How do journals publishing palliative and end-of-life care research report ethical approval and informed consent?

Authors : Tove Godskesen, Knut Jørgen Vie, William Bülow, Bodil Holmberg, Gert Helgesson, Stefan Eriksson

This study explores how papers published in international journals in palliative and end-of-life care report ethical approval and informed consent. A literature search following PRISMA guidelines was conducted in PubMed, the Web of Science Core Collection, Scopus, the ProQuest Social Science Premium Collection, PsycINFO, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL). A total of 169 empirical studies from 101 journals were deductively coded and analysed.

The results showed that 5% of publications provided no information on ethical approval, 12% reported minimal information, 56% reported rudimentary information, and 27% reported comprehensive details. We also found that 13% did not report any information on informed consent, 17% reported minimal information, 50% reported rudimentary information, and 19% reported comprehensive details.

The prevalence of missing and incomplete ethical statements and inadequate reporting of informed consent processes in recent publications raises concerns and highlights the need for improvement. We suggest that journals advocate high reporting standards and potentially reject papers that do not meet ethical requirements, as this is the quickest path to improvement.

URL : How do journals publishing palliative and end-of-life care research report ethical approval and informed consent?


Academia should stop using beall’s lists and review their use in previous studies

Authors : Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Graham Kendall

Academics (should) strive to submit to journals which are academically sound and scholarly. To achieve this, they could either submit to journals that appear exclusively on safelists (occasionally referred to as whitelists, although this term tends to be avoided), or avoid submitting to journals on watchlists (occasionally referred to as blacklists, although this term tends to be avoided).

The most well-known of these lists was curated by Jeffrey Beall. Beall’s Lists (there are two, one for stand-alone journals and one for publishers) were taken offline by Beall himself in January 2017.

Prior to 2017, Beall’s Lists were widely cited and utilized, including to make quantitative claims about scholarly publishing. Even after Beall’s Lists became obsolete (they have not been maintained for the past six years), they continue to be widely cited and used. This paper argues that the use of Beall’s Lists, pre- and post-2017, may constitute a methodological error and, even if papers carry a disclaimer or limitations section noting this weakness, their conclusions cannot always be relied upon.

This paper also argues for the need to conduct a detailed post-publication assessment of reports in the literature that used Beall’s Lists to validate their findings and conclusions, assuming that it becomes accepted that Beall’s Lists are not a reliable resource for scientific investigation.

Finally, this paper contends that any papers that have identified methodological errors should be corrected. Several lists that were cloned from Beall’s Lists have also emerged and are also being cited. These should also be included in any post-publication investigation that is conducted.

URL : Academia should stop using beall’s lists and review their use in previous studies


Open science in Sámi research: Researchers’ dilemmas

Author : Coppélie Cocq

This article discusses the challenges of Indigenous research in relation to open science, more particularly in relation to Sámi research in Sweden. Based on interviews with active scholars in the multidisciplinary field of Sámi studies, and on policy documents by Sámi organizations, this article points at the challenges that can be identified, and the practices and strategies adopted or suggested by researchers.

Topics addressed include ownership, control, sensitivity and accessibility of data, the consequences of experienced limitations, the role of the historical context, and community-groundedness.

This article has the ambition to contribute with a discussion about the tensions between standards of data management/open science and data sovereignty in Indigenous contexts. This is done by bringing in perspectives from Indigenous methodologies (the 4 R) and by contextualizing research practices and forms of data colonialism in relation to our contemporary context of surveillance culture.

Research—in relation to ethics and social sustainability—is an arena where tensions between various agendas becomes obvious. This is illustrated in this article by researchers’ dilemmas when working with open science and the advancement of Indigenous research.

Efforts toward ethically valid and cultural-sensitive modes of data use are taking shape in Indigenous research, calling for an increased awareness about the topic. In the context of Sámi research, the role of academia in such a transformation is also essential.

URL : Open science in Sámi research: Researchers’ dilemmas


Les systèmes d’information recherche : un nouvel objet du questionnement éthique

Auteur/Authors : Joachim Schöpfel, Otmane Azeroual

La politique en faveur de la science ouverte interroge les critères et les procédures de l’évaluation de la recherche, tout en mettant en avant les principes fondamentaux de l’éthique scientifique, comme la transparence, l’ouverture et l’intégrité.

Dans ce contexte, nous menons depuis 2020 une analyse de la dimension éthique des systèmes d’information consacrés à l’évaluation de la recherche (SI recherche).

Cet article présente les résultats d’une enquête internationale conduite en 2021 avec un petit échantillon de professionnels et de chercheurs sur deux aspects : l’éthique comme objet du modèle de données de ces systèmes (métriques), et l’aspect éthique de la mise en place et de l’utilisation de ces systèmes.

La discussion fait le lien avec la qualité de ces systèmes, insiste sur la distinction entre l’évaluation des institutions et des personnes et propose l’analyse de ces systèmes à partir du concept d’une responsabilité morale répartie des infrastructures éthiques (infraéthique).


Open Science Knowledge Production: Addressing Epistemological Challenges and Ethical Implications

Author : Bjørn Hofmann

Open Science (OS) is envisioned to have a wide range of benefits including being more transparent, shared, accessible, and collaboratively developed than traditional science. Despite great enthusiasm, there are also several challenges with OS.

In order to ensure that OS obtains its benefits, these challenges need to be addressed. Accordingly, the objective of this study is to provide an overview of one type of challenge, i.e., epistemological challenges with OS knowledge production, and their ethical implications.

Based on a literature review, it (a) reveals factors undermining the envisioned benefits of OS, (b) identifies negative effects on knowledge production, and (c) exposes epistemological challenges with the various phases of the OS process.

The main epistemic challenges are related to governance, framing, looping effects, proper data procurement, validation, replication, bias, and polarization. The ethical implications are injustice, reduced benefit (efficiency), increased harm (as a consequence of poor-quality science), deception and manipulation (reduced autonomy), and lack of trustworthiness.

Accordingly, to obtain the envisioned benefits of OS, we need to address these epistemological challenges and their ethical implications.

URL : Open Science Knowledge Production: Addressing Epistemological Challenges and Ethical Implications


Editors publishing in their own journals: A systematic review of prevalence and a discussion of normative aspects

Authors : Gert Helgesson, Igor Radun, Jenni Radun, Gustav Nilsonne

Journal editors are the main gatekeepers in scientific publishing. Yet there is a concern that they may receive preferential treatment when submitting manuscripts to their own journals. The prevalence of such self-publishing is not known, nor the consequences for reliability and trustworthiness of published research.

This study aimed to systematically review the literature on the prevalence of editors publishing in their own journals and to conduct a normative ethical analysis of this practice. A systematic review was performed using the following databases: Medline, PsycInfo, Scopus and Web of Science.

Articles that provided primary data about editors publishing in own journals were included. We identified 15 studies meeting inclusion criteria. There was large variability of self-publishing across fields, journals and editors, ranging from those who never published in their own journal to those publishing extensively in their own journal.

Many studies suffered from serious methodological limitations. Nevertheless, our results show that there are settings where levels of self-publication are very high. We recommend that editors-in-chief and associate editors who have considerable power in journals refrain from publishing research articles in their own journals. Journals should have clear processes in place about the treatment of articles submitted by editorial board members.

URL : Editors publishing in their own journals: A systematic review of prevalence and a discussion of normative aspects


Predatory journals and publishers: Characteristics and impact of academic spam to researchers in educational sciences

Authors : Jaume Sureda-Negre, Aina Calvo-Sastre, Rubén Comas-Forgas

This study focuses on the phenomenon of presumed predatory scientific publications in the field of Educational Sciences, and the utilization of email by editors to request manuscripts. It examined, using content analysis methods, 210 emails received by three professors of the field of Education, at a Spanish university with different research profiles over a period of 3 months.

Through analysis of the unsolicited emails a total of 139 journals and 37 publishers were identified and examined using: (a) the two main predatory journal inventories (Beall’s list and Cabells’ Predatory Reports), and (b) six of the major scientific bibliographic databases. The publishers and their websites were also analyzed, as well as the basic aspects of the emails’ content.

The majority of the unsolicited emails were from predatory journals or publishers and half of the article requests did not match the field of the recipient. In addition, it is relevant to note that more than half of the domains of predatory publishers analysed have untrustworthy security levels.

The data provided relevant information on the phenomenon of predation in scientific publications in the field of Education and, most importantly, provided evidence for developing training and preventive strategies to tackle it.

URL : Predatory journals and publishers: Characteristics and impact of academic spam to researchers in educational sciences