Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 29, 2008

OA enhances error correction

Jeffrey Young, Journals Find Fakery in Many Images Submitted to Support Research, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 29, 2008.  This article is primarily about image fraud, but I've omitted most of it in order to highlight the OA connection. 

...As computer programs make images easier than ever to manipulate, editors at a growing number of scientific publications are turning into image detectives, examining figures to test their authenticity.

And the level of tampering they find is alarming....

One new check on science images, though, is the blogosphere. As more papers are published in open-access journals, an informal group of watchdogs has emerged online.

"There's a lot of folks who in their idle moments just take a good look at some figures randomly," says John E. Dahlberg, director of the division of investigative oversight at the Office of Research Integrity [at the US Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the NIH]. "We get allegations almost weekly involving people picking up problems with figures in grant applications or papers."

Such online watchdogs were among those who first identified problems with images and other data in a cloning paper published in Science by Woo Suk Hwang, a South Korean researcher. The research was eventually found to be fraudulent, and the journal retracted the paper....