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Opinion / UK working group on research transparency

The UK Minister for Science has announced the formation of a working group on research transparency which will examine how UK-funded research findings can be made more accessible, with a particular focus on 'academic publications'. A press release is available here.

Opinion / Problems with data availability

A study published in PLoS One by Alsheikh-Ali and colleagues highlights the diversity of data sharing policies in high impact journals and researchers' failure to adhere to policies when they do exist. Only 9% of the 500 papers included links to full online data sets and nearly 60% of the papers covered by a data availability policies failed to follow them properly.

Opinion / Ethics (and legal implications) of science communication

According to a report in Nature, scientists and officials in Italy face legal proceedings about how they communicated risk to the public regarding earthquakes following the major quake which killed more than 300 people in L'Aquila in 2009.

Opinion / COPE-funded research on authorship published

Ana Marusic and colleagues have published a systematic review on the meaning, ethics and practices across scholarly disciplines showing  a high prevalence of authorship problems. It is available from PLos One. This study was funded by a COPE research grant and preliminary results were presented at this year's UK seminar.

Opinion / Debate about conflicts of interest

The BMJ recently published an editorial suggesting that authors with ties to industry should not be permitted to publish editorials. This has prompted an interesting debate (via the journal's rapid responses) about how journals should handle conflicts of interest.

Opinion / Editor apologizes for plagiarized paper

Retraction Watch reports an editorial comment in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology about a plagiarized article which the journal has retracted. The editor explains how his journal uses CrossCheck and why peer review can't be expected to detect plagiarism. This comment, in turn, has attracted comments from Retraction Watch readers which may also be of interest to editors. See here.

Opinion / iThenticate paper on self-plagiarism

iThenticate (an organization that produces text-matching software) has produced a paper on the ethics of self-plagiarism. It can be found here.

Opinion / Data sharing developments

A report from the Publishing Open Data Working Group discusses various proposals and provides useful links on the question of data sharing. The report can be found here. COPE has submitted evidence to a Royal Society policy inquiry and will be represented at a meeting to discuss this in September.

Opinion / Problems with retractions

A report in Nature concludes that several flawed papers have not been retracted (and mentions the COPE guidelines).

Opinion / Scientific Red Cards

A group of scientists are proposing an online database of research and publication misconduct to be known as Scientific Red Cards. They are calling on researchers to join the initiative. The website can be found here.