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Elsevier retracts 500 research articles

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fake scam

The world’s largest publisher of research launched the investigation in the autumn. Now they report plagiarism, fake conferences, and false peer reviews.

Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of scientific literature, recently announced the withdrawal of at least 500 articles published in the journal. Today’s Materials: Proceedings.

That’s what Retraction Watch is all aboutIt closely follows research fraud.

The journal is a sub-division of the main publication Materials Today and is directed towards the publication of conference-related articles.

The reason many articles are retracted is mainly due to fake peer reviews, as many of them have signs that they are automatically translated or written with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

Also, articles related to fictional events, conferences that never took place physically or digitally – so-called hunting conferences – articles called paper mills.

No wonder

This does not surprise Jan Gunnar Bijoli, the deputy chairman of the Scrutiny Committee at the National Research Ethics Committees.

Jan Gunnar Bijoli, Deputy Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee at the National Research Ethics Committees.

“Predator conferences are well known, and I and people in my research group are regularly invited to conferences in that category,” he tells Chrono.

He hypothesizes that the motivation is economic, that it creates noise, and that predatory journals, without well-functioning peer review, are a growing problem, similar to poorly functioning journals.

Elsevier allowed guest editors to edit, and things went wrong in quality control. Unexpectedly, it reached the biggest publishing house in the world.

“Opening up to guest editors is common practice and has many positive aspects, but editors-in-chief must always monitor what’s going on. Here, Elsevier discovered a serious problem, but they came too late. This illustrates how easily slip-ups can occur in processes involving many actors, even at serious publishers. .Bjålie says.

– Noisy, but not destructive

Investigations of Today’s Materials: Proceedings This has been going on for the past year, but only in recent months have publishers started pulling articles.

– What does this do to the credibility of the journal and Elsevier?

— Publishers often have their own quality control staff who take this very seriously, but here a mistake was made and rogue actors were allowed into the journal. The publisher is open about what happened and cleans it up, says Bijoli.

Therefore, Bijali also believes that it does not go beyond the serious part of the publication.

– It is important to avoid such incidents. Publishers, editors and researchers who contribute to peer reviews contribute to maintaining the seriousness of research and the publication of results, he says.

1,700 postings since 2020

So far, the journal Retraction Watch has a review of 17 articles in its database, most with Indian authors, but Elsevier has yet to report the results of its investigation. This can take time quickly, because in the last two years alone, Elsevier has retracted more than 1,700 articles for various reasons.

Since its launch in 2010, Retraction Watch has built a database of over 35,000 articles. These are not all retracted articles, but also articles that have been corrected after publication.

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