"Peer review" emerges as fresh science scam

STAFF REPORT ISB: A few professional scientists have found a sneaky way to cheat their way up the career ladder as they evaluate their own research by pretending to be someone else. Scientists publish their research findings through academic journals, which check the work with independent experts before running with it. This independent checking is called “peer review”, but journals have retracted dozens of research papers in recent months after learning that peer reviews were faked. In Pakistan, for example, one economist has been named and shamed for faking positive reviews on 16 papers printed by the giant publishing company Elsevier. The practice has moved the issue of research fraud out of the realm of shadowy, “predatory” websites that print anything for money, and squarely into the mainstream of academic publishing. “Organized agencies have started marketing fraudulent peer review as a commercial service to scientists who arent able to fake it themselves,” reveals the Committee on Publication Ethics, an international body that supports academic journals.The committee has issued a special warning, saying it “has become aware of systematic, inappropriate attempts to manipulate the peer review processes of several journals across different publishers. These manipulations appear to have been orchestrated by a number of third-party agencies offering services to authors.”

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