Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Exploring quality markers for scientific journals

It's been a while since IJS has sent out a blog post, and as always this is because there is so much going on, rather than inaction! Our esteemed Associate Editors have been busily trawling through manuscripts and working hard to make IJS a more timely journal. New IJS Board member Atte Meretoja has been workshopping with us, for presentation at our coming Board meeting in London later this month a new set of author guidelines. As always we are working towards bettering our quality and content for the benefit of our readership, and as a journals quality markers exist in guidelines we see this as an essential area to grow and nurture, so you the authors and readers know what to expect from IJS. 

Let's focus on Transparency

1. Transparency: mistakes are inevitably made from time to time, and science, scientists and scientific processes can be flawed. Papers are peer reviewed and sometimes, undeservedly make it through to publication either innocently and therefore ignorantly, or deceitfully. 

Transparency is essential for stakeholder trust in journal quality. The internet community and stakeholders will hold accountable those who strive to evade, mislead or under-disclose. You will be publicly interrogated and your actions questioned. Discussions on ethics are becoming more globally cohesive and the excellent outcome is that authors and more importantly publishers, are more accountable and also rewarded for their behaviours. 

IJS is committed to transparency. As stroke is such a close knit community, and the reviewers and authors are very intertwined, we have not yet been in the position where we have needed to disclose a retraction, or more importantly, where we have need to retract an article.  

The author of the Retraction watch blog wrote the following article for Lab Times online 
http://www.labtimes.org/labtimes/ranking/dont/2013_03.lasso; they quote Dr Stuart Firestein from this article here http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/07/firestein-science-doubt/ 'Science often traffics in doubt and readily welcomes revision. And these are precisely the attributes that make it deserving of our confidence.'  

In a recent TED talk he says “It’s farting around… in the dark.”

So this means that explanation and transparency through retraction or in a wider sense error, is fundamentally important to quality, and a true quality marker for scientific publishing. 

This quote was found in PubMed - a standard retraction from Wiley, IJS's publisher.  
The following article from Journal of Product Innovation ManagementThe Impact of Aligning Product Development and Technology Licensing: A Contingency Perspective by Ulrich Lichtenthaler and Johan Frishammar, published online on 13 October 2011 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor-in-Chief, the Product Development and Management Association, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed to due to inconsistencies in the empirical results. Prof. Dr. Lichtenthaler has indicated that Prof. Frishammar was not responsible for any of the statistical analyses in the article and Prof. Dr. Lichtenthaler accepts sole responsibility for this article being retracted.

I invite blog readers to comment on this retraction and the process used and invoke discussion about the detail, and transparency.

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