Have you ever thought how much easier it would be to get published if you could review you own papers for journals? Well, here’s the story of one, initially successful but ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to do just that. As one of my colleagues said, a story of ‘too much vibration and not enough control’!! (Thanks Judy.) Its a mute lesson in how not to be an academic.
The targeted journal was the respected Journal of Vibration and Control (JVC), which focuses on the area of mechanical engineering. The journal (published by Sage) has now retracted 60 (yes sixty) articles after finding evidence that over a hundred fake email addresses for potential reviewers had been set up in an attempt to get favorable reviews. The SAGE announcement says that ‘on at least one occasion… Peter Chen (of the National Pingtung University of Education in Taiwan, on whom the enquiry focused) reviewed his own paper under one of the aliases he created.’
Hopefully the fact that, on this occasion at least, the fraud has been uncovered will help deter others from following suit. However, the pressure to publish and the pressure on academics to deliver grants awarded at least in part on their publication record may make some others think about the benefits of finding ways of reviewing their own papers. These pressures make even more important the teaching of the ethics of the academic profession to students across the full spectrum of disciplines.