J Neurochem. 2013 Dec 26. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2013.12644.x.
Publication of a flawed manuscript has significant consequences for the progress of science. When this proves to be intentional, science is brought into disrepute and this puts even more pressure on the shrinking resources that society is prepared to invest in research. All scientific journals, including the Journal of Neurochemistry, have witnessed a marked increase in the number of corrections and retractions of published papers over the last 10 years, and uncovered a depressingly large number of fabrications amongst submitted manuscripts. The increase in number of 'spoiled' manuscripts reflects not only the improved methods that journals employ to detect plagiarism in its many forms, but also suggests a measurable change in the behavior of authors. The increased policing of submissions by reviewers, editors and publishers expends time and money. The sanctions imposed by journal editors on authors found guilty of malpractice are transparent and severe.
Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story
While imagination is the source of vibrant fiction, the ‘stories’ we offer in manuscripts submitted for publication have to be faithful. With the beginning of a New Year, it seems appropriate to re-state current Journal of Neurochemistry policies on submissions and, on behalf of the International Society for Neurochemistry, to demand integrity from authors offering manuscripts for scientific review. While the comments here are directed specifically at corresponding authors, the contract entered into with the submission of any manuscript also demands integrity from reviewers, editors and publishers, who
have to be seen to act impartially and promptly in reaching their decisions.