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Scientists famously wound themselves quoting — until they were exposed

Ученые лихо накручивали себе цитирование — пока их не разоблачили

A group of scientists from the Institute of theoretical and experimental Biophysics (ITEB RAS), located in Pushchino, had wound themselves scientometric indicators with stuffing links in other people’s articles. The scheme was uncovered and made public by their colleagues at the Institute, the newspaper “MK” in Serpukhov.

The scheme of falsification of scientific data in ITEB RAS is discovered by accident, during the examination of publications by a young member of the laboratory of isotopic research, doctor of biological Sciences Sergei Gudkov. Analysis of the academic articles in elibrary database for 2013 and 2014 showed that their quoting artificially high.

The first thing that confused employees of the Institute who conducted the analysis — affiliation Gudkov in three institutes: in ITEB, in the General physics Institute. A. M. Prokhorov RAS (Moscow) in Nizhny Novgorod state University. N. And. Lobachevsky. For Gudkov from the Institute of General physics was listed as 58 articles, 877 citations, h-index was 19. Quoted article Gudkov, mainly two scientific journal “Actual problems of humanitarian and natural Sciences” and “modern biotechnology”.

It turned out that in these two journals were massively published articles by students, undergraduates and graduate students who participated in conferences held by the Council of young scientists (SMU) ITEB. Chairman SMU was S. V. Gudkov, he also led the organizing committees of conferences. The organizing Committee were collected from participants articles and inserted links to their articles for over-citation. The subject articles, which inserts links, and articles that had been cited, could not match. For example, in an article on manure processing “implemented” links to articles about septic diseases, difficulties in the diagnosis of pyelonephritis, the problems of renal transplantation.

According to the described scheme Gudkov was assigned 334 links. His colleagues at SMU K. N. Belosludtseva assigned 50, D. A. Kulikov (his main place of work — MONICA) — 109. The scheme was attended by scientific Secretary of ITEB Alexander Kulikov. He assigned 119 references.

Some of the authors of the articles in which added the “left” links, noticed the forgery and sent in ITEB letters demanding to find out how their copyright was violated. Given the importance of the problem, the leadership of the Institute set up a Commission and investigate these facts. The Board found that the scientometric indicators of some staff of the Institute and members of SMU have been falsified. This was up a report and published it on the website. The culprits reprimanded and comments. Some of them subsequently left the post in ITEB.

“The main danger of the situation that has emerged in ITEB, and, I think, exists in other institutions of the RAS, is that stepping on this slippery slope, young researchers are starting to think about the quality of papers and publications, and the number of links and the ways, in fact, deception of the structures that produce according to these “scientific” data grants, awards, apartments…. and cease to be scientists”, — quotes the edition the head of the laboratory growth of cells and tissues, Commission member Irina Seleznev.

To avoid a repeat of the situation in ITEB drawn up a draft code of ethics for employees.

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