14 Apr 2007

Journalology roundup #3

The Relationship of Previous Training and Experience of Journal Peer Reviewers to Subsequent Review Quality. [The] inability to predict performance makes it imperative that all but the smallest journals implement routine review ratings systems to routinely monitor the quality of their reviews (and thus the quality of the science they publish).

Fraud in our laboratories? We must face the question of whether most research carries with it a whiff of corruption. It is clear that only a low barrier needs to be crossed to end up on the wrong side of scientific ethical standards. How often do we ponder about raw data in which everything fits with a given hypothesis except for one part of a figure? The following discussions could go in different directions. Was the figure mislabelled? Were the samples mixed up? Maybe one sample in a triplicate was distorting the results? Should the experiment be repeated until it provides unambiguous and reproducible results or should this one outlier just be excluded from a paper?

Fraud: causes and culprits as perceived by science and the media. The logic of science and the media's logic of news selection work together to portray publicly the problem of scientific misconduct as the fault of individuals. Neither side can be blamed for operating as they do; however, the way that science and the media deal with the issue of scientific fraud detracts from the underlying problem: the institutionally induced deviant behaviour of many scientists.

Push for open access to research. Internet law professor Michael Geist takes a look at a fundamental shift in the way research journals become available to the public.

Advertisement inappropriate. The NCH Healthcare advertisement found in the July issue should not have run, as written, in Canadian Family Physician (CFP). The advertisement contravenes the Canadian Medical Association Code of Ethics, as it promises financial reward for referring patients.

New details in Korean plagiarism case. A Korean scientist who co-authored a paper allegedly stolen from another scientist has turned the tables on the journal editor who spoke out on the paper in question, accusing him of defamation and threatening him with legal action.

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