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Compromised peer review leads to retraction of 209 articles

Publishing company Sage has announced the retraction of 209 scientific articles published in its International Journal of Electrical Engineering & Education. According to the publisher, the mass retraction was made after it was discovered that the journal’s peer-review process had been compromised. In December 2021, Sage retracted 122 articles from the same journal shortly after dismissing its editor in chief and replacing the editorial board. An investigation followed, which has now resulted in the new wave of retracted articles. The irregularities identified in the peer-review process were varied, judging by the retraction notes. In some cases, articles were removed due to evidence that unauthorized people participated in the review. In others, the publisher reported that new reviews carried out after publication found fundamental problems in the papers and that they “had been accepted as a result of a peer-review process that did not meet the standards and expectations at Sage.” In some situations, authors were contacted to provide explanations about flaws or signs of misconduct found in the articles but did not respond. Finally, there were articles that showed evidence of fraudulent authorship: the coauthor of one paper, Enas Abdulhay of the Jordan University of Science and Technology, warned that he had nothing to do with a paper published in his name and did not know the other authors.