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In the News: July Digest

Intellectual property

Preprints are one of the fastest growing types of content, at around 30% a year for the last two years, compared to 2-3% article growth during the same period.
A new free preprint service for African scientists has been launched, powered by OSF Preprints

Allegations of misconduct

China has introduced sweeping reforms to crack down on academic misconduct. These include a national database which could disqualify researchers from future funding, a blacklist of ‘poor quality’ journals and a government agency that is responsible for policing misconduct.
This article in the Guardian argues that the level of competition in science, rather than driving innovation, is wasteful and damaging to research.

Seven researchers have been found responsible for scientific misconduct by Karolinska Insitute, with another 31 found blameworthy for their contributions, in relation to six articles authored by Paolo Macchiarini.

Authorship and contributorship

The author of this preprint argues that arbitration is needed to resolve scientific authorship disputes

Data and reproducibility

Lisa Federer reports on an analysis which shows that the ideal of open data is far from fully realised, with researchers’ use of repositories clearly an area for improvement.

This blog looks at the rising prominence of a data-centric approach to scientific research and the questions it raises.

More moral questions about data collection and use – who makes the decisions?

The authors of this preprint suggest creating an “R-factor” calculated by dividing the number of published reports that have verified a scientific claim by the number of attempts to do so

Ethical oversight

This manual describes basic concepts, including ethical analysis, risk/benefit evaluation, confidentiality and the informed-consent process, along with the role of the research ethics committee, the organization of a training programme and the issue of financial conflicts of interest.

Funders Jean Lebel and Robert McLean describe a new tool for judging the value and validity of science that attempts to improve lives.
Making visible the impact of researchers working in languages other than English: developing the PLOTE index
Current impact-measuring systems are biased against regionally focused research which is engaged with local society problems. This is a particular problem for researchers working in contexts with languages other than English. Peter Dahler-Larsen has developed the PLOTE index, a new indicator which hopes to capture variations in the ability of researchers to spread their impact beyond the English language area.

The authors tests the ethical limits of what is acceptable for debate in scholarly journals.

Journal management

A useful summary  from the Royal Society of Biology focusing on the issue of image manipulation and what to watch out for.

How can we help new journals, especially in LMICs, who are new to the field and trying to improve and establish themselves, rather than classing them as predatory and dooming them to failure?

Indonesia’s new initiative pushing scholars to publish more articles, means that the country does not have enough journals to publish the 150,000 papers per year. 

Peer review process

eLife is conducting a trial in which authors will decide how to respond to the issues raised during peer review.

Post publication discussions and corrections

Two case studies of actions taken when mistakes are discovered and there is a need to set the record straight


COPE Council members Nancy C Chescheir and Deborah Kahn 


Read COPE Digest newsletter for more advice and resources to support your intellectual property policies and procedures, the case of the month 'Suspected unattributed text in a published article', a quick poll for you to take following up on our webinar 'Creating and implementing research data policies', COPE Council vacancy announcement plus our usual roundup of news and events.

Read July 2018 Digest: Intellectual Property | Transparency