Assessing and Raising Concerns About Duplicate Publication, Authorship Transgressions and Data Errors in a Body of Preclinical Research

Andrew Grey*, Alison Avenell, Greg Gamble, Mark Bolland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Authorship transgressions, duplicate data reporting and reporting/data errors compromise the integrity of biomedical publications. Using a standardized template, we raised concerns with journals about each of these characteristics in 33 pairs of publications originating from 15 preclinical (animal) trials reported by a group of researchers. The outcomes of interest were journal responses, including time to acknowledgement of concerns, time to decision, content of decision letter, and disposition of publications at 1 year. Authorship transgressions affected 27/36 (75%) publications. The median proportion of duplicate data within pairs of publications was 45% (interquartile range 29–57). Data/reporting discrepancies [median 3 (1–5)] were present in 28/33 (85%) pairs. Journals acknowledged receipt of concerns for 53% and 94% of publications by 1 month and 9 months, respectively. After 1 year, journals had communicated decisions for 16/36 (44%) publications. None of the decision letters specifically addressed each of the concerns raised. Decisions were no action, correction and retraction for 9, 3 and 4 publications, respectively: the amounts of duplicate data reporting and data/reporting discrepancies were similar irrespective of journal decision. Authorship transgressions affected 6/9 (67%) publications for which no action was decided. Journal responses to concerns about duplicate publication, authorship transgressions, and data/reporting discrepancies were slow, opaque and inconsistent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2069-2096
Number of pages28
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Volume26
Early online date31 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Authorship
  • Duplicate publication
  • Journals
  • Research integrity
  • Retraction
  • INTEGRITY
  • RESEARCH MISCONDUCT

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