Publication Integrity and Ethics: A pie best avoided

You may have received / will receive the following rather odd email invitation:

“You are invited to join the Publication Integrity and Ethics (P.I.E.) as one of its members. PIE, a UK-based not-for profit organisation, offers free membership to all interested academics. Please join us and become part of this exciting new movement in the world of research ethics.”

PIE state that their mission is to “promote and maintain a better and a healthier publishing environment through a new set of ethical rules and guidelines”. Open Access Publishing London (OAPL), who manage some 50 academic journals, advertise that they were “the first global publishing house to adopt the PIE Guidelines.” They are also the only global publishing house whose Director is a relative of PIE’s Director, not to mention that OAPL is on Beall’s list of “predatory” open access publishers.

Two international researchers have delved a bit deeper and noted disturbing aspects. For instance, while espousing PIE’s guidelines on “duplicate publication”, OAPL has recently published an article which meets the very criteria for duplicate publication. PIE itself seems to have copied sections of its guidelines verbatim from well-recognised sources, e.g. COPE – Committee on Publication Ethics, without attribution.

In short, it is unclear what the point of the group is, but they are displaying some attributes of predatory publishers.

Linda O’Brien

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