PIE is an organisation which was developed over a decade ago but only launched recently (14th Nov 2013). Its mission is to establish an ethical publishing environment, to address the main areas of concern in the editorial sector and to promote real editorial freedom among publishers. PIE along with its council, assists editors, authors and publishers to define, understand and achieve the best practice in the ethics of the publishing environment.
I think this is a very positive initiative and it is welcomed worldwide.
I can see that this has taken lots of time and effort from the Council Members to start the tremendous project. Well done.
Agree Bill. This is seriously hard work from Colin Hopper and Waseem Jerjes. Your motivation is unbelievable. We the academic community highly respect your effort to fight the injustice of this system that was designed to serve one party against the the scientists, clinicians and academics who should be leading this. I really look forwards for all the debate issues this respectable organization plan to raise.
Looking forwards to see the future posts from this educational organization.
This first debate post will be posted tomorrow. We encourage everyone to take part in debating the issue posted by P.I.E. We believe in healthy debate and will aim to publish all opinions and views after moderation.
I like the fact that this organisation is purely run by academics. We have waited too long for this initiative and now it is here. Well done.
Yes but please remember Sir that this organization is being attacked by some anonymous entities who are clearly pushed by some serious people who can foresee this Publication Integrity & Ethics as a threat to their way of life in the publishing sector in the future. Hence, these founders of this ethical organization need support from all over the world.
This is all great but dont you think that the Publication Integrity and Ethics needs a layperson to be on the Council. This will definitely give a new perspective to the organization and ensures that all future decisions are not biased and only made for the benefit of scientific research and publishing as well as the public.
Thank you Publication Integrity and Ethics for this blog and I have enjoyed many of the comments made by many of the academics here. We have waited long for such an organization and I truly hope that you will lead the way in ethical guidelines in research. Best of luck to all.
Agree. Looks like an experienced council. Well done guys.
Very few people know about this organization. Please consider contacting institutes in the third world.
We plan to launch a new campaign very soon. Thank you for your support.
This is good news. It is about time that this organisation leads the way in publication integrity and ethics. Well done Colin Hopper, Waseem Jerjes and Tim reeves.
The fact that this organisation is being systematically attacked by anonymous entities, only increase our motive to push forwards and make the Publication Integrity & Ethics the leading organisation in the world when it comes to this discipline. We know we are on the right track. Academics should be leading this discipline and not being influenced by external parties.
I agree Waseem. You guys are doing something unusual and changing the world. Good luck to you, stay focus and keep going.
This is a great organization to be part of. My fear that I see many organizations that start with great ambition and push forwards and after few months, the leading people start to lose interest. The problem is we are all academics and are generally very busy and during the academic year there are deadlines, assessments and work difficulties which lead to the above mentioned problem. My suggestion is to involve a number of people and distribute the duties so there is always a balance and extra work can be shifted from one academic to another during these difficult times. Please note that I am advising and not criticizing.
I still do not understand Sir, why the Publication Integrity and Ethics is not acting and responding to these evil and unjustified attacks which appears to come from some anonymous bloggers, living in the dark who maybe seeking attention and popularity and/or benefiting financially. There should be a code of conduct that organise blogging and the possibility of reporting any concerning behaviour to the authorities here in the UK. The Defamation Act and “Operators of Websites” regulations: in force 1 January 2014 should be used to protect British citizens and British organisations, and especially when all these attacks are originating from entities based in the US. I applaud your discipline in handling this case but sometimes radical measures need to be taken. I hope you agree with me.
Thank you for raising this. An organisation has recently contacted PIE and requested clarification about the issues raised in the posts by these anonymous bloggers. Now this was a formal request and we have responded to all their queries point by point and that was the end of it.
It is very difficult for a British organisation like the Publication Integrity and Ethics that is represented by a world class council of academics to respond to the accusations of anonymous bloggers directly. This means acknowledging these entities which may not even exist and even if they do, why living in the dark and making defamatory statements? It will be healthier to announce who you are and who you work with or represent and contact us formally requesting clarification about any of your concerns. This will actually lead to a healthy debate. However, this is not what these entities want.
Having said that, some of my colleagues are studying our legal options especially when it is believed that one of the bloggers attacking PIE may be linked to some unlawful activities which took place in London end of the last year. In my opinion, it is a real waste of time and effort and we should concentrate on building our new organisation.
Well said Waseem. Greetings from the Middle East.
I agree on the issue of “anonymous bloggers”. Most of these are actually hired by another person/organization to cause damage to newly founded organizations which they see as a threat. Unfortunately almost all of these bloggers are based in the US, the only country in the world where you can avoid prosecution for committing such terrible things. I hope that the Publication Integrity and Ethics would consider opening the subject of these bloggers.
This is true, but the world is changing even in the US. Now there are facilities which uncovers the identity of these bloggers. People are hiring investigators to track and uncover the identity of bloggers or contact the people they are acquainted with. Judges are giving large sums of compensation for defamation cases. There are even calls to give jail terms to some eccentric bloggers. The supreme court is now more alert to the damaging statements made by some of these bloggers and started to write to Google and WordPress. Having said that, most bloggers are good, it is only the small minority that pollute this nice transparent media. We still lack a code of conduct which is desperately needed in the US.
Currently, many issues are surrounding the “anonymous bloggers” problem. I personally don’t recommend reading these blogs or dealing with these bloggers. Legally, if you correspond with them, then you are endorsing them. Lets say that the anonymous person is under investigation by the authorities then you could end up becoming an accomplice. I like academic blogging and I like leaving comments but I want to know who is the blogger and what are the main motives for writing the blog which I think is fair. Lack of transparency always raises red flags about a person and serious concerns.
Transparency is everything. I don’t understand why some people choose not to declare their names when writing online article or blogs. If you have done some serious hard work and uncovered some serious issues, then you would want to be acknowledged for it!!! Unfortunately authors who choose to stay anonymous can have their work discredited almost immediately. Basically you either write clear and confident words and take credit and responsibility for it or stop completely. There is already too much bad literature on the internet and we do not want more. I hope the Publication Integrity and Ethics publishes my comment as it is.
Do you think the Association for Medical Ethics should lead a campaign to expose these people?
There were very successful in their Physician Payment Sunshine Act
See this link: http://www.ethicaldoctor.org/ame-articles/articles-physician-payments-sunshine-act
A campaign seems excessive but what you need is to organise this through some guidelines. I have seen many bad and unethical comments on many anonymous and US blogs websites and that is not all, you should see the comments made on Yahoo and Facebook. To be honest this is becoming a serious concern and I doubt that this will continue in the future. Many comments I have seen are racially based and obvious hatred promoting. The unique ones are created to attack academics and scientists in the most disturbing way by telling true lies. I think people should take responsibility for their actions and defamatory comments should be treated as criminal offenses because they damage people’s lives. Freedom of speech is great but these people are damaging it by telling lies.
I don’t know if you are aware that the US and UK laws are very different when it comes to defamation and freedom of speech:
In the UK, one is considered innocent until proven guilty. Freedom of speech allows you to say anything you like as long as you have evidence. British Courts believe in that and that is why the justice system here is balanced.
In the US, one is considered guilty until proven innocent. Basically, freedom of speech permits you to say anything you like about anyone including lies and you don’t need evidence. It is the other party that needs evidence to prove its innocence.
I still try to get my head around it but….still doesn’t make sense.
Lets concentrate on the future. So far we have produced 14 research integrity and publication ethics guidelines. We have received very positive feedback which suggests that these guidelines are contributing to the advancement of science and of great benefit to the academic community. So we have succeeded and everything else from now on is extra. There is a plan to translate these guidelines into different languages. Also we are working on 5 other guidelines. The blog so far is a success and hopefully the periodical will follow.
A great initiative. The Publication Integrity and Ethics guidelines are very helpful and came in the right time to ensure appropriate protection of the interests of authors, editors and publishers. I like the fact that you offer to facilitate moderation between disputed parties at an early stage before the situation escalates. This is very helpful especially at the time when there is a breakdown in communication between authors/reviewers, editors and or publishers.
I have to say that I enjoyed reading all the Publication Integrity and Ethics guidelines. One comment, you will need some summary guidelines because some of your guidelines are lengthy. Also you need some charts to enhance understanding.
Unfortunately these days there is a real lack of understanding on the difference between plagiarism and similarity in the literature. Sometimes it is used by certain authorities to have monopoly over certain terms in science which is unreasonable, illogical, and inappropriate…I think the fact that some people cant tell which is which is concerning.
Well I think the main problem here is the lack of transparency. If we don’t know the writer of the blog then we don’t know the main motive behind this blog. You have to agree with me here and ask these questions: Who you are? Who do you work for? Who do you work with? Who funds you? What is your academic background (if any)? Do you have any problem with the law? Do you really exist? Why are you targeting a certain group or organisation? Are you getting paid to defame people? Why are you afraid from revealing your true identity?….and most importantly: Why should we believe you?
This is a very valid comment and it really seems to be the talk of the day. I don’t think any decent academic should support or endorse a website or a blog without knowing who is running it. The lack of transparency in these cases is very concerning. Even real whistle-blowers announce themselves and change the world. So why not follow their examples?
Well to be honest transparency in academia is the first step towards ethics and integrity. I know for a fact that many academics have no interest in blogging and posting comments; others may consider being anonymous for various reasons. Although I personally disagree with “failure to declare who you are”, I can see where these people are coming from and understand their reasons.
Now obviously when a blogger decides to start a war against an academic or organisation, then the least we expect is that he/she declares its name and its institution and conflicts of interests.
Anonymous bloggers affiliating themselves with other known academics or organisations aim to raise their profile so the academic community believe them. In reality their profile and status will stay the same: anonymous. The only thing this will bring is bad reputation to the academic or organisation they are being affiliated with. Dear academics and academic organizations, please stay away from the anonymous bloggers.
I have to agree on this point. Recent internal surveys in some top ranked institutes and universities have showed that about 98% of the staff has no interest in blogging or posting comments online. That is why bloggers usually have a dedicated ring (of friends) around them to continue posting comments to ensure that the blogs are ranked top on Google. Many bloggers post comments about their “own” blogs under different names to promote their work.
On the other hand, the surveys showed that 23% will read the comments if accidentally found on Google search and that is why it is an effective tool of defamation in our times. However, there seems to be a general agreement that if the comments or blog are written by anonymous people or people using aliases or simply do not want to be identified, then the information are not reliable and will be treated as suspicious.
Definition of whistle blowing (according to GOV.UK) is when a worker reports suspected wrongdoing at work. Officially this is called ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’.
These people or I should say entities are not working in the public’s interest. They are doing it for their own interests and the interests of their associates.
I think we do need to organise a meeting to discuss the issue of lack of transparency in academia. Anonymous onliners tend to introduce themselves as academics, scientists, lecturers or clinicians, and making all kind of accusations or making up stories about others…These onliners expect the public to believe them but it is difficult to see the possibility of this…
I agree the lack of transparency in academia is a seriously concerning and alarming issue. You cannot believe someone who make serious allegations, especially when this person is not serious enough to declare its real name or who is connected with. This is typical practice of large corporations who pay some entity to attack other or undermine them to eliminate competition or undermine the credibility of honest people. We are seeing increase in these “no yet criminal” practices but the good thing is that the world is changing and soon it will be difficult for someone to hide behind a computer screen and attack, harass, bully or abuse others electronically. The laws are changing quickly and these people will be identified, named and shamed and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
What concerns me is that certain anonymous bloggers are acquainted with some organisations and academics. For example here
(1) An organisation posts a link to the anonymous blogger on its website. This can be interpreted in many ways, if the organisation knows the blogger then the organisation is ethically bound to declare its competing and conflicts of interests when it comes to that blogger and define its relationship with him or her. Now the problem here is how do we know if it is a true or false declaration? …While if the organisation doesn’t have a clue who this person is, then this it worse…if it turns that this person is a criminal or a psychopath…this will then raise many legal and ethical questions. How can you endorse someone that you don’t know if it exists or not?
(2) An academic is acquainted with an anonymous blogger. In my opinion, this is deeply concerning and must be raised with the institute of that academic as it carries many interpretations and may lead to many serious implications. Is the anonymous blogger is the same as the academic? but he/she uses the blog to reflect multiple personalities!!! Is there a beneficial relationship between the academic and the antonymous blogger? It is deeply embarrassing to be associated with someone who is reluctant to announce his/her true identity; it is even worse if you are an academic associated with an anti-academic blogger. If you don’t really know the anonymous blogger that you are endoursing, then as an academic (educated person), the authorities may hold you as an accomplice if any unlawful acts are committed by this blogger.
Well to be honest I don’t have a problem with this at all. If you want to be a tarnished academic or organisation by associating yourself with a “dodgy” anonymous anti-academic blogger then it is your choice. I am sure that both parties are providing beneficial services to each other and it is a successful business for both. What annoys me is that when these anonymous bloggers target decent academics and decent organisations. Many of us have been victims of these entities and maybe this issue needs to be raised, sooner rather than later, with the appropriate authorities.
I agree we have to look into the motives of a respectable academic when he/she chooses to be associated with an anonymous anti-academic blogger. Most likely they are the same person.
One anonymous blogger was known of contacting academics on their personal emails which are read by their families to spread fear. Some bloggers use intimidation as a weapon against academics, which works for a while but then fails to achieve its purpose. This will lead to serious effects on the person’s physical and mental health. Threatened or harassed academics should contact the cyber crime unit in their own country.
I myself have been a victim of an anti-academic blogger. It was an anonymous blogger. We do need Ethical Guidelines to control blogging in our discipline.
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.
– Albert Einstein
I think this organisation is a great idea. I enjoyed reading your guidelines on practice specific issues. We need to use these guidelines in our institute, please advice what needs to be done. Is there a charge?
No permission is required for non-commercial use or redistribution of any part of these guidelines as long as a complete citation is provided.
I dont understand, why do you have different member categories. I have published papers but I am not an editor. Can I join?
Who is eligible for PIE membership?
– Editors-in-chief, editors and authors of publications.
– Peer reviewers and other individuals involved directly or indirectly in the reviewing or publication process.
I just found about the Publication Integrity and Ethics website today. Very useful information. The Council is certainly a nice mix of academics but it looks mainly to be biomedical. Some disciplines are not well represented or not represented at all.
Thank you for the comment. We agree that some scientific disciplines are not well represented on the Council and few are not represented at all. Please note that we are a fairly new organisation and we are trying to fit many issues on our to-do-list. We hope that so far we have been not unsuccessful. We hope to correct this problem in the very near future. Thank you for your support.