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Research Integrity in Science Publishing

The slide set "Research Integrity in Science Publishing" was presented in the joint session of the FEBS Education Committee and Publications Committee at the FEBS Congress in Jerusalem in September 2017. In the first part of my talk I emphasized how reproducibility of research results is critically important in maintaining trust in science and described recent efforts of resilience in the publishing world (increasing transparency and reliability) as well as in the scientific community (checking and verifying published data). The number of retracted papers is increasing and a large proportion of them are withdrawn because of research misconduct, such as falsification and sometimes even fabrication of data. These are obviously the most serious, sanctionable violations but there are other unacceptable practices (some are listed in the presentation) which may influence the quality of science to a large extent and every effort must be made to prevent, discourage and stop them through training, supervision and mentoring. The recently updated European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, which this year became the official document of the European Commission, details good research practices and explains how various forms of misconducts violate research integrity. One of these is establishing or supporting journals that undermine the quality control of research (‘predatory journals’)which recently has become a serious issue (see also Moher et al. Nature 549, 23-25, 2017). Some of the ethical problems in science publishing are related to the still widespread practice of quantitative assessment of scientific outputs and researchers in spite of the almost general consensus about the opposite summed up in the text of the San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment in 2013.

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