How journal editors can detect and deter scientific misconduct, part 2, from COPE’s Liz Wager

Last week, we shared Ivan’s presentation on how journal editors can detect and deter misconduct from the annual Council of Science Editors meeting. This week, we’re pleased to share another presentation from that panel. This one is by Liz Wager, chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics.

Wager’s name will be familiar to Retraction Watch readers. She’s appeared here a number of times, and just last month published a study of retraction notices. Just today, she testified about peer review before the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee.

In her CSE presentation, she discusses what editors can and can’t do to ferret out fraud. Make sure to read through to the end, where she discusses a study of how journal editors are much more likely to think that fraudulent results are appearing in other journals. (Hint: If you’re right that it’s happening in someone else’s journal, and the editor of that journal thinks it’s happening in yours, well…)

Scroll down a bit so that the entire first slide, and navigation, are visible:

[slideshare id=7927697&doc=wagermisconductcsebaltimore12apr11-110511123722-phpapp01]

4 thoughts on “How journal editors can detect and deter scientific misconduct, part 2, from COPE’s Liz Wager”

  1. This still does not answer my long-term question. What happens when reviewers/editors detect fraud in a submitted manuscript? Is there an investigation? Is the primary or corresponding author sacked? I bet no, because I’ve never heard of such a case. It’s always published papers that attract the attention when misconduct occurs and thus warrant investigation. I bet a fraudulent manuscript is rejected and the rest is swept under the rug. If this is true, it is outrageous.

    1. COPE agrees with you! Editors shouldn’t simply reject a manuscript they think is fraudulent and pass the problem onto somebody else. The COPE Code of Conduct makes this clear. It states ‘Editors should not simply reject papers that raise concerns about possible misconduct. They are ethically obliged to pursue alleged cases.’ It goes on to state that editors should ‘make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a proper investigation into alleged misconduct is conducted’. In addition, all the COPE flowcharts guiding editors on what to do if they suspect misconduct (eg fabrication, plagiarism, etc.) include a version relating to submitted manuscripts as well as one relating to published papers. Take a look at (Code of Conduct and Flowcharts sections) for more details. Finally, if a COPE member doesn’t follow the Code of Conduct, COPE will consider a complaint against them.

  2. There is increasing focus and scrutiny of misconduct in scientific and technology publications in the publishing industry. Glad to see Liz reference CrossCheck and iThenticate. The real issue to drive home is not about detecting misconduct but about preventative measures — educating journalists how to avoid plagiarism, etc. in the first place. This encourages organizations to do due diligence in advance, which is why they are turning to iThenticate to mitigate misconduct at the onset.

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