Editors have a responsibility to retract seriously flawed articles from their journals. However, there appears to be little consistency in journals’ policies or procedures for this. In a qualitative study, we therefore interviewed editors of science journals using semi-structured interviews to investigate their experience of retracting articles. We identified potential barriers to retraction, difficulties in the process and also sources of support and encouragement. Our findings have been used as the basis for guidelines developed by the Committee on Publication Ethics.
BackgroundInaccurate, false or incomplete research publications may mislead readers including researchers and decision-makers. It is therefore important that such problems are identified and rectified promptly. This usually involves collaboration between the research institutions and academic journals involved, but these interactions can be problematic.MethodsThese recommendations were developed following discussions at World Conferences on Research Integrity in 2013 and 2017, and at a specially convened 3-day workshop in 2016 involving participants from 7 countries with expertise in publication ethics and research integrity. The (...) recommendations aim to address issues surrounding cooperation and liaison between institutions and journals about possible and actual problems with the integrity of reported research arising before and after publication.ResultsThe main recommendations are that research institutions should: develop mechanisms for assessing the integrity of reported research that are distinct from processes to determine whether individual researchers have committed misconduct;release relevant sections of reports of research integrity or misconduct investigations to all journals that have published research that was investigated;take responsibility for research performed under their auspices regardless of whether the researcher still works at that institution or how long ago the work was done;work with funders to ensure essential research data is retained for at least 10 years.Journals should: respond to institutions about research integrity cases in a timely manner;have criteria for determining whether, and what type of, information and evidence relating to the integrity of research reports should be passed on to institutions;pass on research integrity concerns to institutions, regardless of whether they intend to accept the work for publication;retain peer review records for at least 10 years to enable the investigation of peer review manipulation or other inappropriate behaviour by authors or reviewers.ConclusionsVarious difficulties can prevent effective cooperation between academic journals and research institutions about research integrity concerns and hinder the correction of the research record if problems are discovered. While the issues and their solutions may vary across different settings, we encourage research institutions, journals and funders to consider how they might improve future collaboration and cooperation on research integrity cases. (shrink)
In May 2016, we launched Research Integrity and Peer Review, an international, open access journal with fully open peer review (reviewers are identified on their reports and named reports are published alongside the article) to provide a home for research on research and publication ethics, research reporting, and research on peer review. As the journal enters its third year, we reflect on recent events and highlights for the journal and explore how the journal is faring in terms of gender and (...) diversity in peer review. We also share the particular interests of our Editors-in-Chief regarding models of peer review, reporting quality, common research integrity issues that arise during the publishing process, and how people interact with the published literature. We continue to encourage further research into peer review, research and publication ethics and research reporting, as we believe that all new initiatives should be evidence-based. We also remain open to constructive discussions of the developments in the field that offer new solutions. (shrink)
We analysed all journals from two Journal Citation Reports categories: ‘Dentistry, Oral Surgery and Medicine’ and ‘Otorhinolaryngology’ published in 2018 for their policies on publishing facial photographs and actual practices of publishing these photographs in articles. We extracted the following data for each journal: JCR category, impact factor, volume, issue, instructions for authors regarding ethical issues, instructions for photograph deidentification, journals’ references to standard research and publishing policies, presence and type of published clinical images, separate informed consent for the publication (...) of patient photograph and methods of deidentification. The sample included 103 journals, which published 568 articles with 1404 clinical images. Around a half of the journals had a policy on clinical images, however, the only predictor of having a journal policy on clinical images was reference in the policy to International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Recommendations. Identifiable patient photographs were found in 13% of the articles, constituting 9% of the total sample of images. Only 16% of articles publishing recognisable patient facial images included a statement about consent for publication of the image. From the total sample of articles, 34% contained deidentified but recognisable patient photographs and only 22% of them had a statement about patient consent for photograph publication. The patients’ consent was more likely stated in the article in cases of recognisable facial images. Journals publishing clinical research involving the face and neck region need to establish and enforce policies on publishing clinical images. (shrink)
Use of patient clinical photographs requires specific attention to confidentiality and privacy. Although there are policies and procedures for publishing clinical images, there is little systematic evidence about what patients and health professionals actually think about consent for publishing clinical images. We investigated the opinions of three stakeholder groups at 3 academic healthcare institutions and 37 private practices in Croatia. The questionnaire contained patient photographs with different levels of anonymization. All three respondent groups considered that more stringent forms of permission (...) for were needed identifiable photographs than for those with higher levels of anonymization. When the entire face was presented in a photo only 33% of patients considered that written permission was required, compared with 88% of the students and 89% of the doctors. Opinions about publishing patient photographs differed among the three respondent samples: almost half of the patients thought no permission was necessary compared with one-third of students and doctors. These results show poor awareness of Croatian patients regarding the importance of written informed consent as well as unsatisfactory knowledge of health professionals about policies on the publication of patients’ data in general. In conclusion, there is a need for increasing awareness of all stakeholders to achieve better protection of patient privacy rights in research and publication. (shrink)
Research that has been sponsored by pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies is often presented at scientific and medical conferences. However, practices vary between organizations and it can be difficult to follow both individual conference requirements and good publication practice guidelines. Until now, no specific guidelines or recommendations have been available to describe best practice for conference presentations.This document was developed by a working group of publication professionals and uploaded to PeerJ Preprints for consultation prior to publication; an additional 67 (...) medical societies, medical conference sites and conference companies were also asked to comment. The resulting recommendations aim to complement current good publication practice and authorship guidelines, outline the general principles of best practice for conference presentations and provide recommendations around authorship, contributorship, financial transparency, prior publication and copyright, to conference organizers, authors and industry professionals.While the authors of this document recognize that individual conference guidelines should be respected, they urge organizers to consider authorship criteria and data transparency when designing submission sites and setting parameters around word/character count and content for abstracts. It is also important to recognize that conference presentations have different limitations to full journal publications, for example, in the case of limited audiences that necessitate refocused abstracts, or where lead authors do not speak the local language, and these have been acknowledged accordingly. The authors also recognize the need for further clarity regarding copyright of previously published abstracts and have made recommendations to assist with best practice.By following Good Practice for Conference Abstracts and Presentations: GPCAP recommendations, industry professionals, authors and conference organizers will improve consistency, transparency and integrity of publications submitted to conferences worldwide. (shrink)
BackgroundMany journals prohibit the use of declarative titles that state study findings, yet a few journals encourage or even require them. We compared the effects of a declarative versus a descriptive title on readers’ perceptions about the strength of evidence in a research abstract describing a randomized trial.MethodsStudy participants (medical or dental students or doctors attending lectures) read two abstracts describing studies of a fictitious treatment (Anticox) for a fictitious condition (Green’s syndrome). The first abstract (A1) described an uncontrolled, 10-patient, (...) case series, and the second (A2) described a randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving 48 patients. All participants rated identical A1 abstracts (with a descriptive title) to provide baseline ratings and thus reduce the effects of inter-individual variability. Participants were randomized so that half rated a version of A2 with a descriptive title and half with a declarative title. For each abstract, participants indicated their agreement with the statement “Anticox is an effective treatment for pain in Green’s syndrome” using 100 mm visual analogue scales (VAS) ranging from “disagree completely” to “agree completely.” VAS scores were measured by an investigator who was unaware of group allocation.ResultsOne hundred forty-four participants from four centres completed the study. There was no significant difference between the declarative and the descriptive title groups’ confidence in the study conclusions as expressed on VAS scales—in fact, the mean difference between A1 and A2 was smaller for the declarative title group than that for the descriptive title group (32.6 mm, SD 27.4 vs. 39.8 mm, SD 22.6, respectively, p = 0.09).ConclusionsWe found no evidence that the use of a declarative title affected readers’ perceptions about study conclusions. This suggests that editors’ fears that declarative titles might unduly influence readers’ judgements about study conclusions may be unfounded, at least in relation to reports of randomized trials. However, our study design had several limitations, and our findings may not be generalizable to other situations. (shrink)
This editorial explains why we are launching Research Integrity and Peer Review, a new open-access journal that will provide a home to research on ethics, reporting, and evaluation of research. We discuss how the idea to launch this journal came about and identify the gaps in knowledge where we would like to encourage more research and interdisciplinary discussion. We are particularly keen to receive submissions presenting actual research that will increase our understanding and suggest potential solutions to issues related to (...) peer review, study reporting, and research and publication ethics. (shrink)