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This list shows the most common problems. They are often due to disagreements between authors. Ask delegates if they have any experience (but don’t let them talk too long!). Quickly go through this list.
Ghost authors may need further explanation. Explain the role of medical communications companies – who employ writers and editors to rewrite results from drug trials, etc. to make them publishable. Some editors are horrified by this. However emphasise that if done properly, there is no problem with this. The authors still must take “ownership” of their work, and approve it before it is submitted for publication – there are guidelines on ghost authorship from WAME which state “Editors and readers need to be confident that authors have undertaken the work described and have ensured that the manuscript accurately reflects their work, irrespective of whether they took the lead in writing or sought assistance from a medical writer.” Note that WAME appear to advocate including them in the list of authors, however COPE say “Although such writers rarely meet ICMJE criteria, since they are not involved in the design of studies, or the collection or interpretation of data, it is important to acknowledge their contribution, since their involvement may represent a potential conflict of interest.”
Ask delegates what they think but as general guidance they should be acknowledged, but not included in the list of authors
To prevent plagiarism, it is worthwhile considering why people do it. Personally I think there are three main reasons. The first, and probably the most common is laziness. If an author reads something that helps his or her own research, it is quicker and easier to reuse it, rather than to try and reinvent something new. Malicious deceit is probably less common, but there are infamous people who repeatedly steal other research and pretend it is their own.
One reason that is common in many parts of the world, especially those who have to publish in English but for whom English is not their first language, is that they feel they cannot write as clearly or as cleverly as someone else, so they copy their work. Sometimes it is very easy to spot sentences and paragraphs of a work which are written in much better English than the rest. These have often been copied from elsewhere.
No to negatives! Yes to positives!
Positive and inclusive
Flikr Matthew Youngerg - Warning
Now to turn to how to deal with misconduct - how to manage the issues that have been discussed
Income inequality, mortality, and self rated health: meta-analysis of multilevel studies BMJ 2009; 339 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b4471 (Published 11 November 2009) - not linked to PMC article
Now to turn to how to deal with misconduct - how to manage the issues that have been discussed
Good Practice Publishing
Quality publishing in a
From Pippa Smart
Crossref LIVE Brazil
Publishers, editors and trust
• "It must be true, I read it in a journal"
• Responsibility in the scientific community
– To the development of knowledge
– To the public
– To readers
– To authors
– To reviewers, editorial boards, to parent organisations and
Associations, to publishers
It's not all about ethics ...
• This talk will cover
– Readers and quality
– Problems (and some solutions)
Do you understand your
0 3 6 9 12 15
Time to publish
Online submission tools
Availability of e-journal
can I get my
here give me
Do you deliver …
How good are …
• Your author guidelines?
• Your instructions for submitting?
• Your journal policies?
• Your feedback and advice?
– For both accepted and rejected articles?
Authors don’t understand reviewer
• From Edanz survey of Chinese authors
– Is this the same for all authors?
9Thanks for Edanz for reproducing this figure
Moral and legal obligations
• Intellectual property rights
– Rewriting without authorisation
– Reusing without permission
• Timely publication
– Data protection
Richard Smith, BMJ Blogs, March 22, 2010
it is slow, expensive,
largely a lottery,
poor at detecting
errors and fraud,
biased, and prone to
Peer review ...
Transparency and bias
• Triple blind
– Only the Managing Editor knows the identities of
• Double blind
– Authors’ and reviewers’ names withheld
• Single blind
– Authors’ name revealed to reviewer
– Authors’ and reviewers’ names known to each other
– As Open, but review published with article
Review – experiments
• Quality of review
– "Methodologically accurate" or novel and exciting?
– PLOS One and other mega journals
• Collaborative review
– Reviewers discuss and agree recommendation
– Frontiers journals
• Cascading review
– "Top" journal refers (good)rejections to other journals
– BMC journals, Wiley and F1000Research
• Open/closed reviews
– Article made public for comment whilst being reviewed
– Copernicus journals, F1000Research
How to improve reviews?
• Some journals use questions:
– Does the paper add to
– Are the conclusions supported
by the data
– Any ethical concerns?
• Some use checklists:
– Writing quality
– Conceptual rigor
– Methodological rigor
• Bad research
– Lack of ethical approval
– Lack of adherence to reporting guidelines
• Author problems
– Disagreements, disputes
• Plagiarism, copyright
– Theft of ideas and content
• Conflicts of interest
– Authors, reviewers, editors, owners
What is ethical research?
• Require authors to follow the Declaration of Helsinki
• Statement of ethics approval
– With name of ethics committee, board, ID, etc.
– Participant informed consent
• But … “full ethical approval” does not guarantee “ethical”
• Whose standards do you accept – those of the authors’
country, or your own country?
• EQUATOR NETWORK
– “works to improve the reliability and value of medical research
literature by promoting transparent and accurate reporting of
• Links to guidelines – CONSORT, etc.
• Toolkits for authors, editors, peer reviewers, etc.
• Real authors omitted
– Error? Mistake? Fraud?
• Which author first?
• Which author do you deal with?
– Does the corresponding author (really) represent all authors?
• Disagreement over submitted version
– Disagreement over corrections/changes
Ghost or guest?
• Ghosts = write but are not acknowledged
– Articles written by professional authors on behalf of
• Guests = don’t write, but are listed
– (author celebrity to give article kudos)
• Gift authors = don’t write, but are listed
– (head of department, etc.)
• ICMJE definition
– “An “author” is generally considered to be someone who has
made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study”
– i.e. contributed to the idea AND execution AND writing of the
• “All contributors who do not meet the criteria for
authorship should be listed in an acknowledgments
section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged
include a person who provided purely technical help,
writing assistance, or a department chair who provided
only general support.”
Plagiarism vs copyright
– Re-use without credit
• Copyright infringement
– Re-use without permission
• Schools (academia, institutions) enforce plagiarism
• The courts enforce copyright infringement
Levels of plagiarism
• Full text copy
– Someone else’s article
– Author’s own article (self-plagiarism)
• Partial copy
– Parts from one other article
– Parts from many articles
– Own or other’s article
• ... Without citation!
Why plagiarism happens
– Authors do not bother to re-create their own work when they find
it already written elsewhere
– Authors want to get credit for something they did not write
• Misguided respect
– Authors feel that they cannot write something better
Conflict of interest
– Who paid?
– “I am married to the editor”
– Chaos, Solitons & Fractals
• 60 articles by the editor during 2008
• Remember: COI also applies to editors
– And reviewers
– And publishers/owners
Does technology matter?
• Meeting expectations
• Can I find the content I want?
• Can people find my content?
• Can I read the content I find?
• Can people (I care about) read my content?
• Does this look credible?
• Is my work made to look credible?
ANTICIPATING AND DEALING
Anticipating and dealing with
• Set policies
• Publicise them
• What you expect from authors
• What happens during your
• How you deal with problems
– How you anticipate and avoid
Responding to problems
• Everyone will want you to do something NOW
– Stop and think
– Send holding emails
– Don’t ignore it
– Follow COPE guidelines (if available)
• Be certain of facts before action
• The problem may be minor
• The problem may not be yours to solve!
Committee on Publication Ethics
Erratum and corrections
• Link to/from the original article
– These are not always picked up on PubMed Central
– CrossMark (from CrossRef) to indicate changes, and any
• Change the original article?
– May be more helpful to the readers
– Clearly signpost what has been changed and when
• Ensure you have conclusive evidence to support your
– And your evidence is in writing, and any investigation is
• All authors should be contacted
– If required, the authors’ institutions should be informed
• A reason for the retraction should be published
– And agreed with the authors
– It should include the word “Retraction” before the article title
• Join editorial associations
• Join publishing associations
• Stay aware of what is happening
– Blogs: Scholarly Kitchen, RetractionWatch
– Journals: Learned Publishing, European Science Editing
– ListServs: LibLicence
Credit for slides and content: Pippa