Inappropriate manipulation of peer review - BioMed Central blog
"In November last year, BioMed Central uncovered evidence of repeated and inappropriate attempts to manipulate the peer review process of several journals (see our original statement and update). The apparent intention was to deceive Editors and positively influence the outcome of peer review by suggesting fabricated reviewers. Given the scale of the deception, we alerted COPE (the Committee on Publication Ethics) and a number of other publishers. COPE issued a statement providing further advice for publishers. PLOS also recently issued a statement here. Although we originally found only a handful of affected published articles, a subsequent extensive and systematic search of all of our journals identified 43 articles that were published on the basis of reviews from fabricated reviewers. After contacting the authors involved, and notifying their institutions, we have now begun retracting these articles. We have also contacted institutions about a much larger number of rejected articles where the names of fabricated reviewers had been supplied. Some of the manipulations appear to have been conducted by third-party agencies offering language-editing and submission assistance to authors. It is unclear whether the authors of the manuscripts involved were aware that the agencies were proposing fabricated reviewers on their behalf or whether authors proposed fabricated names directly themselves ..."