Segregation Of Duties: Authors & Journal Editors
Journal Editors can be practicing researchers as well. A good example of that would be the Editor-in-Chief of Chaos, Solitons & Fractals: M.S. El Naschie. Normally, I would say that if he can do research, write papers and have them published while also working as a journal editor somewhere at the same time: more power to him.
Of course, this can get a bit ickier when many of his papers are actually published in “his” own journal. I mean, he is the guy with the final say on what is apparently good enough to be published and what not. Where is the accountability when it comes to his publications? Obviously, he likes to have his papers published, and since he has the power to accept them for publication, I would say that there are accountability issues here.
“The golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.”
I have to say I am not sure what he is thinking. Measurability and accountability are the corner stones of science. What he is doing now, publishing many of his own articles in the journal that he is the editor of and unabashedly quoting his own papers while he is at it, inaccurately skews the impact of his journal and his own papers. Heck, editors are the people that carry out the important, if not vital, task of enforcing the objective scrutiny of manuscripts for journal publication/ dissemination of scholarly works. They should know better than anyone else why it is important to have the concept of peer review: objective and accountable certification.
“How deliciously shameless and sneaky. I like it!”
In the world of auditing, no audit/accountancy organization is allowed to have the roles of the auditor and the “fixers” of the object of the audit, usually an organization, in question. And there is a very simple reason for that: if you are both in charge of identifying and fixing the issues, you can get a bit more “creative” in finding those issues that need fixing. Because the more fixing you need to do, the more you can charge said organization. Whereas if the “fixing” is done by your competitors, your audit will be very honest: nothing less and certainly nothing more than what is required to get the organization up to the required standards. This concept of separating people with certain responsibilities with different authorizations is called segregation of duties.
“Nothing more fun than being both the salesman and the bookkeeper!”
In this situation, we could say that journal editors should only be allowed to submit and publish their research papers in other journals or they make the peer review reports publicly available. Just to set the record straight.
P.S. I am going to forego the blog abstracts for my shorter blog posts. Should be self-explanatory, but I would not want to be accused of being lazily inconsistent.
“Which you are.”