China's major funding agency has announced that it will seek the return of funds from researchers who used faked peer review to publish their papers, ScienceInsider reports. It notes that this move come on the heels of the China Association for Science and Technology reporting that it had investigated dozens of researchers for being involved in such peer-review scams.
Publisher BioMed Central uncovered last year some 50 manuscripts that involved faked peer review — the researchers suggested certain reviewers, but gave incorrect email addresses that instead directed the journal back to the researchers, who then reviewed their own work, as Retraction Watch reported at the time. BMC has since retracted 43 papers and other publishers have retracted papers as well, ScienceInsider notes. Many of the authors involved, it adds, were from China.
At the time, BMC told Retraction Watch that a third party appeared to be involved in many of the cases, and the recent CAST investigation highlighted the role of certain paper brokers in China.
Twenty-nine of the 31 Chinese authors who had papers retracted by BMC said they'd used a paper broker, and paid between $600 to more than $5,500 in fees, ScienceInsider reports.
As part of efforts now to curb peer review fraud, the National Natural Science Foundation of China says it has investigated the authors it supported of 22 retracted papers and, for some flagrant cases, revoked their funding.