(22 March 2017) An investigation finds that dozens of academic titles offered ‘Dr Fraud’ — a sham, unqualified scientist — a place on their editorial board. Katarzyna Pisanski and colleagues report.
Thousands of academic journals do not aspire to quality. They exist primarily to extract fees from authors. These ‘predatory’ journals exhibit questionable marketing schemes, follow lax or non-existent peer-review procedures and fail to provide scientific rigour or transparency.
The open-access movement, although noble in its intent, has been an unwitting host to these parasitic publishers. Bogus journals can imitate legitimate ones that also collect fees from authors. Researchers, eager to publish (lest they perish), may submit their papers with or without verifying a journal’s reputability.
The authors conceived a sting operation and submitted a fake application for an editor position to 360 journals, a mix of legitimate titles and suspected predators. Forty-eight titles accepted. Many revealed themselves to be even more mercenary than expected.
The full article by Piotr Sorokowski, Emanuel Kulczycki, Agnieszka Sorokowska and Katarzyna Pisanski is published in Nature.