Weekend reads: How one scientist polluted the literature; a dog earns an authorship; poisoning in the lab

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The week at Retraction Watch featured a retraction that took three years even after the university and corresponding author requested it; a story of misconduct in a paper about preservatives and obesity; and more about that image of Donald Trump in baboon poop. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

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5 thoughts on “Weekend reads: How one scientist polluted the literature; a dog earns an authorship; poisoning in the lab”

  1. I don’t think Caleb Lack preyed on a predatory journal. He just published a garbage paper for free. Sure, the journal incurs some costs from sending a few emails but they didn’t even spend the whole dollar it costs to register the DOI (I checked it and got an error page).

    The publisher voluntarily gave him the fee waiver. In fact, they wanted him to submit more work to them, which they would publish for free. They wouldn’t do that unless they thought they were getting something out of it.

  2. The Science commentary by Dalmeet Singh Chawala on authorship is concerning on a number of grounds, most specifically because it omits any mention of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME) recommendations on authorship. Indeed, Science itself requires that authors must fulfill the ICJME criteria (although the criteria on the Science website are slightly at odds with the formal ICJME criteria).

    Broadly, the ICJME criteria require some substantial contribution to project design, data acquisition and analysis, or to the writing of the study. Importantly each author must approve the submitted version and agree to be accountable for the work.

    The article should have at least have mentioned that including a dog as an author (for being a good boy), or including someone as an author for “making sure colleagues are doing alright” contravene the authorship requirements for many (if not most) journals in the medical/life sciences.

    To be balanced, the paper with the dog author (Catalyst: feminism, theory, technoscience) apparently has no guidelines for authorship criteria.

  3. The article published at “The Political Methodologist” was disturbing. Even when a journal requires code to be submitted at the time of the paper review, more than half the papers reviewed included code that gave different results on at least one statistic than in the paper itself. And the comment thread there implies these differences were typically substantiate (magnitude changes or sign changes for example).

    Code submissions/review should be a minimum requirement for publication. If authors can’t get their story (article) straight themselves (between code and written material), the article shouldn’t be published.

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