IUPAP Workshop on Scientific Misconduct and the role of Physics Journals in its Investigation and Prevention; London 2003
ISN Seminar 11.11.2003 E.R.Hilf
This is a personally biased report with an added separate proposition, what the EPS could do and where it may act to serve its members.
It is comprised of what I got participating, so all information,
to be properly cited scientifically, should be searched for
in the original contributions on the server (http://www.iupap.org)
or by the individual authors, given in the program.
Also, mostly no names are given, with the lack of precision of my
remembrance of their thoughts.
A memo for EPS representatives and persons interested to gain a synoptic view on the topic.
|ISN 02||Intention of the Workshop|
At the last IUPAP workshop at Lyon 2001, LTADDP Long Term Archiving of Distributed Documents in Physics, which had the intention to lead to recommendations by the IUPAP, the Action Committee on Publication and Scientific Communication of the EPS contemplated a recommendation ltadp1. There it was decided to organize next a workshop on misconduct in the publication chain.
We all are grown up and believe that there is virtually no sizeable misconduct in the scientific publication process. True??
For authors and referees nothing to earn but risk all their
professional career in case of misconduct and for publishers of respected
journals with a long grown reputation and an instant risk of quickly loosing it
in case of misconduct there seem to be no real driving forces,- and the
marketing divisions of the publishers keep to tell us that this is so.
|ISN 03||Intention of the Workshop|
The first day of the workshop started with the assumption that there is not much of a problem, - and went on with a continuing never ending steady flow of single examples of misconduct, from the floor and by the speakers.
This lead to the conclusion that it is much more common than thought, -
but that one had not searched for it systematically because one assumed
there is not much, - and commercial publishers certainly were not too much interested to
delve into a search, with too much at stake.
Two events brought apparently the change:
|ISN 04||1. The Schön case and related events|
Motor of the fake: the extraordinary
ambition of the main author
to become famous and have a spectacular career.
As a result he was fired and jobless.
But one was bothered that his experimental group director, -we change his name to 'badluck' here,- was coauthor of most papers, presented the material at numerous conferences, but after the unearthing of the fake pleaded for ' the right to sleep by the wheel', -that the codriver is not responsible for the decisions of a car driver. He stays in office since.
It remained open in as much unconsciously the harsh competition in the public of nations on research funding, and national pride, played a role, whith the laboratory and all involved journals part of it, to regain the lead in hunting for the heaviest elements competing with the GSI and Japan.
|ISN 05||2. business model of publishers|
The business model of present publishers to earn money by owning the documents (copyright transfer) and process them subsequently, adding quality by layout, printing, refereeing and putting them close to related papers in a journal, hindered an open comparison of documents of different journals and publishers volume, apart from its apparent insurmountable technical difficulties. However, in the digital age it is technically easy to compare documents on behalf of possible plagiarism, dublication, similarities, with the only obstacle to get the documents. At the ArXiv, at eprints (UKoeln, Southampton, UK), and at ISN Oldenburg for the EPS service PhysDoc, to name a few, such tools are developed at present.
Several times it was mentioned by various publishers and from the floor, that reversing the chain of publication by ''publish first, review then'', which is, partially due to the ArXiv, where the authors publish (distribute) their documents first, and send them subsequently to a conventional publisher, opens the chance to replace the monolithic type of blind blind refereeing (referee stays unknown to the author and the public) to many parallel or subsequent or alternative different types of vetting, certification, refereeing and reviewing, adequate for the individual purpose. Especially open open refereeing would, so the opinion of several publishers, eliminate the possible misconduct of referees (by withholding, reuse, turn down of good papers). The scientists discussion CERN 2001 conference on this topic, now reaches the actual publishers consideration and plans for future services.
|ISN 06||Organization of the Workshop|
The IUPAP workshop was organized by the publication committee of the IUPAP and its competent driving force, Marty Blume, APS.
In a leisurely atmosphere at IoP, about 100 participants, mostly society-publishers (APS, AIP, IoPP), editors, referees of scientific journals and some journalists discussed for two days. Many panel discussions and extensive discussion contributions by and from the floor assured a broad and representative spectrum of opinions and coverage of the topic.
|ISN 07||1. Plagiarism and the failure to cite properly|
|ISN 08||2. Duplicate submissions|
|ISN 09||3. Authorship problems|
|ISN 10||4. Responsibilities of Institutions|
|ISN 11||5. Fabrication of Data|
This was mentioned above. This was a lengthy purely US-session on
regrinding and regrinding the Schoen case, how the scientific
rechecking data and understanding finally won over the national pride
and journal keenness to present spectacular results.
|ISN 12||6. Responsibility of journals to one another|
This is a great problem: with the traditional way of earning money by owning documents publishers are at present still unwilling to exchange their documents under consideration, thus opening wide the road for misconduct of authors, instiutional heads, and editors.
|ISN 13||7. Conflict of Interest|
A serious problem are the many areas of conflict of interest
inherent for the present publication system, which are the
driving forces for the many facettes of misconduct discussed at the
The way out was several times addressed: to move to new scenarios of
scientific information distribution and certification, possible
and realizable in the e-age.
|ISN 14||8. Referee misconduct|
The many cases of misconduct of referees, although a minor
proportion of the total, lead to the conclusion that this should be
more carefully followed.
|ISN 15||9. Different international views of misconduct|
It was carefully analyzed and reported that certain rules,
esteemed in one part of the world to be misconduct, are common
and accepted in others, notably unasked for guest authorship,
but that the development is towards a joint understanding.
|ISN 16||10. Punishment of offenders: how, what, and by whom?|
There was a consensus that punishment of offenders on top of
the government persuing breaking existing laws should not be moved
to the government. In the scientific world there is a severe punishment
by being outed as an offender of ethical rules of conduct,
with the consequences of not getting positions.
|ISN 17||Rules of conduct|