Peer Review Manipulation?

BioMed Central says about 50 manuscripts in its systems may have been erroneously considered or accepted as a result of foul play.

Nov 26, 2014
Tracy Vence

FLICKR, JJACKOWSKIAbout 50 manuscripts in the open access (OA) publisher BioMed Central’s systems may have not been properly peer reviewed, Retraction Watch reported. The publisher told Retraction Watch suspicious errors—such as misspelled reviewer names and mismatched e-mail addresses—that came up during the final checks on some of the manuscripts caused editors to follow the paper trail, finding evidence to suggest many had been the product of manipulated reviews. “We cannot see a clear link between the authors and believe that a third party may be involved, and influencing the peer review process,” BioMed Central told Retraction Watch.

Earlier this year, SAGE Publishers was caught up in a case of suspected peer review and citation manipulation at its Journal of Vibration and Control. All told, SAGE found that suspected fakers used more than 130 phony e-mail accounts in organized peer review and citation rings. As The Washington Post reported, 60 papers have been retracted as a result of these rigged reviews and references being found out.