Weekend reads: What’s wrong with peer review; a retraction poem; how journal formats mangle science

The week at Retraction Watch featured the retraction of a paper on the effects of fracking, authors who retracted a paper when they realized they’d been studying the wrong species, and a story about why a paper linked to an alleged doping scandal in Norway was retracted. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

Judge orders journal to identify peer reviewers: CrossFit lawyer

A court is reportedly telling a journal to unmask a retracted paper’s peer reviewers, part of a defamation lawsuit involving the journal’s publisher and the CrossFit exercise brand. According to an attorney representing CrossFit, yesterday Judge Joel Wohlfeil of the San Diego Superior Court decided that the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) must turn … Continue reading Judge orders journal to identify peer reviewers: CrossFit lawyer

CrossFit asks court to unmask peer reviewers of retracted study

Another front has opened up in the legal battle between the CrossFit exercise brand and a competitor, spurred by a now-retracted paper about the risk of injury from the workout program. Soon, a judge will decide whether CrossFit is entitled to learn the names of the study’s peer reviewers. CrossFit has tried and failed to … Continue reading CrossFit asks court to unmask peer reviewers of retracted study

Weekend reads: Peer review “ineffective and unworthy;” science a “profiteering enterprise;” Beall’s boss speaks

The week at Retraction Watch featured a praiseworthy retraction by a Nobel laureate, a finding of research misconduct in a much-watched case involving fish and microplastics, and death threats against a journalist reporting on a politician’s plagiarism. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

Make reviews public, says peer review expert

After more than 30 years working with scholarly journals, Irene Hames has some thoughts on how to improve peer review. She even wrote a book about it. As the first recipient of the Publons Sentinel Award, Hames spoke to us about the most pressing issues she believes are facing the peer review system — and … Continue reading Make reviews public, says peer review expert

Publisher issues first retractions for fake peer review, starts new checking policy

The publisher Frontiers has retracted four papers in three of its journals after discovering they had been accepted with fake peer reviews. The problem of fake reviews has been on the research community’s radar since at least 2014, and several major publishers—including Springer, SAGE and BioMed Central—have retracted hundreds of papers accepted via fake peer … Continue reading Publisher issues first retractions for fake peer review, starts new checking policy

Caught Our Notice: Dear peer reviewer, please read the methods section. Sincerely, everyone

Title: Plasma contributes to the antimicrobial activity of whole blood against Mycobacterium tuberculosis What Caught Our Attention: A big peer review (and perhaps academic mentorship) fail.  These researchers used the wrong anticoagulant for their blood samples, leading them to believe that certain blood components were fighting microbes. The authors counted the number of colonies to show … Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Dear peer reviewer, please read the methods section. Sincerely, everyone

Caught Our Notice: 4th retraction for peer reviewer who stole manuscript

Title: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diet and gut microbiota What Caught Our Attention: The paper was co-authored by Carmine Finelli, who in the past took responsibility for a dramatic transgression: Stealing material from an unpublished manuscript by one of its reviewers. After the paper that stole from the manuscript was retracted in 2016, Finelli earned a second retraction … Continue reading Caught Our Notice: 4th retraction for peer reviewer who stole manuscript

Weekend reads: No peer review crisis?; Fake conferences overwhelm real ones; Bullying vs. criticism

The week at Retraction Watch featured a retraction by a Nobel laureate, the eight excuses journal editors hear in responses to questions about data, and a description of a “disease” that affects many scientists. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

Post-publication peer review in action: Science flags paper just days after publication

Science has issued an expression of concern for a widely covered materials science paper published on Friday, citing issues with the supplementary data. The paper — which caught the attention of multiple news outlets — added properties to cotton fibers in vitro, potentially enabling researchers to manufacture fabric that can fluoresce or carry magnetic properties. The … Continue reading Post-publication peer review in action: Science flags paper just days after publication