Farhan Saeed

A research group based in Pakistan has had 10 of their papers retracted from Wiley’s Food Science & Nutrition based on flaws in the peer review process.

According to the notices, which were identical for each article, “the editorial office found unambiguous evidence that the manuscript was accepted solely based on compromised and insufficient reviewer reports.” 

The following articles have been retracted: 

The authors of the papers did not agree with the retractions. One of them, Farhan Saeed, an associate professor of food science at the Government College University, Faisalabad in Pakistan, said he and his co-authors have “serious concerns” about the journal.

“The review process is entirely under the control of the editor, who selects the reviewers and receives their comments. If the reports were insufficient or unreliable, the editor should have rejected the article at the time of the decision,” Saeed said. He called the journal’s decision to retract the papers now “concerning.”

He added: 

We have been informed that third parties, unknown to us, are complaining about the ambiguities and that targeting our articles is not in line with the journal policy. The corresponding author requested the editorial office to reconsider their decision. If there is anything at our end that has created ambiguity, we will ensure that it does not happen again in the future.

Loan Nguyen, an associate publisher for Food Science & Nutrition told us:

Once we were alerted to external concerns, we acted swiftly to open an investigation related to this author and their papers. As a result of this work, undertaken by the journal leadership, along with our publisher, the peer review team, and the Integrity Assurance and Case Resolution team, we decided to retract ten articles. We had, additionally, implemented a number of measures that enables us to identify potentially compromised research content, thus safeguarding the journal’s research integrity. 

The concerns were raised on social media about potential language issues in the articles, a spokesperson for Wiley said. The publisher launched an investigation and identified issues with peer review, leading to the articles’ retraction, the spokesperson said.

The other corresponding authors on the papers, Muhammad Sajid Arshad, an assistant professor at the Department of Food Science at Government College University and Faqir Muhammad Anjum, the former vice chancellor of the University of Gambia, West Africa did not respond to our request for comment.

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