People like to think of academics as paragons of integrity whiling the hours teaching young minds in class or squirreled away in messy offices thinking up great things. Priests of knowledge. Dons walking leafy walkways while grad students scurry beneath their feet. At least this was my vision of the professor life before I realized what academia was actually like.
A leading scientific publisher has retracted 64 articles in 10 journals, after an internal investigation discovered fabricated peer-review reports linked to the articles’ publication.
Berlin-based Springer announced the retractions in an 18 August statement. In May, Springer merged with parts of Macmillan Science and Education — which publishes Nature — to form the new company Springer Nature.
The cull comes after similar discoveries of ‘fake peer review’ by several other major publishers, including London-based BioMed Central, an arm of Springer, which began retracting 43 articles in March citing “reviews from fabricated reviewers”. The practice can occur when researchers submitting a paper for publication suggest reviewers, but supply contact details for them that actually route requests for review back to the researchers themselves.