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Research Integrity: The Role of Librarians in a Multistakeholder Challenge

by | Nov 14, 2023 | 0 comments


Research integrity is at the heart of scholarly publishing. Paper mills are increasing, and trust in research is eroding. More and more ethics specialists are being hired by publishers. Harnessing technical innovation is crucial to protect research integrity. The Integrity Hub is a safe space for collaborators to solve this issue. We are building a cloud-based environment where publishers can check papers and see if they come from paper mills, and a submission checker so publishers can detect submissions to multiple journals. Research integrity is a collective responsibility and an evolving need of librarians, publishers, and authors.

Daniel Kulp, CEO of Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE) noted that COPE was started 26 years ago by a few journal editors who wanted to discuss ethics. It now has 13,500 journals as members. Publication integrity is a small piece of a research environment. Researchers must be taught that conducting ethical research will lead to ethical publication..How do we facilitate communication with universities and researchers? In 2024, all universities will be invited to join COPE.

Caitlin Bakker, Discovery Technologies Librarian, University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, asked: What problem are we trying to solve? Only about 5% of authors citing a retracted study are aware that it has been retracted. Indications of a retraction can appear in many places in an article of journal. Once a decision to retract, how does that get shared? Many actions have been taken by publishers, and there is not a mutually accessible end product. Recommended practices have been published, and are in a comment field. How can people use existing workflows and act on notices of retraction? Go to ,the NISO working group to read the recommended practices. Standardization would be wonderful.

Gwen Evans, VP, Global Library Relations, Elsevier said that research integrity is really risk management. What are the real risks to professionals in various fields, such as medicine, engineers, etc.? Librarians are in a good position to detect and verify information; for example verifying that an author is in fact affiliated with the institution. Getting institutions to deposit their data in the right repository is in the forefront of libraries’ interests. The more you learn about the work being done, the better you can drive engagement toward standardization.

Rick Anderson, Dean of Libraries, Brigham Young University said that we assume people are acting in good faith, and they generally are, but, unfortunately, there are some people who are not. Retractions can reflect honest errors or fraudulent acts, Generally researchers are pursuing their research ethically. It is relatively easy to inform people of things they don’t know, and it is difficult to motivate people to get things they don’t want, so we need to get people to want ethical guidelines. There is currently no standard way for publishers to signal that a paper has been retracted.

Don Hawkins, Conference Blogger




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