From The Scientist: Flagging fraud:
A team of French life sciences grad students has launched an online repository of fraudulent scientific papers, and is calling on researchers to report studies tainted by misconduct.
The website — called Scientific Red Cards — is still in a beta version, but once it’s fully operational it should help the scientific community police the literature even when problems slip past journal editors, the students claim.
The database might also prevent researchers from citing papers that they don’t even realize are fraudulent, said Claire Ribrault, a PhD student in neurobiology at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, who unveiled the new website last month at a workshop in Madrid, Spain, organized by the European Science Foundation’s Research Integrity Forum.
After misconduct is detected in a published paper, “sometimes the paper is not retracted, depending on the policy of the journal, and even if the paper is retracted sometimes it’s still cited after the retraction,” Ribrault said in a press release.
The website color-codes misconduct into three categories: red for data-related misconduct, including fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism; blue for publication-related misconduct, such as when editorial policies are not followed; and green for research practice misconduct, including problems with consent forms.
Each problematic paper in the register includes a full bibliographic reference, a link to published accounts of the misconduct, and a discussion board for users to leave their comments. So far, only around 30 papers have been listed.
Scientific Red Cards received a cautious thumbs-up from the meetings’ attendees, although some voiced concerns over legal problems and the site being used for scientific smear campaigns. Other countered that it provides a transparent way to patrol the literature.