Retraction Watch reports “Springer Nature geosciences journal retracts 44 articles filled with gibberish” published in the Arabian Journal of Geosciences in 2021. Titles of some of the papers were distinctly odd, including:
- Monitoring and early warning of loess landslide based on distributed environment and effectiveness calculation of physical training
- Neural network–based urban rainfall trend estimation and adolescent anxiety management
- The characteristics of rainfall in coastal areas and the intelligent library book push system oriented to the Internet of Things
- Distribution of earthquake activity in mountain area based on embedded system and physical fitness detection of basketball
Many of the papers listed the affiliation of their “authors” with Chinese universities. Here is a complete list of the retracted papers. One retraction notice read:
The Editor-in-Chief and the Publisher have retracted this article because the content of this article is nonsensical. The peer review process was not carried out in accordance with the Publisher’s peer review policy. The author has not responded to correspondence regarding this retraction.
The director of “research integrity” at Springer Nature said:
Fully investigating the unethical practices that we have recently identified in four guest-edited issues is an absolute priority for us. We have completed rapid investigations of 44 individual papers whilst following COPE guidelines, and these papers have been retracted. Investigations into the other papers in these issues are ongoing but we expect to complete them in the near future.
We will not tolerate deliberate attempts to subvert the publication process. As previously stated, we are developing new AI and other-tech based tools and putting additional checks in place to identify and prevent attempts of deliberate manipulation. We are also supporting our Editors in Chief in handling guest-edited issues and increasing publisher oversight to ensure that our policies and best practice are adhered to. Moreover, we are gathering evidence into how these subversions are being carried out to share with other publishers, COPE, relevant institutions and other agencies to help inform the development of industry-wide practices and ensure that culpable parties can be held to account.
Springer Nature charges authors an “article processing charge” of US$ 2,780 to publish a paper in this journal. The subscription fee [XLSX] for this journal for “Institutional price print plus enhanced access USD” is US$8,262 per volume of 24 issues.
Let’s hear it for “peer review”!