SAGE Publications busts “peer review and citation ring,” 60 papers retracted

SAGE Publishers is retracting 60 articles from the Journal of Vibration and Control after an investigation revealed a “peer review and citation ring” involving a professor in Taiwan.

Statement from Sage.

London, UK (08  July 2014) – SAGE announces the retraction of 60 articles implicated in a peer review and citation ring at the Journal of Vibration and Control (JVC). The full extent of the peer review ring has been uncovered following a 14 month SAGE-led investigation, and centres on the strongly suspected misconduct of Peter Chen, formerly of National Pingtung University of Education, Taiwan (NPUE) and possibly other authors at this institution.

In 2013 the then Editor-in-Chief of JVC, Professor Ali H. Nayfeh,and SAGE became aware of a potential peer review ring involving assumed and fabricated identities used to manipulate the online submission system SAGE Track powered by ScholarOne Manuscripts™. Immediate action was taken to prevent JVC from being exploited further, and a complex investigation throughout 2013 and 2014 was undertaken with the full cooperation of Professor Nayfeh and subsequently NPUE.

In total 60 articles have been retracted from JVC after evidence led to at least one author or reviewer being implicated in the peer review ring. Now that the investigation is complete, and the authors have been notified of the findings, we are in a position to make this statement.

While investigating the JVC papers submitted and reviewed by Peter Chen, it was discovered that the author had created various aliases on SAGE Track, providing different email addresses to set up more than one account. Consequently, SAGE scrutinised further the co-authors of and reviewers selected for Peter Chen’s papers, these names appeared to form part of a peer review ring. The investigation also revealed that on at least one occasion, the author Peter Chen reviewed his own paper under one of the aliases he had created.

Following Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines, SAGE and Professor Nayfeh contacted Peter Chen with an opportunity to address the accusations of misconduct. After a series of unsatisfactory responses from Peter Chen, in September 2013 NPUE were notified and have since been working closely alongside SAGE and JVC to uncover the full extent of the peer review and subsequent citation ring. SAGE has notified Thomson Reuters about the citation ring and both parties have worked together to index the retractions in full.

In May 2014 NPUE informed SAGE and JVC that Peter Chen had resigned from his post on 2 February 2014.

As the SAGE investigation drew to a close, in May 2014 Professor Nayfeh’s retirement was announced and he resigned his position as Editor-in-Chief of JVC.

SAGE is committed to maintaining a rigorous peer-review process to maintain the high quality of our journals. We regret that individual authors have perverted the JVC peer review process, misled readers and compromised the academic record of this journal.

Although attempts to mislead the academic community with fake or inaccurate results are extremely rare, there will occasionally be fraudulent and unethical individuals seeking to abuse the system. Both SAGE and JVC are committed to upholding the true spirit of peer review while continuing to introduce new measures to reinforce the peer review process.

JVC is a respected peer reviewed journal in the field of acoustics, publishing quality research since 1995, and has been ranked for many years in the Journal Citation Reports. Professor Nayfeh, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA and The University of Jordan, Jordan was the Editor-in-Chief of JVC for 19 years.

Three senior editors and an additional 27 associate editors with expertise and prestige in the field have been appointed to assist with the day-to-day running of the JVC peer review process. Following Professor Nayfeh’s retirement announcement, the external senior editorial team will be responsible for independent editorial control for JVC.

For more information on the JVC retractions, please read the full retraction notice.