New York Blog

March’s SoNYC: On setting the research record straight – Introduction

It’s time to share some details of the latest Science Online NYC (SoNYC). This month’s event will take place on Tuesday 20th March at Rockefeller University from 7pm EST. You can also watch online via our Livestream channel. The topic for discussion is:  Setting the research record straight

The internet has enabled the faster and more thorough dissemination of published science, meaning that more eyes than ever are available to check the accuracy, veracity and integrity of the research record. With our enhanced ability to spot plagiarism and image manipulation electronically, it appears that the frequency with which we’ve flagged potentially fraudulent or plagiarized papers has gone up. This panel will look at the trends in retractions and how they relate to real or perceived increases in research misconduct. We hope to discuss what steps publications are taking to deal with the sloppy or fraudulent research practices that sometimes result in retractions, and also what research institutions are doing to investigate and deter such practices. Is the system broken, and what can researchers do to help fix it if it is?


– John Krueger of the Office of Research Integrity.

– Ivan Oransky, Executive Editor, Reuters Health and one of the people behind the Retraction Watch blog.

– Liz Williams, Executive Editor, The Journal of Cell Biology.

The event is free to attend and includes the opportunity to meet the panelists and other attendees afterwards. If you’d like to follow the online discussion, keep an eye on the #sonyc hashtag or check back here for our write-up and Storify of the online conversations.  There’s also a SoNYC Twitter account and Facebook page where you can find information and do check out our NYC Science Communication events calendar that lists this event and others.

Preparing for the discussion 

To prepare for the upcoming discussion, we’re running a series of guest posts here on Of Schemes and Memes. In our series we will consider examples of research misconduct, look at what publications are doing to prevent fraudulent research and discuss the role of social media in exposing dishonesty.

If you would like to contribute to this series please do get in touch, or leave a comment in the thread.

What role can peer review play in keeping the research record straight?

Last week various representatives from Nature were in Vancouver, B.C for the The American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, an annual gathering and one of the most widely recognised global science events. The programme included a mix of plenary talks, smaller discussions and scientific exhibits.

One particular discussion, “Accelerating Scientific Progress Through Public Availability of Research Data” touched on some of the issues relevant to March’s SoNYC and addressed a range of questions.  Can peer review can help to detect fraud? How can technology and certain software programmes be used to help? What about fraudulent images? You can find a Storify summary below, collating this online conversation.  Do let us know if we have missed anything and check out the official conference hashtag, #AAASmtg.



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