Peer review scam leader now up to 20 retractions

Khalid Zaman
Khalid Zaman

We’ve unearthed four more retractions for Khalid Zaman, an economist who lost 16 papers in 2014 for orchestrating fake peer review.

That brings Zaman’s total to 20, and ties him at the #18 spot on our leaderboard.

One of the more recently discovered retractions is for fake peer review, attributed to Zaman; one is for plagiarism, and two other papers were withdrawn while in press, for reasons that are unclear. (Note bene: These retractions are all at least one year old.)

First, the retraction notice for peer review issues, published in April 2015 for “Environmental Indicators and Energy Outcomes: Evidence from World Bank’s Classification Countries:”

We, the Editor-in-Chief and Publishers of the International Journal of Green Energy, are retracting the above-named article.

We are now cognizant of the falsification of author-nominated referees by Dr Khalid Zaman, which misled the Editor-in-Chief into accepting this article based upon the positive feedback of the three preferred reviewers.

This action constitutes a breach of warranties made by the authors with respect to the peer review process and of our policy on publishing ethics and integrity. We note we received, peer-reviewed, accepted, and published the article in good faith based on these warranties, and censure this action.

The article was published in April 2014, and has been cited once, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.

Next, we found a retraction notice published in 2014 for “Educational reforms and internationalization of universities: evidence from major regions of the world,” which appeared in Scientometrics:

Upon investigation carried out according to the Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines, it has been found that the article duplicates paragraphs of various internet sources as well as copied paragraphs from published papers.

In particular the authors duplicated parts from Section V of a report on The Impact of Education on Economic Growth: Theory, Findings, and Policy Implications by Brian G. Dahlin, Duke University 2008 without proper attribution.

The authors have agreed to the retraction.

The 2013 article has been cited twice.

Finally, Zaman is an author on two articles withdrawn from Energy Policy in 2013: “A wavelet analysis of oil prices and stock market: evidence from Pakistan and India” and “Growth factors determining financial development impact on SAARC′s energy demand: Energy-starved or energy-efficient region?.” Here’s the notice — Elsevier’s boilerplate explanation for withdrawn papers — that appeared on both:

This article has been withdrawn at the request of the author(s) and/or editor. The Publisher apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause. The full Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal can be found at

Elsevier uses the “withdrawn” designation for articles pulled when they are in press (at which point articles are not yet indexed in Web of Science). We’ve reached out to Elsevier to see if there was any sign of fake peer review in these papers.

We could not find current contact information for Zaman.

We’ve now counted a total of 17 papers Zaman has lost after he orchestrated fake peer reviews by submitting false contact information for his suggested reviewers.

Update 7/6/16 10:43 a.m. eastern: We covered one of these retractions in 2014 when it first appeared, it turns out, but this earlier retraction doesn’t affect Zaman’s total count, because we hadn’t included it.

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