Journal that published paper linking 5G to COVID-19 blames “substantial manipulation of the peer review”

The journal that allowed a bizarre article linking Covid-19 to 5G cell phone waves to “slip through the net” now blames rigged peer review for the fishy paper. 

The article, which earned raspberries from the likes of Elisabeth Bik (who called it potentially the “worst” paper of the year) and others, was retracted shortly after publication in the Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents

As we reported last month, the journal initially simply withdrew the article without explanation. But the publisher, Biolife, then provided us with a few less-than-satisfying excuses, such as: 

We are heavily inundated with papers this year, you can imagine I presume.

Volume aside, however, Biolife insisted that this paper, like the others it publishes, underwent a thorough vetting before it was accepted: 

We rely on the best peers in each field for review and send our papers to at least 3.

Evidently, those reviewers in this case were too good to be true. According to the journal:

After a thorough investigation the Editor-in-Chief has retracted this article as it showed evidence of substantial manipulation of the peer review. 

That’s fair enough; we’ve certainly seen retractions — about 900 of them, in fact — for rigged peer review. (For a primer on how that works, here’s a feature we wrote for Nature in 2014.)

But it’s also a massive self-own.

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5 thoughts on “Journal that published paper linking 5G to COVID-19 blames “substantial manipulation of the peer review””

  1. “We rely on the *best peers* in each field for review and send our papers to at least 3.” (emphasis mine)

    I’m confused, as the USDA defines the best peers as:

    “U.S. No. 1 consists of peers of one variety which are mature, but not overripe, carefully hand-picked, clean, fairly well formed, free from decay, internal breakdown, scald, freezing injury, worm holes, black end, and from damage caused by hard end, bruises, broken skins, russeting, limb rubs, hail, scars, drought spot, sunburn, sprayburn, stings or other insect injury, disease, or mechanical or other means. (See §§51.1265 and 51.1268.) “

    https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/summer-and-fall-pear-grades-and-standards

  2. The excuse would better if the paper wasn’t so outrageously bad. It shouldn’t have been sent to any reviewers in the first place. It feels like the editor responsible for the paper didn’t spend even one minute reading it.

  3. That’s the problem of science and the scirnce of the problems of knowledge systems- confirmations and disconfirmations. Conjectures and anf refutations comes out as science- systematic knowledge. That the paper escaped the eagle eyes of line editors and reviewers is what one finds it unacceptable though, further diconstruction of the paper will enlighten the scientific world and reposition the journal going forward.

  4. The journal itself is bogus. Elizabeth Bik calls for PubMed to remove it from their database. It would seem PubMed are not interested in doing this. I contacted them to complain about the journal and the article, and all they managed to do was point me to their inclusion policies. It obviously requires much more important people than me to point out to them that it shouldn’t be in their database.

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