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Subject: Fraud and peer review

Fraud and peer review

From: David Saunders <dsaunders>
Date: Friday, October 12, 2007
In his posting in DistList 21:25 (October 6, 2007), William Meacham
refers to an article published by Dimitri Kouznetsov in Studies in
Conservation (vol. 45, 2000, pp.117-126). As Professor Meacham
points out it became evident over time and through subsequent
reviews by experts in Irish textiles, that the so called "historic
linen samples" on which the studies were purported to have been
conducted were fictitious. In the initial review of the submission
the editor responsible took the view that since the paper reported
the complex enzymatic treatment of aged linen to determine its age,
it would be appropriate to select biochemists with specialist
knowledge in this field as referees. As neither the referees nor the
editors had specialist knowledge in the area of Irish archaeology,
the authenticity of the samples was regrettably not questioned.

We are grateful to Professor Meacham for again drawing to our
attention an issue that, despite being considered by the IIC Council
in 2001, has never been adequately resolved. It is our intention to
publish a short review of the incident in a future issue of Studies
in Conservation and to ensure that the downloadable electronic
version of this article on the IIC web-site bears a comment drawing
the reader's attention to the doubts cast over the results the paper
presents.

With hindsight, and some knowledge of Dimitri Kouznetsovis other
publications not available to the editor and reviewers at the time,
it is clear that a broader critique of the paper might have
prevented this fraud. However, it is unlikely that peer review
systems will ever intercept all such deceptions; referees will
seldom be expert in every aspect of a paper, and deliberate
falsification may well play on this likelihood. Thankfully, the vast
majority of authors who submit papers to Studies in Conservation and
other professional journals accord with ethical standards for
conducting and reporting research.

David Saunders: IIC Director of Publications


                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 21:26
                 Distributed: Sunday, October 14, 2007
                       Message Id: cdl-21-26-001
                                  ***
Received on Friday, 12 October, 2007

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