Professor Alvaro Viljoen DST- NRF Chair inPhytomedicine and
international guest speaker Anne-Marie Pordon, Publisher from Elsevier at
the Authors Publishing Workshop.
Pordon’s presentation introduced the audience to the responsibilities of a Publisher, while she also touched on the origins of the process, through to the current system. In addition, she provided clarity and background information on the contributions of a Publisher to the scientific and health communities.
In her presentation, she shared significant points on plagiarism and emphasised its importance to ensure that researchers are aware of the rules to prevent harming their work and reputation. A critical question from the audience was the issue of language; whether it is appropriate to reject a paper because of the language used by the author. Both Pordon and Prof Viljoen felt that while language plays a crucial role in scientific communication, it should not be the sole reason for rejecting a paper and that authors should be granted an opportunity to deal with issues of grammar.
In closing, Prof Viljoen added that another problematic area in the publication of articles is that people, who should only be acknowledged, are often erroneously referred to as authors, even though they did not make an intellectual contribution to the research. “We do acknowledge the contributions that people have made but I don’t necessarily think they should all be authors,” he said. “Any misunderstanding could easily be addressed and avoided if authorship vs contribution is discussed with contributors upfront, before the article is even being drafted.”
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