That’s what we’re sure about. Now to what we’re not clear on in this story, which is one of a growing number of cases we’ve seen in which so-called “predatory” publishers are starting to retract papers, perhaps because they hope the practice suggests they are rigorous. Four of the papers have been pulled for “compromised” peer review, some of which are due to the actions of an “external agent,” according to the journal. A co-author of one of these manuscripts, however, claims the paper has been pulled for using material from another researcher’s paper without acknowledgement but the journal has retracted it for issues with peer review.
The remaining paper has been pulled for plagiarizing from another published paper.
Elsevier has now retracted the seven papers it flagged in October as being affected by fake peer reviews.
If you’re not keeping track, we are: We have logged a total of about 300 retractions for fake peer review, in which some aspect of the peer-review process becomes compromised — for instance, in the case of the newly retracted papers, authors appear to have created fake email accounts in order to pose as reviewers and give the green light to their own papers.
Ever wonder how editors figure out whether a paper should be corrected, retracted, or left as-is? For a window into that crucial decision-making process, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) publishes a number of anonymized cases per year, in which they weigh in on a dilemma faced by a journal editor. The organization has weighed in on more than 500 such situations since 1997. We spoke with Charon Pierson, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Secretary of the Trustee Board and Council at COPE to find out more information about these cases – including the one that affected her most.
The editor of a special issue of a math journal — and author of many of the papers in it — has officially retracted the entire thing, after promising to withdraw it last year following issues with the review process.
According to the note in Mathematics and Mechanics of Solids, the peer-review process was “less rigorous than the journal requires.” Indeed, that process was coordinated by guest editor David Y. Gao, a mathematician at the Federation University Australia, who was also author on 11 of the 13 papers present in the issue.
Gao told us in November that he was withdrawing the issue because he thought it would be better suited as a book.
The investigation found that author Jason Jung, a computer engineer at Yeungnam University in Korea, “was involved in submitting the fraudulent review reports” for four of the retracted papers, according to the publisher’s CEO. In the case of the other six, the authors didn’t appear to be involved.
Hindawi Publishing Corporation, which publishes over 400 journals, doesn’t ask authors for potential review suggestions — making a common route to fake peer review more difficult. In July, when Hindawi announced it was investigating the papers, it posted a statement saying that they suspected the editors had created fake reviewer accounts.
The retraction note on Jung’s papers — identical except for the title at the beginning — explains that each paper has
Nature Publishing Group is retracting three papers today, after an investigation found evidence the peer-review process had been compromised.
The publisher issued a statement saying they had notified corresponding authors and institutions associated with the three papers, which were all published last year in the journals Cancer Gene Therapy and Spinal Cord.
Here’s the note that’s going on each of the papers, (they’re the same, except for the publication date):
The editor and author of most of the papers in a special issue of a math journal told us he is withdrawing the entire issue following revelations that he had coordinated the peer-review process.
The articles, published online earlier this year, recently received an expression of concern after the journal realized the guest editor David Gao, at the Federation University Australia, had coordinated the peer-review process. This was a major no-no, since Gao was also an author of 11 of the 13 papers. Mathematics and Mechanics of Solids slated the articles to be peer reviewed again, by reviewers not chosen by Gao.
Gao told us what happened next, from his perspective — he changed his mind about publishing the papers in MMS: