Friday, May 24, 2024

"Trust the Science": Journals Closing Because Of Tsunami Of Fake Research

Legal Insurrection is running a news story today entitled "Fake Science Proves Problematic for Academic Publishing as Journals Close From Research Fraud." An excerpt:

    Fake studies have flooded the publishers of top scientific journals, leading to thousands of retractions and millions of dollars in lost revenue. The biggest hit has come to Wiley, a 217-year-old publisher based in Hoboken, N.J., which Tuesday will announce that it is closing 19 journals, some of which were infected by large-scale research fraud.

    In the past two years, Wiley has retracted more than 11,300 papers that appeared compromised, according to a spokesperson, and closed four journals. It isn’t alone: At least two other publishers have retracted hundreds of suspect papers each. Several others have pulled smaller clusters of bad papers.

    Although this large-scale fraud represents a small percentage of submissions to journals, it threatens the legitimacy of the nearly $30 billion academic publishing industry and the credibility of science as a whole.

    The discovery of nearly 900 fraudulent papers in 2022 at IOP Publishing, a physical sciences publisher, was a turning point for the nonprofit. “That really crystallized for us, everybody internally, everybody involved with the business,” said Kim Eggleton, head of peer review and research integrity at the publisher. “This is a real threat.”

The article notes, at least as to Wiley, that "[t]he journals are associated with Wiley’s Hindawi subsidiary, an Egypt-based house that published 250 journals and was acquired in 2021." It also blames AI for making it easier for the "paper mills" to fake research and game the peer-review system. 

    The article also explains:

    Paper mills use AI to produce fake publications, which are then sold to researchers.  Those researchers will pay between $1,000 and S$25,000 for the material. While the quality of the product is poor, it seems that the articles still manage to pass peer review.

    Additionally, paper mills will pay publishers to accept their fake studies.

Unsurprisingly, "[t]he nation with the highest number of potential fakes was China, contributing to just over half the red flags. Russia, Turkey, Egypt, and India were also significant contributors." 

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