In recent months, the scholarly publishing community has witnessed a large-scale and nefarious manipulation of the publication process via paper mills. A paper mill is an organization—often defined as unofficial, profit-driven, and unethical in nature—that creates and sells fraudulent manuscripts to researchers; these manufactured manuscripts are submitted to a journal for a fee in an effort to gain “easy publication” on behalf of the researcher. This misconduct threatens the integrity of our long-established research ecosystem and represents a gross violation of publishing ethics.
Like many of our fellow publishers around the world, ACS Publications has been threatened by this fraudulent practice.
We are committed to protecting the integrity of scholarly publishing. Therefore, we are engaging in an in-depth investigation to identify all papermill articles published across our portfolio of journals. Once we are satisfied with this investigation, we will issue retractions and corrections as necessary. In addition, we are committed to ensuring that we review our screening services. We continue to train our editors and editorial staff to identify these fraudulent manuscripts. We are working on our own technology systems, and platforms focused on screening for such manipulation.
It is our practice to be transparent in these efforts, and while this investigation is ongoing, we will provide updates on this matter as they become available. Above all else, we are dedicated to combatting this threat to the integrity of the scholarly record.