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We’ve seen computer-generated fake papers get published. Now we have computer-generated fake peer reviews – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky September 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on September 5, 2016
 

Retraction Watch readers may recall that in 2014, publisher Springer and IEEE were forced to retract more than 120 conference proceedings because the papers were all fakes, written by the devilishly clever SCIgen program and somehow published after peer review. So perhaps it was inevitable that fake computer-generated peer reviews were next.

In a chapter called “Your Paper has been Accepted, Rejected, or Whatever: Automatic Generation of Scientific Paper Reviews,” a group of researchers at the University of Trieste “investigate the feasibility of a tool capable of generating fake reviews for a given scientific paper automatically.” And 30% of the time, people couldn’t tell the difference. “While a tool of this kind cannot possibly deceive any rigorous editorial procedure,” the authors conclude, “it could nevertheless find a role in several questionable scenarios and magnify the scale of scholarly frauds.”

We spoke to one of the chapter’s authors, Eric Medvet, by email.

Read the Retraction Watch interview

Feds Target ‘Predatory’ Publishers – Inside Higher Ed (Carl Straumsheim August 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on September 1, 2016
 

The Federal Trade Commission is “marking a line in the sand” with its first lawsuit against publishers that take advantage of scholars wishing to publish in open-access journals.

The Federal Trade Commission on Friday filed a complaint against the academic journal publisher OMICS Group and two of its subsidiaries, saying the publisher deceives scholars and misrepresents the editorial rigor of its journals.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, marks the first time the FTC has gone after what are often known as “predatory” publishers. Such publishers exploit open-access publishing as a way to charge steep fees to researchers who believe their work will be printed in legitimate journals, when in fact the journals may publish anyone who pays and lack even a basic peer-review process.

Ioana Rusu, a staff attorney with the FTC, said in an interview that the commission is responding to a growing number of calls from people in academe for some sort of action to be taken against publishers that take advantage of scholars wishing to publish in open-access journals…

Read the news story

U.S. government agency sues publisher, charging it with deceiving researchers – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook August 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on August 27, 2016
 

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has charged a publisher of hundreds of academic journals with deceiving readers about reviewing practices, publication fees, and the nature of its editorial boards.

Here’s more from a news release about the suit:

The FTC’s complaint alleges that OMICS Group, Inc., along with two affiliated companies and their president and director, Srinubabu Gedela, claim that their journals follow rigorous peer-review practices and have editorial boards made up of prominent academics. In reality, many articles are published with little to no peer review and numerous individuals represented to be editors have not agreed to be affiliated with the journals.

According to the FTC’s complaint, OMICS does not tell researchers that they must pay significant publishing fees until after it has accepted an article for publication, and often will not allow researchers to withdraw their articles from submission, thereby making the research ineligible for publication in another journal. Academic ethics standards generally forbid researchers from submitting the same research to more than one journal…

Read the rest of the news story

A retraction cluster? Two papers retracted for overlap with other retractions – Retraction Watch (Shannon Palus August 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on August 26, 2016
 

A cluster of papers by different authors has been retracted for sharing text, even though some papers were submitted at the same time.

How is that possible? A spokesperson for Springer told us that they have reason to believe a third-party company may have helped prepare the papers for publication, and in the process might have spread the material around to multiple manuscripts.

If you are wondering why we included this news story item in the Resource Library we did so because, though the analysis is far from clear cut, it does provide a cautionary warning for researchers considering using a third party service to help improve the chances their work will be published.

The details of the cluster are a bit perplexing, so bear with us. Two of the papers — that were published only months apart — have already been retracted, as we reported in April. Now, two other papers have been retracted from Molecular Biology Reports — and both notices cite the previously retracted papers. The new notices also say that there’s reason to believe that the peer-review process was compromised.

All papers conclude that a certain polymorphism could signal a risk for coronary artery disease among Chinese people.

We’ll start with the retraction notice for “Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 polymorphisms and coronary artery disease: a case control study,” which cites the two papers that were retracted previously:

“The Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Biology Reports retracts the above-mentioned article per the Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines on plagiarism. The article duplicates (copies) significant paragraphs from the following main source/sources…

Read the rest of the news story here

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