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Integrity Under Attack: The State of Scholarly Publishing
 

Summary: Integrity Under Attack:
The State of Scholarly Publishing
By Douglas N. Arnold
Scientific journals are surely important. They provide the most effective means for disseminating and
archiving scientific results, and so are a key part of an enterprise on which our health, security, and
prosperity ultimately depend. Publications are used by universities, funding agencies, and others as a
primary measure of research productivity and impact. They play a decisive role in hiring, promotion,
and salary decisions, and in the ranking of departments, institutions, even nations. With big rewards
tied to publication, it is not surprising that some people engage in unethical behavior, abuse, and
downright fraud. Still, when I started to look at the issues more closely, I was appalled by what I
found. In this column, I give a few troubling examples of misconduct by authors and by journals in
applied mathematics. One conclusion I draw is that common bibliometrics--such as the impact factor
for journals and citation counts for authors--are easily manipulated not only in theory, but also in
practice, and that their use in ranking and judging should be curtailed.
SIAM places great value on scholarly publishing, of course, and we are taking strong actions to ensure
the integrity of our own publications and to protect our authors from theft of their work. But we are
still struggling to decide just what actions we should take. So I invite the thoughts of members of the
SIAM community. If you have witnessed troubling incidents in journal publication, let me know. Do
you think such incidents are on the rise? Should SIAM be doing more? Should we look beyond our
own publications and authors?

  

Source: Arnold, Douglas N. - School of Mathematics, University of Minnesota
Olver, Peter - School of Mathematics, University of Minnesota

 

Collections: Mathematics