KSJ Tracker November 19, 2012

Change Gonna Come

Marcus (l), Oransky

Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, the authors of Retraction Watch, are proud to announce today, as Sam Cooke sang four decades ago

It's been a long, a long time comin'./But I know/A change gonna come./Oh yes it will.

Today Oransky writes that The American Society for Biochemicsty and Molecular Biology is hiring a manager of publication ethics, a new position. "This suggests, of course, that the society is thinking through its process and perhaps willing to consider more information in its retraction notices — a move we would be thrilled to see," Oransky writes.

The society publishes the Journal of Biological Chemistry, which has been a particularly nettlesome violator of reasonable standards. "We frequently beat up on" the journal, Oransky writes, which is infamous for publishing retraction notices that read, in full, "This article has been withdrawn by the authors." 

In an email to their readers, Oransky and Marcus write, "We wanted to take this opportunity to say that the kind of impact the blog is beginning to have on scientific publishing would not have been possible without all of your support -- and critiques -- over the past two years."

Retraction Watch just celebrated its second anniversary. In July, the blog "crossed the three million page-view threshhold, and also saw our first 300,000 page-view month," they wrote.

Sometimes, it turns out, good reporting and good writing make a difference in the world.

-Paul Raeburn


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