Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine

: 2013  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 271-

Rise in polluters of scientific research: How to curtail information pollution (infollution)

Arun H. S. Kumar 
 Editor in Chief, Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, Ireland

Correspondence Address:
Arun H. S. Kumar
Editor in Chief, Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine

How to cite this article:
Kumar AH. Rise in polluters of scientific research: How to curtail information pollution (infollution).J Nat Sc Biol Med 2013;4:271-271

How to cite this URL:
Kumar AH. Rise in polluters of scientific research: How to curtail information pollution (infollution). J Nat Sc Biol Med [serial online] 2013 [cited 2020 Sep 22 ];4:271-271
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The expanding availability of scientific journals (print and online) has significantly enhanced the number of scientific manuscripts published every year and I believe this trend will continue to grow exponentially. The peer pressure to publish and the associated academic gains with the concurrent availability of expanding numbers of scientific journals have caused a slow rise in the polluters of scientific research. It is indeed alarming to note that less than 30% of peer-reviewed data published in scientific journals are reproducible, which I believe is a very conservative estimate and the actual scientific literature reproducibility index may be much lower. In any analytical term, this is a very poor efficiency rate and is worrying. This slow expansion of scientific literature pollution (infollution) awaits a big bang, the impact of which will shake up the institutes of scientific research. Hence, it is timely that everyone involved in the field of scientific journalism critically reviews to evaluate the adequacies of the current practices to prevent any big bang. This necessitates thinking if the current peer-review systems are appropriate. What are the measures we can adopt to prevent infollution?

It is important that in addition to the quality of scientific research results, emphasis should also be made on critically reviewing the methods used to arrive at the scientific results. This must include detailed and expert analysis of both techniques and experimental design (including biostatistics). It is also essential to focus the peer reviewer selection based on expertise to critically review the techniques and experimental design, which I think most journals fail at due to the practical limitations in availability of such peer reviewers. The problem of infollution also forces us to think if the current indexes of journal or researchers' ratings such as impact factor and H index have any practical value and are rather the cause of infollution. It is important to note these factors do not account for the biasness and restrictions in reference citations. Moreover, it makes us think if these factors are metamorphosing scientists from someone in pursuit of truth to become more of a strategist. Are scientists moving away from problem solvers to problem creators? It is very essential to note that in the current era of rapid and pandemic digital information dissemination, any scientific information available in the public domain can have enormous personal and professional impact on both scientific and non-scientific audience referring such information. Hence, authors submitting their work for publication must take equal, if not higher social responsibility than editors and peer reviewers on the possible ripple effect their research work may have on the society.

It is also essential to be very transparent on editors/editorial board conflict of interest. What should be an ideal peer-review system for the manuscripts submitted by editors/editorial board members? How should this conflict of interest associated with publication-inbreeding be addressed? To what extent are these conflicts of interests contributing to infollution? Collateral areas to this are practices of handling manuscripts submitted by so-called opinion leaders in any field. Is the peer-review system biased in reviewing such manuscripts? I think these are essential issues which are much more important to be addressed, especially in the era of rapidly expanding scientific publications. Nevertheless, a transparent and unbiased peer-review system is necessary involving cooperation from editors, editorial board members, and peer reviewers.

I believe our readers have liked our expansion on publishing manuscripts from highly diversified subjects, which is evident from the ever-increasing accessing of the manuscripts published in previous issue. Such readership feedback is very encouraging to us, and continuing on this, in this issue as well, we have included a wide variety of manuscripts from several areas of science, biology, and medicine. I hope you continue to enjoy gaining knowledge from this issue of JNSBM.