Special Issue "Misconduct in Scientific Publishing"
A special issue of Publications (ISSN 2304-6775).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2014)
Prof. Dr. R. Grant Steen
President, MediCC!, LLC, Medical Communications Consultants Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27517, USA
Interests: scientific retraction; research misconduct; medical misinformation; retraction as a proxy for misconduct; neuroepistemology; cognitive biases associated with misinformation
Scientists believe—or at least profess to believe—that science is a process of iterative approach to objective truth. Failed experiments are supposed to serve as fodder for successful experiments, so that clouded thinking can be clarified. Observations fundamentally true should find support, while observations flawed in some way are supplanted by better observations. Why then would anyone think that scientific fraud can succeed?
Recently, there has been an alarming increase in the number of papers in the refereed scientific literature that have been retracted for fraud (e.g., data fabrication or data falsification). Do fraudulent authors imagine that their fraud will not be exposed? Do they see the benefits of fraud as so attractive that they are willing to risk exposure? Or do some scientists doubt the process itself, believing themselves to be immune to the failure to replicate?
It may be true that most scientists who fabricate or falsify data believe that they know the “right” answer in advance of the data and that they will soon have the data necessary to support their favored answer. It may therefore seem legitimate to fabricate; such scientists may believe that they are simply saving time by cutting corners. They may even believe that they are serving science and the greater good by pushing a bold “truth” into print. But humans are so prone to bias that the process of scientific discovery has been developed specifically to insulate scientists from the malign effects of wishful thinking. Measurement validation, hypothesis testing, random allocation, blinding of outcome assessment, replication of results, referee and peer review, and open sharing of trade secrets are keys to establishing the truth of a scientific idea. When those processes are subverted, scientific results become prone to retraction.
This Special Issue—Misconduct in Scientific Publishing—will explore the surge in scientific retractions. Are retractions a valid proxy for research misconduct? Does the increase in retractions mean that there has been an increase in misconduct? How can we measure misconduct objectively? Are surveys that characterize scientific behavior valid or do they misrepresent the prevalence of misconduct?
I look forward to your contributions and your insight on this important topic.
Prof. Dr. R. Grant Steen,
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you have registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. A limit of 3,000 words is encouraged for the body of the paper (excluding Abstract, References, Tables, and Figures). References should number between 20 and 50, with an emphasis on new literature that has been published within the past 5 years. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as they are accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review papers, brief editorials, and short communications are invited.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors is available on the Instructions for Authors page, together with other relevant information for manuscript submission. Publications is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.
- research ethics
- scientific retraction
- research misconduct
- data plagiarism