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April 1, 2013
Fake Journals - But They'd Like Real Money
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.
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