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EGU news Editorial malpractice in two EGU journals (SOIL and SE) detected for one editor, others cleared

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European Geosciences Union

Editorial malpractice in two EGU journals (SOIL and SE) detected for one editor, others cleared

27 February 2017

EGU and Copernicus Publications recently detected a case of scientific malpractice by a topical editor of two of their journals, SOIL and Solid Earth (SE). EGU, Copernicus and the executive editors of the affected journals took prompt action by informing the community, and the editor has stepped down. We are now making data from editor and referee reports for the editor in question public, as well as for seven more soil scientists who have reviewed for EGU–Copernicus journals. The data reveal only one editor manipulated citations.

Earlier this month, EGU and Copernicus found that a topical editor of SOIL and SE used their position as editor and reviewer to disproportionately promote citations to personal papers and associated journals. Since such citation manipulation is a violation of EGU–Copernicus publication ethics rules, the editor was removed from the editorial boards of SE and SOIL, the journals’ community (authors, editors, reviewers) was informed, and Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters) was notified.

In mid-February, a few days after EGU and Copernicus announced to the community they had detected and handled this isolated case of scientific malpractice, an anonymous individual or group of individuals accused other soil scientists of being involved in citation manipulation. The allegation involved eight members of the soil sciences community, including the removed topical editor, and five journals, including SOIL and SE.

Copernicus and EGU investigated all editor and referee reports that the eight named soil scientists wrote for EGU journals. With the exception of the removed topical editor, we found no evidence of citation manipulation by the other members of the soil sciences community. The data and conclusions are published in full below.

Both EGU and Copernicus adhere to rigorous ethical standards to ensure the high quality of research publications and credibility of scientific findings. We are grateful to all authors, editors and referees who strictly comply with the principles of our publication ethics.