Readers are becoming science gatekeepers

In 2011, the Nature journals joined with Rockefeller University to offer a monthly online panel discussion, Science Online NYC (SONYC) on how the internet is changing science as we know it.   On March 20 the topic was, “Setting the Research Record Straight”  discussing research ethics and retractions, with a strong focus on data-image integrity.  The main presenters were Liz Williams, PhD, executive editor of JCB,  John Krueger, PhD, scientific investigator with the O.R.I, and Ivan Oransky MD, a founder of Retraction Watch. Liz Williams noted that digital publication means that editorial review now continues into perpetuity and includes non-experts.  John Krueger observed that 20% of data-images presented to journals require corrections, and 1% fall into questions relating to fraud.  He pointed out that this 1% is not represented in retractions.   Ivan Oransky emphasized that readers now extend the review process, and, with broad, continuous electronic access,  they can view data-images in unprecedented ways. This extended review period is the new reality in science publishing, yet many of our procedures and standards have not caught up, and there is pent-up demand for guidance on data-image integrity.

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