Guess what? We’ve got more cases of fraudulent peer review to report — our second post of the day on the subject, in fact. In the latest news, Hindawi Publishing Corporation has retracted 10 papers for “fraudulent review reports,” after an investigation of more than 30 papers that had been flagged this summer.
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
been retracted as it was accepted for publication on the basis of peer review reports that were submitted from fraudulent reviewer accounts.
In late 2014, a number of publishers discovered widespread abuse of the peer review process, including cases of identity theft and faked review reports. In July 2015, Hindawi concluded an extensive investigation into peer review fraud and identified a number of articles that had been accepted on the basis of fraudulent peer review reports.
In accordance with the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), this article has been retracted on the basis that fraudulent review reports were submitted by one of the article’s co-authors, Jason Jung.
The papers that Jung was the corresponding author on are:
- “Intelligent Advisory Speed Limit Dedication in Highway Using VANET,” published in The Scientific World Journal, cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge (retraction note)
- “Public Alerts on Landslide Natural Disaster Using Vehicular Communications” published in the International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks, cited once (retraction note)
- “Semantic Information Integration with Linked Data Mashups Approaches” published in the International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks, no citations (retraction note)
- “E-Learning Recommender Systems Based on Goal-Based Hybrid Filtering” published in the International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks, has been cited twice (retraction note)
Two of those papers have another person in common — Dosam Hwang of Yeungnam University was the editor on the first, and a co-author on the third.
For the other papers called into question in July, the publisher submitted them to another round of peer review, according to Paul Peters, Hindawi’s Chief Executive Officer:
For the remaining articles we found no evidence of author involvement in the manipulation of the peer review process. Following COPE’s recommended course of action, we re-reviewed all of the articles identified in our original investigation using independent Editorial Board Members. These editors have recommended we retract an additional six articles.
On those six, Jung was the academic editor on two. Amir Kajbafvala of North Carolina State University was the editor on the other four. Kajbafvala was not a co-author on any of the retracted papers.
Those six retractions have a similar note to the one above, with the exception of the last few lines. The notes explain, as Peters told us, that the manuscript didn’t pass a proper peer-review process:
In accordance with the recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), Hindawi sent these manuscripts for re-review using independent Editorial Board Members. Following this re-review process, this article has been retracted as it was deemed unsuitable for publication.
- “A Data Gathering Method Based on a Mobile Sink for Minimizing the Data Loss in Wireless Sensor Networks,” published in the International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks; has not been cited. Corresponding author: Jaesoo Yoo, Chungbuk National University (retraction note)
- “Extracting User Interests on Facebook” published in International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks; has not been cited. Corresponding author: Pankoo Kim, Chosun University (retraction note)
- “Microwave Mediated Organic Reaction: A Convenient Approach for Rapid and Efficient Synthesis of Biologically Active Substituted 1,3-Dihydro-2H-indol-2-one Derivatives” published in the Journal of Nanomaterials; has not been cited. Corresponding author: Jnyanaranjan Panda, Roland Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (retraction note)
- “Role of Surfactant in the Formation of Gold Nanoparticles in Aqueous Medium” published in the Journal of Nanoparticles, which is not indexed in Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Corresponding author: Sudhir Kapoor, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (retraction note)
- “Plasmonic and Thermooptical Properties of Spherical Metallic Nanoparticles for Their Thermoplasmonic and Photonic Applications” published in the Journal of Nanoparticles. Corresponding author: Wolfgang Fritzsche, Institute of Photonic Technology (retraction note)
- “Green Chemistry Approach for Efficient Synthesis of Schiff Bases of Isatin Derivatives and Evaluation of Their Antibacterial Activities” published in the Journal of Nanoparticles. Corresponding author: Jnyanaranjan Panda (retraction note)
Peters told us that the rest of the 22 papers flagged back in July are fine:
Apart from the 10 articles above, there were no concerns raised by these Editors that would warrant any further retractions.
We asked him if he had any idea as to the editors’ motivations for manipulating the peer-review process. He told us:
Unfortunately we don’t have any insight into why the editors would have manipulated the peer review process of these papers.Following the re-review process of the articles that were flagged during our initial investigation, the majority of the articles involved were found to have no serious problems that would warrant retraction. So, it is possible that the editors simply wanted to expedite the peer review process of these articles by submitting review reports themselves. However, I am not in a position to speak to the motivations of the people involved as we have no concrete evidence either way.
We’ve reached out to the corresponding author on each paper, and will update this post with anything else we learn.
The total number of retractions stemming from problematic peer review is now inching ever closer to 300.
Like Retraction Watch? Consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, and sign up on our homepage for an email every time there’s a new post. Click here to review our Comments Policy.