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Fraud in Peer Review

A scientific journal in the field of acoustics, the Journal of Vibration and Control, canceled the publication of 60 scientific articles after discovering that there had been fraud in the reviewing of the papers.  The scandal brought down Taiwan’s Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling, who appeared as co-author in five of the articles pulled from the publication.  A 14-month investigation showed that Chen-Yuan Chen, former professor of computer science at the National Pingtung University of Education, had been able to corrupt the peer review system by creating 130 fraudulent e-mail accounts, which he used to assume the identity of real or fictitious researchers.  The email accounts were used to create lists of fictitious reviewers on the online platform of Sage, the publisher responsible for the publication.  The articles submitted to the journal were sent to the fraudulent email addresses for review and Chen would review them—including several that he himself had signed.  Daniel Sherman, spokesman for Sage, said there may be other researchers involved, since he thinks it is unlikely that the co-authors of the articles would not have known about the scheme.  Ali Nayeff, professor emeritus of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, who had been editor of the journal at the time the articles were published, resigned before the investigation was completed.  According to Sage, Nayeff was the first to suspect the fraud and notified the Chinese university, which promptly began to investigate Chen-Yuan Chen, who resigned in February 2014.