Springer Nature journal pulls nearly three dozen papers from special issues

A Springer Nature journal retracted 34 papers earlier this month, including, ironically enough, one on how to detect fake news, which appeared in special guest-edited issues hacked by publication cheats.

Special issues have emerged over the past few years as particularly vulnerable to paper mills. Last March, we reported that Wiley was taking a $9 million write-down after its Hindawi subsidiary paused publication of such issues because they were badly hacked by paper mills.

“Hybrid deep learning model for automatic fake news detection,” from a group in Turkey led by Othman A. Hanshal, was published last February in Applied Nanoscience. The retraction notice reads

The Publisher has retracted this article in agreement with the Editor-in-Chief. The article was submitted to be part of a guest-edited issue. An investigation by the publisher found a number of articles, including this one, with a number of concerns, including but not limited to compromised editorial handling and peer review process, inappropriate or irrelevant references or not being in scope of the journal or guest-edited issue. Based on the investigation’s findings the publisher, in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief therefore no longer has confidence in the results and conclusions of this article.

The authors have not responded to correspondence regarding this retraction.

A second paper in the journal, “Enhancement of voltage profile and generation of cost function by hybrid power flow controller using genetic algorithm,” also appeared last February from a group of researchers in Chennai, India. 

According to the retraction notice

The Publisher has retracted this article in agreement with the Editor-in-Chief. The article was submitted to be part of a guest-edited issue. An investigation by the publisher found a number of articles, including this one, with a number of concerns, including but not limited to compromised editorial handling and peer review process, inappropriate or irrelevant references or not being in scope of the journal or guest-edited issue. Based on the investigation’s findings the publisher, in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief therefore no longer has confidence in the results and conclusions of this article.

Author A. Murugan has not stated whether they agree or disagree with this retraction. Author V. Ramakrishnan has not responded to correspondence regarding this retraction.

A spokesperson for Springer Nature told us: 

These papers were identified as part of our ongoing commitment to identifying and acting on papers of concern. When we become aware of such concerns, we investigate them carefully following an established process and in line with best-practice COPE guidelines. We are currently in the process of retracting 34 papers as a result of this investigation, which should be completed imminently.

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, subscribe to our free daily digest or paid weekly updatefollow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or add us to your RSS reader. If you find a retraction that’s not in The Retraction Watch Database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at team@retractionwatch.com.

7 thoughts on “Springer Nature journal pulls nearly three dozen papers from special issues”

    1. Guest editors cannot accept papers. Only the editor appointed by the board or publisher can send the manuscript to production. However, an irresponsible editor can accept the recommendation of a guest without checking the contents.

      1. At least at Hindawi, they can; i.e., guest editors Can and do accept any papers they deem acceptable. Unfortunately!

  1. Although Applied Nanoscience seems to publish many special issues, vol 13 (3) and 13 (4) 2023 where the 2 articles discussed here appear, do not indicate that status.

    This, even though the phrase “The article was submitted to be part of a guest-edited issue” was included in both retraction notices.

    The special editors’ names are included in the numbers marked special editors in this journal at least.

    Seems a little strange.

  2. A “Collection” on “Clean energy technologies and nano-catalyst” accounts for some of the retractions in Issues 13-1, 13-2 and 13-3 (also for many other papers that have been queried on PubPeer, but not retracted so far).

    https://link.springer.com/collections/adjeeijabh
    Editors: Dr. S. Manigandan, Dr. Indira Karuppusamy & Dr. Sri Ramkumar Vijayan

    For most of the retractions, though, if there was a Special Issue and a Guest Editor responsible, the details have been sent down the memory hole. The Internet Archive could not help.

  3. Now Springer is retracting several papers. Many of of those retracted papers have same statement of retraction, which shows that editors did not study/review and investigated these papers specifically one by one. Most of these papers are in SI. They should punish the guest editor’s, handling editors and editor in chief, rather than punishing the authors and affecting their career.
    They are not even giving authors chance to listen them, and issue corrections.

  4. I think, EIC or handling editor should be held accountable. It’s unjust to penalize authors only based on reviewer decisions, as the review process is primarily overseen by the journal. Even in cases of special issues where a guest editor manages the review process, the EIC bears the same responsibility as the GE.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.