A wave of systematically falsified research manuscripts, commonly referred to as ‘paper mill’ papers, threatens to harm the integrity of today’s scientific literature and is of significant concern to all of us.
As soon as the issue was brought to our attention, we launched an extensive internal investigation. At Frontiers, we continue to follow our strict research integrity processes. If a suspicious article is identified, clarification from authors is sought and raw data investigated. If a satisfactory outcome is not achieved, a retraction will follow.
This issue is a particularly complex one, affecting all leading publishers, and we remain in discussion with several of these to seek an effective and lasting outcome. The scale of the problem has been recognized by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), of which Frontiers is a member and to whom we are grateful for their guidance.
We are committed to upholding the highest levels of integrity and rigor. As such, we have workflows and preventative measures in place to address the issue.
- We maintain an internal working group dedicated to the issue as part of our existing Research Integrity and Auditing team. This group systematically reviews the situation, monitor for new developments, and share insights where possible.
- We are prototyping a new automated quality check at the point of submission via our Artificial Intelligence Review Assistant (AIRA) to identify more details about potential fraudsters and suspicious behavior.
- We offer guidance to editorial board members with insights and information as to how to identify fraudulent submissions and the measures Frontiers is taking to tackle the issue.
Any individuals or organizations we identify as part of our investigation will be reported to the relevant institutions. We remain fully committed to doing everything in our power to rid Frontiers of breaches of our policies and code of publishing ethics, and malpractice throughout scholarly publishing more broadly. We have always been committed to upholding the highest standards and taking action where appropriate.
Frontiers is an award-winning Open Science platform and leading Open Access scholarly publisher. Founded in 2007, we have published over 200,000 rigorously certified research articles by leading academics, covering more than 850 academic disciplines. Our mission is to make research results openly available to the world, thereby accelerating scientific and technological innovation, societal progress and economic growth. We empower scientists with innovative Open Science solutions that radically improve how science is published, evaluated and disseminated to researchers, innovators and the public. Access to research results and data is open, free and customized through Internet Technology, thereby enabling rapid solutions to the critical challenges we face as humanity. For more information, visit www.frontiersin.org