Home / Science / Journal slaps 13 expressions of concern on papers suspected of being from a paper mill – Retraction Watch

Journal slaps 13 expressions of concern on papers suspected of being from a paper mill – Retraction Watch

Journal slaps 13 expressions of concern on papers suspected of being from a paper mill – Retraction Watch

An deserted paper mill, through Flickr

The journal Artificial Cells, Nanomedicine, and Biotechnology has hooked up expressions of concern to 13 papers revealed in 2019 that a group of sleuths have flagged for doubtlessly being from a paper mill.

In February, Elisabeth Bik wrote on her weblog:

Based on the resemblance of the Western blot bands to tadpoles (the larval stage of an amphibian, akin to a frog or a toad), we’ll name this the Tadpole Paper Mill.

Bik explains in her publish that she and her colleagues — together with pseudonymous sleuths @MortenOxe@SmutClyde, and @TigerBB8 — had been working on a set of 17 papers that Jennifer Byrne and Jana Christopher had additionally been scrutinizing:

As beforehand described by Christopher (see above), the Western blot bands in all 400+ papers are all very repeatedly spaced and have a clean look within the form of a dumbbell or tadpole, with none of the same old smudges or stains. All bands are positioned on comparable trying backgrounds, suggesting they have been copy/pasted from different sources, or laptop generated.

Taylor & Francis, the writer of the journal, posted this on prime of the journal’s Table of Contents:

Taylor & Francis has been made conscious of potential points surrounding the scientific integrity of a quantity of articles revealed in Artificial Cells, Nanomedicine and Biotechnology. In accordance with COPE steering, we’re at the moment conducting an investigation into these considerations. We are conducting this work as shortly and diligently as doable, and are reaching out to the authors of the affected articles to acquire extra knowledge and different info that may inform our investigation. We will present updates on our investigation as quickly as doable.

The expressions of concern for the 13 papers all learn as follows:

After publication of this text, questions in regards to the scientific integrity of the article content material have been delivered to the Publisher and Editor’s consideration. We have reached out to the authors requesting that they provide info that will affirm the article’s integrity, however the authors haven’t responded to our queries inside the requested timeframe. Therefore, as we proceed to work by the problems raised, we advise readers to interpret the knowledge introduced within the article with due warning.

The papers are amongst 76 from the journal — and greater than 400 total — that Bik and colleagues flagged as seemingly rising from a paper mill. All of the papers’ authors are affiliated with Chinese establishments. As Bik and colleagues be aware:

They promote these papers to e.g. medical medical doctors in China who must have a scientific paper revealed in a world journal so as to get their MD, however who don’t have any time of their academic program to truly do analysis. 

‘A great job so far’

Bik tells Retraction Watch:

So evidently the EoCs have been issued for papers wherein the authors haven’t responded in any respect, whereas the papers with responsive authors haven’t been flagged with an EoC but. That is nice information, as a result of it implies that the authors are responding within the majority of the ACNB papers we posted on PubPeer. It could be nice if these authors might disprove our suspicions in regards to the Western blots and different figures by displaying the unique uncooked knowledge. If they may present us the uncropped movies or uncooked, unedited circulation cytometry recordsdata from their papers, they will show us mistaken. Or, in the event that they outsourced their experiments, the authors would possibly be capable to inform us at which firm or laboratory. 

Taylor and Francis has been doing a nice job to this point in addressing our considerations. It could be very uncommon to have a journal and writer be as responsive and quick as they’ve with this case. 

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