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Scientific journal retracts 60 articles thanks to illicit 'peer review ring'

The Journal of Vibration and Control has retracted 60 articles at once, citing a "peer review and citation ring" as "rigging the review process" to get articles published, according to The Washington Post.

The journal, which covers "vibration phenomena and their control," is a part of the SAGE Publishers group of academic publications. In a statement from SAGE describing the scandal, the publisher explains that "fabricated identities" were used in its SAGE Track system, where scholars review each others' work before publication.

Ali H. Nayfeh, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Vibration and Control, learned of the situation in 2013. The JVC then began a 14-month investigation into the false identities and fake email addresses of the SAGE system's reviewers. The Washington Post reports there were as many as 130 aliases in the system.

The investigation focused on Peter Chen, a researcher at the National Pingtung University of Education in Taiwan. The SAGE statement accused Chen of reviewing his own paper under one of the false identities. According to SAGE, Chen has now resigned from his post at the university.

Each of the 60 articles that JVC retracted have at least one reviewer or author "who has been implicated in the peer review" ring, SAGE said in a statement.