The Loon read this account of boneheaded plagiarism in a lousy Wiley journal with bemusement. The comments are fascinating; don’t miss them.
Particularly fascinating are the wails of “this will discredit peer review forever!” Er, the Loon wasn’t aware it had much credibility left, honestly. That’s not really its fault; the problem is that academia is expecting far too much of peer review and peer reviewers.
Assess notability. Assess readability. Correct the language. Evaluate the argumentation and suggest fixes. Examine the data, charts or images thereof, and any statistics applied thereto, for potential falsification or honest error. (Just that is a significant imposition, to the Loon’s mind. How is this even possible without mostly-rerunning the experiment?) And now, look for plagiarism, apparently.
The Loon does occasional peer review for a small wing of open-access journals. (It’s a way of redressing the balance; the Loon doesn’t write much, so she can review a bit more, to cover for those who write more and have no time to review.) In all honesty, it has never once crossed her mind to check the articles she’s reading for plagiarism. Perhaps she’s naïve, but she just has a higher opinion of her professional peers than that!
Peer review can’t possibly do all that is claimed of it; it’s no magic bullet. The sooner that’s widely accepted, the sooner non-obfuscatory discussions can be had about what to do about fraud, error, and plagiarism in research.
As for the “value added” by toll-access publishers, Wiley in this case… well, if all the open-access movement ever accomplishes is to force toll-access publishers to work harder to live up to their inflated quality claims, that is no bad thing.
- Assessing the scamminess of a purported open-access publisher
- Crowdsourcing a library-school syllabus