More and more papers are published every year. Just look at the graphic above (and DBLP already does a good job in filtering out most predatory journals!). It’s probably true that we publish more high-quality research than ever. But it’s also true that we publish more rubbish than ever as well. After so many years of limited opening in academia, the “publish or perish” pressure and the all the “opportunities” predatory journals offer for quick publication of research results (or an easy way to become an editor of a special issue for the first time!) is tempting.
This is why I’m thrilled to see (and sign) the initiative on Ethical Authorship that complements other ongoing initiatives (like DORA) to emphasize the need for a more qualitative approach to scientific publication and evaluation. With this, I don’t mean quantitative metrics are not necessary at all. They are (IMHO), but balanced with a qualitative evaluation.
The key practices promoted by the Ethical Authorship manifesto are:
- I will not publish in predatory journals
- I will not sign as author of a paper to which I have not significantly contributed
- I will not include any unnecessary citations (especially self-citations)
- I will advocate, apply and promote these practices in all research evaluations in which I participate
To the list, I’d also add, avoid “salami slicing” your research into ‘least publishable units’ to maximize the number of publications around a single contribution.
To read more about this proposal, go to https://ethicalauthorship.github.io/ . And if you agree, sign it and share with others.
Obviously, this is not about pointing fingers. We have all made these mistakes. The point is to communicate to the new generation of researchers what, we believe, should be the standard behavior of an ethical researcher.