Role of Editors and Journals in Detecting and Preventing Scientific Misconduct: Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats
Medicine and Law: The World Association for Medical Law 2007 September; 26(3): 545-566
Scientific journals have a central place in protecting research integrity because published articles are the most visible documentation of research. We used SWOT analysis to audit (S)trengths and (W)eaknesses as internal and (O)pportunities and (T)hreats as external factors affecting journals' responsibility in addressing research integrity issues. Strengths include editorial independence, authority and expertise, power to formulate editorial policies, and responsibility for the integrity of published records. Weaknesses stem from having no mandate for legal action, reluctance to get involved, and lack of training. Opportunities for editors are new technologies for detecting misconduct, policies by editorial organization or national institutions, and greater transparency of published research. Editors face threats from the lack of legal regulation and culture of research integrity in academic communities, lack of support from stakeholders in scientific publishing, and different pressures. Journal editors cannot be the policing force of the scientific community but they should actively ensure the integrity of the scientific record.
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