Ethics of scientific publishing

Report
Ethics of scientific publishing
Helena Siipi
University of Turku
[email protected]
Contents
1. Ethics for authors
2. Ethics for referees
3. Ethics for publishers
1. Ethics for authors
Who is the author?
• Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity 2012:
– Disregard for the responsible conduct of research can be
identified when researchers engage in denigrating the role of
other researchers in publications, such as neglecting to mention
them […]
– Examples of other irresponsible practices: “manipulation of
authorship, for example by listing as authors researcher that
have not participated”.
– “It is in keeping of good scientific practice that […] questions
relating to the […] co-authorship […] are determined and
recorded in a manner acceptable to all parties before the
research project starts or a researcher is recruited to the team”.
• Criteria for authorship, criteria for the order of authors
• But can the team decide anything?
• Singapore statement (2010): “List of authors should include all those and
only those who meet applicable authorship criteria.”
– What is the criteria like?
• European Science Foundation (ESF) (2011): “Authorship should only be
based on creative and significant contribution to the research (i.e.
contribution to the design, data collection, data analysis, or reporting, not
for general supervision of research group or editing of text).”
– What counts as creative and significant contribution?
• International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE): “Authorship
credit should be based on
– Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the
acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
– Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content;
AND
– Final approval of the version to be published; AND
– Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that
questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are
appropriately investigated and resolved.”
• All persons listed as authors are responsible for study!
Who is not an author?
• ICMJE (2013): Examples of activities that alone (without other
contributions) do not qualify a contributor for authorship:
–
–
–
–
acquisition of funding;
general supervision of a research group or general administrative support;
writing assistance,
technical editing, language editing, and proofreading.
• Those whose contributions do not justify authorship may be
acknowledged individually or together as a group and their contributions
should be specified (e.g. “served as scientific advisors,” “critically reviewed
the study proposal,” “collected data”, “participated in writing or technical
editing of the manuscript”).
• Distinguishing between “scientific advisor” and “contributing substantially
to the conception or design of the work” is not always easy.
– Differences between the disciplines  What to do in multidisciplinary groups?
• Strange cases: A real author refusing to be an author, etc.
Misconducts on authorship
• Coercive authorship: Senior person informs a junior colleague that
the senior person must be listed as an author, even though he/she
did not contribute substantially to the work.
• Guest, gift, honorary, courtesy, or prestige authorship: Granting
authorship to a individual who has not substantially contributed to
the work out of appreciation or respect for the individual, or in
belief that expert standing of the quest will increase the likelihood
of publication, credibility, or status of the work/real authors.
– Also other anticipated benefits: e.g. adding name of a colleague on the
understanding that he/she will do the same for you.
• Ghost authorship: Leaving out names of people who made a
significant contribution to a research project.
Authorship
• See also Louhiala, P., Saloheimo, P. & Launis, V. Kuka on
kirjoittaja? Duodecim 2014; 130:198-9.
• See also Greenland, P. & Fontarosa, P.B. Ending
honorary authorship. Science, August 2012: vol 337, no
6098, p. 1019.
• See also Albert, T. & Wager, E. How to handle
authorship disputes: a guide for new researchers.
http://publicationethics.org/files/u2/2003pdf12.pdf
– How to reduce incidence of authorship problems:
• (a) Encourage the culture of ethical authorship
• (b) Start discussing authorship, when you plan your research
• (c) Decide authorship before each publication
– How to handle disputes when they occur?
– What to do if authorship issues are not resolved?
Self-plagiarism
• Self-plagiarism refers to the practice of presenting one’s
own previously published work as though it were new.
• An author is considered to have committed self-plagiarism
when he reuses his own previously published material,
without making any reference to the earlier published work
(Spinak 2013).
• Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity 2012:
“Disregard for the responsible conduct of research can be
identified when researchers engage in: […] publishing the
same research results multiple times ostensibly as new and
novel results (redundant publication, also referred to as
self-plagiarism) […]”
Self-plagiarism (cont.)
• Example: “It may also be unacceptable to submit an article that
overlaps substantially with your own previous work […]: please tell
us about this in your cover letter […] so that we can judge the
degree and nature of overlap. We expect authors to submit, as
suplementary files, copies of any previous article that overlaps by
more than 10% with their BMJ submission. (BMJ Instructions for
authors).
Other ethical questions close to self-plagiarism
• Need for high number of publications  splitting the results to
several publications
• Hard competition and need for fast publishing  less well analyzed
results, better analysis in a second paper
2. Ethics for referees
• Two types of referee practices: (a) double-blind-review, (b) “single-blindreview”
– Which is ethically better?
– The goal of the referee system is to distant the review process from the
persons of the authors and of the referee (Kinnunen & Löytty 2006)
• Some journals let the authors to suggest referees or name referees they
do not want. Ethics of this practice?
• Problem: Best referees are often also competing academics.
• Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity 2012: Examples of other
irresponsible practices:
– delaying the work of another researcher, for example, through refereed peer
reviewing
– hampering inappropriately the work of another researcher
Sara Rockwell:
A Guide for Manuscript Reviewers
• Should I review a paper offered?
– Do I have the expertise needed?
• Acting as a referee is an academic achievement and thus tempting
– Is the work too close to my own?
• “Manuscripts under review are considered confidential
documents. By agreeing to review a manuscript, the reviewer
assumes an obligation to keep the data in confidence and not to
use it for his/her own benefit. This can raise a problem when a
reviewer receives a request to review a paper which reports
experiments that overlap with studies that the reviewer is already
performing, planning to perform, or preparing for publication.”
• Cases in which the referee has used information for patent
applications or for stock market business (Saxén 2002).
– Do I have real or apparent conflicts of interest?
• Institutional affiliations: working in the same
institution, negotiating a job, previous institution
• Collaborators, family members, friends etc.
• Personal beliefs: A strongly held personal belief or a
vocal public position in a scientific argument could raise
problems if it compromises or appears to compromise
the objectivity of a review (e.g. evolution, abortion,
heated debate on validity of the used method).
– Do I have enough time?
• See also Committee on Publication Ethics: Ethical
guidelines for peer reviewers:
http://publicationethics.org/files/Ethical_guidelines_
for_peer_reviewers_0.pdf
3. Ethics for publishers
• Choice of referees:
– In which sense is the referee qualified? He/she will pay
attention to those aspects.
– Anticipating views of referees
• Disagreeing with the referees:
– publishing despite unfavorable referee-comments
– omitting to publish despite positive referee-comments
– recommending resubmitting.
• Seeking for the high impact factor, low acceptance
percent, or financial profit
-
Marketing the journal to authors
Publication fees/open access fees
Thank you!
Bibliography
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Albert, T. & Wager, E. How to handle authorship disputes: a guide for new researchers.
http://publicationethics.org/files/u2/2003pdf12.pdf
Committee on Publication Ethics (2013). Ethical guidelines for peer reviewers:
http://publicationethics.org/files/Ethical_guidelines_for_peer_reviewers_0.pdf
European Science Foundation (2011). The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. Retrieved March 25 th
2014 from
http://www.esf.org/index.php?eID=tx_nawsecuredl&u=0&file=fileadmin/be_user/CEO_Unit/MO_FORA/MOFORU
M_ResearchIntegrity/Code_Conduct_ResearchIntegrity.pdf&t=1395824937&hash=4cbe92658a8957ed5488ebe14
6a42580bdb4a906
Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (2012). Responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling
allegations of misconduct in Finland. Retrieved March 24th 2014 from
http://www.tenk.fi/sites/tenk.fi/files/HTK_ohje_2012.pdf.
Greenland, P. & Fontarosa, P.B. Ending honorary authorship. Science, August 2012: vol 337, no 6098, p. 1019.
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) (2013). Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting,
Editing, and Publication of Scholary Work in Medical Journals. Retrieved March 25th 2014 from
http://www.icmje.org/icmje-recommendations.pdf
Louhiala, P., Saloheimo, P. & Launis, V. Kuka on kirjoittaja? Duodecim 2014; 130:198-9.
Rockewell, S. Ethics of Peer Review: A Guide for Manuscript Reviewers. Retrieved March 25th 2014 from
http://medicine.yale.edu/therapeuticradiology/Images/Ethical_Issues_in_Peer_Review_tcm307-34211.pdf
Singapore Statement on Research Integrity. Retrieved March 25th 2014 from
http://www.singaporestatement.org/statement.html
Spinak, E. (2013). Ethical editing practices and the problem of self-plagiarism. SciELO in Perspective. Retrieved
March 24th 2014 from http://blog.scielo.org/en/2013/11/11/ethical-editing-practices-and-the-problem-of-selfplagiarism/

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