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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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April 1, 2013

Fake Journals - But They'd Like Real Money

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Posted by Derek

I wish that this were an April Fool's entry - and a number of scientists would like for that to have been the case, too. Nature reports that at least two journals (Archives des Sciences from Geneva and Wulfenia, a botany journal from Austria) have had their names hijacked by scam artists. Neither journal really had a web presence, so some enterprising sleazeball(s) decided to give each of them a convincing one. They were convincing enough to fool Thomson Reuters for months, and enough to get an unnamed number of authors to think that they'd published papers - after, I should add, sending publication fees to banks in Armenia. That last detail might (or should) have caused some worry, but who would have imagined a top-to-bottom counterfeit journal operation?

The journal "sites" even include editorial board members, some of whom seem to be fictitious, and some of whom are very much not (and were very much not aware that their names were being used). So if you're looking for evidence of how profitable scientific publishing can be, look no further: it's valuable enough to fake.

Comments (8) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Dark Side | The Scientific Literature


1. Pete on April 1, 2013 8:29 AM writes...

So much for Thomson Reuters being the arbiters of impact...

Permalink to Comment

2. Shill on April 1, 2013 12:56 PM writes...

Surely, caveat emptor is an integral component of any 'pay-for-publication' model !

And am I the only one to find something inherently disquieting in the quote, 'Victims are regularly contacting me to ask about the status of their papers: they transfer money and dont see their papers published'...?

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3. Shill on April 1, 2013 1:13 PM writes...

Of more concern is that commercial scientific publishers seem to be positioning themselves to ensure that peer-review itself becomes the commodity that must be paid for.

If so, then we desperately need to develop additional mechanisms of rigorous independent review. The launch of sites such as Blog Syn is encouraging but I fear that without a step change in contribution by individual scientists we're sleep-walking towards a world where only the wealthiest organisations can publish "quality" science.

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4. Henning Makholm on April 1, 2013 4:36 PM writes...

"So if you're looking for evidence of how profitable scientific publishing can be, look no further: it's valuable enough to fake."

Um, no, that's not evidence. Whether FAKING it is profitable enough to do depends only on what people will pay for it, compared to what it costs to put up a convincing front, but is entirely independent of the cost of actually providing the service. The latter is, however, of critical importance to whether doing the real thing is profitable or not.

You might as well conclude that Pfizer must be rolling in money because there are people out there selling fake Viagra.

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5. Model on April 3, 2013 2:55 AM writes...

#4- totally lost the point.


Viagra indeed was extremly profitable for Pfizer

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6. Henning Makholm on April 3, 2013 4:32 PM writes...

#5, please enlighten me, then: What was the point?

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7. sima on January 15, 2014 4:28 AM writes...

Awful, this fraud is still going on.
I get today an order to pay $540 for my "accepted" paper, without any reviewer comment.
Can't Interpol or some similar institution prevent this "scientific" robbery?

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8. Anonymous on June 29, 2014 10:47 AM writes...

Tens of Thomson Reuters ISI Indexed Journals are Hijacked. read at:

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