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Tackling publication manipulation at scale: Hindawi's journey

Researchers | Peer Review | Research integrity
Open book with pages flying open going into a laptop to represent a research whitepaper

In our new whitepaper, we explore the world of academic publishing manipulation and how we have been impacted. We explore the workings of paper mills, co-authorship for sale schemes, and the growing issue of peer review rings. The paper highlights the impact on Hindawi but also details our measures in investigating and rectifying the scholarly record, concluding with a call for industry-wide action to enhance journal security.

In the dynamic world of scholarly publishing, researchers find themselves grappling between increasing pressures to publish and the growing vulnerability of the academic industry to systematic manipulation and fraudulent activity. As key players in the open access landscape, we faced serious disruptions and issued large numbers of article retractions in response to these research integrity challenges.

Now, we’re diving into what happened and what we’re doing about it, in our new whitepaper: “Tackling publication manipulation at scale: Hindawi’s journey and lessons for academic publishing”.  

Peer review rings, paper mills, and authorship for sale  

The whitepaper comprehensively explores academic publishing manipulation, revealing the intricacies of paper mills and co-authorship for sale schemes, shedding light on their operations, and the direct impact they have had on us. Additionally, it discusses the concerning rise of peer review rings, which distort the scholarly landscape and pose unique challenges to the integrity of academic publishing.   

Protecting the scholarly record  

The whitepaper then outlines the steps we took investigating and rectifying the scholarly record. It shows the progress we have made so far in our investigations within and outside of Special Issues, and explores the development of new retraction processes and policies to prevent further abuse of our publishing systems.   

A Call for Industry-wide Collaboration  

We end the whitepaper with a call to the wider academic publishing industry, urging collaboration and offering recommendations for a unified approach to journal security. By fostering collective efforts, the aim is to build defences against manipulation in publishing systems, ensuring a more secure and trustworthy future for scholarly communication.   

This whitepaper provides a vital discussion of the struggles we and other publishers have faced, and encourages the scholarly community to come together, promoting transparency, integrity, and resilience in the face of evolving challenges in journal publishing and research.  

Read the whitepaper “Tackling publication manipulation at scale: Hindawi’s journey and lessons for academic publishing”>>  


This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY).

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