sexta-feira, 5 de março de 2021

How many papers can a super-scientist author in a single week ?

Didier Raoult currently has 3253 Scopus indexed publications and on his Wikipedia page one can read the following: "Raoult's extremely high publication rate results from his "attaching his name to nearly every paper that comes out of his institute",[31] a practice that has been called "grossly unethical" by Steven Salzberg"

But the fact is that Publishers do not retract papers due to extremely high prolificacy not even if someone authored 7 papers per week, every week of a year probably because Publishers believe that there are indeed scientists with superpowers. 

But let´s imagine that one of these days we get to find that a scientist authored 14 papers per week every week of a year ? What then ?  Will the Publishers then retract their papers or (simply remove his name from them) or will they keep on acting like ostriches hiding their heads in the sand ? But can we really say that 14 papers per week is the magic misconduct threshold?

Unfortunately, Raoult is not the only one guilty of "grossly unethical"  authorship behavior. Let´s not forget that back in 2018, a Full Professor of Stanford University wrote on Nature that around 10.000 super-scientists published an average one paper every day of the week fortunately they rest on Saturday and Sunday otherwise they would have a much higher number of papers. 

And that´s why the Publishers prefer to act like ostriches instead of retracting the papers of such a large group on the grounds of false authorship of epidemic proportions. Because in what comes to publishing misconduct Publishers prefer to stick to Realpolitik principles. For them, science integrity is important only as long as it does not ruin the publishing business's gargantuan profits. After all the publishing business is not about integrity nor even about Science their real business is just making money, lots of money, billions to be exact. 

The consequences of the aforementioned Reapolitik publishing strategy are threefold. For one if Full Professors and Lab Directors can get away with it then junior researchers will also try to engage in the same game dreaming that one day they also own several thousand publications. Secondly, if this is the standard procedure in Western countries then third-world countries will also want to copy these "success" practices and have their own super-scientists. And if one of these days an African super-scientist appears at the top of the publishing ranking with 10.000 or 20.000 publications no one will have any reason to point the finger at him. Furthermore, In a time when Science is under siege by alternative facts and fake news this "grossly unethicalauthorship behavior. diminishes scientific authority thus helping the enemies of Science.