A company that indexes journals — thereby assigning them impact factors — has chosen to delist a cancer journal after it retracted 107 papers earlier this year for faked peer reviews.
Starting July 19, anything published by Tumor Biology will not be indexed in Web of Science, part of Clarivate Analytics (formerly part of Thomson Reuters). Clarivate told us the decision was based on the fake reviews that took down more than 100 papers earlier this year. The problematic papers were released while the journal was published by Springer, not its current publisher, SAGE.
Without being indexed by Web of Science, Tumor Biology will lack an impact factor — which can be the kiss of death for many journals, since researchers (and institutions) often count on such metrics when applying for grants and promotions, so many will not submit work to a journal without one.
Here’s the statement from a Clarivate spokesperson [their emphasis]:
Continue reading When a journal retracts 107 papers for fake reviews, it pays a price
Springer is retracting 107 papers from one journal after discovering they had been accepted with fake peer reviews. Yes, 107.
To submit a fake review, someone (often the author of a paper) either makes up an outside expert to review the paper, or suggests a real researcher — and in both cases, provides a fake email address that comes back to someone who will invariably give the paper a glowing review. In this case, Springer, the publisher of Tumor Biology through 2016, told us that an investigation produced “clear evidence” the reviews were submitted under the names of real researchers with faked emails. Some of the authors may have used a third-party editing service, which may have supplied the reviews. The journal is now published by SAGE.
The retractions follow another sweep by the publisher last year, when Tumor Biology retracted 25 papers for compromised review and other issues, mostly authored by researchers based in Iran. With the latest bunch of retractions, the journal has now retracted the most papers of any other journal indexed by Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, formerly part of Thomson Reuters. In 2015, its impact factor — 2.9 — ranked it 104th out of 213 oncology journals.
Here’s more from Springer’s official statement, out today:
Continue reading A new record: Major publisher retracting more than 100 studies from cancer journal over fake peer reviews
In a massive cleanup, Springer and BioMed Central announced today they are retracting 58 papers for several reasons, including manipulation of the peer-review process and inappropriately allocating authorship.
The papers appeared in seven journals, and more are under investigation.
In a release issued today, the publishers note: Continue reading Springer, BMC retracting nearly 60 papers for fake reviews and other issues
PLOS ONE has retracted three papers after the first author admitted to submitting the manuscripts without co-authors’ consent, and an investigation suggested that two out of the three papers had received faked reviews.
Last August, the same author — Lishan Wang of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University — lost two more papers (one in Tumor Biology and the other in Gene), also after the peer review process was found to be compromised. All five papers — which share other authors in common — were originally published in 2013, and four list Wang as the first author. The retractions follow an investigation by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Here’s the retraction notice for two of the PLOS ONE papers, issued on July 26: Continue reading Author loses five papers, most for “compromised” peer review
This is officially becoming a trend: Springer is pulling another 64 articles from 10 journals after finding evidence of faked peer reviews, bringing the total number of retractions from the phenomenon north of 230.
Given that there have been about 1,500 papers retracted overall since 2012, when we first reported on the phenomenon, faked reviews have been responsible for about 15% of all retractions in the past three years.
This isn’t the first time Springer has faced the issue. As owner of the BioMed Central journals, it issued 43 retractions for faked reviews earlier this year.
In a statement, the publisher explains how the latest round of retractions came to light: Continue reading 64 more papers retracted for fake reviews, this time from Springer journals
Noriyuki Takai, a gynecologic cancer researcher at Oita University in Japan, has lost another five papers. With a new total of 13, that means he’s now on our leaderboard.
Three of the retractions are from the journal Tumor Biology, one is from the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, and one from Anticancer Research.
Takai is the first author on all 5 papers.
As has been the case with Takai’s retractions, and there’s evidence that all were felled by issues with figures. In all, according to the retraction notices, “original data were processed inappropriately.” Four end with the following sentence (or some close variation thereof):
Continue reading Gynecologic cancer researcher up to 13 retractions
This one’s a real mess.
In June, a paper in Tumor Biology was retracted for at least four reasons, including bad data and hiding a trial sponsor (Merck). Some people who contributed work weren’t cited; at least one author had no idea his name would be on it. And that’s just what they tell us in the notice.
Here’s the notice for “Neutropenia and invasive fungal infection in patients with hematological malignancies treated with chemotherapy: a multicenter, prospective, non-interventional study in China:” Continue reading Failure to disclose drug company sponsor among litany of reasons for cancer retraction