One of the world’s largest open-access journal publishers is retracting over 500 papers, based on the discovery of unethical actions.
London-based Hindawi, which publishes over 200 peer-reviewed journals across multiple disciplines, says its research team in June identified “irregularities” in the peer review process in some of the journals.
“All Hindawi journals employ a series of substantial integrity checks before articles are accepted for publication. Following thorough investigation, we identified that these irregularities in the peer review process were the result of suspicious and unethical activities. Since identifying this unethical activity and breach of our processes, we began proactively adding further checks and improving our processes and continue to do so,” Liz Ferguson, a senior vice president for John Wiley & Sons, Hindawi’s U.S.-based parent company, said in a statement on Sept. 28.
As a result of the investigation, 511 papers will be retracted.
The papers were all published since August 2020.
Sixteen journals published the papers that are being retracted.
Some of the authors and editors who contributed to the articles may have been “unwitting participants” in the unethical scheme, according to Ferguson. She said that the scheme involved “manipulation of the peer review process and the infrastructure that supports it.”
Richard Bennett, vice president of researcher and publishing services for Hindawi, told the Retraction Watch blog that the review uncovered “coordinated peer review rings,” which featured reviewers and editors coordinating to get papers through peer review.
Neither Ferguson nor Bennett identified any of the suspects.