Thursday, November 21, 2013

Strange email of the week: "Publication Integrity and Ethics"

Just got this email that I have pasted below. This seems very very strange. Something is amiss here I think but not sure what. Anyone out there know anything about this?

You are invited to join the Publication Integrity and Ethics (herein referred to as PIE) as one of its founding members. PIE, a not-for profit organisation, offers free membershipto all interested individuals. Please join us and become part of this exciting new movement in the world of publishing ethics: (for standard membership) (for editor-in-chiefmembership)
As a founding member you will play a central role in shaping the organisation; you will benefit from the many and varied facilities the PIE organisation provides in the world of publishing and ethics. This includes its own guidelines and code of conduct for all membership categories, regular updates in the field, newsletters, e-learning with online exercises and access to our sub-committee’s database. The complaint’s section allows members and adherents to raise issues, regarding any possible breach in the code of ethics and integrity in the publishing sector. PIE provides advice and represents members and adherents freely; it aims to deal with complaints in an ethical manner and resolve them promptly.
As part of the commitment to being a member-led, UK-wide and world-wide organisation, PIE intends to identify regional leads to promote the society and ensure that it remains diffuse, responsive and reflects the publication integrity and ethics priorities across the UK and with a global outreach. Members are invited to take part in a shaping PIE by directly communicating with the PIE’s council and other members with regards to the many issues related to this field; they may issue specific guidelines which can be communicated with other national and international organisations.
PIE is able to recommend short online courses, online diplomas and advanced diplomas to its members; these are specifically related to the integrity and ethics in publication and research, law and medical ethics, research governance, strong ethical practice and management. The course title, description and link to the course registration are usually posted on the PIE’s website as a service to our members.
Our online member’s and adherent’s directory is a valuable asset and will allow communications and collaborations between authors, editors, publishers, scientists and a variety of academics in shaping and advancing  the world of publishing ethics in the service of humanity.
We welcome you to being part of the PIE family. Tim ReevesThe Publication Integrity & Ethics CouncilLondon, United Kingdom

Update 10 AM 11/26: Ivan Oransky at Retraction Watch has a post with information about PIE

Update 8 AM 11/27: Neuroskeptic has posted a detailed investigation of PIE.


  1. Well this guy seems like he's a postdoc not "director of research"

  2. sorry forgot the link to his profile at Uppsala University:

    Note "researcher" = not tenured

  3. Odd (very odd...) that the names of the people involved are never provided. Do the people behind this venture not want us to know who they are?

  4. Here is the link to the Council

    It looks like a British not-for-profit organisation

    The email is not very very strange, it is an invitation signed by the chair of the council

    Seriously mate, get your facts right before making accusations which looks like what you do normally

  5. I have already signed up for membership which is really free

    They have a nice sets of guidelines to the authors, reviewers...etc.



  6. A nice organisation, the website looks good
    Unlike COPE, they are not charging money for membership and they deal with complaints against any member of the publishing team
    They are really hands on
    Good luck for them and please do not undermine them Mr Blogger....

  7. Why do you assume the bad in people before even attempt to look at the good in for thought….them invited you, I assume, because they thought you may be interested

    You got it wrong this time...hard luck

    The Integrity and Ethics from your side dictates that you apologise to this new organisation...

  8. So many anonymous comments. Interesting.

  9. PIE's website is also... interesting... especially when the text is compared to that of certain other websites.

    I discuss this in my new post.

  10. Yes I agree but they have declared the conflicts of interests
    See these links

  11. I have looked at it and my God if you think the text is similar then you seriously need to see an eye doctor

    I dont understand why all the interest in attacking this organisation

    Do you know anyone who has no conflict of member, friend...etc.

  12. So Neuroskeptic opened a new post just for this...I hope not

    If you didnt highlight the text with colours, then there is no similarity

    Yes the concepts are the same, so what it is publication ethics so it has to be the same

    1. Hey. I'd like to make a complaint to the PIE Council.

      "Outcomes of the complaints addressed to the PIE’s Council:

      * Adjudication: when the Council issues an official adjudication on the complaint
      * Issue resolved: When the publisher or the editor took action before the investigation was over and therefore the complainant chose not to proceed any further and ask for Council adjudication
      * Other outcomes: When the adjudication or the resolution does not fall within the duty of the Council, when there is no clear breach in the code of conduct or when the complainant did not follow the proper procedures in order to submit the complaint to the Council."

      I wonder what would happen if I complained about the fact that this text seems similar to the corresponding text on the Australian Press Council site?

      "Complaints to the Australian Press Council may lead to the one of three broad types of outcome:

      * Adjudicated: the Council issued an adjudication on the complaint;
      * Resolved: the publisher took action (eg, provided an explanation, right of reply, correction or apology) which led the complainant not to proceed to an adjudication by the Council;
      * Other: the complaint did not proceed to resolution or adjudication because, for example, it did not fall within the Council’s mandate, the Executive Secretary decided that there was clearly no breach of the Council’s standards, or the complainant did not pursue the matter to finalisation by the Council.

  13. The concepts are the same, OK, but they are also in the same order, see here.

    And the wording is the same in many cases:

    PIE reviewer guidelines:
    "Nor must the reviewer be influenced by the origins of the manuscript or allow themselves to be influenced by the nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender, disability or other characteristics of the author, or by commercial considerations"

    COPE reviewer guidelines
    "not allow their reviews to be influenced by the origins of a manuscript, by the nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender or other characteristics of the authors, or by commercial considerations"

  14. Now....I have looked at the whole thing

    Statements like these are standard in every contract or constitution: influenced by the nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender, disability or other characteristics of the author, or by commercial can buy a contract from the internet and will have the same statement

    Now you say the order is the same: the peer-review process is a structured it is expected that a guideline to follow the same structure

    Now the interesting part is that you left couple of boxes "[...]" in between the COPE paragraphs but you failed to mention that the first box reflects up to 17 missing paragraphs (I got tired counting) from the COPE guidelines and the second box reflects 5 missing paragraphs. So, there are about 22-23 more paragraphs in COPE than PIE. Why didnt you mention this?

    When you talk about article withdrawal you left gaps in the Elsevier!!!

    You left gaps even in the general guidelines (AU) and the publishers' of COPE.

    You cannot talk structure unless you compare both structures as they are and not deleting paragraphs from here and there...this is called bias...even I know that

    Awaiting to hear your thoughts about this. Thanks

  15. The director of the non-profit company has made a proper declaration which very few in the world will do that...also these information are accessible to all...this is the law in the UK

    Give them a break they are a new organisation and obviously few things get missed from the new website...I am a member of PIE and noticed that a small part of the member's area is still uncompleted...Even the Council details are incomplete

    1. He has made a proper declaration now, it wasn't there on Monday.

      And I am sure that in about 3 days, all of the stuff I have highlighted will be "fixed" and written off as "honest errors from a new organization", yes?

  16. Yes, there are gaps, corresponding to parts of the source that weren't duplicated. I clearly marked them.

    This is not a point in your favor. You have just admitted, essentially, that there is a correspondance between the parts that do correspond - which is what I said.

    More importantly, are you seriously saying that "the peer-review process is a structured it is expected that a guideline to follow the same structure"?

    For example, just taking the 4 items about declining to review (7.3,4,5,6 in PIE), why should they be in just that order, as they are in COPE?

    Why should declining to review based on issues in the peer review model come last out of those four? Why should declining to review if you're involved with the work come second?

    There are 24 possible permutations of 4 items. The chance of them matching at random is 1/24 is 0.04 which is statistically significant! And that's just one "block" of items!

    The block at the end of the reviewing guidelines ("Post-review") has 5 items, in the same order as COPE. There are 120 possible permutations of 5 items.


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