1. bookVolume 7 (2022): Issue 2 (April 2022)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2543-683X
First Published
30 Mar 2017
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Fighting Against Academic Misconduct: What Can Scientometricians Do?

Published Online: 25 Apr 2022
Volume & Issue: Volume 7 (2022) - Issue 2 (April 2022)
Page range: 4 - 5
Received: 31 Mar 2022
Accepted: 02 Apr 2022
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2543-683X
First Published
30 Mar 2017
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English

As the number of published papers being retracted is increasing dramatically and is higher than ever before, the phenomenon of retraction has aroused widespread concern in the research community all over the world. It has been mentioned that large-scale retracted papers from China appeared in journals of major publishers (Tang, 2019). After we classified these retracted papers published between 2011 and 2021 based on their retraction reasons

The statistics of academic misconduct papers are retrieved from AMEND Platform. AMEND is a database including retractions and misconduct papers. For retracted papers, AMEND marks their retraction reason type. The data of AMEND was collected from multiple sources, constructed by CAS library, and currently internally used only.

, we see that 8,594 cases are retracted because of academic misconduct. The “academic misconduct” problem has become a common issue faced by academic communities worldwide, including China.

In 2017, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MOST) announced to crack down on academic misconduct and has introduced related sweeping reforms in 2018. Meanwhile, other departments of China's government also take measures to fight academic misconduct. From June 2021, the National Health Commission of China has begun to make public announcements of the investigation results and penalty decisions of research integrity cases on its website

http://www.nhc.gov.cn/qjjys/yxkycx/new_list.shtml

Since academic misconduct might not disappear in short term (Else & Van Noorden, 2021), multi-party participants, including policymakers, researchers, and journal publishers, should remain vigilant and fight against it together. In this battle, scientometricians could act as independent evaluation agents by providing data and assisting the trilateral parts to curb misconduct.

In 2020, MOST released an official document, which suggested third-party evaluation agents to formulate early warning journal lists, so as to penalize untrustworthy and predatory journals. Since then, serval warning lists have been proposed by Chinese academic institutions. Among them, the list

https://earlywarning.fenqubiao.com/

released by a scientometrics group from National Science Library of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS library in short) drew wide attention from domestic and international research communities and publishers.

At the end of 2020, the scientometrics group from CAS library released the first version of “Early Warning List of International Journals (Trial)”. The initial goal of this list is to curb academic misconduct from the perspective of journal quality control, but it also included other concerns that Chinese research community and S&T policy makers focused on, e.g., the international dissemination of papers, the potential risk of declining impact, reasonable APC fees, etc. Scientometricians as well as Chinese researchers contribute to this list, which integrates the peer-reviewed comments and quantitative analysis results.

The designers of this list hope it will remind researchers to choose journals to submit carefully, and to prompt publishers to strengthen their quality control for publication. Over the past year, CAS library noticed most publishers whose journals were listed in the early warning journal list had taken actions. Shortly before this manuscript, CAS library released 2021's warning list

https://earlywarning.fenqubiao.com/#/en/early-warning-journal-list-2021

. Compared to the 2020 list, the 2021 list has two changes. One is that lots of journals included in the 2020 list are excluded from the 2021 list. Another one is the number of warning journals decreased significantly. Those changes indicate the effectiveness of self-purification and adjustment of publishers. However, the fight against academic misconduct will still last for a long time. CAS library will be together with colleagues from scientometric field to track academic misconduct continuously.

Else, H., & Van Noorden, R. (2021). The fight against fake-paper factories that churn out sham science. Nature, 591, 516–519. ElseH. Van NoordenR. 2021 The fight against fake-paper factories that churn out sham science Nature 591 516 519 10.1038/d41586-021-00733-533758408 Search in Google Scholar

Tang L. (2019). Five ways China must cultivate research integrity. Nature, 575(7784), 589–591. TangL. 2019 Five ways China must cultivate research integrity Nature 575 7784 589 591 10.1038/d41586-019-03613-131768041 Search in Google Scholar

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