The Washington Post reports on a new way of cheating in academic publishing: Dubious agencies offer the service of faking peer reviews during the submission process of academic journals. A scandal revealed in the biomedical sciences suggests that these agencies fabricate contact details for reviewers and then submit favorable reviews from these addresses. Some of these accounts have the names of seemingly real researchers but with fraudulent e-mail addresses, others are completely fictitious. The blog Retraction Watch has counted a total of 170 retractions in the past few years because of fake peer reviews.
Although “fakeries” of this kind may be a threat to the integrity and reputation of academic publishing, the peer review system still enjoys high levels of commitment among researchers across all disciplines. This is a preliminary result of our survey on peer review which we conducted recently – more information soon on this blog.