European Academic Integrity Week 2021

Monday October 18th: ENAI working group for Ethical Publishing and Dissemination: “Putting our trust in academic publications – how can we know whether the research and results are reliable?”

Putting our trust in academic publications – how can we know whether the research and results are reliable?

Publishing in academic journals and presenting at academic conferences are central to the way new science is disseminated. Students, researchers and academics rely on reputable journals to provide reliable peer-reviewed academic papers to understand the latest ideas and as a foundation for their own new research. Early career researchers (ECRs) have a particular need to publish their research; for some researchers publishing in a reputable journal is mandatory for the award of a doctorate (Glendinning et al 2019; Glendinning et al 2021). In many countries academics need to maintain an annual quota of publications just to remain in post or to secure a more senior appointment, especially for a professorship (Glendinning et al 2019). But even when a journal is indexed by Scopus or Web of Science there is no guarantee of quality or accuracy in the published papers (Macháček & Srholec 2020; Savina & Sterigov 2016).

Getting a paper accepted by a top-ranking journal can be difficult and time-consuming, so what is the alternative? Academics can receive many invitations to submit their research findings to journals and conferences, but not all these invitations are from reputable organisations. Given the pressures faced by researchers and academics, it is understandable for some academics to question whether it matters if the dissemination channel is not the most prestigious, as long as the publication is accepted by the editorial board and either published in a journal or presented at a conference somewhere.

In reality there is a thriving industry of questionable, poor quality and downright bogus publishers, often categorised as (probably/potentially) predatory publishers, journals and conferences (PPJs+), that is serving this huge market-led demand for a quick-fix to publication and dissemination quotas (Burdick 2017). Not only do PPJs+ provide a rapid turn-around time from submission to publication, with very regular editions for almost any research speciality, but the rapid and light peer review process is designed to ensure that no submission is ever rejected, regardless of how bizarre the topic (Bohannon 2013), for payment of a fee of course.

Publishing in PPJs+ is not the answer to these problems. At the very least it is a waste of money, but it can ruin reputations and halt career progression. It is essential that all academics, but particularly ECRs, are made aware of the dangers that can arise from academic publishing and dissemination, and know how to avoid them.

There are serious signs of change, for example according to a recent report in Times Higher Education, “growing numbers of Chinese universities are dropping the requirement for PhD students to publish” before they can graduate (THE 2021). It is to be hoped that national policy makers and HE providers in other countries will recognise that all forms of “publish or perish” incentives can degrade rather than improve quality and standards of research.

By running training course for ECRs and webinars like this, the ENAI working group Ethical Publishing and Dissemination (EPAD), is helping to get the message out to all researchers, at any stage of their career, that they need to take great care where they publish and disseminate their research to ensure that it is suitably checked and curated, reaches the right audience and remains available for access by future researchers. The webinar will also provide guidance and access to useful resources.

References.

Bohannon, J. (2013). Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?  Science 4th Oct 2013, vol 342, issue 6154, pp60-65, DOI 10.1126/science.342.6154.60

Burdick, A. (2017. “Paging Dr Fraud”: The fake publishers that are ruining science.  The New Yorker, 22nd March 2017. https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/paging-dr-fraud-the-fake-publishers-that-are-ruining-science

Glendinning, I., Orim, S., King, A. (2019). Policies and Actions of Accreditation and Quality Assurance Bodies to Counter Corruption in Higher Education, published by CHEA / CIQG 2019. Executive summary, full report and media coverage: https://www.chea.org/quality-assurance-combatting-academic-corruption-resources

Glendinning, I., Foltýnek, T., Dlabolová, D., Jana Dannhoferová, J., Králíková, V., Michalska, A., Orim, S., Turčínek, P. (2021). Project on Academic Integrity in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Turkey, Council of Europe. Forthcoming: http://www.plagiarism.cz/paickt

Macháček, V, Srholec, M. (2020). Predatory Publishing in Scopus: evidence on cross-country differences. © Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2021, Scientometrics, Springer

Savina, T., Sterligov, I. (2016). Prevalence of Potentially Predatory Publishing in Scopus on the Country Level.  PowerPoint presentation at Aalborg University 4/11/2-16. (https://figshare.com/articles/Potentially_Predatory_Journals_in_Scopus_Descriptive_Statistics_and_Country-level_Dynamics_NWB_2016_presentation_slides_/4249394

THE (2021). Leading Chinese universities axe publication condition for PhDs. Times Higher Education 15th April 2021, p11.

 

Tuesday October 19th: Shiva Sivasubramaniam & Zeenath Reza Khan: “Understanding ethics and ethical behaviour beyond the realm of medical practice and clinical research”

Ethics and ethical behaviour affect the character development of any individual. It would create an honest environment amongst different communities (such as general, business, academic or research) It helps to develop positive character qualities. The elements that enhance positive ethical culture include, leadership that take ownership of ethical behaviour, individual sense of belonging to the community by owning ethics/ethical behaviour, mutual respects amongst academics/researcher and other stakeholders, reflection (learning from mistakes) etc. In fact ethics affects everyone and it should form a part of our life. This workshop will focus on the importance of ethics and ethical behaviour is different fields outside the traditional medical/clinical research, where there are several well established ethical guidelines. Starting with the historical prospects (and the lessons learnt) from the past, the workshop would highlight the importance on ethics/ethical guidance in academic behaviour and research. Then it would move towards comparative analysis of the needs for “ethical thinking” between medical/clinical and other fields (such as education, teaching, IT, business and economics). The workshop would emphasise the importance of “asking the right questions and thinking proactively according to the research aims, context, and participants, methodologies and data handling/storage to maintain integrity throughout and beyond the research period. The instructors will use several day-to-day scenarios (in the form of dramatized videos) to put forward different real-life examples in which ethical behaviour is expected.

The session is suitable for all young researchers, post-doctoral fellows and early career researchers. We aim to be interactive giving plenty of time for discussions and clarifying audience questions from audience.

Takeaways:

  1. Develop understanding of the needs for “ethical thinking prior to commencing research
  2. Enhancing the understanding of international ethical codes/guidelines
  3. Measures to avoid research misconducts

Duration: 90min

Instructors: Dr Shivadas Sivasubramaniam (University of Derby, UK) and Dr Zeenath Reza Khan (University of Wollongong in Dubai, UAE)

 

Thursday October 21st : ENAI working group Academic Integrity Surveys: “Good Teaching Practices to Promote Academic Integrity”

 

Title: Good Teaching Practices to Promote Academic Integrity

Proposed by: ENAI Academic Integrity Surveys Working Group

Contact email: inga.gaizauskaite@academicintegrity.eu

 

Course design, assessment practices, effective communication between students and teachers are among the prerequisites of a learning environment that promotes academic integrity. The teacher’s role in guiding student integrity both inside and outside the learning environment is significant. Furthermore, teachers should be the first to notice and take action about student dishonesty.

The European Network for Academic Integrity (ENAI) offers a set of freely available self-evaluation tools, consisting of separate on-line questionnaires for students, teachers, managers and researchers. These tools are designed to encourage respondents to reflect on their academic practice, by asking searching questions and providing useful feedback. The ENAI Academic Integrity Surveys Working Group, responsible for running this webinar, continues to maintain and develop these resources.

The webinar combines two exercises. First, we invite participants to try out selected segments of the Academic Integrity Self-Evaluation Tool for Teachers (AISETT). AISETT encourages teachers to reflect upon their teaching approach, practices, knowledge and skills in relation to academic integrity. It consists of five sections: approach to teaching and student motivation; interaction with students and guidance about integrity; awareness of institutional policies; dealing with student dishonesty; knowledge and skills about plagiarism and academic writing.

Second, after consideration of the feedback provided by AISETT, we will open up a discussion and exchange with participants on what teaching practices can foster culture of academic integrity in the learning environment.

The interactive webinar aims to share ideas that can be applied in teaching and learning. Although the webinar focuses on teaching practices, it is open for teachers, students and other parties involved in the study process. We encourage sharing multiple perspectives on the best ways to create an integrity-oriented learning environment.

 

 

Friday October 22nd: Dita Henek Dlabolová & Tomáš Foltýnek: “Interpreting text-matching software similarity reports”

 

Dita Henek Dlabolová & Tomáš Foltýnek

Mendel University in Brno, Czechia

 

This is a follow-up workshop to one of the most successful educational activities of the European Network for Academic Integrity – the workshop “Where is the borderline of plagiarism” (ENAI, n.d.), which has been presented at numerous events with great success. Participants of the workshop often asked for a continuation, to deal with selected topics more in detail.

Interpreting text-matching software similarity reports is a challenging task requiring expertise and experience. Percentages presented by the system usually do not convey much useful information. Each report has to be carefully evaluated by humans. Their task is to distinguish false positives caused by random matches from possible seeds of disguised plagiarism, identify translation or paraphrase plagiarism, and spot other oddities that may indicate that some parts of the submitted document were taken from elsewhere. Although lots of universities use various text-matching software tools, only some of them organize sufficient training for their staff (Foltýnek & Glendinning, 2015). This workshop aims to fill this gap. The workshop is not specific to any text-matching software, it focuses on general features of disguised plagiarism and on how to discover it.

 

There are three learning outcomes of the workshop:

  1. Understand the pros and cons of different institutional approaches to plagiarism cases
  2. Learn more about the advantages and pitfalls of text-matching software tools
  3. Be able to objectively judge a text-matching similarity report

 

The core activity of the workshop is a judgement of two cases of suspicion of plagiarism. The task of the participants will be to decide whether the given case is plagiarism or not by interpretation of a report from a text-matching software. Both cases are prepared artificially but they are based on real student assignments. None of them can be decided at first sight, so their aim is to simulate real cases which a teacher might need to deal with when deciding about plagiarism. The reports do not come from any particular text-matching software. They were also created artificially based on features which are common in reports of the wide-spread text-matching tools, so that the activity is independent of software available at institutions of workshop participants.

 

Further, there will be a space for discussion and sharing experience.

 

The workshop outline is as follows:

  • Definition of plagiarism
  • Institutional processes dealing with plagiarism
    • Sharing examples of good practice
    • Pros and cons of particular scenarios
  • Results of the project Testing of Support Tools for Plagiarism Detection (Foltýnek et al., 2020)
    • What text-matching tools are capable of?
    • What are their advantages and pitfalls?
  • The core of the workshop: Interpreting the reports: Judgement of the cases
    • A pair of cases with the same percentage. Which of them is plagiarism and which is a false positive?
  • Prevention of plagiarism
    • Addressing all sides of the Fraud triangle
    • Preventative measures substantiated by scientific literature

 

During the workshop, participants will be encouraged to share their personal experience not only with specific cases, but mainly with institutional processes, policies, and preventative measures. The discussion will be interlaced with the results of several international research projects.

 

References:

Foltýnek, T., & Glendinning, I. (2015). Impact of policies for plagiarism in higher education across Europe: Results of the project. Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis, 63(1), 207–216.

Foltýnek, T., Dlabolová, D., Anohina-Naumeca, A., Razı, S., Kravjar, J., Kamzola, L., … Weber-Wulff, D. (2020). Testing of support tools for plagiarism detection. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 17(1), 46. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-020-00192-4

ENAI (n.d.) Where is the Borderline of Plagiarism? Available from http://www.academicintegrity.eu/wp/materials/where-is-the-borderline-of-plagiarism/