It was a thought-provoking experience to read Dr Vinod Krishnan’s article entitled “Etiquette in scientific publishing” in the October 2013 issue (Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2013;144:577-82). Having been in an academic position for more than 9 years, I was thoroughly impressed by its content. I commend the author for his efforts to highlight much-needed knowledge and perspective in scientific publishing.
I believe that there are 2 worlds in scientific publishing. The author described the moral principles and foundation in scientific publishing in the outer world. Here, the regulatory bodies are taking an active role to make things better. I live in another world, with much uncertainty, and “profound plagiarism” is the mantra. The practice of “gift authorship” is the norm. There is a prevailing trend for quantity rather than quality in scientific publishing.
Added to the surmounting problem is the launch of new local journals in print or digital open access. The rise of open-access journals has surely contributed to the existing unhealthy scenario in scientific publishing. Pressure on academics to publish leads to a culture of plagiarism. “Authors” find it easy to manipulate the content in open-access journals with no effective peer-review system. Recently, I received 2 manuscripts from 2 PubMed-indexed journals for review. To my dismay, I found that the articles had already been published elsewhere in open-access format. Since it was a blinded review, I was unaware of the details of authorship. Both fraudulence and plagiarism could have been possibilities.
I feel I am in the same position today. My article, which can be accessed easily through the Internet, could be duplicated and published in another journal—without my knowledge or permission. Such an act discredits the merit of publishing and scientific advancement. The trend is fast growing and posing an alarming concern to the entire fraternity. I do fear where this will end. The ultimate purpose of scientific publishing in health care is to advance the fraternity and improve the quality of life of our patients. Can we stick to this?