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Academic Publisher Retracts Over 11,300 Papers and Shuts 19 Journals as It Is Overwhelmed by Fraud

Academic fraud is forcing Wiley, a major publisher of scientific journals, to close 19 journals after some were overwhelmed by industrial-scale research fraud. In the last two years, Wiley has retracted over 11,300 papers containing some fraudulent content.

Academic publishing is a major industry for two reasons. The publishing industry generates about $30 billion in revenue, approximately 40% of which comes from within the United States. These publications don’t make their money from advertisers. To have a research paper published in a top-tier journal will cost the research team several thousand dollars. That money typically is an authorized expense of the grant or contract the laboratory has received.

Why, you might add, would anyone pay $12,000 to have their paper published in one of Nature’s 156 titles? The way you win grants, acquire and maintain academic tenure, and move from the underpaid gypsy status of a post-doctoral researcher is by publishing. Nearly all the problems associated with academic publishing — fraudulent data, insipid and irrelevant subjects, and incoherent writing being top among them — stem from the role publishing in academic journals plays in scientific research. Paradoxically, the business model of academic journals is based on selling space to needy scientists, and so there is a tension between academic integrity and the bottom line that technology, especially the emergence of large language models, has exacerbated.

The sources of the fake science are “paper mills”—businesses or individuals that, for a price, will list a scientist as an author of a wholly or partially fabricated paper. The mill then submits the work, generally avoiding the most prestigious journals in favor of publications such as one-off special editions that might not undergo as thorough a review and where they have a better chance of getting bogus work published.

World-over, scientists are under pressure to publish in peer-reviewed journals—sometimes to win grants, other times as conditions for promotions. Researchers say this motivates people to cheat the system. Many journals charge a fee to authors to publish in them.

Problematic papers typically appear in batches of up to hundreds or even thousands within a publisher or journal. A signature move is to submit the same paper to multiple journals at once to maximize the chance of getting in, according to an industry trade group now monitoring the problem. Publishers say some fraudsters have even posed as academics to secure spots as guest editors for special issues and organizers of conferences, and then control the papers that are published there.

“The paper mill will find the weakest link and then exploit it mercilessly until someone notices,” said Nick Wise, an engineer who has documented paper-mill advertisements on social media and posts examples regularly on X under the handle @author_for_sale.

The journal Science flagged the practice of buying authorship in 2013. The website Retraction Watch and independent researchers have since tracked paper mills through their advertisements and websites. Researchers say they have found them in multiple countries including Russia, Iran, Latvia, China and India. The mills solicit clients on social channels such as Telegram or Facebook, where they advertise the titles of studies they intend to submit, their fee and sometimes the journal they aim to infiltrate. Wise said he has seen costs ranging from as little as $50 to as much as $8,500.

While shutting down 19 journals is impressive, keep in mind that Wiley is the home to over 2,000 titles. The shuttered titles are all from Wiley’s purchase of the Egyptian academic publisher (yes, I wrote that) Hindawi. All that means is that the fraud is more easily detectable in low-end journals.

Most of the articles involved aren’t going to change the direction of science. They aren’t falsification of cancer clinical trials that corrupt clinical practice. Many of these articles will never be read or cited. They do the damage by giving cheaters and liars a path to promotion in scientific research.

While articles in scientific journals are supposed to disseminate scientific information, it has devolved into self-promotion. Scientific publishing is how scientists let their peer group know how brilliant they are. It has also become a proxy for productivity. The more papers you are listed as an author on, the better your chances of advancement. While the first and last authors on a paper are the most important, buying your way in as a fourth or fifth author does have value.

None of this could exist without the current publish-or-perish system and if there were concrete, career-ending consequences for publishing false research results or participating in a “paper mill” scam.

The next time someone tells you to “trust the science,” just remember that you are being asked to rely upon a deeply corrupted system that hosts a lot of people who are much more interested in moving their careers forward than in the cause of science.

READ 6 COMMENTS
  • MUDDY10 says:

    This is the tip of a growing iceberg. AI can generate bullshit at the speed of light, what are we supposed to believe?

    • Spencer says:

      Never believe any and I mean anything that comes out of a demonrat liberals fucking pie hole. That includes every federal agency as they are all very high percent far left demons. Look at that squatter occupying the White House. This son of a bitch lies every time mumbling shit comes out of his two faced baby murdering mouth. Or you can just play like sheep and jab away until the grim reaper hunts you down. One thing to believe is hunter bitchboy bidens 51 pussy liars signing off on the Russian disinformation laptop as a conspiracy theory should all face a firing squad before to long. Lawfully or unlawfully doesn’t matter as long as they are executed. They are guilty accomplices of stealing the 2020 election. Muddy10 you can believe and trust in that with your life.

  • Sadie says:

    In addition to the already mentioned issues related to publishing there is the bias created by editors never publishing studies with no “significance”or those that are not the sexy bright new topics. Researchers need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly…not just the supportive studies!!

  • Dave C. says:

    Wonder how many of the retracted papers and journals, are associated with the global warming and climate change hoax ?

  • It is PUBLISH OR DIE!
    It seems that scientists are in a contest to produce the latest un-provable theory on why something is, as it is, (such as Black Holes or the “Galactic Alignment”) they have little testable data or scientific tools to prove or disprove their wild theories.

    “…funding for cosmology comes from very few government sources controlled by a handful of committees that are dominated by Big Bang theorists. These theorists have spent their lives building the Big Bang theory. Those who openly question the theory simply don’t get funded.”

    You must remember the way it is with scientific research on the leading edge, to vie for funding you must do research, develop a theory, then publish your theory. You may become famous, which gets you more research funds, which also gets you speaking engagements, which gets you more money, and then you can do more research. On and on!
    Science has devolved from posing a theory and setting about proving or disproving it, to a vote by people dependent upon government or the educational establishment grants seeking to please their master in the hope of keeping the funding spigot open.

    BLACK HOLES
    Look at all the wild and fanciful things “scientists” have Black Holes supposedly capable of doing. They are just ordinary, but humongous “Gravity Wells” not much different than another gravity well that we are all quite familiar with, the only exception is in its power and strength; I am talking about the good old Earth!
    While some gigantic stars make our own Sun look extremely puny by comparison, they have no unusual gravitational effects, just higher gravity. Every star or planet has an Event Horizon, that once crossed will cause any other mass to fall toward it, that is why we have meteorites and ‘shooting stars.’ Spacecraft can escape the event horizon of any gravity well depending upon how close they are and their ability to accelerate.
    When a massive star collapses into a ‘black hole’ it has already sloughed off much of its mass in a nova explosion. What remains will collapse back on itself and will cause what is known as a ‘black hole’, the Event Horizon is now closer in than before the star’s explosion, but still not in any way anything different than normal gravity phenomena. It is now just highly condensed rock, with no more gravitational pull or exhibiting any strange or unusual phenomena than any other mass of a similar quantity.

    According to ‘scientists’ a “Black Hole” has gravity so intense that not even light can escape, and a teaspoon full of Black Hole material would weigh a million tons, yet is capable of ‘Mass Ejection’???? It is to laugh!

  • One says:

    Excellent article. Also, keep in mind, (above all, and w/ EVERYTHING you read, that) 93% of ALL media WORLDWIDE are owned by radical, leftwing, global elitists. CREDIBLE sources are VERY hard to come by, and (at this point), I don’t believe most written by those.

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