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The uncertainty of peer-review: A major scientific publisher has retracted 64 articles in 10 journals after discovering that the so-called independent peer reviewers for these articles were fabricated by the authors themselves.
The cull comes after similar discoveries of ‘fake peer review’ by several other major publishers, including London-based BioMed Central, an arm of Springer, which began retracting 43 articles in March citing “reviews from fabricated reviewers”. The practice can occur when researchers submitting a paper for publication suggest reviewers, but supply contact details for them that actually route requests for review back to the researchers themselves.
Overall, this indicates an incredible amount of sloppiness and laziness in the peer-review field. In total, more than a 100 papers have been retracted, simply because the journals relied on the authors to provide them contact information for their reviewers, never bothering to contact them directly.
I suspect that these retractions are merely the tip of the iceberg. Based on the garbage papers I see published in the climate field, I will not be surprised if even more peer-review fraud is eventually discovered.