Definition: An organization that is engaged in scientific misconduct wherein multiple papers are produced by falsifying or fabricating data, e.g. by editing figures or numerical data or plagiarizing written text. Papermills are “alleged to offer products ranging from research data through to ghostwritten fraudulent or fabricated manuscripts and submission services” (Byrne & Christopher, 2020, p. 583). A papermill relates to the fast production and dissemination of multiple allegedly new papers. These are often not detected in the scientific publishing process and therefore either never found or retracted if discovered (e.g. through plagiarism software).

Related terms: Data fabrication, Data falsification, Fraud, Plagiarism, Questionable Research Practices or Questionable Reporting Practices (QRPs), Scientific misconduct, Scientific publishing

References: Byrne and Christopher (2020), & Hackett and Kelly (2020)

Drafted and Reviewed by: Helena Hartmann, Sarah Ashcroft-Jones, Elizabeth Collins, Mahmoud Elsherif, Charlotte R. Pennington

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