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Livestream: Is fake peer review today's leading cause of retractions?

Ivan Oransky of Retraction Watch urges researchers, institutions, and publishers to use his company's beta database to uncover the leading cause of retractions.

Speaking at the Clarivate Analytics Publisher Forum on 20 March, 2018, in Philadelphia, Ivan spoke to publishers across the globe about what peer review fraud is, why it's happening -- and based on information in their Retraction Watch database -- where it's coming from.

“You know the punchlines of these stories,” he says, and now it's time to understand the data behind them. He listed the top countries, publishers, journals, and fields of retractions in general, and even the gender most commonly caught red-handed (spoiler alert: it's men).

You can listen to Ivan's talk and his findings on peer review fraud and retractions here (and check out his slides here):

Ivan referenced a 2012 PNAS study led by Ferric Fang that found two-thirds (67.4%) of all retractions in their sample of biomedical and life-science research articles were attributable to misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud, duplicate publication, and plagiarism. He then urged the audience, in the room and watching via Facebook Live, to repeat the study using today's data.

"Roughly I think [the data] would be similar, but I would be interested to know," he says. This call largely comes from IEEE retracting thousands of meeting abstracts in 2015, many of which, he says with caution, show signs of peer review fraud.

Retraction Watch is an integral watchdog over scholarly communication and their database is an exciting development in understanding and bringing greater transparency to peer review fraud and misconduct. It boasts over 16,800 retractions and has, as Ivan puts it, "all the metadata you can imagine" for researchers, institutions, and publishers to take advantage of.

Take a look now and let us know what you think: http://retractiondatabase.org/

Fraud and integrity in peer review is something we're increasingly concerned with here at Publons and a reason why we're running a series of articles on the topic throughout the year. Find out what publishers can do about it and listen to our podcast on a new tool designed to weed out problematic cancer research. You can also read our interview with the Retraction Watch team during last year's Peer Review Week.

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