Tag Archives: fraud

Review mills

It is hard to believe – but after research paper mills there are now also review mills

What I eventually found was a Review Mill, a set of 85 very similar review reports in 23 journals published by MDPI (Agronomy, Antibiotics, Applied Sciences, Atoms, Biomimetics, Biomolecules, Cancers, Catalysts, Chemistry, Coatings, Electronics, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Journal of Clinical Medicine, Journal of Personalized Medicine, Materials, Metals, Molecules, Nutrients, Pathogens, Polymers, Prothesis, Sensors and Water) from August 2022 to October 2023, most of the time with coercive citation, that is, asking authors to “cite recently published articles” which were always co-authored by one or more reviewers of the Review Mill.

Was tun gegen Wissenschaftsbetrug?

Dirnagl/LJ hat die Antwort

Besteht die Lösung des Problems also darin, Wissenschafts­betrug härter zu sanktionieren? Schaden würde das sicher nicht. Schließlich kann man die Fälle, in denen bislang Strafen verhängt wurden, an einer Hand abzählen. Wissenschafts­betrug wird also nicht nur selten aufgedeckt, sondern noch seltener geahndet.

Müssen wir mehr gute wissen­schaftliche Praxis lehren und trainieren? Auch das ist eine gute Idee, aber sehr viel nützen wird es wohl nicht. …

Brauchen wir vielleicht eine Wissenschafts­polizei, die unangekündigte Kontrollen von Western Blots und Festplatten in Laboren durchführt? Ganz sicher nicht! Moderne Wissenschaft ist viel zu komplex …

Ein viel naheliegender Ansatz zur Abhilfe ist es, sich dem Kern des Problems anzunehmen und das toxische Karriere- und Bewertungs­system zu reformieren – also Forscher nicht auf Basis fragwürdiger Metriken, sondern mit Fokus auf Forschungs­qualität, Inhalte und dem tatsächlichen wissen­schaftlichen oder gesell­schaftlichen Impact zu beurteilen.

How to Game Google Scholar H Index

https://arxiv.org/abs/1212.0638 explains an experiment leading to an increase of 774 citations in 129 papers basically as they

created a fake researcher (Marco Alberto Pantani-Contador — a reference to two infamous cyclists, Marco Pantani and Alberto Contador, each of whom was accused of blood doping). Copying and pasting text from a website, adding a few figures and graphs and lots and lots of self-citations … created six fake documents, translated them into English using Google Translate, and uploaded them to a new webpage under their university’s domain. It was a process, the authors explain, that took less than half a day’s work.

The reason for retraction

Having a discussion recently with the editor of a small journal, I think it is worth to repeat that withdrawal of a paper is not always a sign of deliberate fraud as it could be just an honest error.  Science had an analysis last year of the retractiondatabase that clearly showed the relationship.


Nature Genetics corrupted by 23andme

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People who behave fraudently

Richard Smith 3:58 “People who behave fraudently tend to behave fraudently in all aspects of their live”

8:05 “Universities have no interest to discover fraud” 10:42 “Journals don’t have the legal standing” 10:58 “we need some kind of national bodies”

Science delusion

It is a bit annoying. If you google for science delusion, you are only referred to Sheldrake. But this is not what I wanted, I was more interested in mad scientists.  Not Frankenstein,  not Moreau not Dr. Faustus not any literary character, some more real life figures. Also not Venter. But here comes something interesting

In 1951, entomologist Jay Traver published in the Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington [Traver, J. (1951). Unusual scalp dermatitis in humans caused by the mite, dermatophagoides (Acarina, epidermoptidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 53(1), 1-25.] her personal experiences with a mite infestation of her scalp that resisted all treatment and was undetectable to anyone other than herself. Traver is recognized as having suffered from Delusory Parasitosis: her paper shows her to be a textbook case of the condition. The Traver paper is unique in the scientific literature in that its conclusions may be based on data that was unconsciously fabricated by the author’s mind.

The author ( Matan Shelomi, Mad Scientist: The Unique Case of a Published Delusion Matan Shelomi, Sci Eng Ethics (2013) 19:381-388) believes that a possible retraction of the 1951 paper raises the issue of discrimination against the mentally ill –  others may consider this as delusionary correctness.

The true reason for retractions?

Retractions are increasing anytime I look around retraction watch. A new PNAS paper now has the most thorough analysis of retractions:

A detailed review of all 2,047 biomedical and life-science research articles indexed by PubMed as retracted on May 3, 2012 revealed that only 21.3% of retractions were attributable to error. In contrast, 67.4% of retractions were attributable to misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4%), duplicate publication (14.2%), and plagiarism (9.8%) …fraud has increased ∼10-fold since 1975.

So, fraud is the most frequent cause – and it usually does not come isolated Continue reading The true reason for retractions?


Papers are not sacred – this what I have been advocating even after having personal distress after commenting on a PLoS ONE paper. Nevertheless, the new Nature editorial supports my view

What is needed, instead, is a system of publication that is more meritocratic in its evaluation of performance and productivity in the sciences. It should expand the record of a scientific study past an individual paper, including additional material such as worthy blog posts about the results, media coverage and the number of times that the paper has been downloaded.

where Crossmark may jump in Continue reading Crossmarks