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On the purchase of authorship of scientific articles: a problem that can take a high toll

On the purchase of authorship of scientific articles: a problem that can take a high toll

On the purchase of authorship of scientific articles: a problem that can take a high toll

Since before the pandemic, there have already been several attempts to warn about the calamitous state of science in Peru. Not only because of the little interest that the authorities and decision makers have in it, but because we are beginning to learn about the difficult working conditions that those who want to carry out investigations locally must accept.

After the COVID-19 crisis, our society recently noticed not only how science works in Peru, but also what conditions it is in.

In this context, a recent investigation carried out by Cientí –a civil organization that promotes a series of activities in favor of science and technology in Peru– has not only exposed how the market for companies that or

points race

First, it is necessary to mention the National Scientific, Technological and Technological Innovation Registry (Renacyt). There are all natural persons, Peruvian or foreign who are carrying out “science, technology and innovation activities”, as explained on its website.

Peruvians abroad and foreigners who are not in Peru, but who investigate for Peruvian entities, are also included.

Data updated to June 2023, according to the Renacyt website.

This registry has seven levels, with VII being the lowest and I the highest, with a higher level called Distinguished Researcher. To improve the qualification it is necessary to add points.

These are obtained if the researcher submits documentation proving their academic degree (doctor, 10 points; master’s, 6 points), their professional title (4 points), scientific articles, book publications, book chapters, and even for being advisers or thesis co-advisors. And, even if the intention was good,

“The strange thing is that among the authors [de un estudio de nanomateriales] two names of doctors in Education appear”.

“The degrees of dubious origin or publications are only to add points are they valid? What kind of books printed in our country equate to publications in high-impact magazines? Who is controlling good research practices in institutions? […] Unfortunately, there are important indications that many of our researchers and teachers have decided to look for shortcuts to gain entry or improve their position in Renacyt. We know that research and knowledge creation takes time and effort. ‘”wrote the physicist Nahuel Monteblanco last May, in an article on the Cientí website, where he reported on this problem.

These are the existing levels in the Renacyt.

This week, the Twitter account Autorship For Sale (@autor_for_sale), which denounces cases of authorship sale of scientific articles, shared the headline “Graphene and carbon structures and nanomaterials for energy storage”published in the journal “Applied Physics A” in July 2022.

Through WhatsApp groups they offer sale to place a name as part of the authors of an investigation.  Depending on the location there is a price.

looking for solution

“Why does this happen? Because some master’s degrees and doctorates have the publication of an article as a requirement to obtain the degree. Other people are hired to investigate and need to meet their production quota. Others have posting bonuses. As never before, there is greater interest in research today. But universities are also interested. But not only that, but having a number of Renacyt-level teachers on the staff”Percy Mayta-Tristán, director of Research at the Southern Scientific University, explained to me.

The registry was created by Concytec. The fact that its qualification system is more designed for certain fields of knowledge and is unfair to, for example, the social scienceswould explain why it is precisely in these branches of science that the greatest volume of bad practices is occurring.

“We have talked with Concytec so that not only the score is considered, but some other mechanism that recognizes the contribution of the scientist. emphasizes Mayta.

Here the universities have the floor. They are called upon to implement areas of scientific integrity –as some already have– so as not to neglect what their scientists are investigating. That first step could make all the difference.

Source: Elcomercio

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