[conduct your own peer-review: not!]

The latest science scam: Peer-reviewing your own paper

A few professional scientists have found a sneaky way to cheat their way up the career ladder: They evaluate their own research by pretending to be someone else.
Scientists publish their research findings through academic journals, which check the work with independent experts before running with it.
This independent checking is called peer review. But journals have retracted dozens of research papers in recent months after learning that peer reviews were faked.
In Pakistan, for example, one economist has been named and shamed for faking positive reviews on 16 papers printed by the giant publishing company Elsevier.
The practice has moved the issue of research fraud out of the realm of shadowy, “predatory” websites that print anything for money and squarely into the mainstream of academic publishing.
Here’s how the scam works.
Suppose you’re a scientist and you do some research. You want a journal to publish it. And the journal asks you who has the expertise to do the peer review.
Everyone knows Prof. Smith is the go-to expert. The problem is, he or she might not like your work.
So you set up a fake email account, using a slight tweaking of Smith’s name or university, and you ask the journal to send your work there for review. The editor agrees.
Now you have the keys to the bank, so to speak. You can review your own work, pretending to be Prof. Smith. And since peer review is often done anonymously, poor old Smith will never know a thing.
The scam is rare among the more than one million research papers published each year. But organized agencies have begun marketing fraudulent peer review as a commercial service to scientists who aren’t able to fake it themselves, according to the Committee on Publication Ethics, an international body that supports academic journals.
The committee has issued a special warning, saying it “has become aware of systematic, inappropriate attempts to manipulate the peer review processes of several journals across different publishers. These manipulations appear to have been orchestrated by a number of third-party agencies offering services to authors.”
It says evidence “suggests that some agencies are selling services, ranging from authorship of pre-written manuscripts to providing fabricated contact details for peer reviewers during the submission process and then supplying reviews from these fabricated addresses. Some of these peer reviewer accounts have the names of seemingly real researchers but with email addresses that differ from those from their institutions or associated with their previous publications, (while) others appear to be completely fictitious.”
How bad is it?
Retraction Watch, an independent blog that tracks retractions both for innocent mistakes and for misconduct, says it has found more than 100 papers with faked peer reviews.
A single (major) publisher, BioMed Central, found more than 50 cases. One journal on sound and acoustics, Journal of Vibration and Control, retracted 60 from a single author who had used 130 email accounts.
Two more cases popped up in December. The journal Medicine announced in each case: “A review, based on which the editorial decision had been made, was found to be falsified. Using a fictitious account, a review was submitted under the name of a known scientist without their knowledge. Consequently, the Editor supervising the review process was misled.”
Bruce Dancik is the editor-in-chief of Ottawa-based Canadian Science Publishing. He first heard of the practice at a conference last year.
“The person from a medical journal who first caught this came up (and described it). We all had quite a chuckle and wondered: ‘How could this happen?'”
That case was detected “because the author was stupid enough to return (complete) a review within 24 hours. And it never happens that fast. Never, ever happens. And it was a glowing review, which caused them to look extra hard. . . . We couldn’t believe the chutzpah of the author.”
Mostly he believes the scam is hitting medical journals. But he has also warned the editors of his company’s 16 journals to watch for it.
Retraction Watch advises editors to be “alert but not alarmed” because the practice is not widespread.


[top 3 free social media marketing tools & analysis]

The Smart Insights blog always has useful information for anyone in marketing or communications. Today's post with links to free tools is something readers of this blog may find interesting. For the full list visit their blog post but here's a round-up of some of the ones I use too:

  • Reviewing the latest developments in your industry

There still isn’t a better alternative than Google Alerts for reviewing mentions of your brand name, competitor or sector names by entering keywords, so it’s widely used.
Although RSS isn’t “in vogue” as it was 5+ years ago, I still find there’s no substitute for using this as a listening post for developments in your industry. When I wrote the previous post I used Google Reader to categorise sites to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in digital. When Google withdrew this since there was no revenue in it (Boo!) I used Reeder as an offline client on my Macbook Air and iOS for a while. But now I recommend Feedly since it’s the most popular so you can see by the ‘voice of the crowd’ which posts are most popular.  Similar to the feature in PostRank that Google also killed off. Although feed readers aren’t in fashion they are the most efficient way to scan the latest news in different categories. So if you don’t use them try Feedly out – our analytics shows it’s one of the most common referrers to Smart Insights – do bookmark us!
Feedly tool 2015

  • Managing social media updates

I’ve used Hootsuite for posting updates to social networks and reviewing what others are saying for nearly five years now after using Tweetdeck back in the day – Twitter killed that one off for general use. Hootsuite seems to be comfortably the most popular free tool for posting and reviewing social media updates, but many still don’t know it, it can be used as a personal social media management tool too. It enables you to quickly post to all the main social networks including Google+ company pages and review conversations and messages. I’ve trialled many paid tools, but none come close. The paid version is worthwhile IMO for adding campaign tracking and extra reports.

With search still driving the majority of visits, leads and sales for most businesses online, I believe that even marketers who outsource their SEO need to understand different types of customer behaviour when searching to help develop strategies for getting visibility AND creating content and messages to help meet consumer needs.
When I first wrote this post I recommended the Google Keyword Tool, but now it’s been renamed to the Google Keyword Planner, but is still an indispensable tool alongside the Google Webmaster Tools integration now that The Growth of Not Provided keywords means we can’t use analytics reliably to find referring keywords.  The Google Keyword Planner (tutorial) is still indispensable for this – I don’t think I have ever done a client training or consulting project where I haven’t used it! It’s harder to get to now it’s integrated into Google AdWords, but it’s still free if you don’t invest in AdWords.
Google keyword tool tutorial
Google Insights for search has now been folded into Google Trends essential for understanding seasonal search behaviour trends in different countries.
Google also has additional SEO analysis tools from Google Webmaster Tools which you can embed into Google Analytics as described by James Gurd in this post.
Ubersuggest is also useful for summarising the Suggest/Autocomplete behaviour in different countries to check your covering the main behaviours.
As I was researching this post for 2015 I noticed a new ‘Tool on the Block’ for keyword analysis – check outKeywordTool.io. It’s like UberSuggest, but with better formatting – I often use this to show how local consumer behaviour differs, for example I was giving a training workshop to a Shredders manufacturer – quite a different term en France par example:
KeyWord Tool example

  • On-page markup analysis for SEO

Hubspots Site, now Marketing Grader for reviewing on-page for SEO is often mentioned as a useful tool by people on courses.
For reviewing on-page markup like headings and also mobile screen resizing I find Chris Pederick’s Web Developer Toolbar for Chrome and Firefox essential. The Moz Toolbar is better from an SEO POV. Here’s an example of the overlay to show our ‘semantic markup':


[real teaching: pedagogy of the whole student; not just test scores]

Designing a Whole-Child Accountability System
This event takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, 2 to 3 p.m. ET.
Join us for this webinar from our Education Week Leaders To Learn From virtual event series. The annual Leaders To Learn From special report shines a light on forward-thinking district leaders who seize on good ideas and execute them well in their school systems. Throughout 2015, we'll host webinars, live chats, and more virtual events related to this year's Leaders.

Find out more at edweek.org/leaders.

To be considered successful in Tacoma, Wash., schools must show they can deliver a lot more than good test scores. They should be able to involve many children in extracurricular activities, attract lots of adult volunteers, and reconnect with teenagers who have dropped out. They need to spark praise from parents and students for providing a safe and engaging place to study. They have to reach into their communities to make sure all eligible children take advantage of district preK and full-day kindergarten. They should be able to brag about how many students are taking college-level courses.

They also have to show strong student performance, and growth, on state tests. Typically, districts judge their schools’ success by state test scores, attendance and graduation rates, reflecting their state’s chosen accountability metrics. But this district of 30,000 students has pioneered a local accountability system with a much broader conception of success. Join this webinar to discover how to design a whole-child accountability system for your district.

Josh Garcia, deputy superintendent, Tacoma public schools, Wash.

Jennifer Davis Poon, director, Innovation Lab Network, Council of Chief State School Officers


Catherine Gewertz, associate editor, Education Week
Underwriting for the content of this webinar has been provided by The Atlantic Philanthropies, NoVo Foundation, The Raikes Foundation, and The California Endowment.
References to products or services in the course of this webinar do not constitute endorsements by Education Week or Editorial Projects in Education.
Closed-captioning is available for this event. On the date of the event, you can log in as early as 15 minutes before the start of the webinar. Open the “Closed-Captioning” link from the “handouts folder” (located at the bottom of the console) to access Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART). A transcript will also be available for download from the handouts folder within three business days after the event.
Registration is required to attend this event. Please register now.


[tinkering and experimentation are good for creativity]

I was reading an excerpt of a book on Yahoo's current CEO, Marissa Mayer and how she managed to get the company going in a different direction: successful and quicker-moving. (And yes, not everyone agrees that her role has been positive etc....but...) I think the idea to fail; tinker, experiment and move on, may be risky but so beneficial to learning and creating.

"The first and foremost is: It’s totally okay to fail; you just need to fail fast, right? So the idea is: Go ahead, take a chance, fail. Maybe you succeed, maybe you fail, but if you don’t end up overinvesting [sic] a ton of time in it, you can move on and do the next thing."

MARISSA MAYER AND THE FIGHT TO SAVE YAHOO! by Nicholas Carlson. You can purchase the book on amazon.com and .ca but only .com has the "look inside" option.


[norway and design: ahead of the pack]

Gee, Norway has come up with some brilliant, beautiful and functional ideas. They have made money that actually looks beautiful....I don't know if I would dare spend it...perhaps better to frame it? And just look at the amazing new passports. Wow. They even change to show a night-time landscape when under UV light. Who wouldn't want to suddenly become Norwegian...

Image from PSFK

Image from PSFK

Norway's New Banknotes Are Works of Art

The country's redesigned currency will feature images by architecture firm Snøhetta and graphic design company The Metric System.
Call it more evidence of the endless commercialization of design; call it another reason to be thankful Norway never joined the Euro; call it kroner gone kreative. In any case, Norway's new banknotes, unveiled this week, are literally works of art. Norges Bank, the central bank of Norway, asked eight different designers to submit their proposals for the redesigned currency, to be put into circulation in 2017, and the winning design features images by Norwegian architecture firmSnøhetta on one side and Oslo-based graphic design firm The Metric System on the other.
Snøhetta, which has offices in Oslo and New York, has designed some of Norway's most iconic buildings, including the Oslo Opera House, a contemporary structure modeled after an iceberg that appears to seep into the Oslofjord below it.
Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
The company is also currently working on the expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the reconstruction of Times Square, and recently finished the September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York. Its designs for the 50-, 200-, 500-, and 1000-kroner notes feature pixellated images of the Norwegian coastline distorted in accordance with the Beaufort wind scale—the 50 kroner note resembles a Pointillist painting, illustrated in small, even squares, while the 1000 kroner note depicts broad lines in deep shades of purple.
On the reverse side of the notes are more conventional designs incorporating both images traditional to Norway (a Viking ship, a lighthouse, and yes, even a fish) and the necessary watermarks and serial numbers.
The new notes will replace designs introduced in the '90s and early '00s featuring such pillars of Norwegian culture as magnetism researcher Kristian Birkeland, opera singer Kirsten Flagstad, and painter Edvard Munch. This isn't the first time that art has been incorporated into the kroner: The 1000-kroner note features a portrait of Munch on one side and an image from his expressionist painting, “The Sun,” on the other.
Norges Bank has released a brochure featuring all the submitted designs; you can view it here, and even read it (if you speak Norwegian). And for those experiencing currency envy, here's a slideshow of alternative designs submitted to the website Dollar ReDe$ign Project, featuring everyone from Neil Armstrong to Marilyn Monroe.