Scientific Reports

Scientific Reports is a peer-reviewed open-access scientific mega journal published by Nature Portfolio, covering all areas of the natural sciences. The journal was established in 2011.[1] The journal states that their aim is to assess solely the scientific validity of a submitted paper, rather than its perceived importance, significance, or impact.[2]

Scientific Reports
DisciplineNatural sciences
Edited byRafal Marszalek
Publication details
LicenseCreative Commons Attribution
4.996 (2021)
Standard abbreviations
ISO 4Sci. Rep.
OCLC no.732869387

In September 2016, the journal became the largest in the world by number of articles, overtaking PLOS ONE.[3][4][5]

Abstracting and indexing

The journal is abstracted and indexed in the Chemical Abstracts Service,[6] the Science Citation Index Expanded, and selectively in Index Medicus/MEDLINE/PubMed.[7] According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2021 impact factor 4.996.[8]

Reviewing policy

The Guide to Referees states that to be published, "a paper must be scientifically valid and technically sound in methodology and analysis", and reviewers have to ensure manuscripts "are not assessed based on their perceived importance, significance or impact",[9] but this procedure has been questioned.[10]


Controversial articles

A paper published in September 2021 implied that the Biblical story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah might have been a retelling of an exploding asteroid around the year 1,650 BCE. The paper received criticism on social media and by data sleuths for using a doctored image.[11]

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) approached Scientific Reports to request retraction of a paper by scientists at the National Institutes of Health in which rhesus macaques were used for experiments in which they were "deprived of water, strapped into restraint chairs and shown videos of shapes engaging in human-like behaviors while experimenters measured their eye movements".[12]

In 2018, Scientific Reports appeared on a blacklist from the Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, amid moves by the Chinese government to create national blacklists for journals.[13] China added this journal in the list of Blacklisted and early warning Journals in January 2021. [14]

A paper published in July 2020 which linked body weight to integrity caused consternation among social media users, questioning why Scientific Reports agreed to publish this paper.[15] The paper was eventually retracted in January 2021.[16]

Scientific Reports retracted a 2019 paper in January 2021 which claimed that "both Creationism and Big Bang theory are wrong, and that black holes are the engines driving the universe".[17]

It took Scientific Reports more than four years to retract a plagiarized study from a bachelor's thesis of a Hungarian mathematician. The paper, entitled "Modified box dimension and average weighted receiving time on the weighted fractal networks", was published in December 2015, and the plagiarism was reported in January 2016 by the former bachelor student. In April 2020, the paper was retracted.[18]

A study published in the journal on June 24, 2019, claimed that the sun was causing global warming.[19] Based on severe criticism from the scientific community, Scientific Reports started an investigation on the validity of this study,[20] and it was retracted by the editors in March 2020.[21]

A 2018 paper claimed that a homeopathic treatment could attenuate pain in rats. It was retracted 8 months later after "swift criticism" from the scientific community.[22][23]

A controversial 2018 paper suggested that too much bent-neck staring at a cell phone could grow a "horn" on the back of someone's head. The study also failed to mention the conflict of interests of the first author.[24] The paper was later corrected.

The face of Donald Trump was hidden in an image of baboon feces in a paper published in 2018. The journal later removed the image.[25]

Allegedly duplicated and manipulated images in a 2016 paper that were not detected during peer review led to criticism from the scientific community.[26] The article was retracted in June 2016.[27]

A 2016 study proclaimed that a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine caused impaired mobility and brain damage in mice. The paper alarmed public health advocates in Japan and worldwide because of the potential side effects of the HPV vaccine on humans. The study was retracted two years later because "the experimental approach does not support the objectives of the study".[28]

Resignations of editorial board members

In November 2017, 19 editorial board members stepped down due to the journal not retracting a plagiarised 2016 study.[29] The article was eventually retracted in March 2018.

In 2015, editor Mark Maslin resigned because the journal introduced a trial of a fast-track peer-review service for biology manuscripts in exchange for an additional fee.[30][31] The trial ran for a month.[32]

See also


  1. Ann Koopman (January 10, 2011). Nature Launches New Open Access Journal: Scientific Reports, Library News, Thomas Jefferson University. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  2. "Criteria for publication". Scientific Reports. Nature Publishing Group.
  3. Davis, Phil (23 August 2016). "Scientific Reports On Track To Become Largest Journal In The World". The Scholarly Kitchen. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  4. "Scientific Reports Overtakes PLOS ONE As Largest Megajournal". The Scholarly Kitchen. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  5. "Mega-journals: the future, a stepping stone to it or a leap into the abyss?". Times Higher Education. 13 October 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  6. "CAS Source Index". Chemical Abstracts Service. American Chemical Society. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  7. "Scientific Reports". NLM Catalog. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  8. "Scientific Reports". 2021 Journal Citation Reports. Web of Science (Science ed.). Clarivate. 2022.
  9. "Guide to Referees". Scientific Reports. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  10. Lowe, Derek (15 June 2016). "More on Scientific Reports, And on Faked Papers". Blog. In the Pipeline. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  11. Marcus, Adam (October 2021). "Criticism engulfs paper claiming an asteroid destroyed Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah". Retraction Watch.
  12. Oransky, Ivan (20 March 2021). "Weekend reads: The fake author with more than 200 papers; accusations of 'heinous plagiarism'; PETA requests a retraction". Retraction Watch.
  13. Cyranoski, David (16 October 2018). "China awaits controversial blacklist of 'poor quality' journals". Nature NEWS.
  14. "Heavy! Collection of blacklists and early warning journals of all units in China!!".
  15. Marcus, Adam (13 January 2021). "Springer Nature journal retracts BMI, honesty paper". Retraction Watch.
  16. Marcus, Adam (14 January 2021). "'Deeply unfair': First author of newly retracted paper on weight and honesty speaks out". Retraction Watch.
  17. Marcus, Adam (13 January 2021). ""Confrontation is an important element of physics progress:" Paper on black holes retracted". Retraction Watch.
  18. Marcus, Adam (20 April 2020). "An author realized a paper had plagiarized his thesis. It took the journal four years to retract it". Retraction Watch.
  19. V. V. Zharkova, S. J. Shepherd, S. I. Zharkov & E. Popova (2019). "Oscillations of the baseline of solar magnetic field and solar irradiance on a millennial timescale". Scientific Reports. 9 (1): 9197. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-45584-3. PMC 6591297. PMID 31235834.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  20. Vaughan, Adam. "Journal criticised for study claiming sun is causing global warming". New Scientist. New Scientist. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  21. Zharkova, V. V.; Shepherd, S. J.; Zharkov, S. I.; Popova, E. (2020). "Retraction Note: Oscillations of the baseline of solar magnetic field and solar irradiance on a millennial timescale". Scientific Reports. 10 (1): 4336. Bibcode:2020NatSR..10.4336Z. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-61020-3. PMC 7055216. PMID 32132618.
  22. Oransky, Oran (11 June 2019). ""Permeable to bad science:" Journal retracts paper hailed by proponents of homeopathy". Retraction Watch. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  23. Guglielmi, Giorgia (20 October 2018). "Peer-reviewed homeopathy study sparks uproar in Italy". Nature. 562 (7726): 173–174. Bibcode:2018Natur.562..173G. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06967-0. PMID 30301997.
  24. Marcus, Adam (18 September 2019). "'Text neck' — aka 'horns' — paper earns corrections". Retraction Watch. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  25. Oransky, Oran (21 December 2018). ""Unusual aspects" of a figure — aka a cartoon of Trump's face in baboon feces — disappear from a journal". Retraction Watch. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  26. Palus, Shannon (10 June 2016). "Author denies accusations of blatant duplication". Retraction Watch. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  27. Samie, Nima; Muniandy, Sekaran; Kanthimathi, M. S.; Haerian, Batoul Sadat; Azudin, Raja Elina Raja (2016). "Retraction: Novel piperazine core compound induces death in human liver cancer cells: possible pharmacological properties". Scientific Reports. 6: 29056. Bibcode:2016NatSR...629056S. doi:10.1038/srep29056. PMC 4916487. PMID 27328968.
  28. Hackett, Don Ward (11 May 2018). "HPV Vaccine Research From Japan Withdrawn". Precision Vaccinations. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  29. Offord, Catherine (6 November 2017). "Mass Resignation from Scientific Reports's Editorial Board". The Scientist. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  30. Bohannon, John (27 March 2015). "Updated: Editor quits journal over pay-for-expedited peer-review offer". Science. doi:10.1126/science.aab0391.
  31. Cressey, Daniel (27 March 2015). "Concern raised over payment for fast-track peer review". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2015.17204. S2CID 167469822.
  32. Jackson, Alex (21 April 2015). "Fast-track peer review experiment: First findings". Of Schemes and Memes Blog.
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