AbstractA new “ethical” elite has arisen in science, the science watchdogs. In response to an inconsistent lack of accountability by scientists, editors and publishers, this new class of individuals, action groups, and anonymous entities has risen in very recent years to the level of “science watchdogs”. These individuals are attempting to hold various parties more accountable, or to raise greater public awareness of issues that plague science and science publishing. This letter examines the rapid rise of this new class of science watchdogs and briefly examines what their role, or risk, in science may be. While such efforts are laudable, their efforts and actions are still at an infancy. Thus, it is in fact necessary and important to hold this new class of individuals as accountable as the parties that they are trying to watch over by carefully examining their modus operandii. Most importantly, their personal and professional codes of conduct and possible infringements of ethical or professional boundaries need to be closely scrutinized, so that the repair of ills in science, through constructive criticism, remain fair, and balanced while respecting all parties’ freedom of speech. May this letter stimulate greater open and passionate debate about this topic.
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