Fake Chinese Studies: More Than 100 Published Cancer Research Papers Retracted
An international medical journal retracted 107 research papers from China, citing that the studies, mostly about cancer, are "fabricated."
Editor-in-chief Torgny Stigbrand posted the retraction notice on Springer Nature, including the link to the withdrawn articles, which were published by the company in the journal Tumor Biology from 2012 to 2016.
"The current retractions are not a new case of integrity breach but are the result of a deeper manual investigation which became necessary after our previous retractions from Tumor Biology in 2016. The extent of the current retractions was not obvious from the earlier investigations in 2015," said Springer in an official statement.
Springer added that the peer-review process was compromised through peer review reports that were fabricated.
How did the fake studies make it through the peer review?
As explained by Retraction Watch, the authors of the papers might have hired a "fake expert" to review the papers and might have given a "fake email address" which will reply with a glowing review when contacted.
Hence, it's best for publishers to do their own research too and not simply rely on the names and email addresses submitted by the authors of the papers.
Peer review is an assessment of work or paper by people with similar competence. It helps validate and authenticate the research.
China.org reported that an anonymous cancer specialist in Beijing said in an interview with China Daily that the retraction is a reflection of a "widespread dilemma facing Chinese physicians who struggle to strike a balance between overloaded daily work schedules and academic requirements." However, he clarified that it is not an excuse to produce compromised output.
Gizmodo said retraction is nothing new and it is indeed bothersome, especially if the topic is human health. It reported that 120 journals were retracted from Nature and IEEE journals in 2014, as well.