‘Disbelief’: Researchers, watch out for this new scam involving journal special issues

Jamie Trapp

We’ve seen authors fake peer review by creating fake email addresses, and even companies that use photos of celebrities to lure unsuspecting authors. Now along comes a new scam, this one involving special issues of journals. In “Predatory publishing, hijacking of legitimate journals and impersonation of researchers via special issue announcements: a warning for editors and authors about a new scam,” Jamie Trapp, of Queensland University of Technology, describes what happened when scammers tried to snare the journal he edits — Australasian Physical & Engineering Sciences in Medicine. We asked Trapp to answer a few questions about the scheme.

Retraction Watch (RW): You recently wrote about what you call “a new scam.” Tell us about this scam.

Continue reading ‘Disbelief’: Researchers, watch out for this new scam involving journal special issues

Food poisoning researcher up to four spoiled papers

via Wikimedia

The Journal of Food Safety has retracted two papers by a group from Iran over concerns that the work was tainted by problems with peer review and bad data. 

The articles, both of which appeared in 2018, came from the lab of Ebrahim Rahimi, of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tehran. Rahimi, by our count, has now lost four papers for questionable peer review and findings. 

For Rahimi’s article, “Antibiotic resistance properties and genotypic characterization of enterotoxins in the Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from traditional sweets,” the retraction notice reads: 

Continue reading Food poisoning researcher up to four spoiled papers

Author protests as Elsevier retracts nine papers for fake peer review

Christos Damalas

An agriculture researcher has lost nine papers from Elsevier journals for “illegitimate reviewer reports.”

The researcher, Christos Damalas, is, well, irked.

The journals included Chemosphere, Crop Protection, Land Use Policy, and Science of the Total Environment, and the papers were all published in 2017 and 2018, with Damalas as corresponding author and co-authors from Iran and Pakistan. Together, the nine papers have been cited about 75 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Knowledge.

Here’s a typical notice, this one from Crop Protection:

Continue reading Author protests as Elsevier retracts nine papers for fake peer review

Journal editors “flabbergasted” by responses to author’s ruse

Tilapia cabrae

The Pakistan Journal of Zoology got hoodwinked by a tall fishing tale. And they’re letting everyone know.

[Looking for Forensics Friday? They’ll resume as soon as we get through a backlog of posts we didn’t publish during our 10-day outage.]

The journal has retracted six papers that share a co-author who the editors say “exploited the peer-review process in the Journal of Zoology by generating fake reviewers[sic] email addresses.”

Some version of the fake peer review ruse has, as Retraction Watch readers may recall, been responsible for at least 700 retractions since 2012.

Here’s the notice, which isn’t playing catch-and-release:

Continue reading Journal editors “flabbergasted” by responses to author’s ruse

Chaos as Chaos retracts paper it apparently never should have published in the first place

Apologies in advance for the headache that might come your way after reading this post, but the journal Chaos has a mindbending retraction.

The editors have pulled an article they published in January 2019 over concerns about contaminated peer review and other problems. The paper, “Neglecting nonlocality leads to unrealistic numerical scheme for fractional differential equation: Fake and manipulated results,” was a broadside against an article that had appeared in a different journal.

According to the author, Muhammad Altaf Khan, of the City University of Science and Information Technology in Peshawar, Pakistan:

Continue reading Chaos as Chaos retracts paper it apparently never should have published in the first place

Energy researcher up to 18 retractions

A researcher in Malaysia is up to 18 retractions, for faked peer review and a host of other sins.

We first wrote about Shahaboddin Shamshirband, of the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, in early 2017, because Elsevier had pulled, or planned to pull, nine of his papers. Jeffrey Beall, known for his list of possible predatory publishers, had raised questions about duplication by Shamshirband in 2016 on his now-defunct blog, ScholarlyOA.

The most recent retraction for Shamshirband was for “Soft computing methodologies for estimation of energy consumption in buildings with different envelope parameters,” a 2016 paper in Energy Efficiency. Here’s the notice: Continue reading Energy researcher up to 18 retractions

Caught Our Notice: Forged email for corresponding author dooms diabetes paper

Title: Naringin Alleviates Diabetic Kidney Disease through Inhibiting Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Reaction

What Caught Our Attention: PLOS ONE had a few reasons for retracting a 2015 paper about a treatment for kidney disease due to diabetes: For one, despite what the paper claims, the authors did not obtain ethical approval to conduct the reported animal experiments. In addition, the corresponding author had no idea the paper had been submitted and published. How could a corresponding author be kept in the dark? It turns out, the journal was given an incorrect email address for him, so he didn’t receive any communications around the paper. (One author apparently used a third party editing company.) Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Forged email for corresponding author dooms diabetes paper

Journal retracts paper after discovering lead author forged co-author’s signature

A pharmacy journal has retracted a 2017 cancer paper after determining that the lead author forged her co-author’s signature.

Alain Li Wan Po, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, told Retraction Watch that, after discovering the forgery, the journal lost confidence in “the integrity of the whole report,” and decided to retract it:

Our judgment was that if an author is willing to forge a signature, we cannot be sure of the integrity of the whole report and decided on the retraction.

According to Po, the paper’s lead author, Yan Wang, objected to the retraction because “she maintained that the data were accurate.” So the editors retracted the paper without her approval — but with the agreement of the author Jatinder Lamba, whose name was forged.

How did the journal discover the forged signature?

Continue reading Journal retracts paper after discovering lead author forged co-author’s signature

Can you spot a fake? New tool aims to help journals identify fake reviews

Chris Heid

Fake peer reviews are a problem in academic publishing. A big problem. Many publishers are taking proactive steps to limit the effects, but massive purges of papers tainted by problematic reviews continue to occur; to date, more than 500 papers have been retracted for this reason. In an effort to help, Clarivate Analytics is unveiling a new tool as part of the release of ScholarOne Manuscripts, its peer review and submission software in December, 2017. We spoke to Chris Heid, Head of Product for ScholarOne, about the new pilot program to detect unusual submission and peer review activity that may warrant further investigation by the journal.

Retraction Watch: Fake peer reviews are a major problem in publishing, but many publishers are hyper-aware of it and even making changes to their processes, such as not allowing authors to recommend reviewers. Why do you think the industry needs a tool to help detect fake reviews?

Continue reading Can you spot a fake? New tool aims to help journals identify fake reviews

Fake peer review strikes again for pair of authors

Two authors who had a paper retracted for fake peer review in 2015 have lost another for the same reason.

Elsevier recently retracted the second paper by the duo, a 2015 paper in a cancer journal, after finding evidence of fake peer review. The paper was submitted in October 2014 and accepted just a week before our piece on fake peer review appeared in Nature.

According to the notice, after investigating the paper, which appeared in Cancer Letters, the publisher concluded that it was accepted “based upon the positive advice of at least two faked reviewer reports.” The notice also explained that the identities of several authors “could not be confirmed.” Continue reading Fake peer review strikes again for pair of authors