Peer review is broken – Springer announces 64 papers retracted due to fake reviews

peerreview[1]Science publishing giant Springer, with over 2900 journals, has announced on its website that 64 articles published in 10 of its journals are being retracted.  Editorial staff found evidence of fake email addresses for peer reviewers.
No word yet on what type of papers, or if any climate papers are involved.

From press release:

Retraction of articles from Springer journals

London | Heidelberg, 18 August 2015

Springer confirms that 64 articles are being retracted from 10 Springer subscription journals, after editorial checks spotted fake email addresses, and subsequent internal investigations uncovered fabricated peer review reports. After a thorough investigation we have strong reason to believe that the peer review process on these 64 articles was compromised. We reported this to the Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE) immediately. Attempts to manipulate peer review have affected journals across a number of publishers as detailed by COPE in their December 2014 statement. Springer has made COPE aware of the findings of its own internal investigations and has followed COPE’s recommendations, as outlined in their statement, for dealing with this issue. Springer will continue to participate and do whatever we can to support COPE’s efforts in this matter.

The peer-review process is one of the cornerstones of quality, integrity and reproducibility in research, and we take our responsibilities as its guardians seriously. We are now reviewing our editorial processes across Springer to guard against this kind of manipulation of the peer review process in future.
In all of this, our primary concern is for the research community. A research paper is the result of funding investment, institutional commitment and months of work by the authors, and publishing outputs affect careers, funding applications and institutional reputations.
We have been in contact with the corresponding authors and institutions concerned, and will continue to work with them.


 

source: http://www.springer.com/gb/about-springer/media/statements/retraction-of-articles-from-springer-journals/735218

h/t to Leif Svalgaard

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144 thoughts on “Peer review is broken – Springer announces 64 papers retracted due to fake reviews

  1. That’s good. Open access is better though in general.

    “or if any climate papers are involved.”

    Why? Are any Soon or Pielke papers involved?

  2. It pays to have pals. That way you can publish garbage honestly.
    Poor guys had to game the pal review system with fake emails.
    They should host a few cook outs and they could be legends!

    • Actually, you don’t even need Pals – just a few email addresses and you can write the paper and review it all by your self.

      • Odd, I was thinking of a recent announcement regarding logging in and using legitimate skeptic names backed by false identification.

    • That was just what I was thinking. As far as I can see the academics in Climate are all eco-activists with a few notable exceptions. These are the same guys who gang up and go onto wikipedia to deny access to anything sceptical, and it seems pretty logical that they just took their normal behaviour for peer review onto wikipedia.

      The deck has always been, and still is.,completely skewed in climate and because most of them have very poor standards, they continue to allow politicised garbage to be printed whilst denying good scientific work because it is rightly sceptical.

  3. “The peer-review process is one of the cornerstones of quality, integrity and reproducibility in research”

    I would argue that the peer-review process has worked against reproducibility in research. Peer-review has replaced reproducibility as the standard of good research. Having your research pass a peer review is what gives researchers the moral license to say things like this.

    “Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

    • Your example is pal review or a refusal for peer review..
      Traditional peer review was completely open and, in my experience, amounted to a “debate” (at least an open conversation) with one’s peers. That seems to be an unbridgeable area in much climatology. Perhaps that is because some work in this field is science that could be reproducible, but much of it is fabricated philosophy and psychology or politics that amounts to no more than opinion and has some purpose other than illuminating truths.
      Cheers

      • “…no more than opinion and has some purpose other than illuminating truths.”

        Corrected:

        “…no more than promoting one’s own ideology and has some purpose other than illuminating truths.”

        =)

    • I would argue that the peer-review process has worked against reproducibility in research. Peer-review has replaced reproducibility as the standard of good research. Having your research pass a peer review is what gives researchers the moral license to say things like this.

      Problem is, what does the climate “science” produce that is reproducible? Computer models? Just what experiments do they run that would need to be validated? They seem to do nothing but collect data to show CO2 drives temperatures. Can you reproduce an ice core? tree ring? “Hockeystick?” Ooops, guess you can’t reproduce their Hockeystick.

    • Tom T – You make some seriously good points about reproducibility versus peer review.

      My take on any research is this:

      It’s not science until it has been reproduced several times over. No matter HOW good the math looks, or HOW smart everyone thinks you are, or how pretty your graphs are – if you can’t reproduce it on demand, it isn’t scientific – it’s just hinting in that direction.

      Example: The very mysterious aligned and elliptical Carolina bays (over 45,000 of them at last count) have had many people suggest many possible causes. The entirety of one of those possible causes is aeolian – caused by the winds. Most researchers right now believe that aeolian is the answer to the riddle.

      However, only ONE experiment has EVER been run to “prove or disprove” the aeolian hypothesis. And that was an experiment run by a college student using an oscillating fan and sand, and which he ran only long enough to START to create something vaguely ellitical. After the equivalent of about 8 CYCLES< he looked at the unfinished results and declared that he had seen enough. To any even moderately skeptical observer, the experiment was wholly inadequate and run for far too few cycles. In addition, his bays don't even LOOK anything like the Carolina bays.

      His research paper was never published in any journal to this day. But that doesn't stop any number of scientists from footnoting it and claiming that it proves how the Carolina bays were formed.

      No, it does not.

      The even WEIRDER thing is that NONE of those who've quoted his non-published paper has ever sat down to replicate his work. After 38 years, it still stands alone. His 1977 experiment cost perhaps $75 US in today's money. Yet no one has lifted a finger to try to replicate it.

    • “The peer-review process is one of the cornerstones of quality, integrity and reproducibility in research”

      And then along came climate “science” and climate “scientists”.

    • James Schrumpf writes:

      2900 journals? By one publisher? Does science need so many?

      It’s getting very specialized out there, James. I can’t say for sure, but there’s probably a Journal of Left-Handed Hamster Science out there unless it’s been broken up into the Journal of Solid Color Left-handed Hamster Science and the Journal of Mottled Left-Handed Hamster Science.

      Whether or not science needs that many journals is not the issue. I’m thinking it’s whether or not there are sufficient journals to publish all the papers produced by the glut of PhDs being produced. It’s either publish, or learn to ask, “Do you want fries with that?”

      The publishers are just responding to the increased demand of the market.

  4. Well done Springer for locating tip of the iceberg!

    Now really start digging, the major policy driving, peer review issues that are so alarming obvious a collusion of reviews! Fake reviews are easy, look to the organised contrived will not fail “reviews”

  5. So if I am reading this right…the papers were published based on favorable reviews, but the reviews were contrived; generated by the authors or someone in league with the authors. I imagine that these 64 papers are just the tip of the iceberg, and that the majority of the cheaters were a little more intelligent in hiding their tracks. This would explain the plethora of inane ‘peer-reviewed’ papers out there in many different fields, but particularly in climate change.

    • “these 64 papers are just the tip of the iceberg”

      On the other hand, we don’t know the number that were discovered before, during, or just after review.

    • They weren’t found during review. Hence retraction. But 64 papers out of 2900 journals (publishing maybe 100 each per year) is hardly broken. The scam can’t go far. Basically, the author recommends a well-known reviewer supplying a fake address, and impersonates. That gets found out pretty soon.

      • It’s only the latest 64 out of 2900 journals. They had already retracted 43 earlier this year for faked reviews. They’ve retracted about 1,500 papers since 2012, about 15% being due to faked reviews. There are likely more to follow. (info from Retraction Watch…)

      • Accept that crap papers get reviewed and published all the time. Nick, even you would agree to that. So I would indeed say it is broken.

      • …except that “pretty soon” means after publication, when damage has been done.

        Also, while Springer prints 2900 journals…”Springer confirms that 64 articles are being retracted from 10 Springer subscription journals…” – nothing is said about the other 2890 journals.

      • Nick, how do you feel about the tactics employed by the ‘hockey team’ as revealed in Climategate emails…do you acknowledge that they conspired to ‘bend’ the peer review process…if not necessarily ‘break’ it?

      • Every business, and any activity where people have some stake in the outcome, has some level of fraud. Banks suffer fraud all the time, but they are not broken. It looks like less than 1 in 1000 papers published are affected here.

        And yes, bad papers get published. Always have. And it’s much more than 1 in 1000. Science manages despite that.

        Most journals use a system that is hard to fool. I review papers for an Elsevier journal. It’s like internet backing. I am a known person on the Elsevier system, with a password. I can see all the papers I am supposed to have reviewed. A fake review is pointless unless it is by a person that will impress the editor, and such a person is almost certain to be on the system. Any decent program should be able to check for attempts to add a fake ID, since the fake person has to be adequately identified to impress the editor.

      • Come on Nick, you are pretending only those that got caught are the ones that are gaming the process when in reality they are the tip of the iceberg. They caught the same % as cops catching drunk drivers. For every 1 drunk driver caught I bet there are at least 100 that got away wih it. Just like illegal immigration, etc. 64 caught another 6400 got away with it in 2014. BROKEN.

      • Nick Stokes says:

        Every business, and any activity where people have some stake in the outcome, has some level of fraud.

        You must be looking in the mirror, Nick.

        I was a real estate broker for many years until I retired from that business in the late ’90’s (I worked almost exclusively with first time home buyers, and the same buyers who wanted a second or third house — or more). My business was selling houses. I had a big stake in the outcome: if I didn’t sell, I didn’t get any income.

        I never defrauded anyone. Every person I sold a house to was because I truly believed it was the best thing for them. There were plenty of times I talked a buyer out of a particular property that would have been an easy sale, because I could see problems with it.

        And you know what? Not one of them ever lost money. In fact, quite a few of them have more than a million in equity today. Honesty really is the best policy. There is a long term pay back, just as there is with dishonesty.

        So speak for yourself and your business, OK?

      • “I never defrauded anyone.”
        I’m talking about the line of business. Is there no fraud in the real estate broking business – anywhere, ever? If there is, does that mean it is broken?

      • “I never defrauded anyone.”

        So, that would make you one of the 999 in 1000 (using Stoke’s numbers), which is normal.

        Most businesses are okay, but some people in them are not, and credit info gets pinched. But most people don’t do that, which is normal.

        And most scientists are normal as well.

      • Nick Stokes says:

        Is there no fraud in the real estate broking business – anywhere, ever? If there is, does that mean it is broken?

        Of course there is fraud found among brokers. There is fraud everywhere. The difference is that it is swiftly punished by the law, and punished severely. Furthermore, when a broker is convicted of fraud the next step is the customer’s lawyer coming after the broker. Many a crooked agent has lost everything due to thinking they can swindle someone. In addition, the managing broker is legally liable for the actions of his agents, whether they are just sales people, or brokers. The managing broker cannot claim ignorance if they commit fraud.

        As a result, there is not much fraud in the business (there are always some unhappy customers, but the issue is fraud). The Real Estate Commissioner has the authority to suspend or revoke a license, based on nothing more than a piece of evidence — and that evidence can be pretty flimsy. No arrest or trial is necesary. To bring the point home, the Commissioner mails every licensee a quarterly list of those agents who have had their licenses suspended or revoked by the Commissioner; if suspended, for how long, and for what actions, and whether the acts were fraudulent or merely unethical. Unethical actions, even if not illegal, can get someone’s license suspended too.

        That is completely different from the climate peer review system, which is riddled with fraud, self-dealing, and gaming of the system — as we saw repeatedly throughout the Climategate email dump. Reprobates like Michael Mann actively worked to get people fired simply because they had a different scientific point of view than he and his pals had. And in some cases he succeeded, and bragged about it.

        The problem is there is nothing equivalent to a Commissioner in the climate peer review/journal conspiracy, with authority to weed out the bad apples. And when there is no policing of a system like that, a corollary of Gresham’s Law takes place: the bad scientists run the good scientists out.

        It is no wonder that the climate peer review system has been so thoroughly corrupted. You have self-serving insiders in cahoots with journals, and they’re all making piles of money off the ‘dangerous man-made global warming’ scare. Anyone familiar with human nature would be very surprised if that recipe did not result in the broken ‘pal review’ system.

        “Men are bad unless compelled to be good.”

        ~ Niccolo Machiavelli

        No one compels the climate peer review players who are gaming the system to be honest. So they’re not.

      • “The problem is there is nothing equivalent to a Commissioner in the climate peer review/journal conspiracy, with authority to weed out the bad apples.”

        There is – COPE. The next comment (JohnWho) links to it.

        And the action here was prompt – these papers seem to have been published in 2015.

        As with your broking, transgressions are sparse, 64 out of 100,000s. And the reason the same – penalties in terms of career damage are severe, and detection very likely.

      • There is – COPE.

        What good are they? After Climategate I, II and III, did they take action that made any difference?

        No.

        Tha same jamokes are still gaming the system. So once again:

        The problem is there is nothing equivalent to a Commissioner in the climate peer review/journal conspiracy, with authority to weed out the bad apples.

        Climate peer review is broken. It will never be fixed unless there is punishment for those who misuse it.

        Simply removing a paper that has been shown to be fraudulent does little or nothing in the way of correcting the problem. They’re just more careful next time. The problem in climate peer review is that there is no punishment for fraud.

        When Michael Mann bragged that he had gotten people fired for simply taking a scientific position he didn’t like, Mann himself should have been fired from every related position. Instead, his cheerleaders (including Nick) circled the wagons to protect him.

        When universities and the federal government bureaucracy condones and enables fraud, it is no surprise that it is so rampant. The dishonest scientists, reviewers, bureaucrats and politicians have driven out the honest scientists. Now we have Elmer Gantry in charge of “climate change” propaganda, and the truth is not in any of them.

  6. I don’t think this means that peer review is broken, as the title says. It appears to be a limited problem related to two facts:

    – Chinese difficulty in writing English papers that makes some of them hire the service of agencies to handle the translation and submission.

    – Lack of ethics in many Chinese companies as we already know. Some of those agencies were offering fake reviewers.

    The underlying problem is that a lot of journals offer the possibility or even request that authors suggest reviewers for their article. This is very convenient for editors but it is a conflict of interest that contaminates the process. The authors of the work should not have any say on who should review their work under any circumstance. Sadly I have been a witness of important authors openly discussing reviewers to their work over the phone with the editor of their submitted or soon to be submitted work. The peer review process has a little door for little scientists and a big door for big scientists.

  7. It can’t be all bad. Peer review revealed in climategate emails showed how it worked to get rid of the MWP, LIA and the creation of the rising blade of the hockey stick – Since Mike’s “Nature trick” was revealed, I’m sure Nature immediately investigated their papers. Also, since over 95% of papers eventually turn out to be totally worthless, peer review at the best of times hasn’t really worked that well. I wonder how many worthy papers were rejected as well.

    The American Association of Petroleum Geologists in the 1920s ridiculed and possibly hounded Alfred Wegener of continental drift notoriety into an early grave (died 1930) and had to wait another thirty years for the theory to be brought forth repackaged with fanfare as the new theory of plate tectonics. Oh there has been rationalization in relatively recent years, too, to support this dental mechanic type terminolgy, but really it was renamed out of shame, a desire to bury the embarrassing Wegener stuff and dare I say D’Nile. The irony of it all was framed by the president of the AAPG at the annual meeting in 1928 when he said, to the effect, that if we are to buy Wegener’s silly idea of continents shifting around like that, we would have to forget half of what we have learned over the past century. Well, we had to wait another 30 years to forget half of what we had learned in a century and a third.

    I was in the middle. Having had all these courses with geosynclines, eugeosynclines, miogeosynclines, zeugogeosynclines…..Do geo gollyists still do all this Zeugo hugo, gee-o-myo stuff? I haven’t seen such pagan language in a long time – I guess they quietly got rid of it all. After all it was embarrassing enough to have to forget a century of a science without hollering it out that we had to retract 10,000 papers. I can only hope that this will finally be buried for good when 100,000 climate papers and 50,000 biomedical papers or so get dumped. Probably we will recognize some of the former climate scientists as bank tellers and insurance salesmen in a few years. There will probably be research into converting thousands of tons of these goofy journals into fire logs for the poor in the coming cold period.

  8. Obviously, these papers were so ahead of their time that there just were no peers up to the task available.

  9. The peer-review process is one of the cornerstones of quality, integrity and reproducibility in research, and we take our responsibilities as its guardians seriously. We are now reviewing our editorial processes across Springer to guard against this kind of manipulation of the peer review process in future.

    Cute how they say this with a straight face. If they had taken it seriously, they wouldn’t have had to go through this review process.

  10. ‘Once, however, we recognize the basically antagonistic positions of the “peers” and Type I research, the urgent need for a reform of the peer-review system becomes self- evident. One does not need to be a jurist to comprehend that in a fair and just system, one cannot use the opinions of a party to a dispute to judge the validity of the opinion of his antagonist. Yet this is what peer review amounts to when dealing with Type I research.
    Equally urgent is the need for establishing an appeal mechanism, so that a wrongly “accused” applicant can defend himself.
    The harm the current version of the peer-review system may do is by no means limited to causing a few scientists to be ostracized because of their pursuit of Type I ideas- ideas, that is, running counter to established concepts. The greater damage is to a whole generation of young scientists, who discover that the surest way to succeed in science is not to seek truth but to report only such findings and express only such opinions that are sweet to the ears and eyes of anointed “peers.” When enough scientists choose that course, the credibility of all’scientists will dwindle. In the long run, a retreat from science and from a free rational way of life may well follow. Hopefully, however, that will not be how the story ends’. (Gilbert N. Ling, Physiol. Chem. & Physics 10 1978)
    http://www.physiologicalchemistryandphysics.com/pdf/PCP10-95_ling.pdf

  11. I wonder if they were all computer-generated like others in the past?

    I mean apparently pal is so incredibly predictable that nearly anyone or anything can get a paper to pass their so-called peer review process….

  12. I just got “A Disgrace to the Profession” in the mail and am about half way through it. It’s pretty clear that Dr. Mann’s work should have been withdrawn.

  13. More reason to have a Scientific Data and Conclusion Validation and Verification Agency. Why is it that the liberal industries are all unregulated? The Press, Academia, Legal, The Internet, Education? They seem to want to regulate everyone else, but avoid government scrutiny. We need to turn the government against these liberals like the liberals turn the Government on the Conservatives. The “peer” review process needs criminal oversight. I bet some of those retracted research papers were funded by the tax payer.

    • I’m pretty sure that once we pull the curtain away and expose these liberal groups what we will find is pretty horrific.

      Remember Obama’s Acorn would help you set up a child sex slavery ring.

      If liberal groups will help you set up a child sex slavery group, they certainly will forge Peer Review Documents and lie about Global Warming.

    • “More reason to have a Scientific Data and Conclusion Validation and Verification Agency. ”

      Tribalism is never the answer.

      I know it’s our primal instinct to form factions but it’s what’s holding science and society as a whole back. It needs to be a free-4-all so that factions like in climate science or politics don’t form:

      “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

      -John Adams

      • Tribalism is never the answer.

        That is why the analysis would be done in a double blind manner. No one would ever look at the climate data in an objective manner and reach the conclusion CO2 is the cause. CO2 only becomes the cause when the researchers know they are trying to make CO2 the cause. Remove the data from the labels and CO2 will never pop up as being significant again.

      • Whoops, sorry. Energy and the Environment couldn’t be involved – it’s not a peer reviewed journal.

      • I’ve not found a single person so far who supports global warming who doesn’t in some way have their snout in the trough of public money dolloped out from this supposed “issue”.

      • Warren why are you lying? E&E is peer-reviewed.

        http://www.populartechnology.net/2010/04/correcting-misinformation-about-journal.html#Peer-Reviewed

        Peer-Reviewed:

        1. Thompson Reuters Social Sciences Citation Index (ISI) lists Energy & Environment as a peer-reviewed scholarly journal

        2. EBSCO Publishing lists Energy & Environment as a peer-reviewed scholarly journal (PDF)

        3. Elsevier (parent company of Scopus) correctly lists Energy & Environment as a scholarly peer-reviewed journal on their internal master list. (Source: Email Correspondence)

        4. Scopus lists Energy & Environment as a peer-reviewed scholarly journal

        5. “E&E, by the way, is peer reviewed” – Tom Wigley, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

        6. “I have published a few papers in E&E. All were peer-reviewed as usual. I have reviewed a few more for the journal.” – Richard Tol Ph.D. Professor of the Economics of Climate Change, Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands

        7. “Regular issues include submitted and invited papers that are rigorously peer reviewed” – E&E Mission Statement

        8. “All Multi-Sciences primary journals are fully refereed” – Multi-Science Publishing

    • What a surprise. Sneering from someone who couldn’t READ a science article if his life depended on it … let alone, WRITE one. It’s so easy to take anonymous pot shots at your betters from the cheap seats, isn’t it?

    • It wasn’t actually.
      But you are correct to suspect that only prestigious journals would be targeted.
      No-one would take this risk to get into a poor journal, would they?

      • Anyone have facts disputing these quotes?—

        ‘When asked about the publication in the Spring of 2003 of a revised version of the paper at the center of the Soon and Baliunas controversy, Boehmer-Christiansen said, “I’m following my political agenda — a bit, anyway. But isn’t that the right of the editor?” (the editor’s statement of objectivity!)

        And:
        Ralph Keeling criticized a paper in the journal which claimed that CO2 levels were above 400 ppm in 1825, 1857 and 1942, writing in a letter to the editor, “Is it really the intent of E&E to provide a forum for laundering pseudo-science?”

        And:
        “A 2005 article in Environmental Science & Technology stated that “scientific claims made in Energy & Environment have little credibility among scientists.”

        And:
        According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2012 impact factor of 0.319, ranking it 90th out of 93 journals in the category “Environmental Studies”

        And:
        According to a 2011 article in The Guardian, Gavin Schmidt and Roger A. Pielke, Jr. said that E&E has had low standards of peer review and little impact.

        I agree with the previous poster that few would want to bother to publish in E&E.

      • Notice that Warren ignores the undisputed fact that the IPCC cited them 28 times?

        Notice that he ignored this part too:

        “Energy & Environment is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary scholarly journal
        ISSN: 0958-305X

        – Indexed in Compendex, EBSCO, Environment Abstracts, Google Scholar, JournalSeek, Scopus and Thompson Reuters (ISI)

        – Found at hundreds of libraries and universities worldwide in print and electronic form. These include; Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Library of Congress, McGill University, Monash University, National Library of Australia, Stanford University, The British Library, University of British Columbia, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University of Queensland and MIT.”

        You posted unsubstantiated opinions from Dr. Schmidt and Dr. Pielke from a NEWSPAPER article 4 years ago.

        It is clear that you have an axe to grind with E and E.

      • warren, these have been addressed in the link you apparently did not read.

        ‘When asked about the publication in the Spring of 2003 of a revised version of the paper at the center of the Soon and Baliunas controversy, Boehmer-Christiansen said, “I’m following my political agenda — a bit, anyway. But isn’t that the right of the editor?” (the editor’s statement of objectivity!)

        http://www.populartechnology.net/2010/04/correcting-misinformation-about-journal.html#Political

        This is the correct interpretation,
        “My political agenda for E&E is not party political but relates to academic and intellectual freedom.”

        – Dr. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, Editor, Energy & Environment

        “My political agenda is simple and open; it concerns the role of research ambitions in the making of policy.

        I concluded from a research project about the IPCC – funded by the UK government during the mid 1990s – that this body was set up to support, initially, climate change research projects supported by the WMO and hence the rapidly evolving art and science of climate modeling. A little later the IPCC came to serve an intergovernmental treaty, the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This enshrines in law that future climate change would be warming caused by greenhouse gases (this remains debated), is man-made (to what an extend remains debated) as well as dangerous (remains debated). It became a task of the IPCC government selected and government funded, to support the theory that this man-made warming would be dangerous rather than beneficial, as some argue.

        The solutions to this assumed problem were worked out by IPCC working group three, which worked largely independently of the science working group one and consisted primarily of parties interested in a ‘green’ energy agenda, including people from environment agencies, NGOs and environmental economics. This group supplied the science group with emission scenarios that have been widely criticized and which certainly enhanced the ‘danger’. From interviews and my own reading I concluded that the climate science debate WAS BY NO MEANS OVER AND SHOULD CONTINUE. However, when I noticed that scientific critics of the IPCC science working group were increasingly side-lined and had difficulties being published – when offered the editorship of E&E, I decided to continue publishing ‘climate skeptics’ and document the politics associated with the science debate. The implications for energy policy and technology are obvious.

        I myself have argued the cause of climate ‘realism’ – I am a geomorphologist by academic training before switching to environmental international relations – but do so on more the basis of political rather than science-based arguments. As far as the science of climate change is concerned, I would describe myself as agnostic.

        In my opinion the global climate research enterprise must be considered as an independent political actor in environmental politics. I have widely published on this subject myself, and my own research conclusions have influenced my editorial policy. I also rely on an excellent and most helpful editorial board which includes a number of experienced scientists. Several of the most respected ‘climate skeptics’ regularly peer-review IPCC critical papers I publish.”

        – Dr. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, Editor, Energy & Environment

      • Warren I suggest not copying and pasting inaccurate garbage you find off Wikipedia.

        Ralph Keeling criticized a paper in the journal which claimed that CO2 levels were above 400 ppm in 1825, 1857 and 1942, writing in a letter to the editor, “Is it really the intent of E&E to provide a forum for laundering pseudo-science?”

        This statement is ironic considering Keeling is published in Energy & Environment.

      • According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2012 impact factor of 0.319, ranking it 90th out of 93 journals in the category “Environmental Studies”

        http://www.populartechnology.net/2010/04/correcting-misinformation-about-journal.html#Impact

        Impact Factor is a subjectively devised determination of popularity not scientific validity that is widely abused and manipulated.

        * The Number That’s Devouring Science (The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 15, 2005)

        Deluged by so many manuscripts, high-impact journals can send only a fraction out to experts for review. Nature, for example, rejects half of the submissions it gets without forwarding them to referees, says its editor in chief, Philip Campbell. […]

        Dr. DeAngelis, of JAMA, says editors at some top journals have told her that they do consider citations when judging some papers. “There are people who won’t publish articles,” she says, “because it won’t help their impact factor.” […]

        Fiona Godlee, editor of BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal), agrees that editors take impact factors into account when deciding on manuscripts, whether they realize it or not. …She says editors may be rejecting not only studies in smaller or less-fashionable fields, but also important papers from certain regions of the world, out of fear that such reports won’t attract sufficient citation attention.

        * European Association of Science Editors statement on inappropriate use of impact factors (European Association of Science Editors, November 2007)

        The impact factor, however, is not always a reliable instrument for measuring the quality of journals. Its use for purposes for which it was not intended, causes even greater unfairness.

        * “Quality not Quantity” – DFG Adopts Rules to Counter the Flood of Publications in Research (German Research Foundation, February 2010)

        “Whether in performance-based funding allocations, postdoctoral qualifications, appointments, or reviewing funding proposals, increasing importance has been given to numerical indicators such as the H-index and the impact factor. The focus has not been on what research someone has done but rather how many papers have been published and where. This puts extreme pressure upon researchers to publish as much as possible and sometimes leads to cases of scientific misconduct in which incorrect statements are provided concerning the status of a publication. This is not in the interest of science,”

        * Why the impact factor of journals should not be used for evaluating research
        (British Medical Journal, Volume 314, pp. 498–502, February 1997)
        – Per O. Seglen

        Summary points:
        – Use of journal impact factors conceals the difference in article citation rates (articles in the most cited half of articles in a journal are cited 10 times as often as the least cited half)
        – Journals’ impact factors are determined by technicalities unrelated to the scientific quality of their articles
        – Journal impact factors depend on the research field: high impact factors are likely in journals covering large areas of basic research with a rapidly expanding but short lived literature that use many references per article
        – Article citation rates determine the journal impact factor, not vice versa

        * The Impact Factor Game
        (PLoS Medicine, Volume 3, Issue 6, June 2006)
        – The PLoS Medicine Editors

        …it is well known that editors at many journals plan and implement strategies to massage their impact factors. Such strategies include attempting to increase the numerator in the above equation by encouraging authors to cite articles published in the journal or by publishing reviews that will garner large numbers of citations. Alternatively, editors may decrease the denominator by attempting to have whole article types removed from it (by making such articles superficially less substantial, such as by forcing authors to cut down on the number of references or removing abstracts) or by decreasing the number of research articles published. These are just a few of the many ways of “playing the impact factor game.”

        One problem with this game, leaving aside the ethics of it, is that the rules are unclear—editors can, for example, try to persuade Thomson Scientific to reduce the denominator, but the company refuses to make public its process for choosing “citable” article types. Thomson Scientific, the sole arbiter of the impact factor game, is part of The Thomson Corporation, a for-profit organization that is responsible primarily to its shareholders. It has no obligation to be accountable to any of the stakeholders who care most about the impact factor—the authors and readers of scientific research.

        * Show Me The Data
        (The Journal of Cell Biology, Volume 179, Number 6, pp. 1091-1092, December 2007)
        – Mike Rossner, Heather Van Epps, Emma Hill

        It became clear that Thomson Scientific could not or (for some as yet unexplained reason) would not sell us the data used to calculate their published impact factor. If an author is unable to produce original data to verify a figure in one of our papers, we revoke the acceptance of the paper. We hope this account will convince some scientists and funding organizations to revoke their acceptance of impact factors as an accurate representation of the quality—or impact—of a paper published in a given journal. Just as scientists would not accept the findings in a scientific paper without seeing the primary data, so should they not rely on Thomson Scientific’s impact factor, which is based on hidden data.

        * Irreproducible results: a response to Thomson Scientific
        (The Journal of Cell Biology, Volume 180, Number 2, pp. 254-255, January 2008)
        – Mike Rossner, Heather Van Epps, Emma Hill

        Impact factors are determined from a dataset produced by searching the Thomson Scientific database using specific parameters. As previously stated, our aim was to purchase that dataset for a few journals. Even if those results were for some reason not stored by Thomson Scientific, it is inconceivable to us that they cannot run the same search over the same database to produce the same dataset. The citation data for a given year should be static. In essence, Thomson Scientific is saying that they cannot repeat the experiment, which would be grounds for rejection of a manuscript submitted to any scientific journal.

        * Nefarious Numbers (PDF)
        (arXiv:1010.0278, October 2010)
        – Douglas N. Arnold, Kristine K. Fowler

        The impact factor for a journal in a given year is calculated by ISI (Thomson Reuters) as the average number of citations in that year to the articles the journal published in the preceding two years. It has been widely criticized on a variety of grounds:

        – A journal’s distribution of citations does not determine its quality.
        – The impact factor is a crude statistic, reporting only one particular item of information from the citation distribution.
        – It is a flawed statistic. For one thing, the distribution of citations among papers is highly skewed, so the mean for the journal tends to be misleading. For another, the impact factor only refers to citations within the first two years after publication (a particularly serious de deficiency for mathematics, in which around 90% of citations occur after two years).
        – The underlying database is flawed, containing errors and including a biased selection of journals.
        – Many confounding factors are ignored, for example, article type (editorials, reviews, and letters versus original research articles), multiple authorship, self-citation, language of publication, etc.

    • Actually it is a legitimate group since they are accepted by many as shown here in this quote:

      “Energy & Environment is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary scholarly journal
      ISSN: 0958-305X
      – Indexed in Compendex, EBSCO, Environment Abstracts, Google Scholar, JournalSeek, Scopus and Thompson Reuters (ISI)
      – Found at hundreds of libraries and universities worldwide in print and electronic form. These include; Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Library of Congress, McGill University, Monash University, National Library of Australia, Stanford University, The British Library, University of British Columbia, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University of Queensland and MIT.”

      Correcting misinformation about the journal Energy & Environment

      http://www.populartechnology.net/2010/04/correcting-misinformation-about-journal.html#IPCC

      It appears Warren, that you just made yourself look stupid here.

    • This is what WARREN stated that I responded to: ” Warrenlb
      August 19, 2015 at 8:15 pm

      Whoops, sorry. Energy and the Environment couldn’t be involved – it’s not a peer reviewed journal.”

      I showed that it is indeed listed as shown in a link I posted: “Energy & Environment is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary scholarly journal
      ISSN: 0958-305X
      – Indexed in Compendex, EBSCO, Environment Abstracts, Google Scholar, JournalSeek, Scopus and Thompson Reuters (ISI)”

      He then after being shown to be 100% wrong, tries to minimize the journal with opinions from just TWO people,that was from the Guardian article of FOUR years ago!!!

      Come on Warren, you are looking really bad here since I proved you flat out wrong, you try to wiggle your way out with this specious crap.

      • Oh, so it is a peer reviewed journal; does this mean it is involved in the scams you’re concerned about?
        its cited 28 times among 24,000 peer reviewed journal papers published, or about 0.1%, mostly for policy essays rather than science.

        So the question still stands….anyone have facts that contradict the ones I cited?

      • Warren goes on and on against E and E.

        I have successfully answered your incorrect statement, that it was not a listed peer review journal.

        YOU wrote this:

        “Whoops, sorry. Energy and the Environment couldn’t be involved – it’s not a peer reviewed journal.”

        I showed that it is a peer reviewed journal:

        “Energy & Environment is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary scholarly journal
        ISSN: 0958-305X
        – Indexed in Compendex, EBSCO, Environment Abstracts, Google Scholar, JournalSeek, Scopus and Thompson Reuters (ISI)”

        End of story.

        You are WRONG and I proved it!

        Good day.

      • Warren, you have been exposed as a lying hack.

        Energy & Environment is a multi-disciplinary scholarly journal so that includes social-science papers. E&E has been cited in all 3 working groups of the IPCC and none of those are political essays.

        Are you claiming the Working Group II and III sections are not important in the IPCC reports?

  14. Retraction Watch has been covering related stories for some time now and reports that Springer is also the owner of BioMed Central Journals which retracted 43 papers earlier this year, also for fake peer reviews.

    http://retractionwatch.com/2015/08/17/64-more-papers-retracted-for-fake-reviews-this-time-from-springer-journals/

    That brings the total number for this one company to more than a hundred in a single year. Going further, Retraction Watch reports that there have been roughly 1,500 papers retracted across various science journals since 2012, with approximately 15% of them being for faked peer reviews.

    You can see the list of the 64 recalled articles here

    http://link.springer.com/search?query=The+Publisher+and+Editor+retract+this+article+in+accordance+with+the+recommendations+of+the+Committee+on+Publication+Ethics+%28COPE%29&date-facet-mode=between&facet-start-year=2015&previous-start-year=1995&facet-end-year=2015&previous-end-year=2015

    they are mostly from journals such as Molecular Neurobiology and Tumor Biology along with several others.

    it does beg the question of how many other science journals are quietly scotching published articles once they’ve been originally put out into the ether. And if the system was so easy to fool that people were allowed to offer their own peer reviewers and could throw the system off the trail with a devilishly clever idea like a fake email address, how solid is the rest of the data out there?

    http://hotair.com/archives/2015/08/19/leading-science-publisher-retracts-dozens-of-papers-for-fake-peer-reviews/

  15. This is nothing. 64 papers (or 64 + 43). I was certain (long before reading the later comments) that no climate papers were involved. Climatastrophists could use actual peers, since there are at least 77 who would sign off on any CAGW/AGW paper, no matter how incompetent. If Springer used more sophisticated methods of finding pal review than just checking eddresses, there’d be more like 6400 papers to retract, many of them by climate “scientists.”

  16. The obvious answer to difficulties in getting your paper published is to start your own journal (on line so as to not worry about the cost of actually printing it), get your friends to review your paper, publish it, including the reviews, and then get friends to write letters about it in as many other journals as you can think up. Not only is it then out in the public sphere, but you also have a long string of citations. You can then write a revised version and get it published in a ‘real’ journal – after all, you are a published scientist and have joined the “club”.

  17. Thinks – if you have started your own journal on line, then you may find other people want to have papers published – you can accept them, and who knows – you may eventually make money with your own journal! Probably more profitable than your day job.

  18. Peer review: the process by which a scientist gets other scientists who agree with him to confirm that he’s right.

    To those outraged by my description, I think this is one application of the old saying, “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.” IOW, it’s not supposed to work that way, but I think it often does so.

  19. My bet is that the great majority of the retracted papers were in biology. Biology has been where most of the scientific fraud has occurred in ever increasing numbers in recent years.,

  20. In the last 18 months I have been reading papers about clinical trials for chemotheraphy drugs and observed that a number of the papers contained errors. Although the errors mainly involved information contradicting information else where in the paper and would not affect the overall findings of the papers it is pretty unprofessional to allow the papers to be published unamended. I think that it would be helpful if a person outside the area of expertise of the paper was included in the peer review to over come issues of confirmation bias ie for instance an engineer reviewing a medical paper.

  21. ……The peer-review process is one of the cornerstones of quality, integrity and reproducibility in research, and we take our responsibilities as its guardians seriously.

    Never laughed so much before in my life. You owe me a new keyboard…

    • The “reproducible” is the most laughable part since providing the data is not required and authors stringently refuse to provide data even when asked. Some will not even answer detailed questions on methodology.

      When the ability to reproduce goes out the window so does science.

      Some publishers like Public Library of Science are now mandating the data be available, the question remains why was data not required before and why are all publishers not mandating data.

      • “When the ability to reproduce goes out the window so does science.”

        But now even “sciency” persons (people working in the scientific fields) believe that the definition of the scientific process is the peer review system of science journals.

        The education system works: even professionals, those who should know better, get brainwashed.

  22. ‘or if any climate papers are involved’
    To be fair the number of people who are more than willing to ‘back scratch’ and the fact that climate ‘science’ has standards that are below that of undergraduate handing in an essay, means they do not need any fake people ‘ They have more than enough real people happy to sell themselves out to ensure they are see to support ‘the cause ‘ and ensure their next grant cheque.

    • The problem climate academics had, was that for years they could behave like an arts subject cherry picking the facts to fill their papers will political non-science because no one could ever prove them wrong. So, they just got into the habit of publishing garbage of attacking any academics who were not “politically correct” and generally behaving like any liberal arts subject.

      But then a few decades later, new facts came in that could not just be cherry picked to fit their politics and which proved that they had been disastrously wrong.

      So, now you have a heavily politicised subject with the standards of an arts subject that only used “science” as packaging for its eco-politics having to face the cold reality of the facts that necessitate the higher standards in real science.

  23. “We have been in contact with the corresponding authors and institutions concerned, and will continue to work with them.”

    I would have thought that this was grounds to DIScontinue working with them.

  24. Does this mean the 32,000 year old who took part in a prestigious survey for Lewendowsky was a fake ?

    • No, Nick Stokes has said they do do game the system when it comes to climate papers. Anything that deals with Climate is above bio-medical. Meanwhile Tom Brady wrote a paper on deflate gate and his Patriot teammates reviewed it with real email addresses. So he’s off the hook now.

  25. In any human endeavor including science the foibles of bias, incompetence, stupidity, greed, and dishonesty can come into play. The issue is to what degree the results of these foibles affect society. Climate, nutrition and sociology seem to be the worst culprits in spawning a potpourri of harmful unsubstantiated alarmism. When climate and sociology come together in a paper you know there is potential for a bonanza of stupid.

    A research paper titled “Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes,” passed peer review. The title alone should have tossed based on a title that suggests hurricanes have a gender. Reading further the premise was that due to implicit sexism female named hurricanes were not taken as seriously as male named hurricanes and so less preparation was taken. A sociological hypothesis unfortunately not remotely demonstrated in the paper, but gaining the imprimatur of the National Academy of Sciences. While eventually debunked due to childish non-nonsensical methodology, culturally it is still used as an example of “rampant” sexism. Thank you the National Academy of Sciences for helping society remain stupid.

  26. Sometimes it is simple dishonesty.

    When Hansen published his latest prediction on major cities going underwater, he released his paper publicly and to the press first and then to peer review second. Interestingly the paper for public consumption had charged alarmist language, the paper presented for peer review did not.

    Having one version for media consumption and another for scientific consumption represented as the same paper is blatantly dishonest. There is nothing that can be done to improve the peer review process that will prevent zealots like Hansen from polluting our culture.

  27. “No word yet on what type of articles, or if any climate papers are involved.”
    Sure. It does take some time to check 64 articles, doesn’t it?. So can we assume there’s no transparency. After all, that might provoke press releases that may just give the public a glimpse of the lies and corruption behind climate science.

  28. What a journal should do is publish all of the articles it receives (in a uniform format *with ALL data available*) and then leave it open for direct comments by any verified (e.g. real named) member of the journal forever – only snipping a comment when it is libelous or harassing. Ideally this would be in a forum-style branching conversation with specific threads for specific parts of the paper.

    Then, if any errors pop up that change the outcome of the paper, two different ratings can be applied: “Member Verified / Member Disputed” can be one that switches based on the number of issues discovered with the paper and then “Journal New / Journal Vetted / Journal Disputed” as a rating based upon the journal reviewers’ review of the paper after discussion issues are raised.

    It’s a huge amount of work, but it would help science in general to be this open. It would also give a central place for all of the complaints/issues with journal papers to be, instead of spread across blogs and media the world over.

  29. The tipoff came when someone noticed that a reviewer that kept popping up with most of these papers was named “Sum Dum Fuk”.

  30. I’m not sure how much of peer review is relevant to any thing. I know it is supposed to be a barrier to keep unsound science out of “scientific” publication but that ship has sailed! I think that sites like Anthony’s where every angle of contentious debate can be considered may be the future of peer review. People are fond of the Plate Tectonics example of bureaucratic suppression of true insight but there are numerous other examples from the Royal Societies of (plug in your favorite geographic area of the world) which unsurprisingly seem to have a hard time balancing defending the status quo with encouraging scientific curiosity. Eventually all ends up politics.

  31. I wonder who has been fingered for cooking the books. Hopefully, it’s members of The Team again…

  32. The solution to climate science is simple and comes from medicine:

    Require researchers to register their predictions with the government beforehand, so that as weather data comes in, it can be evaluated against unmoving goalposts.

    “A 1997 US law mandated the registry’s creation, requiring researchers from 2000 to record their trial methods and outcome measures before collecting data. The study found that in a sample of 55 large trials testing heart-disease treatments, 57% of those published before 2000 reported positive effects from the treatments. But that figure plunged to just 8% in studies that were conducted after 2000.”

    http://www.nature.com/news/registered-clinical-trials-make-positive-findings-vanish-1.18181

    The thing driving us critics insane of course is (1) the unwillingness of climate scientists to make clear predictions ahead of time, (2) the memory-holing of predictions that were made, and (3) grasping on to things that happen (e.g. the west-coast drought, snow in Boston, even) as ‘validation’ of climate change after the fact when such events were never predicted in the first place.

    A registration system is exactly what critics should demand in climate science. The model is already there in US law. If climate scientists resist, they will be unmasked.

    If you want to win, this is what you do.

    (I posed this on one other thread, but I want Anthony Watts specifically to take notice.)

  33. Corruption in the peer-review process has existed for many years now. Scientists know this. Nobody has done anything about it, and nothing has really changed despite it being known. Numerous scientific frauds have been uncovered over the years. People with letters after their name, like Michael Mann, have brought the field of climatology into disrepute.

    The resignation letter of Hal Lewis (October 6th, 2010) said it all, as per the following extract:

    “When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago).

    How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

    It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.”

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