Feature

Volunteer watchdogs pushed a small country up the rankings

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Science  26 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6413, pp. 395
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6413.395

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Summary

The United States and China, home to many scientists, have the most retracted research publications among all countries. But by another measure—the rate of retractions—the leaders are Iran and Romania. One reason is a small band of Romanian volunteers who have politely but firmly contacted journals to point out suspected plagiarism by that country's authors, a brand of local activism that resulted in retractions of dozens of articles. Iran's high ranking may reflect several high-profile scandals involving fake peer reviews, which occur when authors give journals email addresses that they control so they can review their own manuscripts.