John Berglund, CEO of Mira Smart Conferencing, doesn’t see a great deal of fraud in the abstract management marketplace.
“Over the past nineteen years, we have processed hundreds of thousands of abstracts and for the most part, researchers are honest and represent themselves and their research truthfully.,” John said. “However, we can’t be naïve and know fraud happens.”
Mira Smart Conferencing offers iThenticate’s ‘Cross Check’ feature, which integrates into Mira’s abstract management software.
“We want our client’s to have the best tools in the marketplace, without it being burdensome to use,” John said. “As I spoke about in an earlier blog post, there are nuances of plagiarism which societies need to be vigilant.”
A recent on-line article “Science Isn’t Broken” in the August 19, 2015, issue of The Scientific Method brought the topic of fraudulent abstract submissions and the more troubling acceptance of fraudulent submissions to the forefront. Christie Aschwanden, the author, notes recent high-profile tricksters whose fake abstract submissions made it through some sort of peer review process:
- A computer technology paper with one vulgarity-laced sentence repeated for ten pages.
- Another engineering paper with cartoon characters listed as authors.
- The more troubling debunked Michael LeCour research on attitudes towards gay persons.
And then there is the “vaccinations cause autism” research that the author and publishing journal formally retracted.
“I’ll paraphrase Christie Aschwanden: ‘Science is freakin’ hard,’” John said. “We work with some of the best research organizations running some of the most prestigious conferences in the world. Our staff supports hard working abstract management teams. No one wants cheaters and we at Mira Smart Conferencing give our clients the best tools to keep them out.”
Some of Mira’s clients already have fraud detection programs in place. IEEE maintains a banned-author database based on past deceptive and fraudulent behavior from researchers. Others require multiple reviewers, sometimes into the double digits, per abstract.
“Fraud a hard nut to crack,” John said. “Cheaters are going to cheat and those of us tasked with ensuring that only the best research makes it to the presenters’ lectern or to the poster presentation floor have to be vigilant and proactive.”
For example, reporting and review tracking system allows chairs and abstract managers to closely monitor the entire process to ensure the most valid results.
“At the end of the day, what our clients want is a great conference with the very best research content,” John said. “We always keep that in mind. The end is not our excellent software, which is only a tool. The end is excellent science.”
Even with top-of-line abstract management software from Mira Smart Conferencing, “Science is freakin’ hard.”