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Major Publisher Retracts 43 Scientific Papers Amid Wider Fake Peer-Review Scandal

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/03/27/fabricated-peer-reviews-prompt-scientific-journal-to-retract-43-papers-systematic-scheme-may-affect-other-journals/

A major publisher of scholarly medical and science articles has retracted 43 papers because of “fabricated” peer reviews amid signs of a broader fake peer review racket affecting many more publications.

The publisher is BioMed Central, based in the United Kingdom, which puts out 277 peer-reviewed journals. A partial list of the retracted articles suggests most of them were written by scholars at universities in China. But Jigisha Patel, associate editorial director for research integrity at BioMed Central, said it’s not “a China problem. We get a lot of robust research of China. We see this as a broader problem of how scientists are judged.”

Meanwhile, the Committee on Publication Ethics, a multidisciplinary group that includes more than 9,000 journal editors, issued a statement suggesting a much broader potential problem. The committee, it said, “has become aware of systematic, inappropriate attempts to manipulate the peer review processes of several journals across different publishers.” Those journals are now reviewing manuscripts to determine how many may need to be retracted, it said.

Peer review is the vetting process designed to guarantee the integrity of scholarly articles by having experts read them and approve or disapprove them for publication. With researchers increasingly desperate for recognition, citations and professional advancement, the whole peer-review system has come under scrutiny in recent years for a host of flaws and irregularities, ranging from lackadaisical reviewing to cronyism to outright fraud.

Last year, in one of the most publicized scandals, the Journal of Vibration and Control, in the field of acoustics, retracted 60 articles at one time due to what it called a “peer review and citation ring” in which the reviews, mostly from scholars in Taiwan, were submitted by people using fake names.

A variance of Goodhart's law in action?

Can't say I'm surprised by this, I bet there is a lot of mutual back slapping and citing in the paper publishing game.

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It's like when I see those adverts for cosmetic make up - 95% agreed they loved the product out of 110 people asked (probably at headoffice).

Anyway, a statistically valid P value <0.05 (correct me if I am wrong, I haven't done statistics for over 15 years) must have sample sizes of greater than 2000. Meta analysis peer review blah blah blah.

If anyone remembers the Murder She Wrote episode where the professor was paid $50,000 to search out information so that the banker could retain ownership of the town? EDIT Ah I found the episode "Indian Giver" https://murdersheblogged1.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/s04e10-indian-giver/

Take a brown envelope and people will say anything - Vested interest in property anyone?

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/03/27/fabricated-peer-reviews-prompt-scientific-journal-to-retract-43-papers-systematic-scheme-may-affect-other-journals/

A variance of Goodhart's law in action?

Can't say I'm surprised by this, I bet there is a lot of mutual back slapping and citing in the paper publishing game.

I bet there is a lot of mutual back slapping stabbing and citing ignoring in the paper publishing game

So, in my experience the opposite of your 'bet is more likely'.

But of course, it is difficult to spot the complete falsification of results.

By far, the pressure to publish (for assessment) means that too much is being published and as a consequence, journals are multiplying in number to soak it all up, which is stretching (perhaps breaking) the peer review system.

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Can't say I'm surprised by this, I bet there is a lot of mutual back slapping and citing in the paper publishing game.

Guardian (2010): Climate change emails between scientists reveal flaws in peer review

Astoundingly, it may be possible that any peer review process is limited by the competence, integrity and objectivity of your peers.

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Guest eight

But of course, it is difficult to spot the complete falsification of results.

Not really, when there is scientific consensus around something called "global warming" and then you take the dog for a walk at midday, in June, and it's twelve degrees outside.

Every ******* day.

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Not really, when there is scientific consensus around something called "global warming" and then you take the dog for a walk at midday, in June, and it's twelve degrees outside.

Every ******* day.

Your dog will survive what about my poor f**king tomatoes?

2015? I was expecting to be growing bananas and pineapples by now.

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I bet there is a lot of mutual back slapping stabbing and citing ignoring in the paper publishing game

So, in my experience the opposite of your 'bet is more likely'.

But of course, it is difficult to spot the complete falsification of results.

By far, the pressure to publish (for assessment) means that too much is being published and as a consequence, journals are multiplying in number to soak it all up, which is stretching (perhaps breaking) the peer review system.

Just as there is an "out" group surely there is an "in" group? The out group are ignored whilst the in group gets cited?

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Just as there is an "out" group surely there is an "in" group? The out group are ignored whilst the in group gets cited?

That can apply to new radical ways of thinking, but for the run of the mill stuff, which is most publications, it is more cut-hroat than back-slapping.

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Im not even sure its restricted to individual research...In one Stefan molyneux vid I recall him saying that the FDA only require 2 test results from drugs manufacturers...but the manufacturers can conduct as many tests as they want and only submit the two which yielded the least negative side effects...pretty disturbing if true.

Science, technology, its all become very politicized and dubious.

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Im not even sure its restricted to individual research...In one Stefan molyneux vid I recall him saying that the FDA only require 2 test results from drugs manufacturers...but the manufacturers can conduct as many tests as they want and only submit the two which yielded the least negative side effects...pretty disturbing if true.

Science, technology, its all become very politicized and dubious.

The figures I've seen bandied around suggest that the results of something like half of all trials are unpublished. And of those that are, industry funded trials are more likely to yield positive results than publicly funded trials...

e.g. Newsweek: Big Pharma Plays Hide-the-Ball With Data

e.g.2

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That can apply to new radical ways of thinking, but for the run of the mill stuff, which is most publications, it is more cut-hroat than back-slapping.

It's very sad that people are motivated to reach for the heights of personal recognition in academic research, by applying deeply unprofessional and unacademic practises to achieve it. I suspect there's little new here, and it probably happens across many many professional areas, not just academe.

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I'm afraid a lot of bad science comes out. If other scientists cannot find fault with somebody else's work, more will get out.

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Im not even sure its restricted to individual research...In one Stefan molyneux vid I recall him saying that the FDA only require 2 test results from drugs manufacturers...but the manufacturers can conduct as many tests as they want and only submit the two which yielded the least negative side effects...pretty disturbing if true.

Science, technology, its all become very politicized and dubious.

How many drugs has Stefan Molyneux filed with the FDA? I'm guessing the answer is... zero.

Medicines regulatory agencies aren't perfect (no human institutions are or ever could be) but in my experience they do actually try to strike a decent balance between protecting patients and allowing new drugs with demonstrable therapeutic benefits to reach the market.

Of course we live in a cynical age in which it is commonly believed that pharmaceuticals don't work or their side effects mean they do more harm than good, they are aimed at lifestyle diseases which don't really exist, all you need to do to ward off all illness is eat paleo and take huge doses of vitamin D, etc etc.

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