Thursday, July 10, 2014

Scientific Journal Retracts 60 Articles for Peer Review Fraud

From this morning's WAPO: Scholarly journal retracts 60 articles, smashes ‘peer review ring’

I thought the science was settled?
Every now and then a scholarly journal retracts an article because of errors or outright fraud. In academic circles, and sometimes beyond, each retraction is a big deal.

Now comes word of a journal retracting 60 articles at once.

The reason for the mass retraction is mind-blowing: A “peer review and citation ring” was apparently rigging the review process to get articles published.
You’ve heard of prostitution rings, gambling rings and extortion rings. Now there’s a “peer review ring.”

The publication is the Journal of Vibration and Control (JVC). It publishes papers with names like “Hydraulic engine mounts: a survey” and “Reduction of wheel force variations with magnetorheological devices.”
Apparently, among the scientific frauds perpetrated by this group was having one author review his own paper, using a "Sockpuppet", internet parlance for a made up identity for purposes of deception. Given the current electronic systems for article review that I've seen, it would be fairly easy to establish the false identity for the review, but it's up to the editor or assistant editor of the journal to know the scientific reputations of the reviews he (or she, not be sexist), so it sounds to me like someone with the journal was involved. This, should come as no great shock; by and large the editors, assistant editors and reviewer are not paid at all (though most are tenured profs, and have a full salary that presumes service to the community).

Now, this may not sound all that important to you, but I suspect that the kind of papers in this journal are important to airplane and engine construction. I prefer my planes to fly on solid science, how about you?

1 comment:

  1. great post - I have suspected this for awhile

    Why not the papers submitted to the IPCC?

    ‘peer review ring’ - Imgur?