Retracted studies and papers

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by wegs, Sep 27, 2022.

  1. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    On peer review—then, now, and soon to be?

    EXCERPTS: Peer review has a long history, dating back to the very early days of scientific publishing, and its roles have been redefined many times, depending on scientific and social priorities. [...] Although the concept of peer review was in place in the early days of scientific publishing, it was slow to catch on.

    [...] Today, its future status is uncertain. Some are calling for strengthening the process to guard against ways that it has been twisted, e.g., by predatory journals.

    Others are calling for alternative models to reinvent how it’s practiced, most notably by moving the process from before a manuscript is made accessible to readers (pre-publication peer review) to after it is made accessible to readers (post-publication peer review).

    Finally, a few others are calling for abolishing it altogether. Despite the diversity of viewpoints, it’s safe to say that no one is entirely happy with the process as it’s practiced right now... (MORE - missing details)

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    Thanks to generative AI, catching fraud science is going to be this much harder

    EXCERPTS: Generative AI poses interesting challenges for academic publishers tackling fraud in science papers as the technology shows the potential to fool human peer review.

    [...] These AI models can produce lifelike pictures of human faces, objects, and scenes, and it's a matter of time before they get good at creating convincing scientific images and data, too. Text-to-image models are now widely accessible, pretty cheap to use, and they could help dodgy scientists forge results and publish sham research more easily.

    [...] But just as publishers begin to get a grip on manual image manipulation, another threat is emerging. Some researchers may be tempted to use generative AI models to create brand-new fake data rather than altering existing photos and scans. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that sham scientists may be doing this already.

    [...] Scientists can just describe what type of false data they want generated to suit their conclusions, and these tools will do it for them... (MORE - missing details)

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    From cats to chatbots: How non-humans are authoring scientific papers

    EXCERPTS: . . . instead of retyping the whole paper, Hetherington simply added the name of his cat, a Siamese called Chester, as a co-author. ... The ethical controversy was mostly overlooked at the time, however, and Chester went on to co-author two more papers and one solo paper before passing away in 1982 at the age of 14.

    [...] Chester’s story is just one of a handful in which scientists have added a pet or animal test subject as a co-author.

    [...] Others have not been as lucky. Immunologist Polly Matzinger published a paper with her dog, Galadriel Mirkwood, as an honorary author in the Journal of Experimental Immunology in 1978. Upon finding out the truth, the journal’s editor banned Matzinger from publication until the editor died.

    [...] The whimsy of these stories can easily obstruct the ethical dilemmas they cause, yet the process of honorary authorship — even beyond pets — continues, thanks to the pressure scientists feel to continually publish.

    [...] Now, with the information age and all it brings (looking at you, ChatGPT), it’s even easier for researchers to practice honorary co-authorship. Because of this, most scholarly journals are finding it more difficult to regulate AI co-authors.

    “We’re trying to take the most cautious approach that we can,” says H. Holden Thorp, the editor-in-chief of Science. “We’ll start with something more restrictive and then loosen it up over time.” (MORE - missing details)
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    PNAS is Not a Good Journal (and Other Hard Truths about Journal Prestige)

    EXCERPT: . . . Despite the clickbait title and the opening anecdote, this post is not about PNAS, per se. Sure, I stand by my statement that PNAS is not a good journal—a point I will elaborate on later—but neither are other journals at the top of the prestige market. This includes other vanity journals such as Science and Nature, but also the “top” journals in my field, psychology, such as Psychological Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Child Development, and so on. This post is about how we determine what makes for a “good journal,” and how all available data indicate that we are wrong. At the end, I will also briefly comment on how our erroneous beliefs about journal prestige shape empirical work on replications and metascience.

    What is a “Good” Journal? There are two primary sources of information we rely on to determine the quality of a journal. First, is received wisdom: Certain journals are good, prestigious, and desirable to publish in because people say they are. This knowledge of the journal hierarchy is socialized to early career researchers, who then internalize it and socialize it to others. Although this process certainly still operates, over the last 20+ years it has largely given way to the second dominant indicator of journal quality: the journal impact factor... (MORE - missing details)

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    Strife at eLife: inside a journal’s quest to upend science publishing

    EXCERPTS: Last October, the pioneering life-sciences journal eLife introduced bold changes to its editorial practice — which some researchers applauded as reimagining the purpose of a scientific journal. From 31 January this year, eLife said, it would publish every paper it sent out for peer review: authors would never again receive a rejection after a negative review. Instead, reviewers’ reports would be published alongside the paper, together with a short editorial assessment of the work’s significance and rigour. Authors could then decide whether to revise their paper to address any comments.

    The change followed an earlier decision by eLife to require that all submissions be posted as preprints online. The cumulative effect was to turn eLife into a producer of public reviews and assessments about online research. It was “relinquishing the traditional journal role of gatekeeper”, editor-in-chief Michael Eisen explained in a press release, and “promoting the evaluation of scientists based on what, rather than where, they publish”.

    The transformation sparked enthusiastic praise — and sharp criticism. Some scientists saw it as a long-overdue move to empower authors. Others, including some of eLife’s academic editors (who are mostly senior researchers), weren’t so happy. They worried it would diminish the prestige of a brand they’d worked hard to build, and some wrote privately to Eisen (in letters seen by Nature) to say they would resign if the plan was fully implemented. Amid the pushback, the journal postponed switching fully to its new process.

    [...] Eisen says he thinks the dissent is small in scale. He and Pattinson say they did not dismiss concerns, but consulted on changes over two years with editors. “We see big swathes of enthusiasm among the community,” Pattinson adds.... (MORE - missing details)
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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Why science and its journals should remain free of ideology: an example from "Nature"

    EXCERPTS (Jerry Coyne): It’s one thing for a newspaper to take political stands, but that’s okay only in the editorial section. So long as the “news” section—the reporting itself—remains untainted by political leanings or obvious bias, people can still trust the news, even if they use editorials to diss entire papers like the NYT as “authoritarian leftist” or the Wall Street Journal as “right wing”. The important thing is to keep the editorial section completely separate from the news.

    But it’s another thing entirely for scientific journals to take political stands, and this post should show you why...

    [...] This is what happened to Scientific American, which, once free from politics, has under its new leadership decided to repeatedly take woke stands in their editorials, and that has made the whole magazine lose credibility. Can you trust their judgement about what science they choose to publish if their editorials accuse Mendel of racism? (They did that, but of course it’s a lie.) Best to keep political views out of science journals, whose purpose, after all, is not to render political opinions but to convey scientific truth.

    But it’s even worse when it happens in a serious journal like Nature, for, unlike Scientific American, Nature publishes new scientific results. By steering clear of ideological stands in the rest of the journal, it can at least be free of the criticism that it’s publishing biased science.

    And for years Nature pretty much refrained from politics, probably because it realized that its mission was the dissemination of science, not social engineering. The journal was first published in 1869, and remained fairly unpolitical until 2016...

    [...] And loss of scientific credibility did in fact happen. Nature itself admits this in an article published two days ago, “Political endorsements can affect scientific credibility.”... (MORE - missing details)
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  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    In unusual move, publishers remove authors victimized by forger

    Paper co-authored by controversial Australian journalist earns expression of concern

    Nearly 20 Hindawi journals delisted from leading index amid concerns of papermill activity

    A journal editor once told us authors were free to publish ‘bullshit and fiction.’ Apparently his publisher disagrees.
  8. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    A Shark Discovery ‘Didn’t Look Right.’ It Might Have Been a Plastic Toy.

    Scientists have retracted a study that showed a rare goblin shark washed up on a Greek beach after other researchers voiced doubts about the find.

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    Greetings from your predatory journal! What they are, why they are a problem, how to spot and avoid them

    ABSTRACT: Predatory publishers, also known as counterfeit, deceptive, or fraudulent, are organisations that exploit the open-access scholarly model by charging hefty article processing charges (APCs), often without the scientific rigour and ethical processes offered by legitimate journals. Their rising prevalence is of concern to the scientific community, as the consequences of falling victim to them can negatively impact academic integrity and reputation, and render an author’s work worthless and untrustworthy.

    Common characteristics include inappropriate marketing and misrepresentation of services by targeting individuals with solicitation emails, inadequate peer-review processes, lack of editorial services and transparency about APCs, and false claims about citation metrics and indexing that cannot be verified. Given the infiltration of predatory publishers, authors are advised to proceed with caution when receiving solicitation emails and if in doubt, to follow the Think, Check, Submit checklist.

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    Name-Based Demographic Inference and the Unequal Distribution of Misrecognition

    ABSTRACT: Academics and companies increasingly draw on large datasets to understand the social world, and name-based demographic ascription tools are widespread for imputing information like gender and race that are often missing from these large datasets. These approaches have drawn criticism on ethical, empirical, and theoretical grounds.

    Employing a survey of all authors listed on articles in sociology, economics, and communications journals in the Web of Science between 2015 and 2020, we compared self-identified demographics with name-based imputations of gender and race/ethnicity for 19,924 scholars across four gender ascription tools and four race/ethnicity ascription tools. We find substantial inequalities in how these tools misgender and misrecognize the race/ethnicity of authors, distributing erroneous ascriptions unevenly among other demographic traits.

    Because of the empirical and ethical consequences of these errors, scholars need to be cautious with the use of demographic imputation. We recommend five principles for the responsible use of name-based demographic inference.

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