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Science Isn’t Broken

If you follow the headlines, your confidence in science may have taken a hit lately. Peer review? More like self-review. An investigation in November uncovered a scam in which researchers were rubber-stamping their own work, circumventing peer review at five high-profile publishers. Scientific journals? Not exactly a badge of legitimacy, given that the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology recently accepted for publication a paper titled “Get Me Off Your…

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For Sale: “Your Name Here” in a Prestigious Science Journal

Klaus Kayser has been publishing electronic journals for so long he can remember mailing them to subscribers on floppy disks. His 19 years of experience have made him keenly aware of the problem of scientific fraud. In his view, he takes extraordinary measures to protect the journal he currently edits, Diagnostic Pathology. For instance, to prevent authors from trying to pass off microscope images from the Internet as their own,…

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Identity Theft of the Scholarly Kind

Trust in the scholarly publishing community has been a hot topic recently. It was discussed at the recent STM Spring Conference, at the Council of Science Editors annual meeting, and in the Kitchen recently. In all three settings, it was clear that some believe there is a trust issue between researchers and publishers, others disagree, some aren’t sure. The entire peer review system is built on trust. Publishers trust that…

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Why Do We Still Have Journals?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Wiley Asia New technologies of communication should enable new ways of sharing and advancing knowledge. Newspapers have been radically transformed by the Internet revolution, adapting their format to continuous updating, color, video, and opportunities for feedback and debate by readers. Yet academic journals still bear the imprints of their origins, and most look little different today than they did 50 years ago. Perhaps the most…

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Blinded by scientific gobbledygook

I have just written the world’s worst science research paper: More than incompetent, it’s a mess of plagiarism and meaningless garble. Now science publishers around the world are clamouring to publish it. They will distribute it globally and pretend it is real research, for a fee. It’s untrue? And parts are plagiarized? They’re fine with that. Welcome to the world of science scams, a fast-growing business that sucks money out…

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The highly cited Ike Antkare and his gibberish papers

The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense. Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in…

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Science and its skeptics

Science has been taking a lot of punches lately. A recent cover story for The Economist argued, with cause, that “modern scientists have done too much trusting, and not enough verifying.” A few days ago, the science writer-provocateur John Horgan wrote a dark reflection, in Scientific American, on a litany of failures in science that he has seen over his thirty-year career. Reporting on an “archaeological dig into the strata”…

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The Economist broadsides science

The October 19th issue of The Economist carried two withering broadsides of science research. The authors cited problems with peer review, statistical analysis, and replicability in science: How science goes wrong Trouble at the lab The problem? Apart from the obvious bias of these articles and the hundreds of comments from incensed readers who agreed wholeheartedly with these perspectives, the issues being flogged in these articles are not news. Science…

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