Article  Is peer review doomed? + AI makes sci fraud easier + Non-humans authoring sci papers

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On peer review—then, now, and soon to be?

EXCERPTS: Peer review has a long history, dating back to the very early days of scientific publishing, and its roles have been redefined many times, depending on scientific and social priorities. [...] Although the concept of peer review was in place in the early days of scientific publishing, it was slow to catch on.

[...] Today, its future status is uncertain. Some are calling for strengthening the process to guard against ways that it has been twisted, e.g., by predatory journals.

Others are calling for alternative models to reinvent how it’s practiced, most notably by moving the process from before a manuscript is made accessible to readers (pre-publication peer review) to after it is made accessible to readers (post-publication peer review).

Finally, a few others are calling for abolishing it altogether. Despite the diversity of viewpoints, it’s safe to say that no one is entirely happy with the process as it’s practiced right now... (MORE - missing details)

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Thanks to generative AI, catching fraud science is going to be this much harder

EXCERPTS: Generative AI poses interesting challenges for academic publishers tackling fraud in science papers as the technology shows the potential to fool human peer review.

[...] These AI models can produce lifelike pictures of human faces, objects, and scenes, and it's a matter of time before they get good at creating convincing scientific images and data, too. Text-to-image models are now widely accessible, pretty cheap to use, and they could help dodgy scientists forge results and publish sham research more easily.

[...] But just as publishers begin to get a grip on manual image manipulation, another threat is emerging. Some researchers may be tempted to use generative AI models to create brand-new fake data rather than altering existing photos and scans. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that sham scientists may be doing this already.

[...] Scientists can just describe what type of false data they want generated to suit their conclusions, and these tools will do it for them... (MORE - missing details)

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From Cats to Chatbots: How Non-Humans Are Authoring Scientific Papers

EXCERPTS: . . . instead of retyping the whole paper, Hetherington simply added the name of his cat, a Siamese called Chester, as a co-author. ... The ethical controversy was mostly overlooked at the time, however, and Chester went on to co-author two more papers and one solo paper before passing away in 1982 at the age of 14.

[...] Chester’s story is just one of a handful in which scientists have added a pet or animal test subject as a co-author.

[...] Others have not been as lucky. Immunologist Polly Matzinger published a paper with her dog, Galadriel Mirkwood, as an honorary author in the Journal of Experimental Immunology in 1978. Upon finding out the truth, the journal’s editor banned Matzinger from publication until the editor died.

[...] The whimsy of these stories can easily obstruct the ethical dilemmas they cause, yet the process of honorary authorship — even beyond pets — continues, thanks to the pressure scientists feel to continually publish.

[...] Now, with the information age and all it brings (looking at you, ChatGPT), it’s even easier for researchers to practice honorary co-authorship. Because of this, most scholarly journals are finding it more difficult to regulate AI co-authors.

“We’re trying to take the most cautious approach that we can,” says H. Holden Thorp, the editor-in-chief of Science. “We’ll start with something more restrictive and then loosen it up over time.” (MORE - missing details)

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