THE POLITICS OF SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING: STANDING UP FOR SCIENCE
As this issue of the journal goes to press, there is a growing political climate that challenges facts, science, and expertise. Ironically, the very basis of the best of science is the skeptical attitude that questions the truth and validity of all claims and an insistence on the basis of those claims. However, the recent rise in the challenge to science and facts is not consistent with a legitimate skepticism—it stops with the challenge often without a basis for the challenge and without any effort to look beyond the challenge to investigate the basis for any scientific or factual claim. In fact, from what I have observed, there is more of a tendency to reject that which does not “fit” with one's own worldview and to accept without question that which does fit.
A recent blog post by Alice Meadows on The Scholarly Kitchen offers a challenge to all who are involved in scholarly publishing to stand up for science.1 As Meadows observes:
...public trust in science and scientists is at risk. Many people don't understand how science works and, instead, rely on attention-grabbing (and often misleading or downright erroneous) headlines; their distrust is compounded by media coverage of what is wrong with science, rather than what is right.... This, in turn, makes it easy for those who seek to discredit genuine academic research to claim that their “alternative facts” are just as valid.
Meadows offers steps for publishers and editors to stand up for science and against false claims. From the beginning, Advances in Nursing Science (ANS) has maintained practices and policies that ensure the integrity of the journal, including
- A strong peer review process that ensures, as much as is humanly possible, the scientific integrity of all content published in ANS.
- Membership in COPE—the Committee for Publication Ethics (http://publicationethics.org), which outlines practices to ensure that journal content is free of conflicts of interest and that editorial practices that ensure the integrity of the journal, protects freedom of expression, and maintains accountability and transparency for all editorial practices.
- Transparency and open explanation of all of our editorial practices and policies, now available on the journal Web site “Information for Authors” (http://journals.lww.com/advancesinnursingscience/Pages/Instructions-for-Authors.aspx) with additional details on the pages that show the Review Panel members, processes, and policies (http://journals.lww.com/advancesinnursingscience/Pages/reviewpanel.aspx).
All involved in the production of scholarship have responsibilities that address the current tide that can erode the public trust in science and scholarship. Here are suggestions for all nursing students, practitioners, and scholars—things you can do to affirm your own confidence as a scholar and a consumer of reliable nursing knowledge and stand up for science:
- Be aware of the best editorial practices of nursing journals that ensure the integrity of their content.
- Learn and practice “journal due diligence” when you are seeking a journal for publication of your work.
- Be aware of the dangers of predatory publishers. (See articles published in Nurse Author and Editor at http://naepub.com/category/predatory-publishing.)
- Ensure that your practices as a scholar are well founded and maintain a record of your practices to ensure that your work is not compromised.
- Educate others (your patients, students, and colleagues) about your own practices to ensure the integrity of your own work and why these practices are important.
- Network with other scholars in your area of interest to ensure that you have a community of those who share your intent to maintain the integrity of the scholarship in your field and who can speak with confidence about the foundation on which your work is based.
I invite all readers of ANS to participate in discussions about the practices and policies of this journal and the standards on which we base those practices. We welcome the opportunity to speak to any issues and concerns at any time!
—Peggy L. Chinn, PhD, RN, FAAN
1. Meadows A. 15 things we can do to stand up for science! The Scholarly Kitchen. https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2017/02/27/15-things-we-can-do-to-stand-up-for-science
. Published February 27, 2017. Accessed March 7, 2017.