Conservation Physiology an Open Access Journal

Conservation Physiology, a fully open access journal (authors  and readers can publish and access the content for free), is published on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology and it is part of the Oxford University press in the UK.

The purpose of Conservation Physiology is to publish research on all taxa related to how organisms, populations, and ecosystems respond physiologically  to environmental changes. Research related to restoration of populations and ecosystems including policy and management is also suitable for this journal.

Even though this journal does not address directly open access, they have a link offering information about open access from the publishing company, Oxford University Press (OUP). The mission of the OUP, on open access, is to facilitate the widest possible dissemination of high quality research, while embracing both green and gold open access.

The OUP has adopted publishing open access journals since 2004, and has accomplished it in different ways. For instance, the journal of Nucleic Acids Research, a former subscription publication, was moved to an open access model in 2005; thereafter in 2013 it achieved its highest impact factor ever. The OUP has also launched new, fully open access journals, such as Conservation Physiology.

The OUP recognizes economical constrains of offering fully open access for all journals. In fact, they identify publication expenses such as article processing charges.  Although, they highlight the importance of scholarly societies and associations to cover those charges in fully open access journals. In the near future the OUP expects the publishing industry to be mixed; some areas of research might fit fully open access better, while others might require optional open access (i.e. authors pay extra for this feature).

Conservation Physiology fits the model of the OUP by partnering with the Society for Experimental Biology to cover publishing expenses. My guess is that the professional society obtains funds to cover the journal expenses from both membership and meeting registration fees. In the end, researchers, universities and institutes appear to still be paying, indirectly, to be able to publish. Nevertheless, the benefit to the general community of open access is that everyone is able to attain the information for free.

Falsifying and Fabricating Data in Scientific Research are Unethical Actions (Case of Briones T.L.).

Most professions follow a code of ethics to provide the best quality service with professional and personal integrity. Professionals violating their code of ethics (e.g. professional misconduct) could face sanctions imposed by an ethics board, or similar entity. For instance, ethical conduct of researchers in the field of health and human services is reviewed and monitored by the Office for Research Integrity (ORI).

The case of Dr. Teresita Briones, a neuroscientist and associate professor in the College of Nursing at Wayne State University, is an example of ethical violation in scientific research and illustrates the consequences of research misconduct.

The ORI investigated Dr. Briones and found research misconduct activities in research supported by federal agencies such as the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), National Institutes of Health (NIH).  According to the ORI, Dr. Briones misconduct, related to falsifying and fabricating data, was evident in five scientific publications and three grant applications. Specifically, Dr. Briones intentionally and knowingly duplicated, reused, and falsely relabeled images of tests and claimed they originated from different experiments.

As of April-7-2015, the ORI issued sanctions, and both parties agreed on the following:

  • The five scientific publications to be voluntarily retracted from the scientific journals.
  • Dr. Briones agreed to exclude herself (for three years) from:
    • Contracting and subcontracting with any US agency.
    • Any advisory capacity for the US Public Health Service, board, peer-review committee or consultant.

Follow the link below for detailed information regarding this case (

To date (April-15-2015), I was able to access online all the publications in question. Her publications are in well-stablished journals with restricted and open access. I imagine that the process of removing publications after they are released is very slow. It would be interesting to see how long it takes for the publications to disappear online.

In summary, this case shows the importance of following professional ethical codes and the ability of a regulatory agency to detect and impose sanctions for professional misconduct.