This article analyzes a case of postproduction misconduct, that is, the BioMed Central (BMC) retraction incident, which is the beginning of a series of massive retraction incidents that China has encountered in recent years. Our analysis echoes the pioneering research of STS scholar Mario Biagioli, who argues that our academic culture is shifting from “publish or perish” to “impact or perish.” Getting a good score on the metrics of academic evaluation becomes the goal of some scholars, leading to the emergency of postproduction misconduct. As revealed in the BMC retraction incident, commercial agencies that claimed to be able to facilitate academic publishing manipulated the peer-review process of academic papers by fabricating their peer reviews to help some clinicians meet the requirements of the title assessment system. This article advances Biagioli’s argument by expounding on the following two characteristics of the BMC retraction incident: first, peer reviews were fabricated by agencies instead of the authors themselves; second, the incident was induced systematically by the title assessment system, instead of particularly by individual factors of the authors. Through analyzing this case, we obtain important insight into postproduction misconduct, which is beneficial to more thoroughly understanding and then mitigating this new type of academic misconduct.
本文分析了一个后生产性学术不端的案例,即 BioMed Central (BMC) 撤稿事件,该事件也是近年来中国遭遇的一系列大规模撤稿事件的开端。 本文的分析响应了 STS 学者 Mario Biagioli 的开创性研究。 Biagioli 认为,我们的学术文化正在从 “发表,或者毁灭” (publish or perish) 向“有影响,或者毁灭” (impact or perish) 转变,在学术评价指标上获得一个好的得分成为一些学者的目标,从而导致了后生产性学术不端的出现。在 BMC 撤稿事件中,一些声称能够帮助进行学术发表的商业性中介通过伪造评审意见操纵了学术论文的同行评审过程,以帮助一些临床医生达到职称评审系统的要求。 本文通过详细阐释 BMC 撤稿事件的以下两个特点推进了 Biagioli 的论述:首先,评审意见是由中介伪造的,而非作者自己;其次,该事件是由职称评审体系系统性地诱发的,而非由作者的个人因素个别地导致的。 通过对此案例的分析,本文获得了对后生产性学术不端的一些重要认识,有助于更为深刻地理解这种新型的学术不端现象并减少其发生。