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Wiley paused Hindawi special issues amid quality problems, lost $9 million in revenue

Hindawi, the open access publisher that Wiley acquired in 2021, temporarily suspended publishing special issues because of “compromised articles,” according to a press release announcing the company’s third quarter financial results.

Brian Napack, Wiley’s president and CEO, specifically noted the “unplanned publishing pause at Hindawi” as a factor that “challenged” the company this year.

The pause began in mid-October and ended in mid-January, a Wiley spokesperson told us.

In Wiley’s third quarter that ended Jan. 31, 2023, the suspension cost Hindawi – whose business model is based on charging authors to publish – $9 million in lost revenue compared to the third quarter of 2022. The company cited the pause as the primary reason its revenue from its research segment “was down 4% as reported, or down 2% at constant currency and excluding acquisitions,” the press release stated.

At the time of this writing, Wiley’s stock was trading 16% lower than it opened in the morning, and reached a new low for the past year.

The announcement follows scrutiny from sleuths, and the publisher retracting hundreds of papers for manipulated peer review last September, after Hindawi’s research integrity team began investigating a single special issue.

The notorious paper with capital Ts as error bars was also published in a special issue of a Hindawi journal before it was retracted in December.

In another episode we reported on last month, a professor used the email account of a former student to conduct all the correspondence needed to edit special issues of two Hindawi journals.

The nearly 300 articles in the two special issues were “mostly meaningless gobbledegook” that suggested they came from a paper mill, according to sleuth Dorothy Bishop, who recently published a preprint identifying signs of paper mill activity in Hindawi special issues.

In response to our query about the timing of the pause, a Wiley spokesperson told us:

Wiley has taken significant measures to address research integrity challenges after identifying misconduct in the external peer review process in Hindawi’s special issues, which are topic-specific issues of our journals. We moved to pause publication of special issues, increase controls and specialist staffing on all articles in progress in special issues, and introduce AI-based screening tools into the process … To counteract integrity issues in the future, we have added additional checks on guest editors and special issues.


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