Over the past several months, ACS Publications editorial staff has been working diligently to identify articles resulting from “paper mill” schemes and has begun retracting these fraudulent articles as individual investigations conclude. As disclosed earlier this year, ACS Publications is one of many scholarly publishers targeted by these unethical operations. To ensure that we remain the most trusted source for chemistry articles, ACS Publications is committed to protecting the integrity of the content we publish by both identifying and properly addressing any and all violations of publication ethics.
ACS Publications is conducting an exhaustive, time-intensive, specialist-led investigation into articles that bear characteristics of professionally fabricated manuscripts. Issuing these retractions is not a step we take lightly. We are committed to conducting this investigation in a way that is fair to our authors and transparent to our readership. ACS Publications staff provided the authors of the identified articles with an opportunity to address the scientific concerns raised before the retraction decision was made by ACS Publications editors.
Following the guidance provided by the Committee on Publications Ethics (COPE) for managing retractions, ACS Publications continues to adhere to these best practices to correct the scholarly record. A notice is linked to each retracted article. All pages of the article PDF are watermarked with a “retracted” stamp, and notices are placed on all online article pages. The retraction notices are available for all readers, regardless of subscription access status, and state the reason for retraction.
While retraction of these articles is an important first step, ACS Publications’ work is not complete. Paper mills are sophisticated operations that have been detected by numerous publishers. ACS Publications editorial staff is investigating other articles with similar characteristics to those identified as fraudulent. All ACS Publications journals are subject to this review, and our team of specialists will thoroughly examine all articles of concern. We will take appropriate action as needed.
Based on preliminary investigations, ACS Publications anticipates identifying additional fraudulent articles. When additional fraudulent articles are uncovered, ACS Publications will retract them as the individual investigations conclude. Ensuring the integrity of the scholarly record is our paramount concern. We will update the community on the results of this investigation once we’ve finished our initial review.