107 cancer papers retracted due to peer review fraud

The journal Tumor Biology has just retracted 107 research papers after discovering that several authors faked the peer-review progress. It’s not the first time the journal has done something like this — last year, 58 papers were retracted from seven different journals, and 25 of them came from Tumor Biology.Valuing research is always hard. If you’re studying something that no one else has studied before, who can judge if you’re doing a good job or not? Unfortunately, there’s no perfect answer to that question, but there is a pretty good one, which hasn’t been topped for hundreds of years: peer review. Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or several people of similar competence to the authors — basically, you find the “peers” of the scientists and have them analyze the work. It constitutes a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field and it pretty much defines a quality scientific journal.Because the niches of scientific research have diversified so much, authors are often asked to suggest peer reviewers for themselves. Who better knows who can understand your work than you, right? Well, that sounds pretty good in theory, but some journals take things even further. They ask authors to submit the contact details of these potential reviewers. By now, you probably see where this is ongoing — a malicious author can submit fake contact details, the journal editor merrily sends an email to that fake address, the fake review is submitted and all is good. The paper gets published.

Source: 107 cancer papers retracted due to peer review fraud

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