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What can Asian editors contribute to European editors?

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Sci Ed. 2016;3(2):122-124
Publication date (electronic) : 2016 August 20
doi : https://doi.org/10.6087/kcse.79
Department of Parasitology and Institute of Medical Education, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea
Correspondence to Sun Huh  shuh@hallym.ac.kr
Received 2016 August 5; Accepted 2016 August 8.

The 13th European Association of Science Editors (EASE) meeting was held from June 10 to 12, 2016 at the College of Medicine of the University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France. This was not the first year that an EASE meeting was held in a small, beautiful city. In fact, I have been participating in EASE meetings since the 11th in 2012 in Tallinn, Estonia. I also participated in the 12th EASE meeting in Split, Croatia in 2014, followed by the most recent EASE meeting. All three were invaluable opportunities for me to acquire knowledge of recent trends in science editing. My other major objective in attending EASE meetings is to communicate with my colleagues—European journal editors. Building relationships with them has enabled me to invite them to Korea and Asian country and ask them to present or manage workshops or seminars for Asian editors. Since 2013, quite a number of editors based in Europe have visited Korea or Asian countries for the meeting of the Korean Council of Science Editors (KCSE, http://kcse.org) or Council of Asian Science Editors (http://asianeditor.org).

Standards of scientific journal editing have usually been created and disseminated from Western Europe or the United States. Scientific style and format for scholarly journals including reference styles, research and publication ethics, the peer review process, guidelines for good publication, and digital standards have all been products of editors or publishers of those regions. We Asian editors should hurry to catch up with trends in scientific journal publication. It is rare to find any guidelines, reference styles, or digital standards proposed by Asian editors or publishers. We usually end up copying or adapting their approach. It is thus imperative that the KCSE dispatch delegates to the main editors’ meeting in North America, that is, the Council of Science Editors, and that in Europe, EASE. Other meetings to which we ought to send delegates are the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, Crossref Annual Meeting, International Society of Managing and Technical Editors, and JATS-Con. When the delegates return from these meetings, the information they have gained and ideas they have discussed are disseminated to Korean editors through newsletters, workshops, or KCSE’s official journal about scientific publication, Science Editing. One of the reasons for the establishment of KCSE was to create a body to secure and award travel funding to delegates to international editors’ or publishers’ meetings because it is difficult for each academic society to independently support the cost of travel.

The main topic of discussion during the 13th EASE Meeting in Strasbourg was scientific integrity. The plenary lecture, “Selective publication and the replicability crisis,” by Lex M. Bouter from the Vrijje University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands supplied a key message of the 13th meeting. He explained the concept of “sloppy science.” This is different from scientific fraud, which encompasses fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. Instead, “sloppy science” refers to “questionable research practices”. These practices include methodological errors; selective reporting of one analysis out of many analyses; answering questions other than those stated in the protocol; refraining from publication if the results are disappointing; and reporting incorrectly in documentation. These poor practices may be prevalent due to the following: unwillingness to share data and materials; insufficient handling and storage of data and materials; insufficient/inadequate mentoring; and unfair review of manuscripts or grant proposals. In a survey of researchers about “questionable research practices,” 34% of them admitted to at least one case of a “questionable research practices’ in the previous three years [1]. Lex M. Bouter proposed increasing transparency with open data policies and modifications of the reward system for researchers in order to prevent “questionable research practices” or “sloppy science.” Although research misconduct was a term familiar to me, “sloppy science” and “questionable research practices” were new concepts to me. A more detailed description is available from the speaker’s co-authored article [2].

Other topics presented at the 13th meeting can be explored at the EASE meeting web page: http://www.ease.org.uk/ease-events/13th-ease-conference-strasbourg-france/. I had an opportunity to present at the first parallel session, which was moderated by Rachael Lammey from Crossref. The topics of text screening, similarity checking, and statistical screening were presented first. My topic was “How to deal with and screen digital images during the production process,” which comprised definitions of “resolution,” “raster image,” and “vector image”; instructions for preparing image files; and software for screening for falsified images. I presented only simple and basic methods of image screening. Image screening is a professional task since it is difficult to detect the falsified images by the naked eye. Very few journals have implemented image screening. Since images are the most remarkable and easily accessible part of journal articles, the necessity of image screening will grow. We, editors should be prepared to incorporate image screening into the publication process. After the presentation, I discussed image screening with Mihail L. Grecea from Elsevier STM Publishing. He had an interest in the web-based image screening program developed by Heung-Kyu Lee, a professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. After returning to Korea, I introduced them to each other.

Total 10 posters were presented. I also presented one poster, “Korean medical students’ views on plagiarism and difference in attitude toward plagiarism according to their experience of plagiarism.” It was interesting to find that students’ attitudes towards plagiarism were not exacting if they had an experience of committing plagiarism (Fig. 1). One of the poster awards was given to Abdolreza Norouzy from Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran, whose poster title was “Exploring the attitudes of medical faculty members in Iran towards research misconduct.” He reported that out of 157 academic members, 43.3% admitted to being involved in at least one type of research or publication misconduct as follows: changing the design, methodology, or results of the study in response to pressure from a funding source; inappropriate assignment of authorship credit; using an inadequate or inappropriate research design; overlooking others’ use of flawed data or questionable interpretation of data; use of someone else’s ideas without obtaining permission or giving due credit, etc. The data on research misconduct is fascinating. It can be expected to be a trigger for Iranian faculty members to promote research ethics at an international level.

Fig. 1.

The author’s poster presentation at the 13th European Association of Science Editors meeting from June 10 to 12, 2016 at the College of Medicine of the University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.

At the 13th EASE meeting, 122 participants attended. Among them, there were visitors from Asian countries such as Iran, Turkey, and Korea. In Strasbourg, one presentation in the parallel session and two posters were presented by Asian editors. Although it is small proportion of the entire program, sharing data from each country was meaningful. At the welcome reception, I met Kathrin Hagmaier, senior editor of Eurosurveillance. She asked me about the status of her journal’s inclusion in ScienceCentral, the journal article tag suite extensible markup language-based open access scholarly journal database (http://e-sciencecentral.org/), which is being maintained by the Korea Federation of Science and Technology Societies. After exchanging messages with engineers who maintain the site in Korea, I immediately determined that her journal’s extensible markup language file was being deposited to an old FTP site. I reported to her that the file would be moved to the new site immediately. After returning to Korea, I found that Eurosurveillance was presented beautifully through ScienceCentral (http://www.e-sciencecentral.org/journals/204/). Thus the EASE meeting was also a good place to collaborate to solve problems for specific projects.

The next EASE meeting, the 14th, will be held in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, in 2018. I anticipate that a number of Asian editors will participate in and contribute to the 14th meeting. Every two years, going to EASE is a pleasant journey to a beautiful city to meet colleagues who have devoted themselves to journal editing and publishing.


No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.


This work was supported by the Hallym University Research Fund (HRF-G-2015-4).


1. Fanelli D. How many scientists fabricate and falsify research? A systematic review and meta-analysis of survey data. PLoS One 2009;4e5738. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0005738.
2. Tijdink JK, Schipper K, Bouter LM, Maclaine Pont P, de Jonge J, Smulders YM. How do scientists perceive the current publication culture? A qualitative focus group interview study among Dutch biomedical researchers. BMJ Open 2016;6e008681. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008681.

Article information Continued

Fig. 1.

The author’s poster presentation at the 13th European Association of Science Editors meeting from June 10 to 12, 2016 at the College of Medicine of the University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.