Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Elsevier Editors on Research Ethics

Via Ivan Oransky at Retraction Watch: The latest issue of Editor's Update, a periodical of sorts from Elsevier, is the first of a two-part "Ethics Special" with commentary from editors of Elsevier journals on publication ethics. In one of the articles -- Research misconduct – three editors share their stories -- Prof. Henrik Rudolph, Editor-in-Chief, Applied Surface Science, drops this bombshell:

The frequency of academic misconduct has been rather stable since Applied Surface Science started using EES in July 2005. Close to 10% of the papers we receive show some sign of academic misconduct, but since the total number of submissions is increasing, the absolute number is also rising. The most common issue we see is too large an overlap with previously published material, i.e. plagiarism. Cases are evenly divided between self-plagiarism and regular plagiarism. These submissions are most often identified in the editorial phase (by the managing editor or editor) and are rejected before they are sent out for review. [Bold emphasis added]