In April, a journal under the international academic publisher Springer retracted 33 papers from China all at once. With eight papers withdrawn earlier in the past two years, the total number arrived at 41. The authors of 39 papers came from China.
The mainland Chinese media The Paper, Multimedia Tools and Applications is the journal that issued the decision. The incident involved dozens of Chinese universities, state entities and companies, including Zhejiang University, the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, and China Jiliang University. Many papers had received funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
The top three institutions in terms of the number of papers retracted were Zhejiang Electric Power Company under the State Grid, the School of Electrical and Optoelectronic Engineering at the Changzhou Institute of Technology, and Hefei University of Technology. One corresponding author from the Changzhou Institute of Technology had seven papers retracted. State Grid and Hefei University of Technology each had a corresponding author with four papers retracted.
Reasons for withdrawal included plagiarism of unpublished manuscripts, attempts to subvert the peer review process, content plagiarism, and improper copying of images without permission. More than half of the authors agreed to withdraw.
This is not the first incident of collective withdrawals involving Chinese scholars. In August 2015, Springer withdrew 64 papers published in its 10 academic journals, most of which were from China. In April 2017, Springer’s Tumor Biology journal withdrew 107 papers that were from Chinese scholars, all at one time, because of peer review fraud. It was hailed as a major earthquake in Chinese academic circles.
Source: Central News Agency, May 7, 2020