By Jon Swaine
An academic journal has retracted dozens of articles and apologised to readers after falling victim to what it described as a “peer review ring” that appears to have involved more than 100 bogus scholars.
The Journal of Vibration and Control (JVC), a leading publication in the field of acoustics, said it was withdrawing 60 papers published in print and online over the past four years, after discovering that articles were being approved and cited by academics with “assumed and fabricated identities”.
The journal’s publisher, Sage, said in a statement that the ring appeared to centre around Peter Chen, a researcher formerly of National Pingtung University of Education, in Taiwan. Chen provided an “unsatisfactory response” when confronted, and has since resigned from his post. Chen could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
“We regret that individual authors have compromised the academic record by perverting the peer review process and apologise to readers,” the publisher said in a statement. “On uncovering problems with peer review and citation Sage immediately put steps in place to avoid similar vulnerability of the Journal to exploitation in the future.”
Ali Nayfeh, the journal’s editor-in-chief since its establishment in 1995 and a professor emeritus in the college of engineering at Virginia Tech, resigned in May following the findings, the publisher said. Nayfeh did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
Sage said that a “complex investigation” was carried out after evidence emerged last year that the online submission system used for papers published in the journal was being manipulated.