I was also pleased to see the article by Dr Vinod Krishnan in the October 2013 issue of the AJO-DO . Dr Sivakumar’s comments are supportive of the need for us all to be aware of ethical problems that can arise in the digital age of scientific publication. Our most effective line of defense has long been the 500 orthodontic referees who are familiar with the literature and occasionally draw our attention to potential violations. In addition to this group, I want you to be aware of several changes made recently by the AJO-DO and Elsevier.
The problem of “gift” authorship
Using the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and its recent update of the Uniform Requirements for scientific manuscripts ( www.icmje.org ) as the authority, we recently adopted and began enforcing a tough requirement for determining who qualifies to be an “author.” As stated in an AJO-DO editorial in August, we now ask that each author’s contribution to the research and the article be briefly described on the title page when the article is submitted. Each person listed as an author must have made a substantial contribution to the conception, design, and interpretation of the data, the writing of the article, and the approval of the final draft to qualify. If all 3 of these activities are not fulfilled and the description is not in place, that person should be mentioned in the “Acknowledgments,” but not listed as an author.
The problem of plagiarism
Our publisher, Elsevier, recently added the AJO-DO to their growing list of publications that use CrossCheck by iThenticate. When an article is submitted through our EES Web site, it can now be compared against a database of over 38 million articles from 175,000 journals, books from 500 publishers, and more than 20 billion Web pages. CrossCheck does not positively identify an article or part of an article as plagarized, but it does look for and highlight phrases, sentences, or paragraphs that are similar to or the same as other published articles. Small amounts of similarity are to be expected among articles reporting on the same or related topics. But if larger amounts of text are flagged in CrossCheck, an editor can inspect both articles to determine whether legitimate reasons exist for the overlap.
These are just 2 ways that we can detect misrepresentations in manuscripts submitted to report research findings. Ask me at another time to describe actual cases of journalistic deception that have been discovered in the past. Some can adversely affect the professional career of an involved faculty member when it is officially disclosed to his or her university.