October 3, 2012

The Chronicle investigates fake peer reviews

From Josh Fischman's Sept. 30 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

In incidents involving four scientists--the latest case coming to light two weeks ago--journal editors say authors got to critique their own papers by suggesting reviewers with contact e-mails that actually went to themselves.

The glowing endorsements got the work into Experimental Parasitology, Pharmaceutical Biology, and several other journals. Fake reviews even got a pair of mathematics articles into journals published by Elsevier, the academic publishing giant, which has a system in place intended to thwart such misconduct. The frauds have produced retractions of about 30 papers to date.

[...]

Anyone can open a Gmail or similar account under a name that isn't his or her own, as long as that name hasn't been taken by another user. For instance, Haroldvarmus@gmail.com was available last week, but e-mail sent there will not reach Mr. Varmus, the Nobel Prize-winning virologist and director of the National Cancer Institute.

[...]

The medicinal-chemistry journal has now changed its policy to require that every paper have two reviewers not suggested by an author.

[...]

On the journal side, editors are handling more submissions than ever--Mr. Supuran said he and three other editors work on 500 to 600 papers each year, about 20 percent more than when he started--and due diligence can be a casualty. When swamped, said Lance W. Small, a member of the ethics committee and a professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of California at San Diego, "editors may cut corners."


Posted by stemp003 at October 3, 2012 10:08 AM
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