Standing up to Retraction of Inconvenient Research

4 October, 2021

In February 2021, CERGE-EI’s Vít Macháček and Martin Srholec had their paper entitled “Predatory Publishing in Scopus: Evidence on Cross-country Differences” published in Scientometrics journal, one of the leading scientific journals in the field.

The paper examined cross-country disparities in the tendency of scholars to publish in “predatory” journals. It compared the titles indexed in Scopus, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, with a list of journals accused of “predatory” practices. The authors analyzed 172 countries in four fields of research and the outcome showed remarkable heterogeneity: 17% of articles in the most affected country fall into the “predatory” category, while some other countries have no “predatory” articles at all.

In August 2021, following a request from the Frontiers publishing house, Scientometrics opted to retract the article on the basis of negative post-publication peer reviews. [Frontiers was added to the Beall’s List of potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers in 2015.]

Macháček and Srholec have asserted that the retraction was driven by commercial interests rather than academic concerns and requested an independent re-assessment.

In late September 2021, the authors received a letter of support signed by 36 members of the Distinguished Reviewers Board and the Price Medal Laureates Board of Scientometrics, who expressed disagreement with the retraction of the paper and advised the authors to appeal to the Facilitation and Integrity Subcommittee of COPE.

CERGE-EI stands firmly behind the authors. “We support CERGE-EI researchers' right to pursue scientific truth in the public interest, in a manner that is transparent, compliant with ethical rules, apolitical, and not subject to pressure from donors or commercial entities,” said Sergey Slobodyan, Director of CERGE-EI.

Read Martin Srholec’s blog post to find out more about the case:

Follow new developments in the case on Retraction Watch: