Orthopedics This Week | February 14, 2017 - Page 11

ORTHOPEDICS THIS WEEK VOLUME 13 , ISSUE 5 | FEBRUARY 14 , 2017 11

Retraction Action : The Shocking Rise of FAKE Peer Reviews

BY JESSICA MEHTA

Did you notice that BioMed Central , a United Kingdom for-profit science publisher known for their openaccess journal , retracted 43 papers ?

The “ retraction action ” began in 2015 when BioMed staff members launched an investigation of 50 papers that seemed suspiciously flanked in fake reviews . Some of the reviews involved third-party companies selling their “ review services .” The full list of 2015 retracted papers is available here .
Fake peer reviews are unfortunately a growing problem for publishers . The Committee on Publication Ethics ( COPE ) has been approached by a myriad of publishers concerned about fake reviews , citing manipulations from authors submitting their own fake reviews via pseudonym email addresses to authors purchasing “ manuscript preparation services ” complete with fake peer reviews . However , why authors are submitting fake reviews is just as pressing as tracking the how .
BioMed Central is far from the only publisher struggling with the fake review phenomenon . Nature : International Weekly Journal of Science covered the fake review self-submitted by author Hyung-In Moon in 2014 . At the time , Moon was a medicinal-plant scientist at Dongguk University in South Korea . He had a paper published in The Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry in 2012 , but the editors were alerted to potential fake reviews not because of the lack of review quality or grandiose claims — but simply because the reviews came in so quickly . Moon ’ s
“ reviewers ” had an astonishingly fast 24-hour turnaround , which was a big red flag for the journal ’ s editor-in-chief , Claudiu Supuran .
Supuran confronted Moon , who quickly admitted that he ’ d written much of the reviews himself . Like many journals , Supuran ’ s was set up so authors can submit both their work and recommendations for potential reviewers via an online system . All an author needs to do is create a fake email address linked with a fake name , then “ recommend ” that pseudonym as a potential reviewer . Ultimately , Nature reports that Moon ’ s confession led to 28 papers in total retracted and one editor resigned over
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the debacle . However , Moon was simply confessing to a very flawed system and the obstacles authors face when charged with being wholly responsible for wrangling reviewers .
From 2012 – 2014 , Nature reports that journals have retracted over 110 papers due to faked peer reviews . All took advantage of blatant vulnerabilities within digitalized systems for submitting papers and peer recommendations . Mark Dingemanse , linguist at Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguists in the Netherlands , told Nature , “ For a piece of software that ’ s used by hundreds of thousands of academics worldwide , it really is appalling .” Although Moon
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