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Subject: Re: Fish-Sci - getting some discussion going! PerchGate and beyond
From: Gary Grossman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 29 Apr 2017 16:25:27 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
Parts/Attachments:
Parts/Attachments

text/plain (323 lines)


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Well I did publish this although it doesn't deal with fraud.
Improving the reviewing process in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology ..
<https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwj5pNLItMrTAhVX7mMKHaQpD_QQFggnMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fabc.museucienciesjournals.cat%2Ffiles%2FABC_37-1_2014_pp_101-105.pdf&usg=AFQjCNGXYzn3csFJnkJ-IV2hvwzvZ99zrQ&sig2=M0X-DY-lBTq12iZHZA_ySA&cad=rja>
in 2014 and would be glad to send anyone a pdf. I'm not sure the hyperlink
will work.

Abstract - Improving the reviewing process in Ecology and Evolutionary
Biology.— I discuss current issues in reviewing and
editorial practices in ecology and evolutionary biology and suggest
possible solutions for current problems. The reviewing
crisis is unlikely to change unless steps are taken by journals to provide
greater inclusiveness and incentives
to reviewers. In addition, both journals and institutions should reduce
their emphasis on publication numbers (least
publishable units) and impact factors and focus instead on article
synthesis and quality which will require longer
publications. Academic and research institutions should consider reviewing
manuscripts and editorial positions an
important part of a researcher’s professional activities and reward them
accordingly. Rewarding reviewers either
monetarily or via other incentives such as free journal subscriptions may
encourage participation in the reviewing
process for both profit and non–profit journals. Reviewer performance will
likely be improved by measures that increase
inclusiveness, such as sending reviews and decision letters to reviewers.
Journals may be able to evaluate
the efficacy of their reviewing process by comparing citations of rejected
but subsequently published papers with
those published within the journal at similar times. Finally, constructive
reviews: 1) identify important shortcomings and
suggest solutions when possible, 2) distinguish trivial from non–trivial
problems, and 3) include editor’s evaluations
of the reviews including identification of trivial versus substantive
comments (i.e., those that must be addressed).

On Sat, Apr 29, 2017 at 3:29 PM, Chris Harrod <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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>
> Dear Irene and Trevor (and all list members).
>
> This is exactly the kind of stuff I think the list needs. It shouldn't be
> simply a place to post job adverts, but should be a place of debate and
> discussion (even heated, but always good natured).
>
> So, if any if the list members has anything to discuss, debate, etc that
> is related to the list's interests, please do so.
>
> As a start, what technology that is currently on the horizon will
> transform our work. I've been blown away how quickly eDNA and drones have
> become standard methods. What is coming in the next years?
>
>
> All the best
> Chris (co-moderator)
>
>
> -------- Original message --------
> From: Trevor Kenchington <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: 29/04/2017 13:29 (GMT-04:00)
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: #perchgate - Would you have spotted the fraud?
>
> ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>
>            REPLIES WILL BE SENT TO THE FISH-SCI LIST
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>
> Irene,
>
> Thank you for bringing this affair to the list's attention! I had not
> heard anything of it before but I have now run through the various
> reports and documents available on-line.
>
> I must correct you on one point: The raw data for Lönnstedt & Eklöv's
> study no longer exist. As a routine step in its publication process,
> "Science" required those data to be posted somewhere. However, when
> the authors were reminded to complete that step, it emerged that the
> data had only existed on a laptop that had just been stolen. Or such
> was the claim made.
>
> Unless the two authors can rebut the recent review decision (and
> there is still room for some doubt there), this would be the worst
> case of outright data fabrication that I have encountered in the
> fisheries literature -- at least if one excludes cases where the
> fabrication was obvious from the published papers themselves. (I
> remember, for example, one case of a paper that took catch rate data
> from "surveys" which never happened but I don't think the data
> themselves were fabricated. Instead, I suspect, they were taken from
> tagging trips which did happen. That still invalidated the paper,
> since tagging work seeks to maximize catches and the resulting CPUE
> isn't comparable with data from later stratified-random surveys. But
> all of that could readily be found by any reader of the paper who
> bothered to check. Clearly, the reviewers had failed to do so.)
>
>
> To respond to your original question, though the response can only be
> one of personal opinion:
>
> I don't think that normal peer reviewers can be expected to detect
> outright fraud. That would require a level of investigation that
> would demand vastly more time and expense than any of us could
> volunteer. We should check that, if the methods were applied as they
> are described and if the resulting data were analyzed as the authors
> claim, then their conclusions would be supported. But if someone
> worked backwards from a "conclusion", fabricated data, added some
> uncertainty and then worked forwards again to generate "support" for
> their pre-conceived position, I'd not expect a reviewer to detect it,
> nor a journal editor either.
>
> Nor do I think that the parent institute, such as a university, can
> be expected to confirm that work was done as described. How could
> that ever be arranged, other than in some very particular situations?
> What institutes could be called upon to do is to swiftly and properly
> investigate reported cases of fraud, after the event. It looks like
> Lönnstedt & Eklöv's university badly failed on that one, preferring
> to deny any problem and blame the whistleblowers. It was a
> subsequent, national-level inquiry which produced the recent decision
> that fraud had occurred.
>
> Ultimately, it must be an author's responsibility to proceed
> ethically. The burdens on the wider scientific community lie in such
> things as maintaining the highest ethical standards ourselves (so
> that each of us stands as an example), inculcating ethics in
> students, weeding out those who reject that message and demanding
> draconian penalties for those scientists who do commit academic
> fraud. Sadly, I fear that (as a community, though obviously not for
> every individual) we have been too lax in all of those areas.
>
> It would further help if rags like "Science" stopped putting out
> press releases announcing new papers and stopped accepting for
> publication bits of rinky-dink science that would be better suited to
> an undergrad thesis. (If Lönnstedt & Eklöv had done what they
> claimed, it would have involved 30 one-litre beakers and three weeks
> of lab work. OK for a pilot study but hardly publishable --
> especially since their "results" were so exceptional and should thus
> have been checked by a repeat experiment.) The notion of extra-rapid
> publication of exciting new results, which has crept in during the
> last decade or so, should also be scrapped. (In too many cases,
> results are only exciting because they are wrong. Extraordinary
> claims should require extraordinary evidence, not a swift rush
> through an abbreviated review process.) More broadly, as a community
> we need incentive systems that encourage quality work, not a pursuit
> of newspaper headlines. Hence, universities and grant-funding
> organizations should go back to valuing bodies of primary
> publications, rather than media attention.
>
> We might even get so far as trying to educate the public to ignore
> single scientific publications. The overall body of scientific
> knowledge is a robust and valuable edifice but there is a lot of
> "noise" along its fringes as individual studies lead to unique ideas.
> Some will pan out with further work. Others won't. In recent decades,
> we have made progress towards creating a scientifically literate
> public but there's been far too much emphasis on the excitement of
> the latest thing, which has led to public-policy decision-makers
> responding to the "noise" rather than waiting to see what gets
> supported over time.
>
>
> All a bit depressing, to me.
>
>
> Trevor Kenchington
>
>
> On 28-Apr-17, at 8:55 PM, Irene Zweimüller wrote:
>
> >> <>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>
> >           REPLIES WILL BE SENT TO THE FISH-SCI LIST
> > <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><
> >
> > Actually, the raw data are given in the supplement. I´ll run the
> > stuff through SPSS and see, what that tells me.
> >
> > @Chris: I could not agree more with respect to "science correcting
> > itself" and "co-authors beware"
> >
> > Irene
> >
> > Am 29.04.2017 01:24, schrieb Chris Harrod:
> >> I think that the minimum requirement of providing the data would
> >> lower
> >> the risk of this kind of thing, but whether I would have spotted it
> >> being fake is another thing.
> >> Good to see science correcting itself. Also, the big take home
> >> message
> >> is that if you are a co-author, you need to ensure that the data are
> >> what your student/colleagues say they are.
> >> Chris
> >> -------- Original message --------
> >> From: Irene Zweimüller <[log in to unmask]>
> >> Date: 28/04/2017 17:06 (GMT-04:00)
> >> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> Subject: #perchgate - Would you have spotted the fraud?
> >>> <>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>
> >>            REPLIES WILL BE SENT TO THE FISH-SCI LIST
> >> <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><
> >> Several scientists twittered, that a study published in Science
> >> Lönnstedt & Eklöv (2016): Environmentally relevant concentrations of
> >> microplastic particles influence larval fish ecology
> >> Science 352: 1213-1216
> >> was more or less "thin air", e.g. not all of the experiments
> >> described
> >> were carried out. The University started an investigation and
> >> concluded
> >> misconduct.
> >> Now my question: as a reviewer, would you have detected the fraud?
> >> I found some mistakes in the statistics of the materials and methods
> >> sections (Supplement), but I´m not sure I would have raised hell
> >> about
> >> the data.
> >> Is it the responsibility of the reviewer to check, whether there
> >> was in
> >> fact an experiment performed? Or the responsibility of the
> >> University /
> >> field station etc to make sure, people do in fact work?
> >> How suspicious do we have to be?
> >> I always thought, that fish are too unpredictable to fake fish
> >> studies
> >> kind regards
> >> Irene
> >> --
> >> ----------------------------------------------------
> >> Dr. Irene Zweimüller
> >> Fakultät für Lebenswissenschaften
> >> Dept. für Integrative Zoologie
> >> Althanstr. 14
> >> A-1090 Wien
> >> Österreich
> >> Faculty of Lifesciences
> >> Dept. for Integrative Zoology
> >> Althanstr. 14
> >> A-1090 Vienna
> >> Austria
> >> --------------------------------------------------
> >>> <>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>
> >> For information, send INFO FISH-SCI to [log in to unmask]
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> >
> > --
> > ----------------------------------------------------
> > Dr. Irene Zweimüller
> > Fakultät für Lebenswissenschaften
> > Dept. für Evolutionsbiologie
> > Althanstr. 14
> > A-1090 Wien
> > Österreich
> >
> > Faculty of Lifesciences
> > Dept. for Evolutionary Biology
> > Althanstr. 14
> > A-1090 Vienna
> > Austria
> > --------------------------------------------------
> >
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-- 
Gary D. Grossman, PhD
Fellow, American Fisheries Soc.

Professor of Animal Ecology
Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources
University of Georgia
Athens, GA, USA 30602

Website - Science, Art (G. Grossman Fine Art) and Music www.garygrossman.net
Blog - https://medium.com/@garydavidgrossman
Board of Editors - Animal Biodiversity and Conservation
Editorial Board - Freshwater Biology
Editorial Board - Ecology Freshwater Fish

Hutson Gallery Provincetown, MA - www.hutsongallery.net/artists.html

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