Publisher retracts nearly 50 papers at once

A year after retracting 29 papers in one fell swoop, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a scientific society which is also one of the world’s largest scientific publishers, is retracting 49 articles from a journal and a conference because of problems in the way they were peer reviewed.

In a statement, IEEE said:

In 2018, IEEE found evidence that there were violations of the peer-review process for IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility and retracted 29 articles. IEEE continuously inspects its digital library, IEEE Xplore, and, if necessary, retracts nonconforming publications. A thorough follow-up investigation identified the additional 30 noncompliant articles. The retraction of the conference articles was the result of a similarly comprehensive investigation.

Thirty of the articles appeared in IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility— the same journal from which the 29 articles were retracted last year — and 19 were from the 2018 International Conference on Computing and Network Communications, also known as “CoCoNet.”

As was the case last year, the publisher offered no details on which papers were affected. However, a search of the IEEE Xplore returned 59 results from IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility and 19 from CoCoNet, matching the totals from the two announcements. 

The retractions from the journal read:

After careful consideration, this article has been retracted due to irregularities in the peer review process.

The CoCoNet retraction notices read:

After careful consideration, it has been determined that, through no fault of the authors, the review practices of this conference were not in accordance with IEEE’s Publication Principles. Accordingly, this paper has been retracted.

There are a number of common authors that span at least several of the retractions. By our count, for example, Irina Dolzhikova has six, Alex Pappachen James has nine, and Olga Krestinskaya has 11. All are listed as students or faculty at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan.

Last year, Antonio Orlandi was an author on 26 of the retracted papers. Orlandi had been the editor of IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility.

Following these episodes, IEEE said it will “refine its processes in three key areas: Peer-review monitoring; IEEE Publications Policy updates; Deterrents and sanctions.”

IEEE looms large in our database of more than 20,000 retractions. With these 49, the publisher will have just shy of 7,500 listed. As part of a package of stories last year in Science, we tried to explain why.

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One thought on “Publisher retracts nearly 50 papers at once”

  1. a number of years ago I attended a free dinner hosted by the local chapter of IEEE that was really a membership drive. I spoke with an older engineer and long time member who told me how great it was that he was able to travel to all over paid for by the IEEE. Since EEs seldon need to travel for thier job, it made me wonder where all the dues money was going. My past membership in the organization never benefitted me and there were lot of additional fees to access publications etc. My impression was that my dues money was going towards a privaledged few to travel and party.

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