Exclusive: PLOS ONE to retract more than 100 papers for manipulated peer review – Retraction Watch
peter.suber's bookmarks 2022-08-03
"In March, an editor at PLOS ONE noticed something odd among a stack of agriculture manuscripts he was handling. One author had submitted at least 40 manuscripts over a 10-month period, much more than expected from any one person.
The editor told the ethics team at the journal about the anomaly, and they started an investigation. Looking at the author lists and academic editors who managed peer review for the papers, the team found that some names kept popping up repeatedly.
Within a month, the initial list of 50 papers under investigation expanded to more than 300 submissions received since 2020 – about 100 of them already published – with concerns about improper authorship and conflicts of interest that compromised peer review.
“It definitely shot up big red flags for us when we started to see the number of names and their publication volumes,” Renee Hoch, managing editor of PLOS’s publication ethics team, told Retraction Watch. “This is probably our biggest case that we’ve seen in several years.”
The journal’s action on the published papers begins today, Retraction Watch has learned, with the retraction of 20 articles. Action on the rest will follow in batches about every two weeks as the editors finish their follow up work on specific papers. Corresponding authors on the papers to be retracted today who responded to our request for comment said they disagreed with the retractions, and disputed that they had relationships with the editors who handled their papers, among other protests...."