Weekend reads: Is the peer review system sustainable?; when to submit papers; fraud as an outbreak

The week at Retraction Watch featured news of a publisher hack, and a story about a Nature Cell Biology paper likely headed for retraction. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

We are judging individuals and institutions unfairly. Here’s what needs to change.

The way we rank individuals and institutions simply does not work, argues Yves Gingras, Canada Research Chair in the History and Sociology of Science, based at the University of Quebec in Montreal. He should know: In 1997, he cofounded the Observatoire des sciences et des technologies, which measures innovation in science and technology, and where he … Continue reading We are judging individuals and institutions unfairly. Here’s what needs to change.

Weekend reads: Frustrated scientists; most brutal rejection ever?; public shaming in science

The week at Retraction Watch featured 58 retractions in one fell swoop, and a look at what you should do if you find out a paper you’ve cited has been retracted. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

Author of retracted math paper defends against plagiarism charge, threatens to sue journal

A researcher in Egypt is threatening to sue a mathematics journal if it doesn’t un-retract one of his papers. The American Journal of Computational Mathematics in May retracted Mostafa M. A. Khater‘s 2015 paper, “The Modified Simple Equation Method and Its Applications in Mathematical Physics and Biology.” The retraction notice is sparse on the details, indicating … Continue reading Author of retracted math paper defends against plagiarism charge, threatens to sue journal

PLOS ONE flags math paper over algorithm concerns

PLOS ONE has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a 2014 math paper after readers raised concerns with its algorithm. According to the first author of the paper — Hafsa Athar Jafree from the University of Karachi in Pakistan — none of the authors agreed to the EOC notice. She told us the paper contains … Continue reading PLOS ONE flags math paper over algorithm concerns

Do publishers add value? Maybe little, suggests preprint study of preprints

Academic publishers argue they add value to manuscripts by coordinating the peer-review process and editing manuscripts — but a new preliminary study suggests otherwise. The study — which is yet to be peer reviewed — found that papers published in traditional journals don’t change much from their preprint versions, suggesting publishers aren’t having as much of an influence … Continue reading Do publishers add value? Maybe little, suggests preprint study of preprints

Journal retracting at least nine articles by education researcher

A investigation in Singapore has failed to turn up primary data that formed the basis for 11 papers from one author about special education. In addition, a forensic investigation at Noel Chia’s institution — the National Institute of Education in Singapore, part of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) — suggested that some signatures providing parental consent might not be authentic. … Continue reading Journal retracting at least nine articles by education researcher

Philosophy journal spoofed, retracts hoax article

A philosophy journal that focuses on the teachings of philosopher Alain Badiou has apparently fallen victim to yet another Sokal hoax, and has retracted a fake article submitted by authors trying to expose the publication’s weaknesses. The paper, “Ontology, Neutrality and the Strive for (non-)Being-Queer,” attributed to Benedetta Tripodi of the Universitatea Alexandru Ioan Cuza in … Continue reading Philosophy journal spoofed, retracts hoax article

Algorithm paper retracted for “significant overlap” with another

A paper on a hybrid algorithm turned out to be a hybrid itself — some original data, plus some from a paper that the authors had published earlier. According to the retraction note, the overlap was significant enough to pull it from the scientific record. The retracted paper describes an algorithm that is the combination of a “genetic … Continue reading Algorithm paper retracted for “significant overlap” with another

Math journal retracts entire issue following peer-review problems

The editor of a special issue of a math journal — and author of many of the papers in it — has officially retracted the entire thing, after promising to withdraw it last year following issues with the review process. According to the note in Mathematics and Mechanics of Solids, the peer-review process was “less rigorous … Continue reading Math journal retracts entire issue following peer-review problems