Fun (no, not really) science news from Retraction Watch

One way to boost your uni’s ranking: Ask faculty to cite each other This is elsewhere called a citation ring. Also from the same post:

Of course, this isn’t the only technique universities use to boost their metrics. Recently, we ran a story in Science about institutions (including many in Western countries) who pay faculty for publications; a 2011 report in Science showed that universities in Saudi Arabia were giving tens of thousands of dollars to highly cited researchers to take a secondary position there, ensuring the institution gets listed on prominent papers.

SAGE journal retracts three more papers after discovering faked reviews:

This trio of retractions is the second batch of papers withdrawn by Technology in Cancer Research & Treatment over faked reviews in the past eight months. In 2016, the journal began investigating concerns from an anonymous tipster about faked reviewer reports and subsequently retracted three papers in December over “manipulation of the peer-review process” (1, 2, 3). … In 2015, another SAGE journal disbanded the use of author-suggested reviewers, after discovering 21 submitted papers had relied on fake reviews.

The fact that Joe Schmoe and Jayne Schmayne can discover this stuff on the internet, two clicks away, is one factor in the much-bemoaned “distrust of science.” Smart people distrust what proves untrustworthy and will back reform. The witless ones go on believing because they just need someone to trust, whatever.

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See also: You’re not alone in having fake friends. Science researchers do too


Fake reviews, sure; but fake science journals? The Internet doesn’t provide the physical cues and clues that help us spot scams.