Scamming the peer-review process

In-depth article in Nature about faculty taking advantage of online review systems to get their papers published. They suggest fake reviewers and set up email accounts, so that they end up reviewing their own papers! I love how they were found out:

Most journal editors know how much effort it takes to persuade busy researchers to review a paper. That is why the editor of The Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry was puzzled by the reviews for manuscripts by one author — Hyung-In Moon, a medicinal-plant researcher then at Dongguk University in Gyeongju, South Korea.

The reviews themselves were not remarkable: mostly favourable, with some suggestions about how to improve the papers. What was unusual was how quickly they were completed — often within 24 hours. The turnaround was a little too fast, and Claudiu Supuran, the journal’s editor-in-chief, started to become suspicious.

Clearly something strange is going on, when academics are timely and responsive.