Publishers grapple with an invisible foe as huge organised fraud hits scientific journals

Read the full story in Chemistry World.

‘As with many hidden criminal syndicates, you don’t always know what’s happening,’ says Retraction Watch’s Ivan Oransky about paper mills. They are the biggest organised fraud perpetrated on scientific journals ever, eroding scientists’ trust in the publishing system – and in each other.

While plagiarism and fraud isn’t new – individual researchers have been caught photoshopping electron microscopy images or inventing elemental analysis data – paper mills serve up professional fakery for their customers on an industrial scale. Buyers can apparently purchase a paper, or authorship of one, on any topic based on phony results to submit to a journal. This makes them not only harder to detect and crack down on, but also exponentially increases the damage they could do.

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