Fake reviews continue to be a serious concern in medical publishing, putting data integrity and trust in the scientific community at risk. As recently reported by Retraction Watch, a new tool designed by Clarivate Analytics will be available in December 2017 to help journals identify fake reviews and prevent publication of articles that rely on them.
Fake peer review has been responsible for the retraction of over 500 articles to date and the issue has caused some journals to review their policy of requesting reviewer nominations from authors. However, many journals still retain this policy as recruiting peer reviewers is becoming increasingly difficult and time-consuming. While some fake reviewers may be easy to identify, in some cases it is more difficult. The new fraud prevention tool can be used at multiple points during the submission and review process, and looks at 30 different factors that can help to identify fake profiles, impersonators and unusual activity.
Upon identification of a possible fake review, the journal is alerted and the editor or publisher is then able to decide whether to investigate further and whether to accept the article for publication. It is anticipated that early identification of possible fake reviews during the submission and peer review process will reduce the number of retractions and help to protect the reputation of medical publishing.