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Table of Contents
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 141-142

Scientific misconduct – Time for more action

Senior Consultant in Internal Medicine and Diabetes, Prem Health Care, Kuvempunagar, Mysuru; Editor in Chief, APIK Journal of Internal Medicine, API Karnataka Chapter, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission05-Jun-2022
Date of Acceptance07-Jun-2022
Date of Web Publication12-Jul-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Manjunath Premanath
Nisarga, H.No 21, Block-9, Madhuvana Layout, Srirampura II Stage, Mysore - 570 034, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ajim.ajim_73_22

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How to cite this article:
Premanath M. Scientific misconduct – Time for more action. APIK J Int Med 2022;10:141-2

How to cite this URL:
Premanath M. Scientific misconduct – Time for more action. APIK J Int Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Nov 28];10:141-2. Available from: https://www.ajim.in/text.asp?2022/10/3/141/350750

Departures from the normally accepted practices in scientific research constitute scientific misconduct.[1] A definition taken from Wikipedia stated it is still better word. “It is a violation of standard codes of scholarly conduct and ethical behavior in the publication of professional scientific research.”[2] This could be creating data when it is not there (fabrication), manipulating the data to suit the needs (falsification), taking credit for somebody's data without acknowledging them (plagiarism), failing to disclose conflicts of interest (CI), publication of the same content with different titles in different journals (self-plagiarism-multiple publications), giving authorship to those who have not worked or on coercion or seniority and ghost authorship (authorship issues), and sending the article to multiple journals at the same time (multiple submissions),[1] are all considered scientific misconduct. I am not discussing all these various forms of misconduct here but confine myself to multiple submissions.

Off late journals are facing a lot of problems with the simultaneous submission of articles by the authors to different journals. With the mushrooming of medical colleges, the postgraduate students are expected to publish a few articles before their examination, and the faculty needs publications for their promotions. Every author is in a hurry to get his article published and hence sends the article to multiple journals at the same time even when there are instructions from the journal that the article has to be submitted solely to that journal and the author would have signed the copyright form declaring that he/she would be submitting the article only to that journal. They would be thinking that the journal which accepts the article first will get the article and they would send the request for withdrawal to other journals later. There is any number of predatory journals which claim a very high impact factor, and peer review, would promise very early publication for a fee and authors fall for it. The same journal may not exist at all down the line.

No journal worth its salt can publish an article very quickly as it has to go into various processes such as technical review, peer review, multiple revisions, language corrections, and final editorial corrections before its publication. All this requires time and none of the authors have it. They want their articles published pronto and if any corrections are asked, they are ready to withdraw the article and finally send it to a predatory journal spending lot of money. They have no inkling of the time and effort that has gone into an article to make it worthy of publication by the editors and the reviewers. All their efforts would go in vain when authors ask for the withdrawal of their articles. That too the reasons the authors give are disgusting and are an insult to the journal's editors and reviewers who are honorary and work for the passion they have for research. The authors should know that any indexed journal would need at least 2-3 months to make a decision on any article and should be ready to wait until then and they are not supposed to send that article to any other journal until the decision from the previous journal is made known.

APIK Journal of Internal Medicine has had its share of withdrawals in the past months and has brought out its withdrawal policy which has been published on the website as well as the print issue. Authors can withdraw their articles before an article goes for peer review. Once it is reviewed and accepted for publication, withdrawal is usually not allowed. In the extraneous circumstances, they would be permitted to withdraw after paying a penalty of Rs 5000/-or 100 USD, if their reasons for withdrawal are acceptable. Otherwise, the journal will report this matter with their higher-ups to take action. They can withdraw if the journal has taken more than 6 months to arrive at a decision without any penalty. We have also rejected articles when they have failed the plagiarism test. All journals should have their specified withdrawal policy notified in their journals.

With so many scientific misconducts being committed, journals have not much power to take any serious action to prevent such misdeeds. After all, an article can be withdrawn or a corrigendum may be issued. Such misconduct not only erodes the trust among colleagues, researchers and funding agencies but also made to see the scientific community in a negative manner. India does not have a statutory body to inquire and punish scientific misconduct like the Office of Research Integrity in the US. It is high time that India has an organization to inquire into all types of scientific misconduct when complained by the journals and if proved to give an exemplary punishment to the offenders so that the research done is transparent and believable.

  References Top

Ferris L. Scientific fraud and other types of misconduct. In: Sahni P, Agarwal R, editors. Reporting and Publishing Research in Biomedical Sciences. Revised Edition. New Delhi: The National Medical Journal of India, All India Institute of Medical Sciences; 2016. p. 283-98.  Back to cited text no. 1
Scientific Misconduct: Wikipedia. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org. [Last accessed on 2022 Jun 1].  Back to cited text no. 2


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