Friday, November 11, 2016

Are Pseudonyms Ethical in Science Publishing?

 2016 Nov 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Are Pseudonyms Ethical in (Science) Publishing? Neuroskeptic as a Case Study.

Author information

  • 1, P. O. Box 7, Miki-cho Post Office, Ikenobe 3011-2, Miki-cho, Kagawa-ken, 761-0799, Japan.


The blogosphere is full of personalities with masks, or pseudonyms. Although not a desired state of public communication, one could excuse the use of pseudonyms in blogs and social media, which are generally unregulated or weakly regulated. However, in science publishing, there are increasingly strict rules regarding the use of false identities for authors, the lack of institutional or contact details, and the lack of conflicts of interest, and such instances are generally considered to be misconduct. This is because these violations of publishing protocol decrease trust and confidence in science and bring disrepute to those scientists who conform to the rules set out by journals and publishers and abide by them. Thus, when cases are encountered where trust and protocol in publishing are breached, these deserve to be highlighted. In this letter, I focus on Neuroskeptic, a highly prominent science critic, primarily on the blogosphere and in social media, highlighting the dangers associated with the use of pseudonyms in academic publishing.

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