Papers purchased from paper mills are having a toxic and pernicious impact on the body of scientific literature. Purchasing and submitting for publication a paper from a paper mill is a serious form of cheating and research misconduct. They represent a flagrant attempt to game appointment, promotion and performance-funding systems. This preprint paper, published in September 2022, looks at a method to detect them in The Journal of Community Psychology. This is a useful read for anyone concerned with the integrity of an institution’s research outputs.
Aims: To consider the strategies that academic ‘paper mills’ may use to target journals in psychology. Methods: We conducted an analysis of articles appearing in The Journal of Community Psychology that were characterised by suspicious author emails. Results: Six papers met the criterion for inclusion. In five cases there was circumstantial evidence of tampering with the peer review process coupled with lack of editorial oversight. Conclusion: Psychology journals need to be aware of potential targeting by paper mills and adopt editorial processes that counteract these.
Abalkina, A., & Bishop, D. V. M. (2022). Paper mills: a novel form of publishing malpractice affecting psychology. PsyArXiv.