Back in April, Springer retracted a record number 107 papers from Tumor Biology after uncovering evidence they were subject to fake peer reviews. But it appears that the Tumor Biology sweep was only part of the story.
During the Tumor Biology investigation, Springer found evidence that the “peer review process was compromised” in a dozen papers on brain cancer published in another journal. The 12 Molecular Neurobiology retractions have trickled in over the past year or so, published before and after the Tumor Biology sweep.
A spokesperson at Springer confirmed that the 12 retracted papers in Molecular Neurobiology were related to the Tumor Biology retractions for fake peer review:
The articles came to our attention during the thorough investigation of Tumor Biology articles.
The Springer spokesperson added:
Springer holds itself to the highest standards when it comes to identifying and solving research integrity and peer review issues and will continue to proactively investigate these issues.
We reported on one of these Molecular Neurobiology retractions back in May 2016. However, the notice for the 2014 paper didn’t mention problems with peer review — only that the authors “admitted they used material in the paper that did not originate from their lab.”
Since then, we have received word from frequent tipster Rolf Degen of several other retractions in Molecular Neurobiology, which have mentioned evidence of faked reviews. The Springer spokesperson confirmed that 12 recently retracted papers — including the one we’d already reported on — were tied to the larger investigation. This brings the total number of papers retracted over fake reviews to more than 500.
These dozen retracted papers in Molecular Neurobiology have many authors in common. All of the authors are based at universities and hospitals in China, such as Guangzhou Medical University and Affiliated Hospital of Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, and some are also listed as…