Weekend reads: Authorship for sale, STAP stem cell scandal finally over?

booksThis was a week of stem cell retractions, fake peer reviews, legal threats, and we announced that we’ve been awarded a $400,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

5 thoughts on “Weekend reads: Authorship for sale, STAP stem cell scandal finally over?”

  1. The Seife paper in Scientific American is particularly chilling. It states, “In November Scientific American asked a Chinese-speaking reporter to contact MedChina, which offers dozens of scientific “topics for sale” and scientific journal “article transfer” agreements. Posing as a person shopping for a scientific authorship, the reporter spoke with a MedChina representative who explained that the papers were already more or less accepted to peer-reviewed journals; apparently, all that was needed was a little editing and revising. The price depends, in part, on the impact factor of the target journal and whether the paper is experimental or meta-analytic. In this case, the MedChina rep offered authorship of a meta-analysis linking a protein to papillary thyroid cancer slated to be published in a journal with an impact factor of 3.353. The cost: 93,000 RMB—about $15,000.”

    What more proof do we need between the link between the gaming of the impact factor, fraudulent companies, scientists who use such services, and the gradual corruption of science and science publishing? In the plant scinces, I have seen a MASSIVE up-tick in papers being published in the leading plant science journals by Chinese scientists, and even though I am hopeful (he says, with some concern on the inside) that most Chinese scientists are not using such services to game the system and China’s ranking, there is nonetheless a nagging discomfort in seeing what I am seeing:

    This merits greater investigation, but who is to do that investigation, and how, considering the language and cultural barriers?

  2. My favorite item of “bullshit data” was “Washington residents complain about rats more than New Yorkers, as reported by Orkin.”

    The next time I have an infestation of New Yorkers, I will know whom to call.

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