Weekend reads: The end of journals?; Impact Factor for sale; fake peer reviews earn funding bans

booksThis morning, our thoughts are with the people of Paris. The week at Retraction Watch featured the retraction of a paper claiming dramatically higher rates of sexual trauma among men in the military, and a look at whether gender plays a role in peer review. Also: We’re hiring. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

Retractions outside of science:

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5 thoughts on “Weekend reads: The end of journals?; Impact Factor for sale; fake peer reviews earn funding bans”

    1. You write, of the possibility of data theft, “Although senior players in the publishing world might argue that the risk is not important, perhaps it would be worthwhile for publishers to counter the risk, before such an abuse can take place, by adding security to such files such that cut and copy options are not permissible, or so that view-only options are possible.” Here you are failing to take the advice given earlier in your article, to think like a thief. ANY DATA THAT CAN BE VIEWED CAN BE COPIED. The process can be made labor intensive, but it cannot be made impossible (or even truly difficult, merely tedious).

      1. Lee, thanks for that comment. We are simply alerting the public. But your words are absolutely right: “ANY DATA THAT CAN BE VIEWED CAN BE COPIED.” Until now, iThenticate, for example, can identify copied text (aka self-plagiarism and self-plagiarism), bu what software can detect copied figures, copied tables, or copied data from raw data files that are increasingly accompanying published papers as supplementary files? It’s like a disaster waiting to happen. The phenomenon may already be taking place, but how would n editor ever know the source of the data? One need only use a small amount of imagination to begin to appreciate how serious this situation MIGHT be/get. And it is precisely for this reason that we need more vigilant scientists conducted post-publication peer review, and not less, independent of the risks. And that is why journals that just plaster files on their web-sites without abslutely any protection (encryption) need to start taking a step towards protecting that data.

  1. Queen’s University is not in Toronto, but in Kingston, which is about 265km to the East of Toronto. You may have been fooled by the fact that the newspaper you link to is located in Toronto.

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