How journal editors can detect and deter scientific misconduct
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How journal editors can detect and deter scientific misconduct

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How journal editors can detect and deter scientific misconduct

How journal editors can detect and deter scientific misconduct

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    How journal editors can detect and deter scientific misconduct How journal editors can detect and deter scientific misconduct Presentation Transcript

    • How Journal Editors Can Detect and Deter Scientific Misconduct Ivan Oransky, MD Executive Editor, Reuters Health Adjunct Asst. Professor, New York University Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program Blogger, Embargo Watch and Retraction Watch
    • A Six-Pronged Approach
      • Use systems to detect image manipulation and plagiarism
      • Require authors to disclose prior retractions and investigations
      • Trust anonymous whistleblowers more
      • Demand more of institutions
      • Move more quickly to correct and retract
      • Make retraction notices clearer
    • Use Systems to Detect Image Manipulation and Plagiarism
    • Require Authors to Disclose Prior Retractions and Investigations
      • ICMJE’s Uniform Requirements already require “A full statement to the editor about all submissions and previous reports that might be regarded as redundant publication of the same or very similar work.”
      • Add the following requirements for disclosure
      • -- Any retractions by any of the authors, plus detailed rationales
      • -- Any investigations into any of the authors’ previous papers, whether ongoing or completed
      • If substantial doubt arises about the honesty or integrity of work, either submitted or published, it is the editor’s responsibility to ensure that the question is appropriately pursued, usually by the authors’ sponsoring institution.
      • Ordinarily, it is not the responsibility of the editor to conduct a full investigation or to make a determination—that responsibility lies with the institution where the work was done or with the funding agency…
      • Cont’d
          • From ICMJE Uniform Requirements
      Trust Anonymous Whistle Blowers More
      • The editor should be promptly informed of the final decision, and if a fraudulent paper has been published, the journal must print a retraction.
      • If this method of investigation does not result in a satisfactory conclusion, the editor may choose to conduct his or her own investigation.
      • As an alternative to retraction, the editor may choose to publish an expression of concern about aspects of the conduct or integrity of the work.
          • From ICMJE Uniform Requirements
      Trust Anonymous Whistle Blowers More
    • Demand More from Institutions
      • Former AACR publisher Kathleen Case on Luk van Parijs, an immunologist at MIT who was fired for allegedly faking his data:
      • “ One of the biggest problems in these fraud things [is that] the investigations get finished, the wrist-slapping [ensues]. And the last thing people think of is the journals.” AACR publications ran three of van Parijs's papers.
      • Cont’d
      Demand More from Institutions
      • An examination by Science of more than a dozen fraud or suspected fraud cases spanning 20 years reveals uneven and often chaotic efforts to correct the scientific literature. Every case has its own peculiarities. Whether wayward authors confess to fraud; whether investigations are launched at all, and if they are, whether their scope is broad or narrow; whether fraud findings are clearly communicated to journals—each of these helps determine how thorough a mop-up ensues.
      • Cont’d
      Demand More from Institutions
      • Require that authors notify editors of any investigations into their work that begin after submission, and that institutions give a full accounting of those investigations
      Demand More from Institutions
    • Move Quickly to Correct and Retract
    • Make Retraction Notices Clearer
    • Make Retraction Notices Clearer
      • “ Important irregularities” (Well, if they’re important irregularities, why don’t you tell us what they are?)
      • The authors “no longer stand by their results.” (Are they standing somewhere else in the lab? C’mon, tell us why they can’t stand by the results anymore.)
      • “ Incorrect data were found to have been included on the study Case Report Forms” (Paging Dr. Kafka)
    • Make Retraction Notices Clearer
      • This figure is withdrawn “due to lack of supporting data.”  (“Someone seems to have made this up.”)
      • “ Retraction…is for legal reasons based on the advice of counsel” (We’d comment on this, but we’d probably get sued.)
      • “ The Review contained numerous errors in the text and references that were not discovered until after publication, although neither novel ideas nor data were misappropriated.” (As journalism error maven Craig Silverman would say on RegretTheError.com, “ Rest is fine .”)
    • Make Retraction Notices Clearer
    • Make Retraction Notices Clearer “ This article has been withdrawn by the authors.”
    • Make Retraction Notices Clearer
      • From ICMJE Uniform Requirements:
      • “ The validity of previous work by the author of a fraudulent paper cannot be assumed.”
      • How is this justifiable?
    • Make Retraction Notices Clearer
      • From ICMJE Uniform Requirements:
      • “ The validity of previous work by the author of a fraudulent paper cannot be assumed.”
      • How is this justifiable?
    • Make Retraction Notices Clearer
      • “ The authors declare that key experiments presented in the majority of these figures were recently reproduced and that the results confirmed the experimental data and the conclusions drawn from them.”
      • EMBO Journal editor Bernd Pulverer :
      • “ We did not formally investigate this case at the journal and we have not seen this data, as it does not affect the retraction.”
    • Accountability = Less Misconduct
      • If researchers know they’ll be “named and shamed,” they’ll be less likely to engage in misconduct.
    • Acknowledgments
      • Nancy Lapid, Reuters Health
      • Adam Marcus, Retraction Watch