions of pages and tag their contents so that historians could perform quick searches. .

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Citation Contamination: References to Predatory Journals in the Legitimate Scientific Literature – Scholarly Kitchen (Rick Anderson | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 28, 2019 | Posted by Admin on October 31, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

(This post is based on a presentation given at the 6th annual World Conference on Research Integrity, in Hong Kong, June 2019.) My objective with this small research project was to get an idea of whether (and, if so, to what extent) articles published in predatory journals are being cited... More

(This post is based on a presentation given at the 6th annual World Conference on Research Integrity, in Hong Kong, June 2019.) My objective with this small research project was to get an idea of whether (and, if so, to what extent) articles published in predatory journals are being cited in the legitimate scientific literature. To that end, I identified seven journals that had revealed their predatory nature when they were exposed by one of four different “sting” operations, each of which had clearly demonstrated that the journal in question will (despite its public claims of peer-reviewed rigor) either publish nonsense in return for payment of article-processing charges, or take on as an editor someone with no qualifications. I then searched for citations to articles published in these journals in three large aggregators of scientific papers:

  • The Web of Science, a massive index of scholarly journals, books, and proceedings that claims to index over 90 million documents
  • The ScienceDirect database of journals and books published by Elsevier, which claims to include over 15 million publications
  • PLOS ONE, an open-access megajournal that has published roughly 200,000 articles in its history

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Former GP Spurs 20+ Retractions Over Forced Transplants From Chinese Prisoners – Medspace (Diana Swift | October 2019)

In her second career as a bioethicist, a former ge... More

In her second career as a bioethicist, a former general practitioner is reshaping the scientific literature of organ transplantation. From 1983 to 2000, Wendy Rogers, BMBS, practiced primary care medicine in different settings in the United Kingdom and Australia. In the latter country, the single mother of two grew disillusioned with the fee-for-service system, so while she was pondering her future, she decided to change course, leaving practice to take a degree in English literature and philosophy that led to a doctorate in philosophy. Medicine's loss was medical ethics' gain. Now a professor of clinical ethics at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, Rogers' work to draw attention to scientific research that used organ transplants from executed prisoners in China have led to at least 20 retractions, and counting.

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Repairing an Institutional Reputation Tarnished by Fraudulent Publishing – Scholarly Kitchen (Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe | September 2019)

Published/Released on September 30, 2019 | Posted by Admin on October 28, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

[colored_box]Earlier this year, a U.S. District Court ruled that publisher and conference organizer Srinubabu Gedela and his companies OMICS, iMedPub, and Conference Series violated the U.S. FTC Act “by making deceptive claims regarding their academic journals and scientific conferences, and by failing to adequately disclose... More

[colored_box]Earlier this year, a U.S. District Court ruled that publisher and conference organizer Srinubabu Gedela and his companies OMICS, iMedPub, and Conference Series violated the U.S. FTC Act “by making deceptive claims regarding their academic journals and scientific conferences, and by failing to adequately disclose their publishing fees.” The Court imposed a number of requirements as well as a judgment of $50.1 million. . Today I’d like to reflect on the implications that this ruling may have for institutions — those that employ researchers and those that fund researchers, especially as this will by no means be the last enforcement action taken against publishers accused of deceptive practices. . How might an institution repair a tarnished reputation? And, given the reality of fraudulent publishers and their deceptive practices, will institutions consider more strongly guiding author choice of publishing venue in order to protect institutional reputation? . Institutional Interests Universities and funders often herald the achievements of their researchers in order to garner positive press coverage, bolster their reputations, or recruit new employees. University rankings and memberships many times depend heavily not only on measures of research activity and quality but also on the impression they generate — the brand identity if you will — of their quality. ..

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What fake science journals may do to your health – Ottawa Citizen (Tom Spears | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 09, 2019 | Posted by Admin on October 27, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Kelly Cobey studies the shadowy world of scammers who publish fraudulent medical journals, but a few years back her professional field took a personal turn.

[colored_box]A colleague’s mother had cancer. Medical treatment failed to stop it, so the woman turned to an alternative practitioner... More

Kelly Cobey studies the shadowy world of scammers who publish fraudulent medical journals, but a few years back her professional field took a personal turn.

[colored_box]A colleague’s mother had cancer. Medical treatment failed to stop it, so the woman turned to an alternative practitioner who advised her to have vitamin infusions, backed up by a published study that promoted this treatment. . But there was a problem: The study was published by an Indian company that specializes in publishing groundless or substandard science studies. This is a scam that helps under-qualified scientists pretend they are doing real research, paying these “predatory” journals to advance their careers. (The company in question was later fined $50 million by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for a pattern of deceptive practices.) . The vitamin study was worthless, and all it did was give false hope to a woman who was very sick. As well, Cobey said, “she may have changed her care plan as a result of what she was given.” . Cobey, a researcher at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, is giving a public lecture Thursday on the dangers of predatory science journals, especially in her field of health. It’s free, and can also be seen live online. .

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(US) National Academy of Sciences to allow expulsion of harassers – Science (Meredith Wadman | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 03, 2019 | Posted by Admin on October 27, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

For the first time since its founding in 1863, the National Academy of Sciences will allow expulsion of members for serious offences including sexual harassment. MAXWELL MACKENZIE/NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

The prestigious U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in Washington,... More

For the first time since its founding in 1863, the National Academy of Sciences will allow expulsion of members for serious offences including sexual harassment. MAXWELL MACKENZIE/NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

The prestigious U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in Washington, D.C., has voted to allow expulsion of members for breaches of its Code of Conduct, including sexual harassment. Until now, election to the 156-year-old academy, a pinnacle of scientific achievement, has been a lifetime honour. In voting that concluded on 31 May with results announced this morning, 84% of those who cast ballots approved an amendment to the organization’s bylaws, allowing expulsion of a member by a two-thirds vote of NAS’s 17-member Council; 16% voted against the change. The average age of NAS members is 72; 83% are men. Although 2242 NAS members were eligible to vote, the academy did not disclose how many participated. “All women who have had a tough road—even those who have made it—I’m sure like me are happy to see this day where they can finally say: ‘The climate is gonna change,’” says Marcia McNutt, president of NAS, who drove the vote to the change the bylaws. “No longer will a climate be tolerated that doesn’t allow women to have the same chance as their male colleagues to thrive.”

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(Australian case) A researcher with 30 retractions and counting: The whistleblower speaks – Retraction Watch (Artemisia Stricta | October 2019)

Retraction Watch readers who have been following our coverage of retractions by Ali Nazari may have noticed that an anonymous whistleblower was the person who flagged the issues for journals and publishers. That whistleblower uses the pseudonym Artemisia Stricta, and we’re pleased to present a... More

Retraction Watch readers who have been following our coverage of retractions by Ali Nazari may have noticed that an anonymous whistleblower was the person who flagged the issues for journals and publishers. That whistleblower uses the pseudonym Artemisia Stricta, and we’re pleased to present a guest post written by him or her. Something is seriously out of place with the roughly 200 publications by Ali Nazari, a scientist at Swinburne University who studies structural materials. Some of these problems have been known by journals and publishers for years — some since 2012 — yet their response has been mixed. Some have retracted papers. Some have decided not to, so far. And others have been mum. The issues are serious enough to call into question the reliability of Nazari’s entire body of work. During 2010-2012, around 30 of Nazari’s papers duplicated images from Li et al. 2004, reporting that the materials had been produced by his group. The images, whose scale, orientation, brightness and contrast has been changed from the originals, reportedly represented materials different from those in Li et al.

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Two papers that we’ve covered have been retracted—here’s why – ars Technica (John0 Timmer | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 18, 2019 | Posted by Admin on October 24, 2019 | Keywords: , , ,

Not all retractions are created equal.

Science is an activity performed by humans, so it's inevitable that some of the scientific papers we cover will end up being wrong. As we noted yesterday, the cause can range from factors completely... More

Not all retractions are created equal.

Science is an activity performed by humans, so it's inevitable that some of the scientific papers we cover will end up being wrong. As we noted yesterday, the cause can range from factors completely outside of a researcher's control—like OS implementation oddities—to mistakes and errors or even intentional fraud. In some cases, the problems are minor or peripheral to the main conclusions of a study and can be handled with a correction. In others, the issues are fatal to the paper's conclusion. In these cases, the only option is to retract the paper. When Ars discovers that a paper we've covered has been retracted, we make an effort to go back and provide a notice of it in our article. But until recently, we didn't have a formal policy regarding what that notice should look like, and we typically didn't publish anything new to indicate a retraction had occurred. Having given it some thought, that practice seems insufficient. A failure to prominently correct the record makes it easier for people to hang on to a mistaken impression about our state of understanding. Perhaps more importantly, not reporting a retraction leaves people unaware of a key aspect of science's self-correcting nature and how retractions can sometimes actually advance our scientific understanding. This is definitely apparent in the contrast between two retractions that we'll revisit today.

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Fining one ‘predatory’ publisher won’t fix the problem of bad science in journals – STAT (Adam Marcus | April 2019)

Published/Released on April 05, 2019 | Posted by Admin on October 21, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Science publishers aren’t supposed to be in the disinformation business. And that’s precisely what a federal judge in Nevada was saying late last month when she slapped OMICS International with a $50 million penalty in a suit brought by the U.S. Federal Trade... More

Science publishers aren’t supposed to be in the disinformation business. And that’s precisely what a federal judge in Nevada was saying late last month when she slapped OMICS International with a $50 million penalty in a suit brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Judge Gloria M. Navarro agreed with regulators that OMICS, which publishes hundreds of journals and puts on scientific conferences, was guilty of “numerous express and material misrepresentations regarding their journal publishing practices.” The ruling clearly is a win for honest brokers in scientific publishing. But it’s not the solution to the problem of so-called predatory journals — a term used to describe for-profit publications that pretend to offer peer review and editing but in reality do little, if any, of either.

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(Australia) UNSW skin cancer researcher Levon Khachigian hit with string of retractions – ABC News (Elise Worthington and Kyle Taylor | October 2019)

Levon Khachigian cuts an imposing figure in the hallways of the UNSW School of Medical Sciences. [colored_box]The 55-year-old cell biologist rose to the top of the university's academic hierarchy, on a salary package once worth more than $250,000 a year. . In the elite world of academia, where prestige is... More

Levon Khachigian cuts an imposing figure in the hallways of the UNSW School of Medical Sciences. [colored_box]The 55-year-old cell biologist rose to the top of the university's academic hierarchy, on a salary package once worth more than $250,000 a year. . In the elite world of academia, where prestige is driven by publication in top scientific journals and research funding is scarce, Professor Khachigian has been a big earner, bringing more than $23 million in funding to the university over his three-decade career. The cancer and cardiovascular researcher was once regarded as a rising star on the brink of a breakthrough treatment for skin cancer. . Professor Khachigian is the winner of multiple Eureka prizes, widely regarded as the "Oscars" of Australian science, and once told a newspaper that the toughest part of the job was "when a research paper is rejected for publication on whimsical grounds". .

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(US) Google and the University of Chicago Are Sued Over Data Sharing – New York Times (Daisuke Wakabayashi | June 2019)

SAN FRANCISCO — When the University of Chicago Medical Center announced a partnership to share patient data with Google in 2017, the alliance was promoted as a way to unlock information trapped in electronic health records and improve predictive analysis in medicine.

On Wednesday, the... More

SAN FRANCISCO — When the University of Chicago Medical Center announced a partnership to share patient data with Google in 2017, the alliance was promoted as a way to unlock information trapped in electronic health records and improve predictive analysis in medicine.

On Wednesday, the University of Chicago, the medical center and Google were sued in a potential class-action lawsuit accusing the hospital of sharing hundreds of thousands of patients’ records with the technology giant without stripping identifiable date stamps or doctor’s notes.

The suit, filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, demonstrates the difficulties technology companies face in handling health data as they forge ahead into one of the most promising — and potentially lucrative — areas of artificial intelligence: diagnosing medical problems.

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(Taiwan) Draft amendment would make hiring thesis ghostwriter ethical misconduct – Taipei Times (Chien Hui-ju | September 2019)

Published/Released on October 01, 2019 | Posted by Admin on October 16, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

If proposed new regulations are approved, researchers who have papers ghostwritten would need to return their government funding, because the draft would classify the practice as misconduct, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said on Monday last week. The ministry last month proposed draft amendments to its Guidelines... More

If proposed new regulations are approved, researchers who have papers ghostwritten would need to return their government funding, because the draft would classify the practice as misconduct, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said on Monday last week. The ministry last month proposed draft amendments to its Guidelines for Handling and Investigating Research Misconduct (學術倫理案件處理及審議要點), which governs researchers’ applications to the ministry for project funding or academic awards. Having a paper ghostwritten is a breach of research ethics and investigations would be able to go back 10 years, the draft says.

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A publisher wants to destigmatize retractions. Here’s how – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | September 2019)

Published/Released on September 12, 2019 | Posted by Admin on October 15, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

It’s no secret that retractions have a stigma, which is very likely part of why authors often resist the move — even when honest error is involved. There have been at least a few proposals to change the nomenclature for some retractions over the years,... More

It’s no secret that retractions have a stigma, which is very likely part of why authors often resist the move — even when honest error is involved. There have been at least a few proposals to change the nomenclature for some retractions over the years, from turning them into “amendments” to a new taxonomy. Erica Boxheimer, data integrity analyst at EMBO Press, and Bernd Pulverer, chief editor of The EMBO Journal and head of scientific publications for the Press, have suggested a related solution, which builds on a 2015 proposal:

We proposed to use the term “withdrawal” instead of the canonical “retraction” for an author‐initiated retraction based on “honest mistakes”. We are now using the terms “retraction” and “withdrawal” as formally distinct content types across EMBO Press in the hope that “withdrawal” attracts less stigma and encourages self‐correction. 

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Work of renowned UK psychologist Hans Eysenck ruled ‘unsafe’ – The Guardian (Sarah Boseley | October 2019)

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(Australia) Unauthorised survey asked students to rate Chinese people out of seven – Sydney Morning Herald (Nick Bonyhady | September 2019)

An unauthorised survey delivered to students at the University of Sydney under the university's official logo asked them to rate the attractiveness and intelligence of Chinese people out of seven.
[colored_box]The survey was delivered by both paid and volunteer pollsters to students voting in student representative council elections at the university... More

An unauthorised survey delivered to students at the University of Sydney under the university's official logo asked them to rate the attractiveness and intelligence of Chinese people out of seven.
[colored_box]The survey was delivered by both paid and volunteer pollsters to students voting in student representative council elections at the university this week. It claimed to be "approved in principle by the University of Sydney's ethics committee" and "endorsed by the political science department." . A University of Sydney spokeswoman said the university had "very strong concerns" about the content of the survey, which it was not aware of until contacted by the Herald on Wednesday, and how it was delivered. . "An initial inquiry indicates ethics approval was not obtained for the study and our logo has been used without permission," the spokeswoman said. "We are formally contacting the staff and student involved today to advise them the matter may be subject to disciplinary proceedings." .

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UK universities compliance with the Concordat to Support Research Integrity: findings from cross-sectional time-series – PeerJ (Elizabeth Wager | July 2019)

Published/Released on July 16, 2019 | Posted by Admin on October 12, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

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When CVs Are Too Good to Be True – Inside Higher Ed (Colleen Flaherty | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 03, 2019 | Posted by Admin on October 9, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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(Australia) Materials scientist will soon be up to 30 retractions – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | October 2019)

A researcher at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia will soon add three more retractions to his burgeoning count, making 30. Ali Nazari has lost 27 papers from several journals, as we’ve reported over the past few months. According to an upcoming notice obtained by Retraction Watch, the International Journal... More

A researcher at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia will soon add three more retractions to his burgeoning count, making 30. Ali Nazari has lost 27 papers from several journals, as we’ve reported over the past few months. According to an upcoming notice obtained by Retraction Watch, the International Journal of Material Research (IJMR) will be retracting three more:

These papers published in IJMR have significant overlap in terms of identical content and wording with papers published by Ali Nazari et al. in other journals; strikingly the same micrographs and numerical data were used in different papers, albeit discussing different materials (additives).

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Two-thirds of researchers report ‘pressure to cite’ in Nature poll – Nature (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 01, 2019 | Posted by Admin on October 7, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Readers say they have been asked to reference seemingly superfluous studies after peer review.

An online poll answered by more than 4,300 Nature readers suggests that most researchers have felt pressured by peer reviewers to cite studies in their papers that seem unnecessary. Readers were... More

Readers say they have been asked to reference seemingly superfluous studies after peer review.

An online poll answered by more than 4,300 Nature readers suggests that most researchers have felt pressured by peer reviewers to cite studies in their papers that seem unnecessary. Readers were asked, ‘Have you ever felt pressured by peer reviewers to cite seemingly superfluous studies in your work?’, to which 66% responded ‘yes’ and 34% said ‘no’ (see ‘Coercive citation?’). The poll accompanied a news story last month, which revealed that the Dutch publisher Elsevier had found a small proportion of academics reviewing papers for its journals were exploiting the review process by asking authors to reference the reviewers’ own papers in exchange for a positive report.

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Peer Review Week – the Podcast and the Videos! – Scholarly Kitchen (Alice Meadows | September 2019)

Published/Released on September 20, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 28, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

[colored_box] We’re delighted to end this year’s Peer Review Week celebrations by sharing some great community resources that you can use all year round! The Peer Review Week channel on YouTube features short videos by researchers, editors, publishers, and others on the theme of quality in peer review, and there’s... More

[colored_box] We’re delighted to end this year’s Peer Review Week celebrations by sharing some great community resources that you can use all year round! The Peer Review Week channel on YouTube features short videos by researchers, editors, publishers, and others on the theme of quality in peer review, and there’s also a 60 second podcast on Peer Review Week by Sense about Science Director, Tracey Brown, OBE. Until next year … enjoy!

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(US) Columbia historian stepping down after plagiarism finding – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | September 2019)

Published/Released on September 17, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 26, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

A tenured professor of history at Columbia University will be stepping down at the end of next year after an investigating committee at the school found “incontrovertible evidence of research misconduct” in his controversial 2013 book. Charles King Armstrong, the Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences,... More

A tenured professor of history at Columbia University will be stepping down at the end of next year after an investigating committee at the school found “incontrovertible evidence of research misconduct” in his controversial 2013 book. Charles King Armstrong, the Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences, was found to have “cited nonexistent or irrelevant sources in at least 61 instances” in “Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950-1992,” according to the Columbia Spectator, which first reported on the resignation last week. In a September 10 letter, Maya Tolstoy, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, announced the news to the institution:

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How to Be A Good Peer Reviewer – Scholarly Kitchen (Jasmine Wallace | September 2019)

Published/Released on September 17, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 25, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

In my experience, the streamlined process of peer review is complicated when reviewers with good intentions do bad things. A reviewer who does bad things displays behaviors that slow down or lessen the effectiveness of peer review. A good peer reviewer displays efficient behaviors and adds value to the... More

In my experience, the streamlined process of peer review is complicated when reviewers with good intentions do bad things. A reviewer who does bad things displays behaviors that slow down or lessen the effectiveness of peer review. A good peer reviewer displays efficient behaviors and adds value to the process. The good thing about a reviewer who does bad things is that they can change. There are quite a few ways to shift bad behaviors and habits of reviewers to become not just good, but great peer reviewers. Mind the Time Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Seriously, good reviewers do not keep a fellow peer waiting longer than needed to receive their review. Keep in mind that your review is holding their work from progressing. Some people have been working for years to get their research “peer review” ready. Their blood, sweat, and tears have gone into the work you’ve been asked to evaluate. When you get the initial invitation to review, make note of the deadline. Pull out your calendar and check to see if you can realistically return a fair and sound assessment of the work in the allotted time. If the deadline is not reasonable, don’t be afraid to ask for an extension.

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We Need to Talk About Authorship Abuse – Inside Higher Ed (A. Susan Jurow and Jordan Jurow | September 2019)

Published/Released on September 12, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 24, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

The academic community must move beyond compliance with standards and toward the cultivation of a greater sense of ethical responsibility, argue A. Susan Jurow and Jordan Jurow.

Abuse of authorship is increasingly common in higher education. For example, too many... More

The academic community must move beyond compliance with standards and toward the cultivation of a greater sense of ethical responsibility, argue A. Susan Jurow and Jordan Jurow.

Abuse of authorship is increasingly common in higher education. For example, too many academics are either listing the names of people on papers who have not contributed to those papers or they are not including the names of those who have. As a result, authorship has become a false signifier of intellectual productivity and authority. And if we allow such authorship abuse to continue unabated, we are abdicating our responsibilities as scholars, furthering distrust in educational institutions and delegitimizing our ability to make knowledge claims that can enable us to effect change. Simply put, an author is a person who has contributed real and identifiable intellectual labor to earn their position on a paper. Giving credit to those who do not deserve it -- or, equally problematic, not crediting those who have done work -- compromises the trustworthiness of our research and our honor as scholars. The perversion of authorship is being reproduced through unreflective practice, apprenticeship into inappropriate practices and, at times, outright dishonesty, facilitated by the growing use of problematic metrics of scholarship.

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Australia ‘There is a problem’: Australia’s top scientist Alan Finkel pushes to eradicate bad science – The Conversation (Alan Finkel | September 2019)

[colored_box]In the main, Australia produces high-quality research that is rigorous and reproducible, and makes a significant contribution towards scientific progress. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do it better. . In the case of the research sector here and abroad, we need to acknowledge that as good as the... More

[colored_box]In the main, Australia produces high-quality research that is rigorous and reproducible, and makes a significant contribution towards scientific progress. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do it better. . In the case of the research sector here and abroad, we need to acknowledge that as good as the research system is, there is a problem. . There are a significant number of papers that are of poor quality, and should never have made it through to publication. In considering why this might be the case, I have found myself reflecting on the role of incentives in the research system. . Because incentives matter, as we have seen through the findings of the Royal Commission into the banking sector led by Kenneth Hayne. . The commission shone a light on how the sector incentivises its employees. And there are some incentives in the research community that, in my view, need to be looked at. . We may be inadvertently encouraging poor behaviour. And to ensure research remains high-quality and trustworthy, we need to get the incentives right. .

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China strengthens its campaign against scientific misconduct – CE&EN (Hepeng Jia | September 2019)

New publishing standards aim for clarity on plagiarism, fabrication, and authorship

Amid increasing attention to scientific research integrity in China, the country has adopted a new set of standards to more clearly define misconduct in publishing journal articles. Experts hope the new... More

New publishing standards aim for clarity on plagiarism, fabrication, and authorship

Amid increasing attention to scientific research integrity in China, the country has adopted a new set of standards to more clearly define misconduct in publishing journal articles. Experts hope the new clarity will make it easier to discipline researchers who violate the standards. The State Administration of Press and Publication, the agency in charge of China’s publishing sector, released and adopted in July the Academic Publishing Specification—Definition of Academic Misconduct for Journals. Other standards developed by the agency cover citation and translation practices and the use of ancient Chinese.
The publishing specification defines and distinguishes plagiarism, fabrication, and falsification. It also addresses inappropriate authorship, duplicate or multiple submissions, and overlapping publications.
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What’s next for Registered Reports? – Nature (Chris Chambers | September 2019)

Published/Released on September 10, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 19, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,

Reviewing and accepting study plans before results are known can counter perverse incentives. Chris Chambers sets out three ways to improve the approach.

What part of a research study — hypotheses, methods, results, or discussion — should remain beyond a scientist’s control? The answer,... More

Reviewing and accepting study plans before results are known can counter perverse incentives. Chris Chambers sets out three ways to improve the approach.

What part of a research study — hypotheses, methods, results, or discussion — should remain beyond a scientist’s control? The answer, of course, is the results: the part that matters most for publishing in prestigious journals and advancing careers. This paradox means that the careful scepticism required to avoid massaging data or skewing analysis is pitted against the drive to identify eye-catching outcomes. Unbiased, negative and complicated findings lose out to cherry-picked highlights that can bring prominent articles, grant funding, promotion and esteem. The ‘results paradox’ is a chief cause of unreliable science. Negative, or null, results go unpublished, leading other researchers into unwittingly redundant studies. Ambiguous or otherwise ‘unattractive’ results are airbrushed (consciously or not) into publishable false positives, spurring follow-up research and theories that are bound to collapse. Clearly, we need to change how we evaluate and publish research. For the past six years, I have championed Registered Reports (RRs), a type of research article that is radically different from conventional papers. The 30 or so journals that were early adopters have together published some 200 RRs, and more than 200 journals are now accepting submissions in this format (see ‘Rapid rise’). When it launched in 2017, Nature Human Behaviour became the first of the Nature journals to join this group. In July, it published its first two such reports1. With RRs on the rise, now is a good time to take stock of their potential and limitations

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Elsevier investigates hundreds of peer reviewers for manipulating citations – Nature (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | September 2019)

Published/Released on September 10, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 17, 2019 | Keywords: , ,

The publisher is scrutinizing researchers who might be inappropriately using the review process to promote their own work.

[colored_box]The Dutch publisher Elsevier is investigating hundreds of researchers whom it suspects of deliberately manipulating the peer-review process to boost their own citation numbers. . The... More

The publisher is scrutinizing researchers who might be inappropriately using the review process to promote their own work.

[colored_box]The Dutch publisher Elsevier is investigating hundreds of researchers whom it suspects of deliberately manipulating the peer-review process to boost their own citation numbers. . The publisher is looking into the possibility that some peer reviewers are encouraging the authors of work under review to cite the reviewers’ own research in exchange for positive reviews — a frowned-on practice broadly termed coercive citation. . Elsevier’s probe has also revealed that several of these reviewers seem to be engaging in other questionable publishing practices in studies that they have themselves authored. The Elsevier analysts who uncovered the activity told Nature that they “discovered clear evidence of peer-review manipulation” and of academics publishing the same studies more than once. Elsevier said that their investigations will lead to some of these studies being retracted. .

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(Australian case) A publisher just retracted 22 articles. And the whistleblower is just getting started – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | September 2019)

Published/Released on September 13, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 15, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

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Fake Citations Kill a Career – Inside Higher Ed (Colleen Flaherty | September 2017)

Columbia says a historian's acclaimed book on North Korea was plagiarized, and its publisher says it's been taken out of print.

Charles Armstrong, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences at Columbia University, plagiarized parts of his... More

Columbia says a historian's acclaimed book on North Korea was plagiarized, and its publisher says it's been taken out of print.

Charles Armstrong, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences at Columbia University, plagiarized parts of his award-winning book on North Korea, Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950-1992. He’s currently on sabbatical and will retire at the end of 2020, the university told Armstrong’s colleagues this week. “These findings were made in accordance with our policy, which required a confidential preliminary review by an inquiry committee, an investigation by a separate ad hoc faculty committee, oversight and recommendations by the university’s standing Committee on the Conduct of Research, and final decisions by the executive vice president for research and the provost,” Maya Tolstoy, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, wrote in an email to professors that was obtained by Inside Higher Ed. Findings of research misconduct are generally “communicated to the public through retractions or corrections published in the scholarly literature,” Tolstoy wrote. “Where such a retraction is not feasible, the university may choose to notify the relevant community.”

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Why we shouldn’t take peer review as the ‘gold standard’ – The Washington Post (Paul D. Thacker and Jon Tennant | August 2019)

Published/Released on August 01, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 10, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

It’s too easy for bad actors to exploit the process and mislead the public

In July, India’s government dismissed a research paper finding that the country’s economic growth had been overestimated, saying the paper had not been “peer... More

It’s too easy for bad actors to exploit the process and mislead the public

In July, India’s government dismissed a research paper finding that the country’s economic growth had been overestimated, saying the paper had not been “peer reviewed.” At a conference for plastics engineers, an economist from an industry group dismissed environmental concerns about plastics by claiming that some of the underlying research was “not peer reviewed.” And the Trump administration — not exactly known for its fealty to science — attempted to reject a climate change report by stating, incorrectly, that it lacked peer review.

Researchers commonly refer to peer review as the “gold standard,” which makes it seem as if a peer-reviewed paper — one sent by journal editors to experts in the field who assess and critique it before publication — must be legitimate, and one that’s not reviewed must be untrustworthy. But peer review, a practice dating to the 17th century, is neither golden nor standardized. Studies have shown that journal editors prefer reviewers of the same gender, that women are underrepresented in the peer review process, and that reviewers tend to be influenced by demographic factors like the author’s gender or institutional affiliation. Shoddy work often makes it past peer reviewers, while excellent research has been shot down. Peer reviewers often fail to detect bad research, conflicts of interest and corporate ghostwriting.

Meanwhile, bad actors exploit the process for professional or financial gain, leveraging peer review to mislead decision-makers. For instance, the National Football League used the words “peer review” to fend off criticism of studies by the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, a task force the league founded in 1994, which found little long-term harm from sport-induced brain injuries in players. But the New York Times later discovered that the scientists involved had omitted more than 100 diagnosed concussions from their studies. What’s more, the NFL’s claim that the research had been rigorously vetted ignored that the process was incredibly contentious: Some reviewers were adamant that the papers should not have been published at all.

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Could a New Project Expose Predatory Conferences? – Technology Networks (Paul Killoran, Ex Ordo | September 2019)

Published/Released on September 03, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 9, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

By now, predatory conferences should be on your radar. These “scholarly” events are organized on a strictly for-profit basis, pay lip service to peer review, and publish almost anything sent their way — for a fee, of course. (An associate professor submitted a nuclear physics paper More

By now, predatory conferences should be on your radar. These “scholarly” events are organized on a strictly for-profit basis, pay lip service to peer review, and publish almost anything sent their way — for a fee, of course. (An associate professor submitted a nuclear physics paper written using iOS autocomplete to one such conference. It passed review with flying colors.) For years, shady individuals have been exploiting early-career researchers’ eagerness to publish. But unless you were desperate  — or painfully naive — fake conferences were pretty easy to spot and avoid. Up till now. Effective predators adapt, and today’s breed of predatory conference is a much better mimic of the real deal. Their organizers are tech-savvy enough to create counterfeit websites that masquerade as those belonging to learned societies. I know of at least one medical association that had its conference website cloned by scammers and placed online at a web address that was just close enough to the real thing to be believable.

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Q&A Linda Beaumont: Journals should take action against toxic peer reviews – Nature Index (Gemma Conroy | August 2019)

Published/Released on August 30, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 8, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

Keep it constructive.

Learning to accept criticism is an important skill for researchers navigating the peer-review process. But what happens when the feedback is unhelpful, rude or downright toxic? Linda Beaumont, an ecologist... More

Keep it constructive.

Learning to accept criticism is an important skill for researchers navigating the peer-review process. But what happens when the feedback is unhelpful, rude or downright toxic? Linda Beaumont, an ecologist at Macquarie University in Australia, is no stranger to a harsh review. “One reviewer of a submission bluntly wrote, ‘I can’t believe the authors used this approach. This paper shouldn’t be published,’” says Beaumont. “Two sentences. I was gobsmacked.” But when one of her PhD students received a similarly cutting review, Beaumont knew it was time to speak out. In August 2019, she published a comment in Nature calling for clear ethical guidelines for peer-reviewers. She adds that editors have a role to play in addressing damaging feedback before it reaches the authors. Nature Index spoke to Beaumont about how peer reviewers can keep their feedback constructive, and how authors should respond when they don’t.

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How often do authors with retractions for misconduct continue to publish? – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | May 2019)

Published/Released on May 08, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 8, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,

How does retraction change publishing behavior? Mark Bolland and Andrew Grey, who were two members of a team whose work led to dozens of retractions for Yoshihiro Sato, now third on the Retraction... More

How does retraction change publishing behavior? Mark Bolland and Andrew Grey, who were two members of a team whose work led to dozens of retractions for Yoshihiro Sato, now third on the Retraction Watch leaderboard, joined forces with Vyoma Mistry to find out. We asked Bolland to answer several questions about the new University of Auckland team’s paper, which appeared in Accountability in Research. Retraction Watch (RW): You “undertook a survey of publication rates, for authors with multiple retractions in the biomedical literature, to determine whether they changed after authors’ first retractions.” What did you find? Mark Bolland (MB): We wondered whether people continue to publish after they have had more than one of their papers retracted. We identified 100 authors with more than one first-author retraction from the Retraction Watch database (the top 10 from the Retraction watch leaderboard, 40 with at least 10 retractions, and 50 with 2-5 retractions). 82 authors were associated with a retraction in which scientific misconduct was listed as a reason for retraction in the Retraction Watch database.

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Study pulls back curtain on contracts between Coca-Cola and the researchers it funds – STAT (Andrew Josep | May 2019)

When it funds scientific research, Coca-Cola includes a provision in its contracts with academic institutions that allows the beverage giant to pull its funding for a study at any point, according to a group of researchers who obtained several such agreements. The policies could pressure recipients of the... More

When it funds scientific research, Coca-Cola includes a provision in its contracts with academic institutions that allows the beverage giant to pull its funding for a study at any point, according to a group of researchers who obtained several such agreements. The policies could pressure recipients of the funding to pursue research that dovetails with Coca-Cola’s goals out of fear of having their project canceled, the researchers said in a paper published Tuesday, though they added that they found no example of that occurring. The paper, which was published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, comes amid increasing scrutiny of the food and beverage industry’s funding of and influence over academic research. The industry has taken a number of steps to improve transparency and safeguard the independence of studies it sponsors. Notably, Coca-Cola in 2015 started listing on its website the institutions and researchers it funded and the following year outlined principles that would guide its support for scientific research.

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Data sharing and how it can benefit your scientific career – Nature (Gabriel Popkin | May 2019)

Published/Released on May 13, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 5, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Open science can lead to greater collaboration, increased confidence in findings and goodwill between researchers.

Ecologist Thomas Crowther knew that scientists had already collected a vast amount of field data on forests worldwide. But almost all of those data were sequestered in researchers’ notebooks... More

Open science can lead to greater collaboration, increased confidence in findings and goodwill between researchers.

Ecologist Thomas Crowther knew that scientists had already collected a vast amount of field data on forests worldwide. But almost all of those data were sequestered in researchers’ notebooks or personal computers, making them unavailable to the wider scientific community. In 2012, Crowther, then a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, began to e-mail and cold-call researchers to request their data. He started to assemble an inventory, now hosted by the Global Forest Biodiversity Initiative, an international research collaboration, that contains data on more than 1 million locations. Data are stored in CSV files (plain-text files that contain a list of data) on servers at Crowther’s present laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and on those of a collaborator at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana; he hopes to outsource database storage to a third-party organization with expertise in archiving and access. After years of courting and cajoling, Crowther has persuaded about half of the data owners to make their data public. The other half, he laments, say that they support open data in principle, but have specific reasons for keeping their data sets private. Mainly, he explains, they want to use their data to conduct and publish their own studies. Crowther’s database challenges reflect the current state of science: partly open, partly closed, and with unclear and inconsistent policies and expectations on data sharing that are still in flux. High-level bodies such as the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the European Commission have called for science to become more open and endorsed a set of data-management standards known as the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) principles. Government funding agencies in the United States, Europe and Australia require researchers to devise plans for data management and, in some cases, data sharing; some private funders also require them. Many journals, including Nature, have adopted policies that encourage or require authors to make data available. A plethora of open-access repositories host data sets from almost all fields, and scientists have been publicly criticized by colleagues for not sharing data.

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Better Metadata Could Help Save The World! – Scholarly Kitchen (Alice Meadows | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 11, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 4, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

The title of this post may seem like a farfetched claim, however, no one can deny that we are currently faced with increasingly critical challenges — climate crisis, shrinking biodiversity, hunger, poverty, disease, and more. I think most of us would agree this means it’s essential for the research... More

The title of this post may seem like a farfetched claim, however, no one can deny that we are currently faced with increasingly critical challenges — climate crisis, shrinking biodiversity, hunger, poverty, disease, and more. I think most of us would agree this means it’s essential for the research findings that could help address these challenges to be shared as quickly and widely as possible — and for the data behind those findings to be FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable). And that means…metadata! As a community, we have a collective responsibility for sharing research outputs, including their metadata. That’s why Metadata 2020 is so timely and important (disclaimer: I am co-chair of their Researcher Communications project group). This community-led initiative aims to improve metadata in order to enhance discoverability, encourage new services, create efficiencies, and — ultimately — accelerate scholarly research. Lofty goals, to be sure! Which means that to succeed in achieving them we need the support of everyone who is involved in creating, curating, and consuming metadata. Per the FAIR principles, “Metadata and data should be easy to find for both humans and computers.  Machine-readable metadata are essential for automatic discovery of datasets and services.” Building on this, the Metadata 2020 project group on Best Practices and Principles has developed a set of draft principles, which were recently released for community comment. They state that for metadata to support the community, they should be:

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What universities can learn from one of science’s biggest frauds – Nature (Holly Else – June 2019)

Published/Released on June 18, 2019 | Posted by Admin on September 3, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

Detailed analysis of misconduct investigations into huge research fraud suggests institutional probes aren’t rigorous enough.

By day, Andrew Grey studies bone health. But over the past few years, he’s developed another speciality: the case of one of science’s most prolific fraudsters. From 1996 to 2013,... More

Detailed analysis of misconduct investigations into huge research fraud suggests institutional probes aren’t rigorous enough.

By day, Andrew Grey studies bone health. But over the past few years, he’s developed another speciality: the case of one of science’s most prolific fraudsters. From 1996 to 2013, Yoshihiro Sato, a Japanese bone-health researcher plagiarized work, fabricated data and forged authorships — prompting retractions of more than 60 studies in the scholarly literature so far. Grey and colleagues at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the University of Aberdeen, UK, are among the researchers who have raised concerns about Sato’s work over the past decade or so, and they have studied the case in detail — in particular, how universities involved in the research investigated concerns about his work and allegations of misconduct. At the World Conference on Research Integrity in Hong Kong from 2 to 5 June, Grey’s team described its years-long efforts to clean up Sato’s literature, and presented its analysis of the inquiries conducted by four universities in Japan and the United States ensnared in the scandal (the team published its analysis of three investigations in a paper in February1). Grey says their findings provide evidence to support a growing view in the academic community: that university investigations into research misconduct are often inadequate, opaque and poorly conducted. They challenge the idea that institutions can police themselves on research integrity and propose that there should be independent organizations to evaluate allegations of research fraud should.

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‘Search for inspiration’ lands too close to plagiarism, forcing retraction of grief paper – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | April 2019)

Published/Released on April 04, 2019 | Posted by Admin on August 30, 2019 | Keywords: , , ,

A pair of grief scholars in Denmark have lost a 2018 paper on ghostly apparitions after one of the researchers copied text from another article. [colored_box]The study, “How many bereaved people hallucinate about their loved one? A systematic review and meta-analysis of bereavement hallucinations,” appeared in the Journal of Affective... More

A pair of grief scholars in Denmark have lost a 2018 paper on ghostly apparitions after one of the researchers copied text from another article. [colored_box]The study, “How many bereaved people hallucinate about their loved one? A systematic review and meta-analysis of bereavement hallucinations,” appeared in the Journal of Affective Disorders, an Elsevier publication. Authors Karina Stengaard Kamp and Helena Due — yes, a second author named Due — are with The Aarhus Bereavement Research Unit at Aarhus University. . As the retraction notice explains: . This article has been retracted at the request of the authors. . After publication it came to their attention that parts of the wording especially in the last part of the discussion section (i.e., Methodological challenges and recommendation for future research, Strengths and limitations, and Conclusion) are too close to the cited manuscript (Lundorff et al., 2017). This mistake has sprung from the first author’s inexperience, and... .

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The gold rush: Why open access will boost publisher profits – LSE Impact Blog (Shaun Khoo | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 04, 2019 | Posted by Admin on August 29, 2019 | Keywords: , ,

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(Japan) Former university president up to ten retractions – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | April 2019)

The former president of Tohoku University in Japan has just had a tenth paper retracted, because it duplicated one of his earlier works. One of the most recent retractions by materials scientist Akihisa Inoue, late last month, was of a paper in Materials Transactions... More

The former president of Tohoku University in Japan has just had a tenth paper retracted, because it duplicated one of his earlier works. One of the most recent retractions by materials scientist Akihisa Inoue, late last month, was of a paper in Materials Transactions that had duplicated a now-retracted paper and was subject to an expression of concern in 2012:

This article had been acknowledged by the Editorial Committee of Materials Transactions as the secondary publication from the previously published paper, because the contents were almost identical. Recently, the original paper was retracted. Unreferred reproduction from another paper which was not pointed out in the announcement has also been found. Therefore, this article is improper as a scientific paper, and it is retracted with the primary author’s agreement. The authors are required to pay more careful attention to contributing papers.

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Technological Support for Peer Review Innovations – Scholarly Kitchen (Jessica Polka | March 2019)

Published/Released on March 26, 2019 | Posted by Admin on August 24, 2019 | Keywords: , , ,

The design of critical infrastructure determines what its users can do, and when. For example, the New York City subway system carries 1.7 billion passengers annually, shapes centers of residential and commercial activity, and enables a vibrant culture with its late night service. Incredibly, it does... More

The design of critical infrastructure determines what its users can do, and when. For example, the New York City subway system carries 1.7 billion passengers annually, shapes centers of residential and commercial activity, and enables a vibrant culture with its late night service. Incredibly, it does this with a signaling system that predates World War II that forces trains to be spaced far apart from one another, limiting capacity and causing delays. Upgrading the signaling system is necessary to meet current demands, but it is estimated to cost tens of billions of dollars and would require closing stations on nights and weekends, harming New Yorkers who depend on these services. Thus, the radical (but ultimately necessary) upgrade has been delayed in favor of putting out more urgent fires, for example track damage caused by hurricane Sandy. Similarly, journal management systems and publishing platforms act as essential infrastructure for scholarly communication. While more nimble than a metropolitan transport network, they nevertheless face challenges in balancing needs for both urgent fixes and aspirational developments. Over the long term, their supported features can shape the nature of scholarly communication, restricting or inspiring innovation. Peer review innovation Interest is mounting in modernizing peer review. In just the last year, a variety of new platforms and initiatives have launched: BioMed Central’s In Review, a Wiley, ScholarOne, and Publons collaboration, and independent peer review services linked from both Europe PMC (see the “External Links” tab of these results) and bioRxiv (see the section on “Preprint discussion sites” in this example).

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Doing the right thing: Psychology researchers retract paper three days after learning of coding error – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | August 2019)

Published/Released on August 13, 2019 | Posted by Admin on August 21, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

[colored_box]We always hesitate to call retraction statements “models” of anything, but this one comes pretty close to being a paragon. . Psychology researchers in Germany and Scotland have retracted their 2018 paper in Acta Psychologica after learning of a coding error in their work that proved fatal to the... More

[colored_box]We always hesitate to call retraction statements “models” of anything, but this one comes pretty close to being a paragon. . Psychology researchers in Germany and Scotland have retracted their 2018 paper in Acta Psychologica after learning of a coding error in their work that proved fatal to the results. That much is routine. Remarkable in this case is how the authors lay out what happened next. . The study, “Auditory (dis-)fluency triggers sequential processing adjustments:" . investigated as to whether the challenge to understand speech signals in normal-hearing subjects would also lead to sequential processing adjustments if the processing fluency of the respective auditory signals changes from trial to trial. To that end, we used spoken number words (one to nine) that were either presented with high (clean speech) or low perceptual fluency (i.e., vocoded speech as used in cochlear implants-Experiment 1; speech embedded in multi-speaker babble noise as typically found in bars-Experiment 2). Participants had to judge the spoken number words as smaller or larger than five. Results show that the fluency effect (performance difference between high and low perceptual fluency) in both experiments was smaller following disfluent words. Thus, if it’s hard to understand, you try harder. .

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(US) NIH probe of foreign ties has led to undisclosed firings-and refunds from institutions – Science (Jeffrey Mervis | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 26, 2019 | Posted by Admin on August 17, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

An aggressive effort by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to enforce rules requiring its grantees to report foreign ties is still gathering steam. But it has already had a major impact on the U.S. biomedical research community. A senior NIH official tells ScienceInsider that universities have fired more... More

An aggressive effort by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to enforce rules requiring its grantees to report foreign ties is still gathering steam. But it has already had a major impact on the U.S. biomedical research community. A senior NIH official tells ScienceInsider that universities have fired more scientists—and refunded more grant money—as a result of the effort than has been publicly known. Since August 2018, Bethesda, Maryland–based NIH has sent roughly 180 letters to more than 60 U.S. institutions about individual scientists it believes have broken NIH rules requiring full disclosure of all sources of research funding. To date, the investigation has led to the well-publicized dismissals of five researchers, all Asian Americans, at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and Emory University in Atlanta. But other major U.S. research universities have also fired faculty in cases that have remained confidential, according to Michael Lauer, head of NIH’s extramural research program. And some have repaid NIH “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in grants as a result of rule violations, he says. “I can understand why [the universities] aren’t talking about it,” Lauer says. “No organization wants to discuss personnel actions in a public forum.”

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How to organize a conference that’s open to everyone – Nature (Nic Fleming | July 2019)

Published/Released on July 24, 2019 | Posted by Admin on August 17, 2019 | Keywords: , , ,

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Journals retract more than a dozen studies from China that may have used executed prisoners’ organs – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | August 2017)

In the past month, PLOS ONE and Transplantation have retracted fifteen studies by authors in China because of suspicions that the authors may have used organs from executed prisoners. All of the original studies — seven in Transplantation, and eight in PLOS ONE — were published between 2008 and 2014.... More

In the past month, PLOS ONE and Transplantation have retracted fifteen studies by authors in China because of suspicions that the authors may have used organs from executed prisoners. All of the original studies — seven in Transplantation, and eight in PLOS ONE — were published between 2008 and 2014. Two involved kidney transplants, and the rest involved liver transplants. Two other journals, the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and Kidney International, have recently issued expressions of concern for the same reason. In an editorial explaining the seven retractions from its journal, the editors of Transplantation write:

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Fraud In A Leading UK Scientist’s Lab – BuzzFeed News (Peter Aldhous | July 2019)

David Latchman was never punished for leading a University College London lab that published more than a dozen fraudulent studies, according to newly released investigation documents.

David Latchman, a leading geneticist and one of the highest-paid university leaders in the... More

David Latchman was never punished for leading a University College London lab that published more than a dozen fraudulent studies, according to newly released investigation documents.

David Latchman, a leading geneticist and one of the highest-paid university leaders in the UK, was last year found responsible for failing to properly supervise a lab in which widespread scientific fraud occurred over many years. Two investigation reports found data falsification in a total of nine scientific papers published by members of a lab Latchman ran at University College London, according to documents released to BuzzFeed News under a Freedom of Information request. Latchman did not have direct involvement in the manipulation and reuse of images to falsify scientific results, investigators found.

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Fudged research results erode people’s trust in experts – The Conversation (Gavin Moodie | July 2019)

Reports of research misconduct have been prominent recently and probably reflect wider problems of relying on dated integrity protections. The recent reports are from Retraction Watch, which is a blog that reports on the withdrawal of articles by academic journals. The site’s... More

Reports of research misconduct have been prominent recently and probably reflect wider problems of relying on dated integrity protections. The recent reports are from Retraction Watch, which is a blog that reports on the withdrawal of articles by academic journals. The site’s database reports that journals have withdrawn a total of 247 papers with an Australian author going back to the 1980s. This compares with 324 papers withdrawn with Canadian authors, 582 from the UK and 24 from New Zealand. Australian retractions are 1.2% of all retractions reported on the site, a fraction of Australia’s 4% share of all research publications.

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Meet the woman who’s tracking down systematic research fraud – Elsevier (Jennifer A. Byrne and Christopher Tancock | July 2019)

Published/Released on July 19, 2019 | Posted by Admin on August 6, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

The topic of research fraud is a serious – and growing issue. In this article, we interview Professor Jennifer A. Byrne about her work in identifying systematic fraud, the software she’s helped develop and the pioneering work she’s been doing to promote a better appreciation... More

The topic of research fraud is a serious – and growing issue. In this article, we interview Professor Jennifer A. Byrne about her work in identifying systematic fraud, the software she’s helped develop and the pioneering work she’s been doing to promote a better appreciation and regard for the importance of a “clean” body of research literature. [colored_box]Tell us a little about your background and research interests. I’m a molecular biologist and a cancer researcher. My research interests include studying the functions of specific genes in cancer, investigating the genetic basis of childhood cancer predisposition, and studying the operations of cancer biobanks. . How did you begin your work on (systematic) fraud? This started by accident, when I read five papers about a gene that my team had identified years before. These papers were very similar, even sharing particular nucleotide (or gene) sequence reagents. I could also see that the same reagent was being used in different ways, which couldn’t be right. Further analyses revealed that some reagents were wrongly identified, meaning that some reported results were impossible. When I realised that many other papers had these same types of errors, I fell into a strange new scientific reality, where I’ve been ever since. .

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Does psychology have a conflict-of-interest problem? – Nature (Tom Chivers | July 2019)

Published/Released on August 02, 2019 | Posted by Admin on August 5, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Some star psychologists don’t disclose in research papers the large sums they earn for talking about their work. Is that a concern?

Generation Z has made Jean Twenge a lot of money. As a psychologist at San Diego State University in California, she studies... More

Some star psychologists don’t disclose in research papers the large sums they earn for talking about their work. Is that a concern?

Generation Z has made Jean Twenge a lot of money. As a psychologist at San Diego State University in California, she studies people born after the mid-1990s, the YouTube-obsessed group that spends much of its time on Instagram, Snapchat and other social-media platforms. Thanks to smartphones and sharing apps, Generation Z has grown up to be more narcissistic, anxious and depressed than older cohorts, she argues. Twenge calls them the ‘iGen’ generation, a name she says she coined. And in 2010, she started a business, iGen Consulting, “to advise companies and organizations on generational differences based on her expertise and research on the topic”. Twenge has “spoken at several large corporations including PepsiCo, McGraw-Hill, nGenera, Nielsen Media, and Bain Consulting”, one of her websites notes. She delivers anything from 20-minute briefings to half-day workshops, and is also available to speak to parents’ groups, non-profit organizations and educational establishments. In e-mail exchanges, she declined to say how much she earns from her advisory work, but fees for star psychologists can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars for a single speech, and possibly much more, several experts told Nature. Twenge’s academic papers don’t mention her paid speeches and consulting. Yet that stands in stark contrast to the conflict-of-interest (COI) guidelines issued by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), an influential organization whose standards have been widely adopted by many medical and some psychology journals. Those guidelines say that such ‘personal fees’ should be declared as potential COIs in research papers because readers should be made aware of any financial interests that they might perceive as potentially influencing the findings.

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Singapore joins the rise of research integrity networks – Nature Index (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | July 2019)

Published/Released on July 03, 2019 | Posted by Admin on August 3, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Global effort to combat research misconduct gathers pace.

Research integrity professionals in Singapore have responded to a high-profile case of research misconduct by launching a professional network to discuss research integrity. In a scandal that has rocked the island nation’s close-knit... More

Global effort to combat research misconduct gathers pace.

Research integrity professionals in Singapore have responded to a high-profile case of research misconduct by launching a professional network to discuss research integrity. In a scandal that has rocked the island nation’s close-knit research community during the past three years, two researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) had their doctorate degrees revoked after being found guilty of falsifying data. The scandal led to the retraction and correction of several studies and resulted in Ravi Kambadur, the group’s leader — who had joint appointments at the NTU and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (ASTAR) — being dismissed for negligence.

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Why India is striking back against predatory journals – Nature (Bhushan Patwardhan | July 2019)

Published/Released on July 02, 2019 | Posted by Admin on August 2, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Our foe is determined and adaptable, says Bhushan Patwardhan. A list of credible titles is the latest salvo in the fight against shoddy scholarship.

According to 2015 estimates, more than 8,000 predatory journals churn out more than 400,000 items a year, and India —... More

Our foe is determined and adaptable, says Bhushan Patwardhan. A list of credible titles is the latest salvo in the fight against shoddy scholarship.

According to 2015 estimates, more than 8,000 predatory journals churn out more than 400,000 items a year, and India — which has also seen a spurt in high-quality scientific publications — contributes more than one-third of the articles in predatory publications. Last month, India launched its latest salvo against the ‘pay and publish trash’ culture that sustains predatory journals. Over several months, more than 30 organizations representing universities and academic disciplines have vetted journals to release a reference list of respectable titles. Predators sabotaged our last attempt. We hope this better-curated list will help to cut off the supply of manuscripts to the unscrupulous operators that profit financially by undercutting academic quality. Fending off the attack of trash science will be a long battle. Predatory journals have severely compromised scientific scholarship. They collect fees, but do not perform peer review or other promised services. My country’s experience so far shows both what makes an academic enterprise vulnerable to predatory publishers, and the coordinated efforts necessary to thwart them.

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Journals’ Plagiarism Detectors May Flag Papers in Error – The Scientist (Diana Kwon | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 25, 2019 | Posted by Admin on August 1, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

One recent case, in which a scientist claims his submitted manuscript was rejected despite a lack of actual plagiarism, highlights the limitations of automated tools.

[colored_box]Last week, Jean-François Bonnefon, a behavioral scientist at the French Centre National de la... More

One recent case, in which a scientist claims his submitted manuscript was rejected despite a lack of actual plagiarism, highlights the limitations of automated tools.

[colored_box]Last week, Jean-François Bonnefon, a behavioral scientist at the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, tweeted that a scientific manuscript he submitted to a journal had been rejected by a bot. The program had flagged his paper for plagiarism, highlighting the methods, references, and authors’ affiliations. “It would have taken 2 [minutes] for a human to realize the bot was acting up,” Bonnefon wrote in one of his tweets. “But there is obviously no human in the loop here.” . In a massive Twitter thread that followed, several other academics noted having similar experiences. . “I found [Bonnefon’s] experience quite disconcerting,” Bernd Pulverer, chief editor of The EMBO Journal, writes in an email to The Scientist. “Despite all the AI hype, we are miles from automating such a process.” Plagiarism is a complex issue, he adds, and although tools to identify text duplication are an invaluable resource for routine screening, they should not be used in lieu of a human reviewer. .

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6th World Conference on Research Integrity

Published/Released on July 29, 2019 | Posted by Admin on July 29, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

Videos and powerpoints now available online from 6th WCRI: Post-conference updates http://wcri2019.org/index/programme/archive-plenary

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Australian universities must wake up to the risks of researchers linked to China’s military – The Conversation (Clive Hamilton | July 2019)

Two Australian universities, University of Technology Sydney and Curtin University, are conducting internal reviews of their funding and research approval procedures after Four Corners’ revealed their links to researchers whose work has materially assisted China’s human rights abuses against the More

Two Australian universities, University of Technology Sydney and Curtin University, are conducting internal reviews of their funding and research approval procedures after Four Corners’ revealed their links to researchers whose work has materially assisted China’s human rights abuses against the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang province. UTS, in particular, is in the spotlight because of a major research collaboration with CETC, the Chinese state-owned military research conglomerate. In a response to Four Corners, UTS expressed dismay at the allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang, which were raised in a Human Rights Watch report earlier this year. Yet, UTS has been aware of concerns about its collaboration with CETC for two years. When I met with two of the university’s deputy vice chancellors in 2017 to ask them about their work with CETC, they dismissed the concerns.

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(Australia) ‘Bad science’: Australian studies found to be unreliable, compromised – Sydney Morning Herald (Liam Mannix | July 2019)

Hundreds of scientific research papers published by Australian scientists have been found to be unreliable or compromised, fuelling calls for a national science watchdog. For the first time, a team of science writers behind Retraction Watch has put together a database of compromised scientific research in Australia. Over the past two... More

Hundreds of scientific research papers published by Australian scientists have been found to be unreliable or compromised, fuelling calls for a national science watchdog. For the first time, a team of science writers behind Retraction Watch has put together a database of compromised scientific research in Australia. Over the past two decades, 247 scientific research papers - some associated with the country's most reputable universities - have been found to be compromised.

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Scandal-weary Swedish government takes over research-fraud investigations – Nature (Holly Else | July 2019)

Published/Released on July 09, 2019 | Posted by Admin on July 26, 2019 | Keywords: , , ,

The Research Misconduct Board is one of the first national agencies tasked with investigating serious research misconduct.

Bruised by a string of high-profile scientific-misconduct cases, Sweden has laid the legislative groundwork for a government agency that will handle all allegations of serious More

The Research Misconduct Board is one of the first national agencies tasked with investigating serious research misconduct.

Bruised by a string of high-profile scientific-misconduct cases, Sweden has laid the legislative groundwork for a government agency that will handle all allegations of serious research misconduct. The country follows in the footsteps of neighbouring Denmark, which created the world’s first such agency in 2017. [colored_box]Proponents say that handling research-misconduct investigations centrally should ensure equal, impartial treatment. But others say the move will divert resources and attention away from less serious breaches that universities will continue to deal with in-house and which, they argue, cumulatively do more damage than some more serious misdemeanours. . The way in which Swedish research institutes handle allegations of research misconduct has come under fire in recent years — thanks in part to the case of trachea surgeon Paolo Macchiarini. Macchiarini had been accused of misconduct relating to trials of an experimental trachea-transplant method, in which some patients died. On three occasions in 2015, the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm cleared him, but independent investigations commissioned by the Karolinska later found that he had committed misconduct. A 2016 independent commission concluded that the institute’s procedures were flawed. .

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It’s Time to Lift the Veil on Peer Review – UnDark (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 20, 2019 | Posted by Admin on July 24, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

Data analysis can improve the vetting of scientific papers, but first publishers must agree to make the information public.

THE JOB OF A PEER REVIEWER is thankless. Collectively, academics spend around 70 million hours every year evaluating each other’s manuscripts on the behalf of... More

Data analysis can improve the vetting of scientific papers, but first publishers must agree to make the information public.

THE JOB OF A PEER REVIEWER is thankless. Collectively, academics spend around 70 million hours every year evaluating each other’s manuscripts on the behalf of scholarly journals — and they usually receive no monetary compensation and little if any recognition for their effort. Some do it as a way to keep abreast with developments in their field; some simply see it as a duty to the discipline. Either way, academic publishing would likely crumble without them. In recent years, some scientists have begun posting their reviews online, mainly to claim credit for their work. Sites like Publons allow researchers to either share entire referee reports or simply list the journals for whom they’ve carried out a review. Just seven years old, Publons already boasts more than 1.7 million users. The rise of Publons suggests that academics are increasingly placing value on the work of peer review and asking others, such as grant funders, to do the same. While that’s vital in the publish-or-perish culture of academia, there’s also immense value in the data underlying peer review. Sharing peer review data could help journals stamp out fraud, inefficiency, and systemic bias in academic publishing. In fact, there’s a case to be made that open peer review — in which the content of their reviews is published, sometimes with the name of reviewers who carried out the work — should become the default option in academic publishing.

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The Rise of Junk Science – The Walrus (Alex Gillis | July 2019)

Published/Released on July 09, 2019 | Posted by Admin on July 23, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

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Journal Publishes Concern About Study Using Forced Organ Donation – Medscape (Diana Swift | June 2019)

The Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN) recently issued an "Expression of Concern" regarding a 2008 article on renal allograft recipients written by Chinese researchers. The Expression of Concern stems from an Australian report More

The Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN) recently issued an "Expression of Concern" regarding a 2008 article on renal allograft recipients written by Chinese researchers. The Expression of Concern stems from an Australian report published online in February in BMJ Open, which urged the repudiation by English-language journals of more than 445 studies involving 85,477 organ transplants done in China. The reason? Many of the organs used were likely forcibly harvested from Chinese prisoners of conscience, such as practitioners of Falun Gong, Uyghurs, Tibetans, and underground Christians. "We reached out for clarification of the organ source to the senior authors, but one was deceased and the other had left the institution where the research was done," said CJASN Editor-in-Chief Rajnish Mehrotra, MD, MBBS, a professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles.

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(US/China) Update: In reversal, science publisher IEEE drops ban on using Huawei scientists as reviewers – Science (Jeffrey Mervis | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 03, 2019 | Posted by Admin on July 21, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

*Update, 3 June, 12:15 p.m.: On 2 June, IEEE lifted its ban on using Huawei scientists as journal reviewers, saying it had received “clarification” from the U.S. Department of Commerce on how the government’s recent actions against the company affect its peer-review process. Here is our original story from... More

*Update, 3 June, 12:15 p.m.: On 2 June, IEEE lifted its ban on using Huawei scientists as journal reviewers, saying it had received “clarification” from the U.S. Department of Commerce on how the government’s recent actions against the company affect its peer-review process. Here is our original story from 29 May: A major scientific society has banned employees of Huawei, the Chinese communications giant, from reviewing submissions to its journals because of U.S. government sanctions against the company. The New York City–based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) told editors of its roughly 200 journals yesterday that it feared “severe legal implications” from continuing to use Huawei scientists as reviewers in vetting technical papers. They can continue to serve on IEEE editorial boards, according to the memo, but “cannot handle any papers” until the sanctions are lifted.

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(US/China) China computer research body cuts ties with IEEE in protest at decision to bar Huawei from peer review – South China Post (Meng Jing | May 2019)

Published/Released on July 31, 2019 | Posted by Admin on July 21, 2019 | Keywords: , , ,

A Chinese computer professionals body announced that it is suspending ties with the world’s largest engineers association based in the US, as a controversy over the latter’s move to ban Huawei Technologies from peer reviewing research deepens. The Beijing-based China Computer Federation said in a statement on Thursday that it... More

A Chinese computer professionals body announced that it is suspending ties with the world’s largest engineers association based in the US, as a controversy over the latter’s move to ban Huawei Technologies from peer reviewing research deepens. The Beijing-based China Computer Federation said in a statement on Thursday that it would suspend “its communication and collaboration” with a division of the New York-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), just hours after the latter confirmed that it would bar Huawei employees from its peer preview process in order to comply with new US government restrictions. As part of the protest, the CCF, which is listed as one of IEEE’s “sister societies” on its website, said it would also delete some IEEE journals on its list. The move came after at least two professors from China’s elite Peking University and Tsinghua University publicly announced their resignation from the IEEE in protest at its move to bar Huawei employees from the peer review process.

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(US/China) Papers IEEE Forced to Ban Huawei Employees From Peer-Reviewing Papers – PanDaily (Diming Xu | May 2019)

Published/Released on May 29, 2019 | Posted by Admin on July 21, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

Today, IEEE sent an email to its editors, saying “we cannot use colleagues from Huawei as reviewers or Editors for the peer-review process of our journals,” because the US government has put Huawei on its BIS list. Later, the full email was revealed by an IEEE member: More

Today, IEEE sent an email to its editors, saying “we cannot use colleagues from Huawei as reviewers or Editors for the peer-review process of our journals,” because the US government has put Huawei on its BIS list. Later, the full email was revealed by an IEEE member:

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UGC move to thwart ‘pay and publish trash’ culture – Hindustan Times (Rajeev Mullick | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 14, 2019 | Posted by Admin on July 15, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

UGC secretary Rajnish Jain has issued a public notice on academic integrity for Indian academic community dated.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has made it clear that any publications in predatory, dubious journals or presentations and dubious conferences will not be considered for academic... More

UGC secretary Rajnish Jain has issued a public notice on academic integrity for Indian academic community dated.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has made it clear that any publications in predatory, dubious journals or presentations and dubious conferences will not be considered for academic selection, confirmation, promotion, performance and appraisal, besides award of scholarship or academic degrees or credits in any form. [colored_box]UGC secretary Rajnish Jain has issued a public notice on academic integrity for Indian academic community dated June 14, 2019. It reads: With immediate effect, research publications only from journals indexed in UCG-CARE List should be used for all academic purposes. Any attempt of compromised academic integrity should be challenged, questioned and de-recognised all levels, it reads. . The UGC has setup a consortium for academics and research ethics (CARE) to identify, monitor and maintain ‘UCG-CARE Reference List of Quality Journals’ available at the , with useful resources as relevant publications, audio visual materials, videos, web link etc. UCG-CARE website also provides FAQ’s, feedback and grievance redressal mechanism. .

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Credit data generators for data reuse – Nature (Heather H. Pierce, et al | June 2019)

To promote effective sharing, we must create an enduring link between the people who generate data and its future uses, urge Heather H. Pierce and colleagues.

Much effort has gone towards crafting mandates and standards for researchers to share their data1–3. Considerably less time... More

To promote effective sharing, we must create an enduring link between the people who generate data and its future uses, urge Heather H. Pierce and colleagues.

Much effort has gone towards crafting mandates and standards for researchers to share their data1–3. Considerably less time has been spent measuring just how valuable data sharing is, or recognizing the scientific contributions of the people responsible for those data sets. The impact of research continues to be measured by primary publications, rather than by subsequent uses of the data. To incentivize the sharing of useful data, the scientific enterprise needs a well-defined system that links individuals with reuse of data sets they generate4. To further this goal, the Association of American Medical Colleges (where H.H.P. and A.D. work) and the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School (where E.S. and B.E.B. work), along with The New England Journal of Medicine, convened a 2018 workshop of representatives from 50 organizations to discuss and validate such a system. The workshop included major journals, funders, data-citation groups and academic centres (see Supplementary Information, Participant list) and was preceded by numerous meetings. Here we propose a system for leveraging existing initiatives and infrastructure to track the use, reuse and impact of scientific data through the consistent adoption of unique identifiers. Our system begins when researchers deposit a data set that they have generated. It then links every use and published analysis of that data set back to the original researchers (see ‘Virtuous cycle’).

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Montenegro just made plagiarism illegal. What does it hope to achieve? – Retraction Watch (Mico Tatalovic | March 2019)

Published/Released on March 25, 2019 | Posted by Admin on July 13, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

The parliament of Montenegro, a small country in the southeast of Europe, approved a law on academic integrity earlier this month that effectively criminalizes plagiarism, self-plagiarism and donation of authorship. We spoke to Mubera Kurpejović, director of higher education at the country’s Ministry of Education, explains... More

The parliament of Montenegro, a small country in the southeast of Europe, approved a law on academic integrity earlier this month that effectively criminalizes plagiarism, self-plagiarism and donation of authorship. We spoke to Mubera Kurpejović, director of higher education at the country’s Ministry of Education, explains why the law was needed and what they hope it will achieve. Why did Montenegro need such a law, given that no other country in the region has anything similar?  Adoption of the Law on Academic Integrity is an affirmation of the state’s determination to deal with integrity in a quality manner and thus influence citizens’ awareness of this important issue, as well as their awareness of the harmfulness of the violation of academic integrity. The recommendation to adopt a special law on this came out of a feasibility study on a customized system for the prevention of plagiarism in Montenegro.

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Guest Post — Open Research in Practice: Moving from Why to How? – Scholarly Kitchen (Fiona Murphy, et al | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 17, 2019 | Posted by Admin on July 11, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Today’s research knowledge can be harvested and data analyzed faster than has been possible in all previous generations combined. As a result, Open Research practices and outputs face a number of tensions between initial intentions and unforeseen consequences. For example, the FAIR Data Principles propose... More

Today’s research knowledge can be harvested and data analyzed faster than has been possible in all previous generations combined. As a result, Open Research practices and outputs face a number of tensions between initial intentions and unforeseen consequences. For example, the FAIR Data Principles propose that research data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable — but nothing has prepared us for the use and misuse of personal data. Even if they start out ethically approved and safe in the researcher’s toolkit, they can later be sold to a third party in exchange for analytical services, enabling machines to identify disease states from a picture, classify your intelligence and demographic profile in four “likes” or less, or traffic organs and direct market to those that need them on social media. And so our questions about Open Research are also changing — from “why” to “how” — amidst growing awareness that the required skill sets, both technical and social, are not yet part of the standard training programs for researchers. Consider, for example, the questions and challenges that early career researchers face as they critique a distinguished professor’s work while conducting an open peer review. How do they balance the need for research integrity and rigorous review without career-ending consequences? How do we protect reviewers who review in good faith only to be raked through the coals on social media, while the perpetrators are funded and their work is published. So, if you actually want to practice Open Research, how do you learn about it? How do you balance effort with effect? How do you discover and validate the standards that are being adopted by your communities?

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Farewell authors, hello contributors – Nature (Alex Holcombe | July 2019)

Published/Released on July 05, 2019 | Posted by Admin on July 10, 2019 | Keywords: , , ,

More disciplines must embrace a system of academic credit that rewards a greater range of roles more specifically, says Alex Holcombe.

We graduate students flocked to our department’s ‘sherry hour’ — it meant free drinks. As I fished around in the beer bucket, a... More

More disciplines must embrace a system of academic credit that rewards a greater range of roles more specifically, says Alex Holcombe.

We graduate students flocked to our department’s ‘sherry hour’ — it meant free drinks. As I fished around in the beer bucket, a friendly professor struck up a conversation. He needed a programmer, and my skills fit the bill. He offered to pay. I could have used the money, but knew that dollars wouldn’t get me a professorship. For that, what I needed was authorship. But the professor told me that “just programming” did not merit authorship. According to the journals in our field, becoming an author required participation in the conception or design of the experiment, the data analysis and interpretation, and the writing. These roles were already spoken for. So, the next day, I was back in my adviser’s lab, conducting experiments and writing them up — doing what I had to do to get my name on papers. Twenty years on, to my chagrin, I resemble that professor from sherry hour. I’m too busy to do everything myself, so I’m looking for someone who can program. The shortage of researchers with specialized skills, such as programming, should ease if more journal publishers adopt a better way to document who does what in research: a function provided by the machine-readable classification system CRediT (the Contributor Roles Taxonomy). Launched in 2014, CRediT allows contributors to report the specific tasks (such as data collection or statistics) they performed in a paper’s production. We need to make this routine across most of the sciences.

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Peer Review Week Is Five! – Scholarly Kitchen (Alice Meadows | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 26, 2019 | Posted by Admin on July 4, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

It’s hard to believe that this year Peer Review Week (PRW) will celebrate its fifth anniversary. Five years ago, it was literally not even a twinkle in anyone’s eye! So, as we prepare for #PeerRevWk19 (September 16-20), I thought Scholarly Kitchen readers might enjoy a... More

It’s hard to believe that this year Peer Review Week (PRW) will celebrate its fifth anniversary. Five years ago, it was literally not even a twinkle in anyone’s eye! So, as we prepare for #PeerRevWk19 (September 16-20), I thought Scholarly Kitchen readers might enjoy a look back at the history of this annual celebration of the essential role that peer review plays in maintaining scientific and scholarly quality. Year One (September 28 – October 2, 2015) The first ever Peer Review Week was really a piece of last-minute serendipity. It grew out of a conversation in August, 2015 between ORCID, which I had recently joined as Director of Communications, and AAAS*. At ORCID, we were about to launch the beta version of our peer review functionality, enabling organizations to recognize peer review activities by adding them to ORCID records, while AAAS — an ORCID member — had recently acquired PRE (Peer Review Evaluation). So we were brainstorming ways we could work together, and came up with the idea of a week of posts celebrating peer review on the ORCID blog. But then we thought, why stop there!? So we invited a handful of other organizations that we knew were especially interested in the topic to join the celebrations — ScienceOpen, Sense About Science (whose annual lecture that year inspired the dates for Peer Review Week), and Wiley (my former company). We had all of six weeks or so to organize ourselves, so it was a case of all hands on deck, but amazingly we did (just about!) pull it off (see Welcome to Peer Review Week). Much more importantly, it started a wider conversation about the need to regularly celebrate the importance of peer review to scholarly communications, with numerous other organizations expressing interest in participating. Year Two (September 19 – 26, 2016) Thankfully, planning for Peer Review Week 2016 started a lot earlier and involved over 20 organizations, including the original founders. The planning committee decided to choose a theme for each year’s celebrations, starting with “Recognizing Peer Review” for 2016. One of our goals was to  recognize peer review in all its many forms, from grant application through promotion and tenure, to conference abstracts, publications, and more. As part of that effort, we started our now annual week of Peer Review Week posts here on the Kitchen, including an interview with Maryanne Martone of Hypothes.is about the importance of annotations as a form of review, and a conversation between Chefs Alison Mudditt and Karin Wulf, as well as Mary Francis of University of Michigan Press, about peer review in the humanities and social sciences. And we created our own video of interviews with people from a range of organizations about how and why their organizations recognize review.

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Not Reporting Results of a Clinical Trial Is Academic Misconduct – ACP (Editorial | Joshua D. Wallach, MS, PhD; Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, SM | May 2019)

Failure to report the results of clinical trials threatens the public's trust in research and the integrity of the medical literature, and should be considered academic misconduct at the individual and institutional levels. According to the ethical principles for research outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki, researchers “have a... More

Failure to report the results of clinical trials threatens the public's trust in research and the integrity of the medical literature, and should be considered academic misconduct at the individual and institutional levels. According to the ethical principles for research outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki, researchers “have a duty to make publicly available the results of their research on human subjects and are accountable for the completeness and accuracy of their reports” (1). When participants volunteer to take part in clinical trials, and expose themselves to interventions with unknown safety and efficacy profiles, they have a tacit assumption, based on trust, that the evidence generated will inform clinical science (2). Health care providers and medical societies, who are responsible for evaluating and synthesizing evidence and filling the gap between research and practice, need for investigators to fully report their results in a timely manner. The utility of the diligent search for truth in the medical literature depends on its completeness. However, when research findings are not consistently disseminated, the literature provides a skewed view of the science, which may bias reviews of the evidence. During the past 2 decades, efforts have been increasing to promote the reporting of clinical trial results. After the creation of ClinicalTrials.gov, a public registration database, the United States moved to establish consequences of not reporting clinical trial results. In particular, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA) of 2007 created legal requirements for certain intervention studies of FDA-regulated...

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Make reports of research misconduct public – Nature (C. K. Gunsalus | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 03, 2019 | Posted by Admin on June 30, 2019 | Keywords: , ,

Confronted with bad behaviour, institutions will keep asking the wrong questions until they have to show their working, says C. K. Gunsalus.

During decades as a research-integrity officer, expert witness for misconduct investigations and consultant, I have been inspired — and I have seen... More

Confronted with bad behaviour, institutions will keep asking the wrong questions until they have to show their working, says C. K. Gunsalus.

During decades as a research-integrity officer, expert witness for misconduct investigations and consultant, I have been inspired — and I have seen inexcusable conduct. Even when investigations are exemplary and findings clear, universities rarely report them publicly. That secrecy perpetuates misbehaviour and breeds mistrust — as evidenced by the ongoing revelations of universities that failed to respond appropriately, sometimes for years, to allegations of sexual misconduct. Science is fast becoming more transparent. So, too, should institutional practice. Open misconduct reports would create a virtuous circle. Institutions would learn from their own and others’ investigations. Leaders would be more likely to pay attention to reports that are subject to scrutiny. Honest researchers could see that although groundbreaking science is often uncertain, it is qualitatively different from the conduct that leads to misconduct reviews. We are already seeing such a shift in health care. Last month, a study showed that mortality is lower in UK hospitals in which medical professionals feel that they can talk openly about problems without worrying about repercussions to their careers (V. Toffolutti and D. Stuckler Health Affair. http://doi.org/c6df; 2019). I often find that institutional investigators ask the wrong questions, such as: ‘We don’t have to report this, do we?’, ‘How could anyone think Dr X would do such a thing?’ or (to whistle-blowers) ‘Why would you want to cause trouble for your own research project?’ Investigators pin all the blame on one actor without examining the contributions of co-authors or supervisors of the flawed work. An investigation might stop abruptly if the subject of it resigns. A 2019 paper examining investigations by institutions after the retraction of 12 clinical-trial papers by one research group stated that although investigations lasted for between 8 and 17 months, they did not examine preclinical papers from this group even after receiving detailed, serious concerns about them (A. Grey et al. Res. Integr. Peer Rev. 4, 3; 2019).

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Fake news about the past is a crime against history – University World News (Antoon De Baets | May 2019)

Published/Released on May 04, 2019 | Posted by Admin on June 29, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

Historians observing the current debate on fake news are tempted to make comments from a long-term perspective. First, fake news, as a type of lie that constitutes disinformation, has an ancient pedigree. Indeed, among the plethora of primary sources used by historians to study the... More

Historians observing the current debate on fake news are tempted to make comments from a long-term perspective. First, fake news, as a type of lie that constitutes disinformation, has an ancient pedigree. Indeed, among the plethora of primary sources used by historians to study the past, some are forged, many distorted and all are biased. To filter truth from such sources, historians have developed a severe method of source criticism over the ages, first in East Asia and Europe. Although an old phenomenon, fake news in its recent guises also has some strikingly new features because it spreads on the internet nowadays, mainly via social media platforms.

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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 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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... More

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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(CAN) Pharmacy School Dean Withdraws From New Role After Retracted Book Review – Medscape (Ellie Kincaid | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 07, 2019 | Posted by Admin on June 24, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

The incoming dean of a leading Canadian pharmacy school has "voluntarily withdrawn" from the new position after a book review he wrote was retracted from The Lancet in May. The journal retracted a review of Danielle Martin's Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians by Kishor... More

The incoming dean of a leading Canadian pharmacy school has "voluntarily withdrawn" from the new position after a book review he wrote was retracted from The Lancet in May. The journal retracted a review of Danielle Martin's Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians by Kishor Wasan and two coauthors because "substantial passages…match parts of a review of the same book by [journalist] André Picard," the journal wrote in a retraction notice previously reported by Medscape Medical News. Wasan and his coauthors Ellen Wasan and Jawahar Kalra were all at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, at the time of publication. Kishor Wasan was the corresponding author of the review and had been appointed dean of the University of Toronto's pharmacy school for a 5-year term. Wasan "has voluntarily withdrawn from his upcoming appointment as dean and professor of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, which had been scheduled to begin July 1, 2019," University of Toronto spokesperson Elizabeth Church told Medscape Medical News.

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(US) UCSD has not told women with HIV of data breach, despite researchers’ pleas – inewsource (Jill Castellano & Brad Racino | May 2019)

University of California San Diego officials stonewalled attempts to notify women in an HIV research study that their confidential data was breached more than seven months ago, an inewsource investigation has found. [colored_box]UCSD researchers conducting the EmPower Women study told university officials in October that participants’... More

University of California San Diego officials stonewalled attempts to notify women in an HIV research study that their confidential data was breached more than seven months ago, an inewsource investigation has found. [colored_box]UCSD researchers conducting the EmPower Women study told university officials in October that participants’ names, audio-taped conversations and other sensitive materials were made accessible to everyone working at Christie’s Place, a San Diego nonprofit supporting women with HIV and AIDS. They called the situation “very serious” and said the women affected are “within one of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations.” . But internal emails, reports and meeting minutes chronicle months of communication between lead researcher Jamila Stockman — who pushed for telling two dozen women enrolled in the project about the breach — and UCSD officials concerned about the consequences. .

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Research integrity is much more than misconduct – Nature (C. K. Gunsalus | June 2019)

All researchers should strive to improve the quality, relevance and reliability of their work.

Start a conversation about research integrity and many researchers will assume you’re talking about misconduct. Too often, they are wrong. Research misconduct encompasses fraud, fabrication and plagiarism. It is essential to... More

All researchers should strive to improve the quality, relevance and reliability of their work.

Start a conversation about research integrity and many researchers will assume you’re talking about misconduct. Too often, they are wrong. Research misconduct encompasses fraud, fabrication and plagiarism. It is essential to deal with such dishonesty thoroughly and fairly, but it’s patching up a tear after the damage is done. Research integrity includes such investigations, but it is much more. It is about creating systems that boost the quality, relevance and reliability of all research. The distinction is clear at the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity, being held this week in Hong Kong. Yes, there are sessions on misconduct — but there are many more on improving science overall. The biggest impact on research integrity is achieved through sustained improvements in day-to-day research practices — better record-keeping, vetting experimental designs, techniques to reduce bias, rewards for rigorous work, and incentives for sharing data, code and protocols — rather than narrow efforts to find and punish a few bad actors. (Both are important, of course, and sometimes the same policies can address both problems.)

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Hyped-up science erodes trust. Here’s how researchers can fight back – Vox (Brian Resnick | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 11, 2019 | Posted by Admin on June 18, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

Science is often poorly communicated. Researchers can fight back.

In 2018, psychology PhD student William McAuliffe co-published a paper in the prestigious journal Nature Human Behavior. The study’s conclusion — that people become less generous over time when... More

Science is often poorly communicated. Researchers can fight back.

In 2018, psychology PhD student William McAuliffe co-published a paper in the prestigious journal Nature Human Behavior. The study’s conclusion — that people become less generous over time when they make decisions in an environment where they don’t know or interact with other people — was fairly nuanced.

But the university’s press department, perhaps in an attempt to make the study more attractive to news outlets, amped up the finding. The headline of the press release heralding the publication of the study read “Is big-city living eroding our nice instinct?

From there, the study took on a new life as stories in the press appeared with headlines like “City life makes humans less kind to strangers.”

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SPEECH: Actions to advance research integrity – Dr Alan Finkel AO (6th World Conference on Research Integrity | June 2019)

Looking around the room today, I’m reminded that research truly is a human pursuit: it thrives on face-to-face connections. It’s easy to forget that, when you’re a student, and it’s late at night, and you’re the last person left in the lab – again. So, every so often, it’s worth pausing... More

Looking around the room today, I’m reminded that research truly is a human pursuit: it thrives on face-to-face connections. It’s easy to forget that, when you’re a student, and it’s late at night, and you’re the last person left in the lab – again. So, every so often, it’s worth pausing to remember just how many people are out there, working hard, gathering data – just like you. Worldwide, there are more than eight million researchers. Every year, we produce well over a quarter of a million new PhDs. China alone has added more than a million people to its research workforce since 2011. Not all of these researchers will work in academia – but those who do are highly productive. They publish in the order of four million academic journal articles every year, spread across more than 40,000 journals.

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Should journals credit eagle-eyed readers by name in retraction notices? – Retraction Watch (Benjamin Mazer | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 06, 2019 | Posted by Admin on June 12, 2019 | Keywords: , , ,

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How Do You Publish the Work of a Scientific Villain? – WIRED (Megan Molteni | December 2018)

HOW DO YOU handle the data of a scientist who violates all the norms of his field? Who breaches the trust of a community that spans the entire globe? Who shows a casual disregard for the fate of the whole... More

HOW DO YOU handle the data of a scientist who violates all the norms of his field? Who breaches the trust of a community that spans the entire globe? Who shows a casual disregard for the fate of the whole human species? On the one hand, you might want to learn from such a person’s work; to have a full and open dissection of everything that went wrong. Because, spoiler, there was a lot that went wrong in the case in question. But rewarding such “abhorrent” behavior, as one scientist put it, with a publication—the currency of the scientific world—would send a message that ethical rules only exist to be broken.

This is the precarious situation in which we find ourselves today, as scientists hash out the next chapter of the human gene-editing scandal that erupted two weeks ago, when the Chinese scientist He Jiankui revealed that for the last two years he has been working in secret to produce the world’s first Crispr-edited babies. Scientists denounced the work with near-unanimous condemnation, citing its technical failures as well as its deep breaches of ethical (and possibly legal) lines. What’s much less certain is what should happen to the work, now that it’s been done.

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“Our current approaches are not working:” Time to make misconduct investigation reports public, says integrity expert – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | June 2019)

Published/Released on June 04, 2019 | Posted by Admin on June 9, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

With the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) underway in Hong Kong, C.K. Gunsalus, who has served as a research integrity officer, expert witness in scientific integrity cases, and consultant, argues in Nature this week that universities should “More

With the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) underway in Hong Kong, C.K. Gunsalus, who has served as a research integrity officer, expert witness in scientific integrity cases, and consultant, argues in Nature this week that universities should “Make reports of research misconduct public.” We asked her a few questions about why she has changed her mind about this issue. Retraction Watch (RW): We have of course been campaigning for universities to release investigation reports for some time, and have published a number of them following public records requests and reviews of court documents. What led you to this call to make them public? C.K. Gunsalus (CKG): I argued the opposite position for many years, decades, even. What led me to this call is that our current approaches are not working: not for credibility of investigations, not for reinforcing research integrity, not for protecting the integrity of the research community.

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(Includes an update 07/06/2019) A report about Plan S’s potential effects on journals marks a busy week for the open-access movement – Science (Jeffrey Brainard | March 2019)

Published/Released on June 07, 2019 | Posted by Admin on June 7, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

It’s been a busy week for the open-access movement, the effort to make all scientific journal articles immediately free to read. Making that change would require a major shift in most journals’ business models, from one that charges subscribers to read articles to one in which authors pay to... More

It’s been a busy week for the open-access movement, the effort to make all scientific journal articles immediately free to read. Making that change would require a major shift in most journals’ business models, from one that charges subscribers to read articles to one in which authors pay to publish. Among the developments:

  • Many journals aren’t prepared to meet the requirements of Plan S, the proposal largely by European funders to require grantees to publish articles that are immediately open access, a report from a science publishing analytics company says.
  • Springer Nature, one of the largest publishers of scientific journals, and the networking website ResearchGate began an experiment making some articles open access through authors’ profiles on the website.

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(US) ‘Banished’ blood, stool samples from San Diego veterans used in research article, despite federal probe – ienewsource (Brad Racino & Jill Castellano | May 2019)

Two prominent doctors associated with the University of California San Diego and the local VA used blood and stool samples taken from sick veterans to bolster a paper published this month in an academic research journal. The specimens were not supposed to be used, according to... More

Two prominent doctors associated with the University of California San Diego and the local VA used blood and stool samples taken from sick veterans to bolster a paper published this month in an academic research journal. The specimens were not supposed to be used, according to the project’s lead researcher, because they were part of a study that unethically collected biological samples from living subjects without their consent, which investigators called "serious noncompliance." When people volunteer to be human research subjects, they accept potential health risks in order to contribute to a growing bank of scientific and medical knowledge.

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Chem journal yanks paper because authors had stolen it as peer reviewers – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 08, 2019 | Posted by Admin on June 5, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

The UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry has retracted a 2017 paper in one of its journals after learning that the authors stole the article from other researchers during peer review. The offending article, “Typical and interstratified arrangements in Zn/Al layered double hydroxides: an experimental and theoretical approach,” appeared in CrystalEngComm,... More

The UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry has retracted a 2017 paper in one of its journals after learning that the authors stole the article from other researchers during peer review. The offending article, “Typical and interstratified arrangements in Zn/Al layered double hydroxides: an experimental and theoretical approach,” appeared in CrystalEngComm, and was written by Priyadarshi Roy Chowdhury and Krishna G. Bhattacharyya, of Gauhati University in Jalukbari. Well, that’s not really true, is it? The retraction notice lays out the transgression in detail:

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(Japan) 158 ethics violations found in research by Japan’s NCVC medical institute – The Japan Times (May 2019)

SUITA, OSAKA PREF. - The National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center said Thursday it has found 158 cases of research that was conducted in violation of the country’s ethical standards. The violations include the use of patients’ information without their consent, the NCVC said. There have been no reports of health... More

SUITA, OSAKA PREF. - The National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center said Thursday it has found 158 cases of research that was conducted in violation of the country’s ethical standards. The violations include the use of patients’ information without their consent, the NCVC said. There have been no reports of health damage linked to these cases that involved follow-up research, the institute said. “We deeply apologize for the misconduct,” NCVC President Hisao Ogawa said at a news conference in Suita, where the institute is based.

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The social values and politics behind science publishing – University World News (John Richard Schrock | May 2019)

Published/Released on May 18, 2019 | Posted by Admin on June 3, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

There are some unique challenges faced by Chinese academics when they attempt to publish in Western journals which I have gleaned from years correcting English in entomology papers. In a recent presentation I outlined the main ones and, in some cases, gave suggestions for how to get around them. Understanding... More

There are some unique challenges faced by Chinese academics when they attempt to publish in Western journals which I have gleaned from years correcting English in entomology papers. In a recent presentation I outlined the main ones and, in some cases, gave suggestions for how to get around them. Understanding the context – the social values and politics – around science and science publishing for Chinese academics is vital. The following case studies illustrate the common problems.

Case 1: A Chinese scientist receives several peer reviews back via the ‘editor’. One reviewer finds the paper submitted acceptable, but a second reviewer notes that there are six very important references missing that must be added. All of these new references are by this second reviewer and are remote from the topic of the paper.

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(US) UMKC says pharmacy professor stole student’s research and sold it for millions – The Kansas City Star (Mike Hendricks & Mará Rose Williams | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 27, 2019 | Posted by Admin on June 2, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

UMKC pharmacy professor Ashim Mitra stole a student’s research and sold it secretly to a pharmaceutical company, defrauding the university of millions of dollars, the University of Missouri alleges in a lawsuit filed Tuesday. [colored_box]Mitra, the suit alleges, already has improperly reaped $1.5 million from the sale and has the... More

UMKC pharmacy professor Ashim Mitra stole a student’s research and sold it secretly to a pharmaceutical company, defrauding the university of millions of dollars, the University of Missouri alleges in a lawsuit filed Tuesday. [colored_box]Mitra, the suit alleges, already has improperly reaped $1.5 million from the sale and has the potential of earning $10 million more in royalties over the next five years from what the university says could be a billion-dollar drug. . The suit said the money rightfully belongs to the university because the student who developed a new and more effective way to deliver drugs to the eye — through nanotechnology — did so while employed as a graduate research assistant at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. .

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Rein in the four horsemen of irreproducibility – Nature ( Dorothy Bishop | April 2019)

Published/Released on April 24, 2019 | Posted by Admin on June 1, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,

Dorothy Bishop describes how threats to reproducibility, recognized but unaddressed for decades, might finally be brought under control.

More than four decades into my scientific career, I find myself an outlier among academics of similar age and seniority: I strongly identify with the movement... More

Dorothy Bishop describes how threats to reproducibility, recognized but unaddressed for decades, might finally be brought under control.

More than four decades into my scientific career, I find myself an outlier among academics of similar age and seniority: I strongly identify with the movement to make the practice of science more robust. It’s not that my contemporaries are unconcerned about doing science well; it’s just that many of them don’t seem to recognize that there are serious problems with current practices. By contrast, I think that, in two decades, we will look back on the past 60 years — particularly in biomedical science — and marvel at how much time and money has been wasted on flawed research. How can that be? We know how to formulate and test hypotheses in controlled experiments. We can account for unwanted variation with statistical techniques. We appreciate the need to replicate observations. Yet many researchers persist in working in a way almost guaranteed not to deliver meaningful results. They ride with what I refer to as the four horsemen of the reproducibility apocalypse: publication bias, low statistical power, P-value hacking and HARKing (hypothesizing after results are known). My generation and the one before us have done little to rein these in.

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Friday afternoon’s funny – Data Food Chain

Published/Released on May 31, 2019 | Posted by Admin on May 31, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

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(Australia) University of Sydney pulls claims elderberries can fight flu – The Age (Liam Mannix | May 2019)

One of the country's leading universities has been forced to retract a claim its study showed eating elderberries could help beat the flu after admitting it was overhyping its own science. The University of Sydney also concealed the research was part-funded by company Pharmacare - which sells elderberry-based flu remedies... More

One of the country's leading universities has been forced to retract a claim its study showed eating elderberries could help beat the flu after admitting it was overhyping its own science. The University of Sydney also concealed the research was part-funded by company Pharmacare - which sells elderberry-based flu remedies - at the company's request. Although it was declared in the study itself, the university also failed to publicise that a Pharmacare employee was involved in the research.

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(Japan) Researcher at Japan stem cell institute falsified nearly all images in 2017 paper – Retraction Watch (Victoria Stern | January 2019)

Published/Released on January 23, 2019 | Posted by Admin on May 25, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

An investigation by Kyoto University in Japan has found a researcher guilty of falsifying all but one of the figures in a 2017 stem cell paper. Yesterday, Kyoto University announced that the paper’s first author, Kohei Yamamizu, had fabricated and falsified data... More

An investigation by Kyoto University in Japan has found a researcher guilty of falsifying all but one of the figures in a 2017 stem cell paper. Yesterday, Kyoto University announced that the paper’s first author, Kohei Yamamizu, had fabricated and falsified data in the Stem Cell Reports paper. According to the investigation report, none of the other authors were involved in the data manipulation. Yamamizu works at the Center for iPS cell Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University, directed by Shinya Yamanaka, a Nobel Prize winner for his pioneering work in stem cell biology.

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Ask The Chefs: AI and Scholarly Communications – Scholarly Kitchen (Ann Michael | April 2019)

Published/Released on April 25, 2019 | Posted by Admin on May 19, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

No one will dispute that AI (Artificial Intelligence) needs to “eat” data, preferably in massive quantities, to develop. The better the data quality, the better the result. When thinking about the potential applications of AI in scholarly communications as related to research artifacts, how will that work? How might... More

No one will dispute that AI (Artificial Intelligence) needs to “eat” data, preferably in massive quantities, to develop. The better the data quality, the better the result. When thinking about the potential applications of AI in scholarly communications as related to research artifacts, how will that work? How might AI be trained on high quality, vetted information? How are the benefits and costs distributed? [colored_box]This month we asked the Chefs: Where does scholarly communication and academic outputs fit in to the world of AI development? . Judy Luther: In scholarly communications there is an expanding body of openly available content from preprint servers, such as arXiv and bioRxiv, and Open Access journals and books. In addition, there is a growing variety of formats that include datasets and code, open peer review, media, and other elements of the scholarly research cycle. This volume of content provides a rich resource to be mined for all stakeholders as well as a broader audience. .

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Trump’s science adviser on research ethics, immigration and presidential tweets – Science (Sara Reardon | April 2019)

Five months into the job, Kelvin Droegemeier tells Nature what it’s like to work with the US president.

When meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier was sworn in as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in February, he inherited More

Five months into the job, Kelvin Droegemeier tells Nature what it’s like to work with the US president.

When meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier was sworn in as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in February, he inherited an office that had been without a leader for two years — and became the top science adviser to President Donald Trump. Trump's push to cut government spending on research, and his policies on issues such as immigration, have caused controversy in science. Nature spoke to Droegemeier in mid-April — two months into his tenure — about these policies, his plans and what it’s like to work with the president. The interview has been edited for length and clarity. The number of OSTP staff dropped precipitously during Trump’s first two years in office. What is the situation now? The lights were definitely on, and there was a lot of work actually getting done. We have people cycle through. Some of them are on detail for a year, so there’s kind of a constant refresh. I have brought additional people on board in some of the areas that I’m going to be working on a little bit more.

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Friday afternoon’s funny – How safe is your data?

Published/Released on May 17, 2019 | Posted by Admin on May 17, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

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Prominent UCSD eye doctor ‘on leave’ after inewsource investigation – inewsource (Jill Castellano & Brad Racino | April 2019)

Dr. Kang Zhang, chief of eye genetics at the University of California San Diego, is “on leave” after an inewsource investigation exposed how the doctor put medical research subjects in harm’s way for years while pulling in millions of federal dollars for the institution. [colored_box]In a... More

Dr. Kang Zhang, chief of eye genetics at the University of California San Diego, is “on leave” after an inewsource investigation exposed how the doctor put medical research subjects in harm’s way for years while pulling in millions of federal dollars for the institution. [colored_box]In a new development, inewsource obtained an inspection report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that detailed more problems with one of Zhang’s studies. The report, compiled in 2016, described one incident in which Zhang poked a hole in a study participant’s eye with a needle, causing a cataract that had to be fixed with surgery. . The person wasn’t supposed to be enrolled in the study, according to the report, and the injury allegedly occurred because Zhang was in a hurry to take a trip to China. .

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“We got scammed:” Authors “sincerely apologize” for plagiarism they blame a ghostwriter for – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | May 2019)

Published/Released on May 02, 2019 | Posted by Admin on May 13, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

The journal Cureus is retracting three articles by a mashup of authors from Pakistan and the United States for plagiarism, which the researchers blame on their use of a hired gun to prepare the papers. [colored_box]The articles were published over a roughly one-month stretch in August and September 2018 and... More

The journal Cureus is retracting three articles by a mashup of authors from Pakistan and the United States for plagiarism, which the researchers blame on their use of a hired gun to prepare the papers. [colored_box]The articles were published over a roughly one-month stretch in August and September 2018 and covered an impressively polymathic range of topics, from lupus to heart disease. Although the list of authors varied, a few names remained constant. One, Asad Ali, of Lahore Medical College and Institute of Dentistry, was the first author on all three papers. Another was Malik Qistas Ahmad, whose affiliation is given as the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson although he no longer works there. . The papers (not in chronological order) are: “Systemic lupus erythematosus: an overview of the disease pathology and its management”;  “Neurogenic stunned myocardium: a literature review”; and “An overview of the pathology and emerging treatment approaches for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome.” .

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(US) Major U.S. cancer center ousts ‘Asian’ researchers after NIH flags their foreign ties – Science (Mara Hvistendahl | April 2019)

Published/Released on April 19, 2019 | Posted by Admin on May 11, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

HOUSTON, TEXAS—The MD Anderson Cancer Center here has ousted three senior researchers after the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, informed it that the scientists had committed potentially “serious” violations of agency rules involving confidentiality of peer review and the disclosure of foreign ties. The researchers are... More

HOUSTON, TEXAS—The MD Anderson Cancer Center here has ousted three senior researchers after the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, informed it that the scientists had committed potentially “serious” violations of agency rules involving confidentiality of peer review and the disclosure of foreign ties. The researchers are among five MD Anderson scientists that NIH cited in letters to the cancer center, which is part of the University of Texas (UT) system. MD Anderson officials say they invoked termination proceedings against three of the researchers, are still investigating allegations against one, and determined termination was not warranted for the fifth scientist. The new developments are linked to a sweeping effort launched last year by NIH to address growing U.S. government fears that foreign nations, particularly China, are taking unfair advantage of federally funded research. NIH says its inquiries about the foreign ties of specific NIH-funded researchers have prompted at least 55 institutions to launch investigations. The cases at MD Anderson, which received $148 million in NIH funding in 2018, are the first publicly known instances where NIH’s inquiries appear to have led an institution to invoke termination proceedings against researchers judged to have violated the rules. Cancer center officials have not named any of the five researchers. MD Anderson President Peter Pisters says all are “Asian”; Science has confirmed that three are ethnically Chinese. Several faced NIH inquiries about their ties to China, according to internal cancer center documents and NIH emails provided by MD Anderson to the Houston Chronicle and reviewed by Science. Those documents also show that MD Anderson has been working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for several years on undisclosed national security investigations, which included searches of faculty email accounts and in one instance, video surveillance. Those investigations could be linked to the recent departures and to the NIH letters; MD Anderson had put at least one faculty member named by NIH on leave in December 2017, months before NIH sent its letter and 1 week after FBI gained access to several MD Anderson network accounts.

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Peer-review experiments tracked in online repository – Nature (Richard Van Noorden | March 2019)

Published/Released on March 04, 2019 | Posted by Admin on May 8, 2019 | Keywords: , , ,

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(Japan) Science retracts report on deadly Kumamoto earthquake – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | May 2019)

Published/Released on May 02, 2019 | Posted by Admin on May 6, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

Science is retracting a 2017 paper about the deadly Kumamoto earthquake about a month after the university announced that the paper’s first author, Aiming Lin, had committed misconduct, including falsification of data and plagiarism. Science editor in chief Jeremy Berg More

Science is retracting a 2017 paper about the deadly Kumamoto earthquake about a month after the university announced that the paper’s first author, Aiming Lin, had committed misconduct, including falsification of data and plagiarism. Science editor in chief Jeremy Berg told us in late March that the journal had been trying to obtain more information in preparation for writing an expression of concern. Here’s today’s retraction notice:

The November 2018 Science Report, “Coseismic rupturing stopped by Aso volcano during the 2016 Mw 7.1 Kumamoto earthquake, Japan” presented evidence that the 2016 Mw 7.1 Kumamoto earthquake produced a surface rupture zone of ~40 km long along the pre-existing active fault zone and identified for the first time faults on the western side of Aso caldera, Kyushu Island, Japan. In August 2017, a confidential investigation into potential irregularities in the paper was initiated at Kyoto University. The investigation was completed in March 2019 and has confirmed that the paper contained falsified data and manipulated images. Specifically, there were multiple falsifications in Figs 1B, 1C, 2A, and 2C, and instances of plagiarism in Fig. 1C. These were the responsibility of the corresponding author, Aiming Lin. In agreement with the recommendation of the investigation, the authors are retracting the Report.

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Censorship in a China Studies Journal – Inside Higher Ed (Elizabeth Redden | April 2019)

Scholars say they thought a journal was run on Western standards of free expression, but they found Chinese government control instead.

Yet another account of censorship involving a China studies journal has come to light. And the scholars involved say this case involves an... More

Scholars say they thought a journal was run on Western standards of free expression, but they found Chinese government control instead.

Yet another account of censorship involving a China studies journal has come to light. And the scholars involved say this case involves an insidious “blurring of boundaries” where they were misled into thinking Western publishing standards would apply when in fact the journal in question was subject to Chinese government censorship. Lorraine Wong and Jacob Edmond, both professors at the University of Otago, in New Zealand, have written an account of the censorship they encountered when they edited a planned special issue of the journal Frontiers of Literary Studies in China. The journal is published by the Netherlands-based publishing company Brill in association with the China-based Higher Education Press, an entity that describes itself on its website (in Chinese) as affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education. The journal's editorial board lists scholars from major American and international universities -- including Cornell University, Duke University, Harvard University, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Washington -- and its editor in chief is based at New York University. The journal’s editorial office is located in Beijing. Wong and Edmond wrote that the association with Brill, along with the involvement of leading scholars in the field on the editorial board, led them to mistakenly assume the publication standards would be akin to those of other journals in the field published in the U.S. What they found, however, was that the affiliation with the Higher Education Press and the location of the editorial office in Beijing means “the journal is subject to the full range of Chinese government censorship.”

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To move research from quantity to quality, go beyond good intentions – Nature ( Alan Finkel | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 19, 2019 | Posted by Admin on May 3, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Australian chief scientist Alan Finkel calls for formal action to bake in better research practices.

In 1969, I skipped school to watch the Moon landing from home. Fifty years later, I struggle to think of an... More

Australian chief scientist Alan Finkel calls for formal action to bake in better research practices.

In 1969, I skipped school to watch the Moon landing from home. Fifty years later, I struggle to think of an event that would justify truancy today. It’s not for lack of stunning breakthroughs in research, but rather their frequency: if children neglected their work every time the television reported another scientific milestone that my generation scarcely dared to contemplate, they’d end up with no education at all. Yet there is a growing rumble of concern about the rigour and reproducibility of published research. Problems of over-hyped analysis and puffed-up CVs are well recognized. Financial and career incentives keep researchers on a treadmill, churning out papers. We cannot know how many of the 1.6 million or so papers now added every year to the Web of Science database are flawed as a consequence, but we can agree that our focus has to shift from quantity to quality if we are to safeguard against shoddy work.

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Fraud Ain’t The Game

Published/Released on March 16, 2019 | Posted by Admin on May 1, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Forget about morality. Wrong is wrong.

In a parallel universe, not unlike our own, a graduate student is working late. She is putting the finishing touches on a paper she hopes will be the cornerstone of... More

Forget about morality. Wrong is wrong.

In a parallel universe, not unlike our own, a graduate student is working late. She is putting the finishing touches on a paper she hopes will be the cornerstone of her PhD, which — as much as it’s often reasonably soul-destroying — is progressively becoming more exciting. She works late to preserve this excitement. It gives her hope that maybe one day this rotten, unforgiving business will work out, that she will have a life of curiosity and progress. People doubt her. She does not doubt herself. Or, at least, not too often.

[colored_box]In another parallel universe, a tenured professor who is a complete bastard has finished kicking his neighbour’s garbage bins and yelling at the television for the evening, and slopes off to his study. It is working late nights like this, he grouses in a moment of self-pity, that caused his third wife to leave him (it actually wasn’t this, it’s because he’s a miserable wretch who would try the patience of St. Anthony and wipe the smile off the face of a golden retriever). He is a shiny brittle little man. He is a sneer in a cardigan, a tumble-dried faculty Grinch without the fetching skin tone. He is a martinet, a hypocrite, a bastard, and a ruiner.

Her latest study is a model of good scientific practice and prudence. She has tried to be careful, open, honest, forthright. The studies are correctly powered. The interventions are reasonable. The notes are careful. The data is freshly scrubbed and annotated, should anyone request it. She’s a model citizen. It’s important to her to BE a model citizen.

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Figure errors, sloppy science, and fraud: keeping eyes on your data (Papers: Corinne L. Williams, et al | March 2019)

Published/Released on March 25, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 30, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

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We need to talk about systematic fraud – Nature (Jennifer Byrne | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 09, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 28, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

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Singapore legal challenge ‘will chill academic freedom’ – Times Higher Education (Ellie Bothwell | January 2019)

Published/Released on January 23, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 27, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

Academics issue warning after news story including critical comments about country’s top universities is removed

Academics fear that the removal of an online article that included critical comments about the country’s two leading universities following a legal challenge will have a chilling effect on... More

Academics issue warning after news story including critical comments about country’s top universities is removed

Academics fear that the removal of an online article that included critical comments about the country’s two leading universities following a legal challenge will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression. The story, “Opaque policies, xation with KPIs, rankings: why arts and humanities academics quit NUS, NTU”, which was published by the online newspaper Today, included interviews with several academics who had left or were planning to leave the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. According to the article, scholars claimed that the universities failed to retain talented academics because of their “incessant pursuit of rankings and the relative lack of academic freedom when it comes to certain projects or research initiatives”.

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Director of Hong Kong science institute ASTRI charged with misconduct for not disclosing shares in vendor companies – South China Morning Post (Danny Lee | March 2019)

Published/Released on March 29, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 20, 2019 | Keywords: , , ,

Research head at government-run ASTRI accused of holding shares in companies he approved HK$535,000 worth of purchases from

The research director of a government science institute has been charged with misconduct for failing to disclose his financial interests in two companies before endorsing over... More

Research head at government-run ASTRI accused of holding shares in companies he approved HK$535,000 worth of purchases from

The research director of a government science institute has been charged with misconduct for failing to disclose his financial interests in two companies before endorsing over half a million dollars worth of purchases. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) found that Lau Man-kin, the research and development director of the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI), did not reveal that he and his wife had investments in the two vendors before he approved buying HK$535,000 (US$68,155) worth of computers and software. The ICAC said in a statement on Friday that the case arose from a corruption complaint referred by ASTRI, which provided cooperation during the investigation.

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Guest Post: Encouraging Data Sharing: A Small Investment for Large Potential Gain – Scholarly Kitchen (Rebecca Grant, et al | January 2019)

Published/Released on January 30, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 20, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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We need to relearn how to play nice in peer review – UA/AU (Daniel Harris | March 2019)

Published/Released on March 19, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 16, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

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Duke University’s huge misconduct fine is a reminder to reward rigour – Nature (Arturo Casadevall | April 2019)

Published/Released on April 02, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 15, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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“Predatory” company uses Canadian universities to sell shoddy conferences – Ottawa Citizen (Tom Spears | April 2019)

Published/Released on April 10, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 14, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Omics International is still marketing junky science conferences in Montreal and Toronto this month despite a U.S. judge’s order to stop “deceptive” promoting of its conferences and academic journals. [colored_box]The company has a long record of publishing any research papers for a fee. This allows underqualified academics to pad their... More

Omics International is still marketing junky science conferences in Montreal and Toronto this month despite a U.S. judge’s order to stop “deceptive” promoting of its conferences and academic journals. [colored_box]The company has a long record of publishing any research papers for a fee. This allows underqualified academics to pad their credentials with fake research papers and gain promotion. Companies that do this are known as “predatory” publishers. . But a US District Court judge fined Omics more than $50 million on March 29 and made a sweeping order prohibiting the India-based company from “misrepresenting” its conferences and journals. . So far, the company is showing no signs of change. It is running a series of 18 small but pricey conferences in Toronto and Montreal in the next few weeks on topics ranging from cosmetology to medicine. Registration fees range up to US$1,399 for two days. .

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U.S. judge rules deceptive publisher should pay $50 million in damages – Science (Jeffrey Brainard | April 2019)

Published/Released on April 03, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 10, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

A U.S. federal judge has ordered the OMICS International publishing group to pay $50.1 million in damages for deceiving thousands of authors who published in its journals and attended its conferences. It’s one of the first rulings of its kind against one of the largest publishers accused of so-called... More

A U.S. federal judge has ordered the OMICS International publishing group to pay $50.1 million in damages for deceiving thousands of authors who published in its journals and attended its conferences. It’s one of the first rulings of its kind against one of the largest publishers accused of so-called predatory tactics. But because it’s a U.S. judgment and OMICS is based in Hyderabad, India, it’s not clear that any money will be collected or shared with researchers who claim OMICS deceived them. Judge Gloria Navarro of the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada, granted summary judgment without a trial, accepting as uncontroverted a set of allegations made in 2016 by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in Washington, D.C., in its capacity as a consumer watchdog. The ruling also bars OMICS from similar future conduct.

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Open Access, Academic Freedom, and the Spectrum of Coercive Power – Scholarly Kitchen (Rick Anderson | November 2018)

Published/Released on January 05, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 8, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

I’m on the record as having suggested that institutional, funder-imposed, and governmental open access (OA) mandates have troubling implications for academic freedom, given that academic freedom includes — according to the statement promulgated by the American Association of University Professors —... More

I’m on the record as having suggested that institutional, funder-imposed, and governmental open access (OA) mandates have troubling implications for academic freedom, given that academic freedom includes — according to the statement promulgated by the American Association of University Professors — “full freedom… in publication.”* You can’t simultaneously enjoy “full freedom in publication” and operate under a regime that requires you to publish in very specific ways — especially when those modes of publication require you to give up important rights granted to you by law. When I’ve raised these concerns in the past, I’ve often been asked (usually by people who are strongly in favor of institutional, funder-based, and/or governmental OA mandates) whether I have the same concerns about a journal’s or publisher’s requirement that authors relinquish copyright in return for the their publishing services. After all, in both cases the author is being asked to relinquish control over her work in return for something else she wants. Aren’t journal publishers being just as coercive when they require copyright transfer as funders are when they require OA publication with a CC BY license? This question has usually come in relatively constraining forums like Twitter and online commenting threads, where it can be tough to respond effectively to a question this complex. Hence this posting, in which I’ll try to explain my thinking on this issue, which I think is a very important one. The first crucial thing to bear in mind is that when dealing with questions of freedom and coercion generally, we are not dealing with a binary issue. There’s no scenario available to faculty authors that offers either perfect freedom or absolute constraint. Even at their most free, academic authors are still generally expected by their peers to publish in quality scholarly journals, and their careers are hobbled when they fail to do so; even under the most constraining scenarios, authors usually still have some degree of choice between publishing venues (although some emerging models, like Plan S, would have particularly severe effects on authors’ freedom to choose). So this isn’t about choosing between absolute freedom and total coercion; the issue is how best to balance the tradition of academic freedom with the rights of various kinds of institutions to impose requirements on authors in return for such considerations as employment, funding, or publishing services. As it does in so many situations where different parties’ rights come into conflict, the challenge boils down to trying to find the right balance between the legitimate rights of individuals and an obligation to the collective good — or at least, the “collective good” as understood by people who have power over authors.

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Springer Nature Syndicates Content to ResearchGate – Scholarly Kitchen (Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe | March 2019)

Published/Released on March 01, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 7, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Ever since Springer Nature and ResearchGate announced their cooperative agreement this past April, many have wondered what exactly the “sharing of articles on the scholarly collaboration platform in a way that protects the rights of authors and publishers” might look like. Today, we get our first... More

Ever since Springer Nature and ResearchGate announced their cooperative agreement this past April, many have wondered what exactly the “sharing of articles on the scholarly collaboration platform in a way that protects the rights of authors and publishers” might look like. Today, we get our first glimpse. Springer Nature and ResearchGate have announced that “full-text articles published in select Nature journals since November 2017 will be rolled out to researchers’ ResearchGate profiles starting now and completed by March 7, making it easier to read or download research on or off campus from that moment on.” I had a chance to speak yesterday with Steven Inchcoombe, Chief Publishing Officer at Springer Nature, and Ijad Madisch, CEO of ResearchGate, about this project. Though small in scope, the importance of this project should not be overlooked. This pilot project represents the first significant experiment with the syndication of publisher content to a content supercontinent. My fellow Scholarly Kitchen contributor, Roger Schonfeld, has been tracking this emerging strategy and exploring it in recent months.

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(US) Old emails hold new clues to Coca-Cola and CDC’s controversial relationship – CNN (Jacqueline Howard | January 2019)

Published/Released on January 29, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 3, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Private emails between employees at the Coca-Cola Co. and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been exposed in a new research paper, raising questions about just how extensive of a relationship the soda company has had with the nation's public health agency. [colored_box]The paper, published Tuesday in... More

Private emails between employees at the Coca-Cola Co. and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been exposed in a new research paper, raising questions about just how extensive of a relationship the soda company has had with the nation's public health agency. [colored_box]The paper, published Tuesday in the journal The Milbank Quarterly includes excerpts from emails and suggests that current and former Coca-Cola staff tried to influence the CDC by attempting to frame the debate around whether sugar-sweetened beverages play a role in America's obesity epidemic, as well as trying to lobby decision-makers. . The email exchanges -- obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests -- were sent between 2011 and the time the FOIA requests were made in 2016 and 2017. .

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(China) Academic integrity gets renewed stress in aftermath of actor’s misconduct case – ECNS.cn (Jing Yuxin | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 28, 2019 | Posted by Admin on April 1, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

The Ministry of Education has asked universities with advanced degree programs to strengthen their supervision of student enrollment and management after a few high-profile academic misconduct cases tarnished the reputation of the country's postgraduate education. The ministry has zero tolerance for academic misconduct, such as plagiarism,... More

The Ministry of Education has asked universities with advanced degree programs to strengthen their supervision of student enrollment and management after a few high-profile academic misconduct cases tarnished the reputation of the country's postgraduate education. The ministry has zero tolerance for academic misconduct, such as plagiarism, and universities should scrutinize every step of graduate writing, from choosing research topics to dissertation defense, it said in a statement on Wednesday. Any misconduct will be dealt with seriously, and academic papers, theses and dissertations will be shared with other institutions to add more scrutiny, it said.

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(US) Duke whistleblower gets more than $33 million in research fraud settlement – NPR (Bill Chappell | March 2019)

Duke University is paying the U.S. government $112.5 million to settle accusations that it submitted bogus data to win federal research grants. The settlement will also bring a $33.75 million payment to Joseph Thomas, the whistleblower who drew attention to the fraud when he worked for Duke. Thomas, a former... More

Duke University is paying the U.S. government $112.5 million to settle accusations that it submitted bogus data to win federal research grants. The settlement will also bring a $33.75 million payment to Joseph Thomas, the whistleblower who drew attention to the fraud when he worked for Duke. Thomas, a former Duke lab analyst, sued the university on behalf of the federal government, saying that a Duke researcher fudged data to help the university win and keep lucrative grants from two agencies, the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency. The dozens of grants in question covered the study of the lung function of mice. The Justice Department says Thomas' lawsuit alleged that "between 2006 and 2018, Duke knowingly submitted and caused to be submitted" claims to federal agencies that were unknowingly paying grant money for falsified research data. It adds that while the agreement settles the court case, it does not mean Duke has been determined liable.

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(US) NIH apologizes for its failure to address sexual harassment in science – STAT (Lev Facher | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 28, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 29, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

[colored_box]WASHINGTON — The National Institutes of Health on Thursday apologized for its past failures to recognize and address the culture of sexual harassment that has impacted scientists for generations. . “To all those who have endured these experiences, we are sorry that it has taken so long to acknowledge... More

[colored_box]WASHINGTON — The National Institutes of Health on Thursday apologized for its past failures to recognize and address the culture of sexual harassment that has impacted scientists for generations. . “To all those who have endured these experiences, we are sorry that it has taken so long to acknowledge and address the climate and culture that has caused such harm,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement. . Sexual harassment in science, Collins said, is “morally indefensible, it’s unacceptable, and it presents a major obstacle that is keeping women from achieving their rightful place in science.” .

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Sexual harassment rife in Australian science, suggests first workplace survey – Science (February 2019)

Published/Released on February 28, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 26, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

One in two female respondents to a national poll has been sexually harassed at work.

Nearly half the female scientists who responded to an Australian survey on sexual misconduct at work have experienced sexual harassment. In More

One in two female respondents to a national poll has been sexually harassed at work.

Nearly half the female scientists who responded to an Australian survey on sexual misconduct at work have experienced sexual harassment. In a report released today, 10% of male scientists also said they had been sexually harassed at work. [colored_box]The poll represents the first investigation into the prevalence of sexual harassment among Australian scientists and technologists working in industry, the public sector or non-profit organizations, as well as academia. Almost 300 science professionals answered the questions in an online poll conducted by Science & Technology Australia (STA), an organization based in Canberra that lobbies for the interests of scientists. . Previous surveys of students in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom have found widespread harassment at universities. The latest results show that harassment is rife across all types of scientific workplace. .

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#MeToo and Health Research Ethics – The Hastings Center (Kathleen Bachynski | March 2019)

As a public health researcher interested in brain injuries in sports, I was searching for peer-reviewed literature that examined cultural pressures that cause athletes to minimize symptoms of potentially serious injuries when I came across a 1994 article entitled, “A Little Pain Never Hurt Anybody: A Photo-Essay on the... More

As a public health researcher interested in brain injuries in sports, I was searching for peer-reviewed literature that examined cultural pressures that cause athletes to minimize symptoms of potentially serious injuries when I came across a 1994 article entitled, “A Little Pain Never Hurt Anybody: A Photo-Essay on the Normalization of Sport Injuries.” The identity of one of the authors cast the study in a suspicious light: Dr. Richard Strauss, the Ohio State University physician who has been accused by more than 100 former students of sexual abuse. His article was a “visual study” with numerous photos of student wrestlers. It claimed to “convey some of the details and social ambiance of today’s approach to collegiate sports medicine.”  A research method that involves photographing injured students, both at the time of injury and while undergoing medical examinations and surgical procedures, also involves significant intimate contact with a vulnerable population. In such circumstances, patients must be able to fully trust the researcher’s integrity, honesty, and respect for persons. The irony that a doctor accused of groping his patients’ genitalia also studied the cultural belief that “a little pain never hurt anybody” astonishes me. Furthermore, I am concerned about the implications of accused serial sexual abusers publishing in academic literature: that they can use their position of authority to not only enhance their professional status but also to shape academic knowledge. According to Google Scholar, at least 117 articles have cited Strauss’ photo-essay. One 2005 article described it as an example of how the technique of photo-interviewing provided “a way to get people to talk about more difficult and abstract concepts.”

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(Australia Queensland case) Universal Medicine research conducted by devotees won’t be pulled by Queensland uni – ABC (Josh Robertson | March 2019)

A top Australian university has stood by studies into the health benefits of a group that a jury found was a "dangerous cult" making false healing claims, despite its own medical researchers failing to disclose they were devotees. [colored_box]A 10-month investigation by the University of Queensland (UQ) has cleared the... More

A top Australian university has stood by studies into the health benefits of a group that a jury found was a "dangerous cult" making false healing claims, despite its own medical researchers failing to disclose they were devotees. [colored_box]A 10-month investigation by the University of Queensland (UQ) has cleared the researchers of academic misconduct despite finding they did not fully detail their involvement with Universal Medicine (UM). . The studies were published in overseas journals and explored the benefits of UM treatments including "esoteric breast massage" and proposed clinical studies in Vietnamese hospitals that would be forbidden in Australia. .

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High-profile subscription journals critique Plan S – Nature (Holly Else | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 26, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 23, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

Publishers say that the bold open-access initiative rules out proven ways of opening up the literature.

Publishers of highly selective scholarly journals — including Nature and Science — say that they cannot comply with Plan... More

Publishers say that the bold open-access initiative rules out proven ways of opening up the literature.

Publishers of highly selective scholarly journals — including Nature and Science — say that they cannot comply with Plan S, a European-led initiative that mandates free access to research results on publication from 2020, unless its rules are changed. Their appeals come as part of a massive consultation on how the open-access initiative should work, which closed on 8 February and received about 600 responses, including from most of the world’s major academic publishers. Many publishers told the Plan S coalition that they support the general aims of the initiative, but don’t agree on its details. They also say the timeframe for the transition is too short.

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Editorial Mutiny at Elsevier Journal – Inside Higher Ed (Lindsay McKenzie | January 2019)

Published/Released on January 14, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 18, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

Following in the footsteps of linguistics journal Lingua, the editorial board of the Elsevier-owned Journal of Informetrics has resigned and launched a rival journal that will be free for all to read. The entire editorial board of the Elsevier-owned Journal of Informetrics... More

Following in the footsteps of linguistics journal Lingua, the editorial board of the Elsevier-owned Journal of Informetrics has resigned and launched a rival journal that will be free for all to read. The entire editorial board of the Elsevier-owned Journal of Informetrics resigned Thursday in protest over high open-access fees, restricted access to citation data and commercial control of scholarly work. Today, the same team is launching a new fully open-access journal called Quantitative Science Studies. The journal will be for and by the academic community and will be owned by the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI). It will be published jointly with MIT Press. The editorial board of the Journal of Informetrics said in a statement that they were unanimous in their decision to quit. They contend that scholarly journals should be owned by the scholarly community rather than by commercial publishers, should be open access under fair principles, and publishers should make citation data freely available.

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Why were scientists silent over gene-edited babies? – Nature (Natalie Kofler | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 26, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 12, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,

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An idea to promote research integrity: adding badges to papers where the authors fought against the results being suppressed or sanitised – LSE Impact Blog (Adrian Barnett | July 2018)

Published/Released on July 11, 2018 | Posted by Admin on March 11, 2019 | Keywords: , ,

Some journals, including Biostatistics and BMJ Open Science, add prominent badges to research papers for which the authors have shared the data and/or statistical code. The badge is intended to recognise the additional work undertaken by the authors to curate and deposit their data and code. It also... More

Some journals, including Biostatistics and BMJ Open Science, add prominent badges to research papers for which the authors have shared the data and/or statistical code. The badge is intended to recognise the additional work undertaken by the authors to curate and deposit their data and code. It also rewards good research practice, because sharing data and code helps with reproducibility and increases the value of research by allowing other researchers to run new studies. Evidence from two observational studies shows that badges have increased the rate of data sharing at journals.

I am a supporter of open science and have shared data without receiving a badge. However, if I could add badges to any of my papers, it would be where there was an attempt to suppress or sanitise the results. These are the papers I am most proud of publishing.

I’ve experienced three instances of suppression or sanitisation: two papers were eventually published in whole, but one other was sanitised, much to my enduring chagrin. In all three cases I believe the attempted suppression occurred because the study’s sponsor did not like the results. There is a similar story on the COPE website (Committee on Publication Ethics) involving a disagreement between a drug company and academic researchers.

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The Fraud Finder: A conversation with Elisabeth Bik – The Last Word on Nothing (Sally Adee | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 12, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 10, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

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(US) Will Me Too Activism Cost Professor Her Job? – Inside Higher Ed (Scott Jaschi | February 2019)

Published/Released on March 22, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 8, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

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Rare trial of open peer review allays common concerns – Nature (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | February 2019)

Published/Released on March 15, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 6, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

Study suggests that making reviewers’ reports freely readable doesn’t compromise peer-review process.

[colored_box]A rare analysis of open peer review — in which reviews are posted alongside published papers — has overturned some common conceptions about the practice: notably, that it doesn’t put the reviewers... More

Study suggests that making reviewers’ reports freely readable doesn’t compromise peer-review process.

[colored_box]A rare analysis of open peer review — in which reviews are posted alongside published papers — has overturned some common conceptions about the practice: notably, that it doesn’t put the reviewers off or affect their recommendations on whether to accept a paper. . The analysis, published on 18 January in Nature Communications1, also indicates that open reviewers mostly prefer to remain anonymous, and that they don’t take any longer to complete reviews than in the conventional process. . “I think the case for publishing peer reviews is quite clear in terms of transparency and accountability,” says Tony Ross-Hellauer, an information scientist at the Graz University of Technology in Austria who conducted a 2017 survey about open peer review. “In terms of clearing away some doubts about publishing peer reviews, I think this study is really good news.” .

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(US) This neuroscientist is fighting sexual harassment in science – but her own job is in peril – Science (By Meredith Wadmam | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 12, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 3, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

BethAnn McLaughlin has no time for James Watson, especially not when the 90-year-old geneticist is peering out from a photo on the wall of her guest room at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Banbury Center. [colored_box]“I don’t need him staring at me when I’m trying to go to sleep,” McLaughlin told... More

BethAnn McLaughlin has no time for James Watson, especially not when the 90-year-old geneticist is peering out from a photo on the wall of her guest room at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Banbury Center. [colored_box]“I don’t need him staring at me when I’m trying to go to sleep,” McLaughlin told a December 2018 gathering at the storied New York meeting center as she projected a photo of her redecorating job: She had hung a washcloth over the image of Watson, who co-discovered DNA’s structure, directed the lab for decades—and is well-known for racist and sexist statements. . The washcloth image was part of McLaughlin’s unconventional presentation—by turns sobering, hilarious, passionate, and profane—to two dozen experts who had gathered to wrestle with how to end gender discrimination in the biosciences. McLaughlin, a 51-year-old neuroscientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville, displayed the names of current members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) who have been sanctioned for sexual harassment. She urged other NAS members—several of whom sat in the room—to resign in protest, “as one does.” She chided institutions for passing along “harassholes” to other universities. “The only other places that do this are the Catholic Church and the military,” she said. .

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Why journal editors should dig deeper when authors ask for a retraction – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 21, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 2, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

Imagine you’re a journal editor. A group of authors sends you a request to retract one of their papers, saying that “during figure assembly certain images were inappropriately processed.” What do you do next? Do you ask some tough questions about just what “inappropriately processed” means? Do you check your... More

Imagine you’re a journal editor. A group of authors sends you a request to retract one of their papers, saying that “during figure assembly certain images were inappropriately processed.” What do you do next? Do you ask some tough questions about just what “inappropriately processed” means? Do you check your files for whether the author’s institution had told you about an investigation into the work? Do you Google the author’s names? Do you…search Retraction Watch? It seems unlikely that any of those things happened in the case of a recent retraction from Nature Communications, or, if they did, they don’t seem to have informed the notice. We don’t know for sure, because, as is typical, the journal isn’t saying much. But here’s what we do know.

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He Jiankui’s Germline Editing Ethics Article Retracted by The CRISPR Journal – GEN (Julianna LeMieux – February 2019)

Published/Released on February 20, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 2, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

Failure to disclose conflicts of interest was "unacceptable"

Twelve weeks after publishing a perspective on the ethics of gene editing by He Jiankui, PhD, the scientist reportedly responsible for the first gene-edited humans, the editors of The CRISPR Journal have decided to retract the... More

Failure to disclose conflicts of interest was "unacceptable"

Twelve weeks after publishing a perspective on the ethics of gene editing by He Jiankui, PhD, the scientist reportedly responsible for the first gene-edited humans, the editors of The CRISPR Journal have decided to retract the article, GEN can exclusively report. [colored_box]In late November, the shocking news of the genetically edited twin girls broke out on the eve of the second international Human Genome Editing Summit in Hong Kong. The creation of germline-edited humans was unprecedented and not something that the scientific community had prepared for. . Most of the attention focused on the actions of 34-year-old He, formerly a professor at the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in Shenzhen. He’s decision to ignore advice from prominent members of the scientific community and serious questions over the technical and ethical procedures prompted an immediate investigation by Chinese authorities while he was held under house arrest, culminating in his dismissal by SUSTech last month.| .

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Will the world embrace Plan S, the radical proposal to mandate open access to science papers? – Science (Tania Rabesandratana | January 2019)

Published/Released on February 03, 2019 | Posted by Admin on February 24, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

How far will Plan S spread? Since the September 2018 launch of the Europe-backed program to mandate immediate open access (OA) to scientific literature, 16 funders in 13 countries have signed on. That's still far shy of Plan S's ambition: to convince the world's major research funders to require immediate... More

How far will Plan S spread? Since the September 2018 launch of the Europe-backed program to mandate immediate open access (OA) to scientific literature, 16 funders in 13 countries have signed on. That's still far shy of Plan S's ambition: to convince the world's major research funders to require immediate OA to all published papers stemming from their grants. Whether it will reach that goal depends in part on details that remain to be settled, including a cap on the author charges that funders will pay for OA publication. But the plan has gained momentum: In December 2018, China stunned many by expressing strong support for Plan S. This month, a national funding agency in Africa is expected to join, possibly followed by a second U.S. funder. Others around the world are considering whether to sign on. Plan S, scheduled to take effect on 1 January 2020, has drawn support from many scientists, who welcome a shake-up of a publishing system that can generate large profits while keeping taxpayer-funded research results behind paywalls. But publishers (including AAAS, which publishes Science) are concerned, and some scientists worry that Plan S could restrict their choices.

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(JAP) Japanese stem cell fraud leads to a new retraction – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | January 2019)

Published/Released on February 04, 2019 | Posted by Admin on February 23, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , , , ,

Last March, we reported on the retraction of a 2017 paper in Stem Cell Reports by Kohei Yamamizu and colleagues for widespread fabrication of figures. Turns out the problems were at least five years older than that. Yamamizu had received a pink slip from his institution, the... More

Last March, we reported on the retraction of a 2017 paper in Stem Cell Reports by Kohei Yamamizu and colleagues for widespread fabrication of figures. Turns out the problems were at least five years older than that. Yamamizu had received a pink slip from his institution, the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), which had put the blame for the misconduct squarely on his shoulders. (The director of the institute, Nobel winner Shinya Yamanaka, also took some of the blame in a public statement in which he said he bore “a strong responsibility for not having prevented research misconduct at our institute.”) Yamamizu has a new retraction, but this time’s a bit different. Here’s the notice for the paper, “Protein Kinase A Determines Timing of Early Differentiation through Epigenetic Regulation with G9,” which appeared in Cell Stem Cell in June 2012 (Yamanaka was not a co-author on either study).  Although the statement acknowledges the internal investigation, it doesn’t mention misconduct or name Yamamizu:

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(US) Overdue: a US advisory board for research integrity – Nature (C. K. Gunsalus, et al | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 11, 2019 | Posted by Admin on February 23, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

Research needs an authoritative forum to hash out collective problems, argue C. K. Gunsalus, Marcia K. McNutt and colleagues

When it comes to fostering rigour and scientific integrity, US research institutions are stuck. Working out best practice is far from straightforward, and faculty members... More

Research needs an authoritative forum to hash out collective problems, argue C. K. Gunsalus, Marcia K. McNutt and colleagues

When it comes to fostering rigour and scientific integrity, US research institutions are stuck. Working out best practice is far from straightforward, and faculty members can be resistant to top-down directives. So, on a day-to-day basis, the conventions that research groups have for documenting methods and results, conducting analyses and allocating credit are often less than optimal. At worst, they can encourage dishonesty and scandal. For example, in April 2017, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and its health-care network agreed to pay US$10 million to settle fraud allegations in stem-cell research funding. (Researchers contest who is at fault.) The hospital has requested retractions of more than 30 papers, and a clinical trial involving more than 100 participants has been paused while data are reviewed. Resources that might have brought better medical care have been squandered. [colored_box]Building a culture of quality and integrity requires conversations across the scientific enterprise. Science is a complex ecosystem of funders, journals, academic administrators, scientific societies and researchers — the latter group including principal investigators, staff scientists, postdocs and graduate students. The interests of each group conflict as often as they overlap, and interactions tend to be stratified and constrained. Institutional presidents sit on working groups with each other but not with research-integrity officers. These officers attend conferences with each other, but not with faculty advisers and bench scientists. Journal editors meet scientists and other editors, but not institutional officers, on whom they rely for investigation when concerns about manuscripts arise. . In the United States, a fractured, inefficient, inconsistent system has built up over the past 70 years to protect research quality and integrity. Separate and sometimes overlapping mechanisms focus on distinct areas, such as oversight of trial participants and animal subjects, data management, financial transactions and declarations of interest. .

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Learning lessons from the Paolo Macchiarini case – Horizons (Matthias Egger | December 2018)

Published/Released on December 06, 2018 | Posted by Admin on February 23, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , ,

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A Star Surgeon Left a Trail of Dead Patients—and His Whistleblowers Were Punished – LeapsMag (Eve Herold | October 2018)

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Oft-quoted paper on spread of fake news turns out to be…fake news – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | January 2019)

Published/Released on January 09, 2019 | Posted by Admin on February 20, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

The authors of an much-ballyhooed 2017 paper about the spread of fake news on social media have retracted their article after finding that they’d botched their analysis. [colored_box]The paper, “Limited individual attention and online virality of low-quality information,” presented an argument for why bogus facts seem to gain so much... More

The authors of an much-ballyhooed 2017 paper about the spread of fake news on social media have retracted their article after finding that they’d botched their analysis. [colored_box]The paper, “Limited individual attention and online virality of low-quality information,” presented an argument for why bogus facts seem to gain so much traction on sites such as Facebook. According to the researchers — — from Shanghai Institute of Technology, Indiana University and Yahoo — the key was in the sheer volume of bad information, which swamps the brain’s ability to discern the real from the merely plausible or even the downright ridiculous, competing with limited attention spans and time. . As they reported: .

Our main finding is that survival of the fittest is far from a foregone conclusion where information is concerned. .

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Legal threats, opacity, and deceptive research practices: A look at more than 100 retractions in business and management – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | November 2018)

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A Beginner’s Guide to the Peer Review System – GradHacker (Carolyn Trietsch | January 2019)

Published/Released on January 16, 2019 | Posted by Admin on February 10, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

Thinking through the Peer Review system, especially for first time writers.

I was thrilled to receive my first request to peer review a paper while working on my Ph.D. Then I realized I didn’t know how to peer review. It had never been covered in... More

Thinking through the Peer Review system, especially for first time writers.

I was thrilled to receive my first request to peer review a paper while working on my Ph.D. Then I realized I didn’t know how to peer review. It had never been covered in my classes, so I started asking around and sending emails, reaching out to my friends in other programs, but with little luck. As important as peer review is, it seems that few STEM programs actively teach students about how to navigate the peer review process and make the decisions involved, such as whether to accept or reject a paper for publication. Fortunately, this is why we have mentors. I set up a meeting with a veteran peer reviewer and journal editor who was kind enough to spend an afternoon answering my questions and sharing important takeaways gleaned over years of experience. I realized that others could benefit from this advice, and I put together the following post from our discussion (with permission, of course, though my mentor wished to remain anonymous). Here is some guidance for students, early career professionals and others who are new to the peer review system:

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It’s time to end the code of silence at universities – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | November 2018)

Published/Released on November 06, 2018 | Posted by Admin on February 8, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

[colored_box]Yesterday, Cornell University told a group of researchers who had petitioned them to release a report of their investigation into alleged misconduct by Brian Wansink, a food marketing researcher who recently resigned his post there, that they would not release that report. As BuzzFeed reports, the... More

[colored_box]Yesterday, Cornell University told a group of researchers who had petitioned them to release a report of their investigation into alleged misconduct by Brian Wansink, a food marketing researcher who recently resigned his post there, that they would not release that report. As BuzzFeed reports, the university is now conducting a “Phase II” investigation into Wansink’s work. (It’s unclear what a “Phase II” investigation refers to; we’ve asked the university to clarify.) . Unfortunately, Cornell’s lack of transparency about the case puts them in the majority. Here’s a piece by our two co-founders, Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, about why this veil of secrecy needs to be lifted. . For more than a decade, Cornell University’s Brian Wansink was a king in the world of nutrition. He published his findings — on everything from why small plates make us eat less to the behavior of obese people at all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets — in top-tier journals and garnered media coverage in prestigious newspapers. His work even formed the basis of U.S. dietary guidelines. .

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AI peer reviewers unleashed to ease publishing grind – Science (Douglas Heaven | November 2018)

Published/Released on November 22, 2018 | Posted by Admin on February 4, 2019 | Keywords: , , ,

A suite of automated tools is now available to assist with peer review but humans are still in the driver's seat.

Most researchers have good reason to grumble about peer review: it is time-consuming and error-prone, and the workload is unevenly spread, with More

A suite of automated tools is now available to assist with peer review but humans are still in the driver's seat.

Most researchers have good reason to grumble about peer review: it is time-consuming and error-prone, and the workload is unevenly spread, with just 20% of scientists taking on most reviews. Now peer review by artificial intelligence (AI) is promising to improve the process, boost the quality of published papers — and save reviewers time. A handful of academic publishers are piloting AI tools to do anything from selecting reviewers to checking statistics and summarizing a paper’s findings.

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25% researchers worldwide unaware, confused what is plagiarism: Survey – Business Standard (Press Trust of India | November 2018)

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Mentors help authors say “no” to predatory journals – Elsevier Connect (Marilynn Larkin | November 2018)

Published/Released on January 14, 2019 | Posted by Admin on February 2, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

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A colleague included plagiarized material in your grant proposal. Are you liable? – Retraction Watch (Richard Goldstein | December 2018)

Published/Released on December 03, 2018 | Posted by Admin on January 29, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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Single-molecule magnet controversy highlights transparency problems with U.K. research integrity system – C&EN (Mark Peplow | November 2018)

Universities’ reluctance to reveal details of such cases could undermine public trust in research, experts say

For Conrad A. P. Goodwin, June 6, 2017, was a pretty harrowing day. The organometallic chemist, then at the University of Manchester, had just finished his Ph.D. on... More

Universities’ reluctance to reveal details of such cases could undermine public trust in research, experts say

For Conrad A. P. Goodwin, June 6, 2017, was a pretty harrowing day. The organometallic chemist, then at the University of Manchester, had just finished his Ph.D. on a high. Earlier that year he had synthesized an organometallic complex called dysprosocenium that could be switched from one stable magnetic state to another. Single-molecule magnets (SMMs) like this might eventually be used in extremely-high-density memory devices, but researchers had previously been able to make SMMs that only operated at ultracold temperatures. Crucially, Goodwin’s molecule could retain its designated magnetic state at up to 60 K—the highest temperature yet for any SMM. By the end of May, Nature had accepted a paper about the work from Goodwin and his colleagues, subject to revisions. Then, on that fateful June day—months before Goodwin’s report actually published—a paper appeared in Angewandte Chemie describing exactly the same molecule, made in exactly the same way. Goodwin and his colleagues had been scooped. To make matters worse, the team behind the Angewandte paper was led by Richard A. Layfield, a professor whose office was just down the hall from Goodwin’s supervisor, David P. Mills. “We’d put so much work into it,” recalls Goodwin, who now works at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “The synthetic methodology was brand new, so we thought we were on to something cool. Then, suddenly, the novelty was gone.”

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(US) Temple Will Pay $5.5M to Settle Suits Over False Rankings Data – Inside Higher ED (Scott Jaschik | January 2019

Published/Released on January 07, 2019 | Posted by Admin on January 22, 2019 | Keywords: , , , , ,

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Open Access: A Look Back – Scholarly Kitchen (David Crotty | October 2018)

Published/Released on October 22, 2018 | Posted by Admin on January 22, 2019 | Keywords: , , , ,

Open Access Week 2018 has begun, and as happens each year, I’m never quite sure how The Scholarly Kitchen should (or shouldn’t) participate. This blog has long (unfairly, in my opinion) been cast as “the enemy” of open access (OA). The reality is, as with most... More

Open Access Week 2018 has begun, and as happens each year, I’m never quite sure how The Scholarly Kitchen should (or shouldn’t) participate. This blog has long (unfairly, in my opinion) been cast as “the enemy” of open access (OA). The reality is, as with most things OA, more complex once you get past the sloganeering. To me, the questions have never been about the concept behind OA (more availability of high quality information is a good thing for the world), but rather the implementation. We’ve been stuck in something of a loop for the last decade, knowing that OA is a good idea, but never getting past flawed ways to put it into action (author-pays Gold OA, which merely shifts the point of inequity from the reader to the author; Green OA which, if efficiently implemented threatens to destroy the subscription journals upon which it relies; and an insistence on one-size-fits-all policies). Today’s OA world seems split between those who are actively experimenting with new models, looking for something better, and those determined to force change upon academic culture and business practices to fit the models already in hand.

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Research ethics now a strategic priority for doctoral schools – University World News ( Brendan O’Malley | January 2019)

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An Australian university cleared a cancer researcher of misconduct. He’s now retracted six papers – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky – January 2019)

Khachigian’s research is a long and winding tale. One place to start would be in October 2009, when a paper co-authored by Khachigian — whose work at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has been funded by millions of dollars in funding from the Australian government,... More

Khachigian’s research is a long and winding tale. One place to start would be in October 2009, when a paper co-authored by Khachigian — whose work at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has been funded by millions of dollars in funding from the Australian government, and has led to clinical trials, although more on that later — was retracted from Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. The “corresponding author published the paper without the full consent or acknowledgement of all the researchers and would like to apologize for this error,” according to that