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Opinion / Nature news coverage of image manipulation in journals

The story, by Natasha Gilbert, includes statistics on screening for image manipulation at two PLoS journals, and also data from the US Office of Research Integrity.

Opinion / Publications about plagiarism

A Spanish research group has compiled an interesting list of publications about plagiarism. You can find it at http://users.dsic.upv.es/~lbarron/plagiarism.html

Opinion / COPE retraction project reported in Nature Medicine

Findings of a study on retractions funded by COPE were presented by Liz Wager at the recent Peer Review Congress in Vancouver as a poster and picked up by Nature Medicine. You can read the report in Nature Medicine October 2009;15:1101

www.nature.com/nm/index.html

Opinion / Ghost and Honorary authors at the Peer Review Congress

One of the most discussed papers at last week’s Peer Review Congress in Vancouver (the whole programme is well worth a look) was one presented by JAMA editors entitled Prevalence of Honorary and Ghost Authorship in 6 General Medical Journals, 2009 .

Opinion / Boycott urged of scientific conference chaired by academic found guilty of plagiarism

A recent news report in the BMJ highlights an initiative asking doctors to boycott an international medical conference because of the proposed chair. The conference, of the International Academy of Perinatal Medicine, will take place in Croatia in October, chaired by Asim Kurjak of Zagreb University Medical School, who, as the BMJ news report notes, “was found guilty of scientific misconduct by the Croatian government’s Committee for Ethics in Science and Higher Education in May 2007.

Opinion / Annals editorial on who pays for medical editing

A thoughtful editorial from Hal Sox, the outgoing editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine entitled Medical Journal Editing: Who Shall Pay? discusses the intense editorial process at the Annals and raises the question whether such a process is ultimately sustainable and if so who should pay.

Opinion / Pharmaceutical companies and ghostwriters

Here's an interesting article in today's New York Times about the pharmaceutical company, Wyeth, which paid ghostwriters to write dozens of scientific papers to promote the use of hormone replacement therapy. These articles, which are said to have highlighted the benefits and downplayed the risks of HRT, were published in 18 medical journals and did not disclose the fact that Wyeth initiated and funded the work for the articles.  A Wyeth spokesman said that it was common for pharmaceutical companies to use companies to help draft manuscripts for authors.

Opinion / Experience of ORI findings of misconduct

The Scientist carries an interview with 3 scientists who were found guilty of misconduct by the US ORI (Office of Research Integrity). The thrust of the article is the long-lasting effect of such a ruling even after the official time has expired.

The link is http://www.the-scientist.com/2009/07/1/28/1/

Opinion / When is a randomised trial really randomised?

 A new paper published in Trials (currently available as a provisional PDF) asks the question, how many randomised trials published in Chinese journals are actually randomised?

Opinion / Should all journals have one universal referencing style?

There are thousands of ways of citing source material.  This is confusing for students and tedious for authors and editors (I confess to having a submission sent back to me from a neurosurgery journal last week because I used the incorrect referencing style...yes, I know, I should have checked).  Even experienced authors may puzzle over the correct referencing of a blog, an e-book or a podcast.  In this week's Times Higher Education, Alec Gill asks if journals should have one standard referencing system. He concludes 'the reform of academic referencing is long overdue'. Is it?

Opinion / Concern about UK libel laws

A doctor is being sued for libel because of comments he wrote in a newspaper about the British Chiropractic Association (in particular their alleged promotion of the use of chiropractic for asthma).  Since the case may have far-reaching consequences for journals and publishers, you might like to look at the campaign website which calls for a reform to the British libel laws to ensure they are not used to suppress scientific debate.

http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/index.php/site/project/333/

Opinion / Archives of Internal Medicine on Editorial Policies and Publication Bias

An editorial on June 8 in the Archives of Internal Medicine discusses the problem of publication bias - that is "negative" papers, especially trials, being less likely to make it into the published record. There are a number of reasons for this, from authors not submitting such papers to journals being less likely to publish them. Everyone now agrees that the consequences for the validity of the scientific record are substantial, though the solution is not simple.

Opinion / New York Times story on retracted orthopaedic paper

A story in the New York Times (free, registration required) discusses the retraction of a paper published in 2008 in  the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - British Volume (Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 for grade III open segmental tibial fractures from combat injuries in Iraq. J Bone Joint Surg Br.

Opinion / Just how common is scientific misconduct?

There have been plenty of surveys on this, and now a systematic review and meta-analysis has pulled the best ones together (Fanelli D. How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data. PLoS ONE 4(5): e5738. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005738 Published: May 29, 2009).

Opinion / Call for comments on UK Research Integrity Office's Code of Practice for Research: Promoting good practice

The UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) has made a call for comments on its “Code of Practice for Research: Promoting good practice and prevent misconduct”. UKRIO) is an independent body which offers advice and guidance to universities and other research organisations, and also to individual researchers, about the conduct of research.

Opinion / “Bibliographic negligence” aka "citation amnesia”

An editorial in The Scientist (free, but registration required to access) discusses this rather shady practice- ie of failing to cite relevant papers. The writer, Richard Gallagher, raises an interesting point that“the openness gifted us by the Internet is revealing the lax standards that have been in place all the time. “- one that could easily be made of many other dubious publication practices.

Opinion / The relationship of academia and companies covered in Nature Biotechnology

A news feature in Nature Biotechnology (subscription required for full text) discusses the potential perils of academia and companies getting into bed with each other in these financially straightened times, and the  need for especially careful management of competing interests.

Opinion / Elsevier comments on its "fake" journals

A story that has receive extensive coverage over the past few weeks on the web is of a series of allegedly "fake" journals which were revealed during a court case in Australia concerning marketing of the drug Vioxx.

Opinion / Should the FDA trump the Declaration of Helsinki?

A BMJ editorial discusses the recent FDA ruling  that clinical trials performed outside the US no longerhave to conform to the Declaration of Helsinki if used to supportapplications for registration of products in the US but that the regulatory standard expected is that of the International Conference on Harmonisation Good Clinical

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