The Chief Scientist calls for an international assurance process for research publishing
Alan Finkel has called for a research equivalent of the ISO international standards of quality management and assurance. “If journals are to retain their position as knowledge custodians they have a responsibility to be more than scrupulous. They also have to be accountable and transparent,” he told a Hong Kong conference on research integrity, Sunday.
The Chief Scientist proposed a publication process quality assurance system to set global standards.
“Compliance with PPQA would indicate to researchers, research institutions and granting agencies that the journal followed internationally accepted guidelines. And granting agencies would only consider research that has been published in a PPQA compliant journal when judging applications.”
Dr Finkel suggested the basis for audit standards already exist, in guidelines on transparency from the Centre for Open Science and recommendations from the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. While he put no firm view on organisations to run the accrediting and following audit process but he said a global agency would need to maintain the open-to-all register of accredited journals, funded by journals, research grant agencies and charities.
“Since granting agencies provide the keystone research funding, they have the greatest capacity to push for a shift in behaviour. They should set a timetable for the deliberations,” he said.