KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Thursday, August 10, 2023

What Do Editors Do With Faked Reference Lists?

If you edit manuscripts for academic books and journal articles, you’ll likely run into fake reference lists. That’s because in the academic publish-or-perish setting, authors are desperate to write their articles quickly, and they may use large language models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT, to help them. And what is the one thing LLMs are really bad at? Reference lists. But there’s a tool that can help you detect them.

I use Edifix, subscription-based reference-checking software that users access online. Said Edifix on its blog recently:

“2023 has seen the explosion into the public consciousness of ChatGPT and other large language models (LLMs), and these AI [artificial intelligence] applications have been rapidly and widely adopted in educational and research writing settings. Much has already been written about the potential benefits and pitfalls of using LLMs in scholarly publishing, including 14 posts on the Scholarly Kitchen blog alone (listed chronologically under ‘Further Reading’ below).

“The rapid embrace of LLMs has brought with it another flavor of potential reference manipulation: fake references. …

“ChatGPT does not have a true understanding of the questions it is asked or the tasks it is set. Among the ‘nonsensical answers’ that ChatGPT can give, one type especially pertinent to research publishing is its inability to generate relevant and accurate citations.

“This failure was highlighted by Curtis Kendrick on the Scholarly Kitchen [blog] just two months after the public launch of ChatGPT. When he asked ChatGPT to provide a reference list for a piece it had written on racism and whiteness in academic libraries, the list of 29 references it provided revealed a number of eye-opening problems.

“First, half of the citations were from just two journals, and typically these references were incomplete, generally lacking volume and/or issue numbers. Partly this reflects the limitations of the dataset used to train the model, which, for example, had access only to open access articles. Much more worrying was that ChatGPT didn’t always admit to not knowing the answer, sometimes appearing to lie instead. Of the 29 references it came up with, only one was accurate; some contained elements of genuine references but with parts transposed, and others were completely fake.”

Now, how the heck are editors to straighten out this mess alone? Fortunately, they’re not.

First, in its blog post, Edifix gives us 3 clues to possible reference fakery:

  1. A low overall rate of the reference list having links to the individual references on Crossref and PubMed
  2. Warnings from Crossref or PubMed Reference Correction about significant differences between the reference and the service metadata
  3. An excessive number of “unknown” references

Second, Edifix parses all entries in each of your reference lists and gives you automated comments when something isn’t right, like this comment:

Crossref does not recognize the DOI [digital object identifier; see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_object_identifier ] “10.1016/j.jaridenv.2019.0”, and reports it is not registered at any other registration agency. Please check the accuracy of the DOI.

Then you’ll have to query the author about those particular references and also likely alert the managing editor or other appropriate person affiliated with the publisher or journal. Meanwhile, read the blog posts from the Scholarly Kitchen that are listed and linked at the end of Edifix’s blog post. You’ll find plenty of good stuff on AI.

#editor #academic #editing #Edifix #ArtificialIntelligence #ChatGPT #FakeReferences #ReferenceLists #PublishOrPerish

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Editor for Life

Now, this is gonna have me smiling all day!

I was interviewed by Keith Goddard, editor-in-chief of the Editors Toronto blog BoldFace, for the blog's series of posts in the "Editor for Life" category. The post is now up for folks to read. Thank you, Keith!

Oh, and it is cooler than cool that another Katherine (one of those whose middle vowel in their first name is an e, whereas my middle vowel is an a) copyedited the blog post. Thank you, Katherine Morton!

#editor #career #SelfEmployed #freelancer

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

How to Handle Text Recycling When You're Writing a New Research Paper

Science researcher–authors, you need to know this information about text recycling, which is sometimes called self-plagiarism. The term text recycling means reusing some of the text from your previously published papers in new papers you intend to submit for publication.

Says an open access article in the journal Science Editor:

"Deciding whether any instance of text recycling is ethical, legal, and appropriate—and possibly even desirable—depends on factors such as the amount and nature of the recycled material as well as copyright laws and any limitations on reuse that are part of an author–publisher agreement. Thus, there is a need for clear and consistent guidelines on text recycling. ...

"The Text Recycling Research Project (TRRP) defines text recycling as the reuse of textual material (prose, visuals, or equations) in a new document where (1) the material in the new document is identical to that of the source (or substantively equivalent in both form and content), (2) the material is not presented in the new document as a quotation (via quotation marks or block indentation), and (3) at least one author of the new document is also an author of the prior document."

The project has now developed the document "TRRP Best Practices for Researchers," which will help you understand how to reuse and how not to reuse your own work. Please note that, as the document says, "[t]hese recommendations apply only to reusing [your] own work, not using material written by others. Authors should not engage in plagiarism. For advice on avoiding plagiarism, consult" guides available in your science discipline.


Editor colleagues, please also see "Understanding Text Recycling: A Guide for Editors." Information about members of the advisory board for the TRRP can be found here.

#ResearchPaper #science #authors #writing #TextRecycling #plagiarism #editing #editor #EditorMom

Friday, December 03, 2021

The Stages of Life and Being a Freelance Editor

My family and I are dealing with change, and two of the the things it will do for me are (1) decrease stress levels and (2) eventually allow me to get back to teaching editing courses and attending (virtual) editing conferences. I've missed teaching and intense learning so much!

My 86-year-old mother-in-law, who has dementia, has now been declared eligible for Medicaid* coverage, so she can get the constant support she needs in a long-term memory-care facility. This will be helpful for her, and it will provide reassurance and stress reduction for my family. I have been her daytime caregiver in our home for several years now, and things are at the point that we no longer feel that we can keep up with her care needs.

I'm posting this to let those of you new to freelancing know that your career in self-employment will go through stages over the years, and you can find ways to make it work.

Here are the stages that I edited through:

  • I began freelancing full time 2 weeks after my second child was born. I often ended up, when he was a baby, editing onscreen while he slept on my chest in a baby sling.
  • I had a third child 6 years later; baby-sling time again.
  • Had frequent #StetWalk** breaks necessitated by chasing toddlers around the house.
  • Took breaks from my computer to supervise homework sessions and to read with my kiddos.
  • Did parenting between editing bouts and during editing.
  • Relearned how to edit in total quiet while my kiddos were at school.
  • Lived through the kiddos' adolescence, years getting degrees, and years getting their first jobs, because they have lived with us as young adults and could always vent to me when they got home for the day or night.
  • Trained my retired in-laws, who lived with us, that "freelancing" does not mean "available to chat at every moment throughout the day."
  • Periodically got to lunch here at home with my mate, a cabinetmaker, who was self-employed for a time instead of being an employee who worked an hour away from home.
  • Took work breaks to assist my mother-in-law in providing care to my father-in-law, who had Alzheimer disease.
  • Realized that my exercise routine had become going down and then back up the stairs between the part of the house that is where my husband and I live and the part where my widowed mother-in-law was living, so that I could test her blood sugar three times a day and administer insulin, because she developed type 2 diabetes and felt overwhelmed at handling it all on her own.
  • Became my mother-in-law's daytime caregiver when it became apparent that she had dementia and needed me to make her healthy meals and needed supervision for daily life tasks.

And here I am, still editing. You too can do the tough things.

*Medicaid provides health-care coverage to Americans who qualify, including those with low incomes like my mother-in-law.

** https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/what-is-stetwalk

#editing #editor #freelancing #freelancer #selfemployment #caregiving #balance #dementia #Alzheimer #Medicaid #stamina #EditorMom

Friday, October 29, 2021

US Discrimination Against Chinese Scientists Is Harming Scientific Research

It is vital that that we in the USA consider what harm it is doing to scientific research to discriminate against Chinese scientists here in our nation. I edit for many Chinese scientists and physicians, and they do important work that is needed by the entire world. I respect them a great deal and wish that none of them ever encountered discrimination here or, while in China, from US science journals and textbook publishers.

As noted in the white paper "Racial Profiling Among Scientists of Chinese Descent and Consequences for the U.S. Scientific Community," about research conducted by Jenny J. Lee, Xiaojie Li, and the staff of the Committee of 100:

  "The problem of racial profiling in the scientific community will not be eradicated with the elimination of particular federal policies or the clarification of procedures alone. More work is needed to combat the current wave of anti-Asian hate in the U.S. Universities should consider similar studies to examine the campus racial climate. As exemplified by some scientists’ comments [in our study], anti-China sentiments within universities exist. Institutional studies might ask: How have the China Initiative, other anti-China policies, and anti-China rhetoric further fueled anti-Asian hate in academia and our university? How does anti-Asian racism negatively impact scientific discovery? How can decentralized institutional units, such as export control, internationalization, and faculty/student support, better align?

  "Greater advocacy and support for Asian scientists in the U.S. are especially needed in order for them to continue pursuing scientific inquiry across borders without fear of prejudice, profiling, or persecution. While intellectual security must remain a priority, so too must civil liberties be maintained. With that in mind, an enduring question for academic leaders, policymakers, and researchers remains: How can we maintain the spirit of international scientific collaboration while protecting intellectual property? While we continue to seek answers and propose better solutions, our attempts should carefully consider how we can uphold, rather than sacrifice, America’s academic freedom and global leadership in science."

Zhuo Chen, an author I have edited for in the past and someone I respect greatly, wrote a commentary on the white paper: "Crouching Trouble, Hidden Discrimination—the Predicament of Chinese Scientists in the United States." I agree strongly with what he says:

  "It is welcoming news that the Committee of 100 and Professor Lee have taken on this task to assess the impact of the discriminatory actions towards scientists of Chinese descent in the US. As Ambassador Gary Lock forcefully put in his remarks, 'The method the U.S. Justice Department has adapted through efforts such as the "China Initiative" results in unacceptable damage to the lives of innocent Chinese Americans and, if left uncorrected, will likely harm vital American economic and national security.' [6]  It is urgent to reverse the discriminatory practices and hate crimes—as the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and the exposure and shutdown of the 'rogue' unit with the Department of Commerce have rightfully done. [7,8]"

And finally, as reported in the white paper by Lee et al, a non–Asian American professor of engineering said:

  "Finding a way to come together with China is necessary for the U.S. to advance in the 21st Century and beyond. The cultures of the world are bound together at this time so the sooner we realize this truth the better it will be for all people. Also, as we move into space exploration and understanding, working together with experts from China will accelerate the advancements to come. To not work together with China will greatly suppress the pace and impact of space initiatives. It will be a substantial setback. The 21st Century is, for the first time, a potentially united world in a broad sense. That is why connecting to China is so critical for all humanity."

You can download and read the white paper here.

You can download and read Zhuo Chen's commentary here.

If you have connections in the US science community, please consider sharing this post with them. That way, you can perhaps help reduce discrimination against Chinese scientists.

#science #research #China #Chinese #discrimination #publishing #journals #textbooks #editing #editors #EditorMom

Thursday, October 14, 2021

When the Freelance Work Well Runs Dry for a Bit

Fellow self-employed editors, I want you to know that you can find ways to survive difficult times.

I have been self-employed full time as an editor since 1995. I've always marketed my services by various means, and I have built up a good clientele over the years.

I thought that the COVID-19 pandemic wouldn't affect my workload; it didn't for the most part. But until just very recently, I had been very low on work for about 2 months, because so many of my physician-authors' studies—and thus the articles they would write about them—were put on hold because of COVID. I had been working extra hard on marketing to combat that, and working very, very hard not to let my chronic depression ramp up and overwhelm me.

But now things are getting back on track. Projects are coming in. Whew!

I am fortunate to have a mate whose income mostly covered our living expenses, though there have been tight times and he has had to work a lot of overtime to help bridge the financial gap. I realize, though, that some of you do not have a partner bringing in income, and that can be very difficult.

I am here to tell you that keeping up with my workday routines, including keeping in contact with you in Facebook groups, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and via email, helped keep me from going off the rails. The editorial community is a generous one, and I thank you for that. When your workload disappears for a while sometimes, do not drop out of touch with the community. Human support is vital.

Do not stop marketing, and that includes keeping in touch with the editorial community and with clients and related contacts.

Do not stop reading editing-related news.

If you can afford to do so, keep taking short courses and attending webinars to learn new things.

Do things that you normally enjoy doing. Do not lie down on the couch and stare at the TV for hours each day. If you were already taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds, do not stop taking those, because your life may depend on them.

Do not keep your fears about temporary work loss private from your non-editor friends. Friends are people who support each other. Ask for the time you need from your friends, even if, like I am, you are a major introvert.

Keep doing these things, and the work will come back. It will. You can do this.

#editor #editing #freelance #freelancer #career #workload #marketing #clientele# authors #pandemic #COVID19 #finances #learning #professionaldevelopment #stress #depression #fear #support #friends #EditorMom

Monday, June 21, 2021

Resources for Learning About Predatory Journals in Science

Both readers of science journals and researchers seeking to publish articles in science journals need to be aware of the damage that predatory journals can do to scientific truth and science careers. But what are predatory journals? And why are they dangerous?

An article from Nature says:

Predatory journals are a global threat. They accept articles for publication—along with authors' fees—without performing promised quality checks for issues such as plagiarism or ethical approval. Naive readers are not the only victims. Many researchers have been duped into submitting to predatory journals, in which their work can be overlooked. One study that focused on 46,000 researchers based in Italy found that about 5% of them published in such outlets. A separate analysis suggests predatory publishers collect millions of dollars in publication fees that are ultimately paid out by funders such as the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

If you're not familiar with the concept of predatory journals, here are some articles that can enlighten you:




Illustration by David Parkins of predatory journals. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03759-y

Unfortunately, some predatory journals have managed to make it into PubMed. Learn about that in the article "How Predatory Journals Leak into PubMed."

This post on the Scholarly Kitchen blog (produced by the Society for Scholarly Publishing) reviews the strengths, features, and weaknesses of the journals blacklist run since 2017 by Cabells, which is accessible only by researchers and institutions who can pay a large fee. Cabells set up its list after academic librarian Jeffrey Beall shut down his free list. Also see this article about Beall's list.

An annual meeting report in Science Editor, the journal of the Council of Science Editors, discusses the impact of predatory journals and how to identify them so that you can avoid them.

And finally, this website lists and links to suspected predatory journals. The site was set up by a small group of scholars and information professionals who wanted to anonymously resurrect Beall's list.

#science #journals #predatory #deception #research #peerreview #scholars #editorial #editing #quality #EditorMom

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