Special Issue
Research Integrity
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  • Opinion
    Sichao Tong, Zhesi Shen, Tian-Yuan Huang, Liying Yang
    Journal of Data and Information Science. 2022, 7(2): 4-5. https://doi.org/10.2478/jdis-2022-0013
  • Research Note
    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Serhii Nazarovets
    Journal of Data and Information Science. 2023, 8(2): 118-125. https://doi.org/10.2478/jdis-2023-0009

    Cancer research is occasionally described as being in a reproducibility crisis. The cancer literature has ample papers retracted due to misconduct, including the use of paper mills, invalid authorship, or fake data. The objective of this paper was to gain an appreciation of the balance of retractions and associated retraction notices of 23 retracted Cancer Biotherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals papers associated with paper mills. By 23 March 2023, these retracted papers had already accumulated 287 citations according to Web of Science Core Collection, 253 according to Scopus, and 365 according to Google Scholar, i.e., metrically speaking, they were highly rewarded. All authors had an affiliation (71% being a hospital) in China. Most (12/21; 57%) of corresponding authors had emails with a @163.com suffix. Four of the retraction notices (i.e., 17%) explicitly indicated paper mills as a reason for retraction although, in general, the retraction notices lacked details and background that could assist readers’ understanding of the retractions.

  • Perspective
    Sabina Alam, Laura Wilson
    Journal of Data and Information Science. 2023, 8(3): 1-14. https://doi.org/10.2478/jdis-2023-0018

    It is imperative that all stakeholders within the research ecosystem take responsibility to improve research integrity and reliability of published research. Based on the unique experiences of a specialist publishing ethics and research integrity team within a major publisher, this article provides insights into the observed trends of misconduct and how those have evolved over time, and addresses key actions needed to improve the interface between researchers, funders, institutions and publishers to collectively improve research integrity on a global scale.

  • Research Papers
    Zi-han Yuan, Yi Liu
    Journal of Data and Information Science. 2023, 8(4): 84-101. https://doi.org/10.2478/jdis-2023-0022

    Purpose: The number of retracted papers from Chinese university-affiliated hospitals is increasing, which has raised much concern. The aim of this study is to analyze the retracted papers from university-affiliated hospitals in mainland China from 2000 to 2021.

    Design/methodology/approach: Data for 1,031 retracted papers were identified from the Web of Science Core collection database. The information of the hospitals involved was obtained from their official websites. We analyzed the chronological changes, journal distribution, discipline distribution and retraction reasons for the retracted papers. The grade and geographic locations of the hospitals involved were explored as well.

    Findings: We found a rapid increase in the number of retracted papers, while the retraction time interval is decreasing. The main reasons for retraction are plagiarism/self-plagiarism (n=255), invalid data/images/conclusions (n=212), fake peer review (n=175) and honesty error(n=163). The disciplines are mainly distributed in oncology (n=320), pharmacology & pharmacy (n=198) and research & experimental medicine (n=166). About 43.8% of the retracted papers were from hospitals affiliated with prestigious universities.

    Research limitations: This study fails to differentiate between retractions due to honest error and retractions due to research misconduct. We believe that there is a fundamental difference between honest error retractions and misconduct retractions. Another limitation is that authors of the retracted papers have not been analyzed in this study.

    Practical implications: This study provides a reference for addressing research misconduct in Chinese university-affiliated hospitals. It is our recommendation that universities and hospitals should educate all their staff about the basic norms of research integrity, punish authors of scientific misconduct retracted papers, and reform the unreasonable evaluation system.

    Originality/value: Based on the analysis of retracted papers, this study further analyzes the characteristics of institutions of retracted papers, which may deepen the research on retracted papers and provide a new perspective to understand the retraction phenomenon.

  • Research Papers
    Ping Ni, Lianhui Shan, Yong Li, Xinying An
    Journal of Data and Information Science. 2023, 8(4): 36-48. https://doi.org/10.2478/jdis-2023-0024

    Purpose: To reveal the typical features of text duplication in papers from four medical fields: basic medicine, health management, pharmacology and pharmacy, and public health and preventive medicine. To analyze the reasons for duplication and provide suggestions for the management of medical academic misconduct.

    Design/methodology/approach: In total, 2,469 representative Chinese journal papers were included in our research, which were submitted by researchers in 2020 and 2021. A plagiarism check was carried out using the Academic Misconduct Literature Check System (AMLC). We generated a corrected similarity index based on the AMLC general similarity index for further analysis. We compared the similarity indices of papers in four medical fields and revealed their trends over time; differences in similarity index between review and research articles were also analyzed according to the different fields. Further analysis of 143 papers suspected of plagiarism was also performed from the perspective of sections containing duplication and according to the field of research.

    Findings: Papers in the field of pharmacology and pharmacy had the highest similarity index (8.67 ± 5.92%), which was significantly higher than that in other fields, except health management. The similarity index of review articles (9.77 ± 10.28%) was significantly higher than that of research articles (7.41 ± 6.26%). In total, 143 papers were suspected of plagiarism (5.80%) with similarity indices ≥ 15%; most were papers on health management (78, 54.55%), followed by public health and preventive medicine (38, 26.58%); 90.21% of the 143 papers had duplication in multiple sections, while only 9.79% had duplication in a single section. The distribution of sections with duplication varied among different fields; papers in pharmacology and pharmacy were more likely to have duplication in the data/methods and introduction/background sections, however, papers in health management were more likely to contain duplication in the introduction/background or results/discussion sections. Different structures for papers in different fields may have caused these differences.

    Research limitations: There were three limitations to our research. Firstly, we observed that a small number of papers have been checked early. It is unknown who conducted the plagiarism check as this can be included in other evaluations, such as applications for Science and technology projects or awards. If the authors carried out the check, text with high similarity indices may have been excluded before submission, meaning the similarity index in our research may have been lower than the original value. Secondly, there were only four medical fields included in our research. Additional analysis on a wider scale is required in the future. Thirdly, only a general similarity index was calculated in our study; other similarity indices were not tested.

    Practical implications: A comprehensive analysis of similarity indices in four medical fields was performed. We made several recommendations for the supervision of medical academic misconduct and the formation of criteria for defining suspected plagiarism for medical papers, as well as for the improved accuracy of text duplication checks.

    Originality/value: We quantified the differences between the AMLC general similarity index and the corrected index, described the situation around text duplication and plagiarism in papers from four medical fields, and revealed differences in similarity indices between different article types. We also revealed differences in the sections containing duplication for papers with suspected plagiarism among different fields.