Research Topic

Collusion Rings, Citation Cartels, Elaborate Fiefdoms, and Organized Fraud in Research and Scholarly Communications

About this Research Topic

When compared to the era before the invention and development of the internet, web, and online search, the availability of computerized data repositories, software tools and technologies for the past several decades should have made access to the published literature more easily searchable and findable for any research scholar who wishes to cite, discuss, and openly debate the previously published record of scholarly literature in support of truth, integrity, fairness, and reproducibility in research. However, in the current post-truth era of disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation, the past several decades have also witnessed the increasing prevalence and influence of collusion rings, citation cartels, elaborate fiefdoms, and organized fraud in scholarly research communications. Addressing and solving this problem of how to combat and prevent organized fraud in research should itself become a legitimate field of investigation in research from proposal to publication with full transparency and accountability throughout all phases of research including both before and after publication so that published research remains self-correcting.

We invite research reports of investigations and analyses that document describe, evaluate, and discuss any aspect of misconduct and fraud in research, attributable to organizations, agencies, offices, groups and/or individuals. This misconduct and fraud in research may involve fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, censorship, collusion, peer review violations, professional ghosting, institutional gaslighting, and/or failures of committees or agencies to maintain common-sense ordinary-language interpretations of basic standards for integrity in academic, scientific, research and scholarly communications. These ethics and integrity standards should uphold truthful reporting in research, regardless of the form of communication whether presented orally in speech or published in written documents at meetings, workshops, conferences, journals or books. In particular, we seek proposals for novel quantitative metrics, as well as evaluations and demonstrations of existing quantitative metrics, which enable and support measures of both the presence or absence of integrity, as well as measures of the presence or absence of its opposite, that is, a lack of integrity otherwise known as hypocrisy, self-contradiction, double talk, and/or double standards which characterizes much of the illogical and irrational misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation of the post-truth era. Stated most generally, we seek papers that propose and evaluate quantitative measures of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation that can be used in conjunction with quantitative measures of the integrity and trustworthiness for published research.

We invite all forms of research papers from research articles involving experiments to analysis of anecdotal case reports, literature reviews, and commentary opinions. Reports presenting, analyzing, and/or demonstrating quantitative metrics should be written with clear exposition of the software methods and tools used to generate the results and calculate the values of the metrics. We encourage and solicit proposals for novel metrics that address, measure, and report the human, social, psychological, health and economic impact of malinformation on individuals, communities, and societies. As concrete example, what has been the impact of malinformation on human life during the Covid19 global pandemic as a function of country or state laws either allowing or preventing the spread of lies about vaccination against Covid19? As another example, what has been the impact of malinformation on junior faculty as a function of senior faculty who either encourage or discourage collusion rings and citation cartels? What quantitative metrics and peer review procedures could be used to monitor, measure, and track the openness, fairness, and research ethics of “integrity office” reviews in response to misconduct complaints? We invite presentation and discussion with reports from any problem-oriented domain-specific field of inquiry for which the authors both describe and evaluate the fraud and misconduct, and then also, propose a realistic and meaningful plan to stop and prevent the use of the misconduct and fraud in that area of research.


Keywords: self-correcting research, research ethics, research integrity transparency and accountability, research misconduct, collusion rings, citation cartels, elaborate fiefdoms, organized fraud, anti-science


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

When compared to the era before the invention and development of the internet, web, and online search, the availability of computerized data repositories, software tools and technologies for the past several decades should have made access to the published literature more easily searchable and findable for any research scholar who wishes to cite, discuss, and openly debate the previously published record of scholarly literature in support of truth, integrity, fairness, and reproducibility in research. However, in the current post-truth era of disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation, the past several decades have also witnessed the increasing prevalence and influence of collusion rings, citation cartels, elaborate fiefdoms, and organized fraud in scholarly research communications. Addressing and solving this problem of how to combat and prevent organized fraud in research should itself become a legitimate field of investigation in research from proposal to publication with full transparency and accountability throughout all phases of research including both before and after publication so that published research remains self-correcting.

We invite research reports of investigations and analyses that document describe, evaluate, and discuss any aspect of misconduct and fraud in research, attributable to organizations, agencies, offices, groups and/or individuals. This misconduct and fraud in research may involve fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, censorship, collusion, peer review violations, professional ghosting, institutional gaslighting, and/or failures of committees or agencies to maintain common-sense ordinary-language interpretations of basic standards for integrity in academic, scientific, research and scholarly communications. These ethics and integrity standards should uphold truthful reporting in research, regardless of the form of communication whether presented orally in speech or published in written documents at meetings, workshops, conferences, journals or books. In particular, we seek proposals for novel quantitative metrics, as well as evaluations and demonstrations of existing quantitative metrics, which enable and support measures of both the presence or absence of integrity, as well as measures of the presence or absence of its opposite, that is, a lack of integrity otherwise known as hypocrisy, self-contradiction, double talk, and/or double standards which characterizes much of the illogical and irrational misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation of the post-truth era. Stated most generally, we seek papers that propose and evaluate quantitative measures of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation that can be used in conjunction with quantitative measures of the integrity and trustworthiness for published research.

We invite all forms of research papers from research articles involving experiments to analysis of anecdotal case reports, literature reviews, and commentary opinions. Reports presenting, analyzing, and/or demonstrating quantitative metrics should be written with clear exposition of the software methods and tools used to generate the results and calculate the values of the metrics. We encourage and solicit proposals for novel metrics that address, measure, and report the human, social, psychological, health and economic impact of malinformation on individuals, communities, and societies. As concrete example, what has been the impact of malinformation on human life during the Covid19 global pandemic as a function of country or state laws either allowing or preventing the spread of lies about vaccination against Covid19? As another example, what has been the impact of malinformation on junior faculty as a function of senior faculty who either encourage or discourage collusion rings and citation cartels? What quantitative metrics and peer review procedures could be used to monitor, measure, and track the openness, fairness, and research ethics of “integrity office” reviews in response to misconduct complaints? We invite presentation and discussion with reports from any problem-oriented domain-specific field of inquiry for which the authors both describe and evaluate the fraud and misconduct, and then also, propose a realistic and meaningful plan to stop and prevent the use of the misconduct and fraud in that area of research.


Keywords: self-correcting research, research ethics, research integrity transparency and accountability, research misconduct, collusion rings, citation cartels, elaborate fiefdoms, organized fraud, anti-science


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

21 September 2021 Abstract
19 January 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

21 September 2021 Abstract
19 January 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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