On November 1, Springer Nature announced that Springer and BioMed Central have decided to retract a total of 58 articles published by Iran-based authors across seven journals. The publisher received allegations of plagiarism, following which an investigation was conducted. Since definite signs of peer review and authorship manipulation were observed, the publisher decided to pull down the concerned articles. The exact reasons behind the mass retraction are unavailable, but Springer Nature will publish retraction notices in this week.
While BioMed Central has identified 28 articles that will be retracted, Springer has identified 30 articles for retraction. The massive cleanup might not end here, since both the organizations are conducting further investigation to identify any other articles that may have been compromised. A spokesperson for the publishers said, “A much more complex manipulation has taken place from a different group of authors” which prevented them from discovering the misconduct at an earlier stage. Springer Nature has clarified in the press release that “The decision to retract these articles is solely to correct the scientific record,” and that they “do not have any evidence to be able to determine the involvement of each of the individual authors.”
To prevent the reoccurrence of such an incident, the publisher has revised its policies on authorship and aims to develop quality checks that would help editors to identify potential signs of misconduct.