Re: Facing up to fraud - China's exponential research growth could fuel fraud

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2010 14:05:16 -0500

The following message is posted for Jean-Claude Guedon.
(His posting was encrypted for some unknown reason.)

Jean-Claude Guédon:

This has to be one of the most telling (and funniest) non sequitur I
have ever read. A textbook example if there ever were one. Why would
Open Access (which is about access, not peer review) lead to sloppy peer
review? When an OA journals such as PLOS biology with an impact factor
hovering over 12 does peer review, is it being sloppy?

Sloppiness can affect OA journals as easily as toll-gated journals.
Neither OA, not toll-gated journals guarantee good peer-review. The bond
between mode of access and peer review is certainly not covalent, not
even ionic; it is either mythical or absurd.

Jean-Claude Guédon

Le jeudi 18 février 2010 à 21:00 -0800, Dana Roth a écrit :

> The January 25 issue of Chemistry & Industry (issue 2, 2010) has a short article on research fraud which includes a sidebar on the situation in China (see below). This suggests that, contrary to Heather Morrison's suggestion, scholar led open access publishing is not a viable solution. Without a cadre of truly professional peer-reviewers, publication in Chinese journals will become increasingly suspect.
> ------------------------------------------------------
> China’s research output has exploded four-fold over the past decade, far outpacing research activity in the rest of the world, according to a global research report by Thomson Reuters. The country generated nearly 112,000 research papers in 2008, up from just over 20,000 in 1998. China surpassed Japan, the UK and Germany in 2006 and now stands second only to the US (C&I 2009, 22, 7).
> ‘All the data we analyse refer to publications in journals that meet Thomson Reuters editorial standards, including those on peer review,’ says Jonathan Adams, director of research evaluation at Thomson Reuters. ‘We can therefore regard the indexed growth of China’s share of world publications as representing a real increase in research outputs meeting international quality standards.’
> It has been reported that rates of duplicate publications are higher in China and Japan than other industrialised countries (Nature doi:10.1038/451397a). However, it is not clear whether the levels of other fraud or misconduct are elevated in Chinese academia. ‘We understand that there is significant pressure on researchers to publish and, where possible, to publish in high-quality international journals. This may be more explicit in China – for example, it has been reported that incentive payments are offered to those who publish in Nature and Science,’ says Adams. But he points out that pressure is also applied to researchers in the UK and the US to meet these challenges, and that promotion and tenure in many countries may hang on regular output in top quality journals.
> Nevertheless, a recent editorial in The Lancet paints a picture of growing scientific fraud in China (Lancet, 2009, 375, 94). Recently, 70 Chinese papers had to be retracted by Acta Crystallographica Section E after the crystal structures were discovered to be fabricated. The journal’s editors warn that preliminary investigations suggest that the number of retractions will rise. The editorial calls on China’s government, which funds nearly all scientific research, to take a more active role in promoting integrity and establishing robust and transparent procedures to handle misconduct.
> Dana L. Roth
> Millikan Library / Caltech 1-32
> 1200 E. California Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91125
> 626-395-6423 fax 626-792-7540
Received on Fri Feb 19 2010 - 19:06:24 GMT

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