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Questionable/unethical research


Ethics approval and consent


A complainant raised six articles to the attention of the editor-in-chief, with concerns about ethical approval and possible conflicts of interest regarding the way that approval was granted. The studies all involved minority populations. 


Research data publishing ethics with FORCE11

COPE working with FORCE11 research data publishing ethics 


Ethics approval for survey design


A manuscript was submitted to disseminate a cross correlational survey research study. The manuscript states that the data were collected through surveys for the two calendar months prior to initial manuscript submission, which occurred in the middle of the third month. The initial submission indicated the research followed the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki, but no other human subjects’ protection information was provided.


Is approval needed for a social media survey?


An author has contacted the journal enquiring about the need for institutional review board approval for a survey. The survey is not derived from a specific institution but rather out of the personal interest of the author(s) who are targeting a point of wide scientific interest. The authors have a broad reach in social media. 


In the news: December Digest

Open Access


Reproducibility of methodology


A whistle blower contacted journal A regarding two published articles. The articles focus on the effect of energy healing on an in-vitro model of disease. The whistle blower raised concerns about the appropriateness and reproducibility of the energy healing methodology used.


Publishing complications and patient safety


Journal A is dedicated to communication about practical treatments related directly to patient and personal experiences. These ongoing discussions have been part of this specific medical profession for the past 50 years and journal A is a platform for these discussions.


In the news: June Digest


Peer review

Peer review is the hallmark of scientific and scholarly publications. These authors explore 5 principles of good peer review and suggest ways for journals to use these to underpin best practices.


Authorship conflict


Author A contacted our journal following publication of a manuscript claiming that he was the rightful author. We asked the author for proof and he said that he had all of the data concerning the patient because he received the operative specimen and made the diagnosis. Author A said he also collaborated in writing the article with author B and hence was surprised that neither his name nor his contribution appeared in the published article.