Peer-reviewed articles are meant to evaluate and ensure that problematic research doesn't make it to print, but The Washington Post reports
that the world's largest publishing company, Springer, has retracted 64 scientific articles in 10 journals after discovering that their reviews were connected to fake email addresses.
Peer-review manipulators, or individuals who are rigging authoritative checks, is a growing issue for academic publishing.
In March, BioMed Central retracted 43 articles
due to fake peer reviews, whether they were made up identities assigned to email addresses or real identities stolen to make fraudulent reviews, the Post reports.
"What’s not clear is, are we better at finding it? Or is it actually a new phenomenon?" asked Ivan Oransky, a science journalist and co-founder of Retraction Watch, a blog which monitors dubious practices in the academic publishing industry.
According to the Post, many publishing agencies use third-party reviewing services, a system that is easy to manipulate and most likely involved in the outbreak with Springer, a Retraction Watch statement
As fraudulent reviews and stolen identities continue to transpire within large publishing agencies, new policies — such as using an official email address — are starting to be implemented in an attempt to reduce fake reviewers from accessing their systems, the Post reports.
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