Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Subverting Peer Review at Reputable Journals

"[M]assive peer-review fraud" prompted "disciplinary action" from the Chinese government against "more than 400 researchers listed as authors on some 100 now-retracted papers." In "an all-too-common scam," the "Chinese authors suggested 'experts'" to a Springer journal, Tumor Biology, that allowed authors to propose reviewers. The authors "provided email addresses that routed messages from the journal back to the researchers themselves, or to accomplices—sometimes third-party firms hired by the authors—who wrote glowing reviews ... ."

"Overall, 80 of the papers reported actual research results, investigators found. But nine were fraudulent, and 12 of the papers had been purchased outright from third parties by the supposed authors. The remaining six papers have various other problems or are still under investigation."

The journal itself does not garner much praise. "Tumor Biology, which is owned by the International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers, has a history of problems. In 2016 it retracted 25 papers all at once for similar peer-review problems. ... An investigation by ScienceInsider found that several scientists listed on its editorial board had no relationship with the journal and one had even passed away several years ago."

"SAGE took over responsibility for publishing the journal 'with the agreement that there would be a complete overhaul of the editorial structure and peer review practices of the journal, specifically the use of preferred reviewers,' a SAGE spokesperson wrote in an email to ScienceInsider.

Reference

Dennis Normile, China Cracks Down After Investigation Finds Massive Peer-review Fraud, Science, Jul. 31, 2017 , 2:30 PM; Dennis Normile, China crack down on Fraud, 357 Science 435 ( 2017) DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6350.435

Monday, June 19, 2017

ISaMed Journals Aspire to Inherit the Research Globally

ISaMed Journals website (6/19/17) is full of danger signs -- a vacuous slogan, empty webpages, a fake address, and a domain name registered by proxy to hide the real parties. The About Us page reports that
ISAMED Journals publishes Open Access Journals in the research of science and medical fields. ISAMED ... does not have any funding source. ISAMED Journals acts as a connecting link between researchers and readers across the scientific community. ISAMED Journals inspires the scientific community by publishing quality research that attracts the readers and researchers all around the world.
ISAMED empowers the readers to read, share and download the content freely via open access. All the ISAMED publications are into Open Access , which will be regularly archived within the respective journal. These can access through web all around the world.
We aspire to improve, innovate, inspire and inherit the research in Science and Medical fields.
The website advertises 20 journals named "Open Access Journal of X." For example, the Open Access Journal of Biostatistics "publishes all aspects of Biostatistics. ... All manuscripts are peer-reviewed by experts ... that improves the quality of the manuscript. All manuscripts undergo peer review process ... ." Clicking on "Editorial Board" returns a blank page except for the promise that "Editorial Board Will Be Updated Soon." The "Article in Press"  does not exist. The "Current Edition" and "Archive" are empty.
Email
  • From: Editor-Open Access Jornal of Forensic Science (forensic@isamedjournals.net)
    Sent: Monday, June 19, 2017 8:53 PM
    Subject: Forensic Science Editorial/Reviewer Board Invitation
    Dear Dr. David H Kaye,
    Thank you for taking the time to read this email. We are pleased to invite you to join the Editorial board/Review Board of our new journal, the "Open Access Journal of Forensic Science". The journal is being established by ISaMed Journals with a goal to innovate, inspire and inherit the research globally. We intend to establish a high-quality, peer-reviewed Open Access Journal of Forensic Science that can be viewed worldwide. ... Please let us know your interest via an email (forensic@isamedjournals.org) by submitting your CV(updated), Biography, Research interests, and HD clarity passport size photograph ... . If you are unable to participate in our Editorial Board, we cordially invite you to submit papers to the upcoming edition Inaugural Edition. We are planning to release Inaugural Issue at the end of August 2017, for this we need the support of renowned people like you. ... We anticipate your earliest response to be a part of our Journal.
    Regards, Stacy Shireen, Open Access Journal of Forensic Science, IsaMed LLC. 8 The Green, Suite #4939, Dover, DE 19901, USA, E-mail: forensic@isamedjournals.org
    *Note: If you are not interested to participate, please mail Unsubscribe to unsubscribe@isamedjournals.com
  • From: Editor- Open Access Journal of Forensic Science [criminology@isamedjournals.net]
    Sent: Wednesday, August 2, 2017 1:15 PM
    Subject: Manuscript Submission-Inaugral Edition
    ISaMed Journals Lead the way to innovate, inspire and inherit the research globally!
    The ISaMed Journals invites the submission of manuscripts on Forensic Criminology in Open Access Journal of Forensic Science (OAJFS). The OAJAS will be published by the ISaMed Journals on a quarterly basis, to bridge the gap between academic research and policy in the field of Forensic Science. The OAJFS focuses on all areas of interest include but are not limited to Forensic Criminology.
    Authors are invited to submit high quality articles/papers for the Open Access Journal of Forensic Science, Volume 1, Issue 1, October- 2017. ...
    Publication Fee: In order to meet rigorous academic standards, articles needs graphics, formatting, and the editing services for which we charge a minimal amount of 399USD as publication fee for Scientists and for students we charge 199USD for this Inaugural Edition.
    Last Date of Submission: August 30, 2017.
    Best regards, Stacy Shireen, Open Access Journal of Forensic Science, IsaMed LLC, 8 The Green, Suite #4939, Dover, DE 19901, USA, E-mail: forensic@isamedjournals.org 
    *Note: If you are not interested to participate, please mail Unsubscribe to unsubscribe@isamedjournals.com
    The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. The views expressed may not be official policy, but the personal views of the originator. If you received this in error, please contact the sender and delete the material from any computer. Please note that neither ISaMed Journals nor the sender accepts any responsibility for viruses and it is your responsibility to scan this message and attachments (if any). 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Forum on Public Policy

The Oxford Round Table Symposium publishes a Forum on Public Policy in connection with conferences at buildings it rents for these occasions in Oxford. As of 6/2/17, it was not on "the whitelist of reputable titles" maintained by JournalGuide.com. For information on the identities of and spam from the conference organizers, see the flaky conference website.

The Forum editor is "Andy Boyle, D.Phil, Oxford, England." The board of editors consists of "Isobel Hurst, D. Phil., Oxford England; Richard Salmon, Ph.D., Virginia Tech, Blacksburg , Virginia; Chris Watkins, M.D., Norton Health Care, Louisville , Kentucky; and Trevor Davies, Ph.D., University of Reading, United Kingdom." Whether any of them have any academic appointments is unclear.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Blacklist of academic publishers nears release

Cabell's International specializes in rating academic publications and supplies (for a fee) information and ratings of academic journals. A news report in Nature states that this Texas firm "will launch its own list of predatory journals: those that deceive their authors or readers, for example by charging fees to publish papers without conducting peer review." It might make the list freely available "eventually." "White lists" such as JournalGuide.com's "list of reputable titles" are more common than such blacklists. It would be interesting to have a list not only of the names of flaky journals, but also of their editors.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jyoti Academic Press

Does the world need another set of "international" journals that "may be downloaded/printed as many times without any charge"? Yes, Jyoti Academjc Press is yet another Indian open access journal, but you cannot download an article without submitting a form giving a name, email address, telephone number, etc. The domain name of this startup was registered in 2015 by Anurag Gupt, Spine Infoway (P) Lt, 3, Leader Road, Allahabad UP 211001 India, +91.9415305632, spineinfoway@gmail.com. The publisher's home page reveals that
Jyoti Academic Press is an institution with a distinction having a mission to empower the high level academic activities by utilizing every available opportunity. With a vast majority of skilled professionals it has molded itself in a way that fast dissemination cannot affect the quality of work.
Who publishes in journals advertised with such drivel? The first issue of the International Journal of Statistics: Advances in Theory and Applications has two articles (so far), both by US psychology professors (David Trafimow, New Mexico State University, and Rand Wilcox, University of Southern California).
Email
From: journal@japjournals.co
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:31 AM
Subject: Call for Papers - Transnational Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications
Dear Professor Kaye,
It is our pleasure to inform you that Jyoti Academic Press invites original research papers in all areas of Mathematical Analysis and its Numerous Applications. The Transnational Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications is an interdisciplinary journal ... . It is published online only in 2 issues per 1 volume annually. ... The honorable Editorial Members and the Publisher are very committed to build the journal as one of leading multidisciplinary international journal in the next few years. Besides the basic aim of publishing high quality peer-reviewed research articles, sufficient care is given to the timely disposal of the articles received for publication. Generally, we make decision on an article received in two months time and publish the same if duly recommended by the experts within one month of acceptance. ... Accepted papers get duly edited and typeset in the style of our journal by the publisher and the galley proofs are sent to the submitting authors, unless requested otherwise, without the original manuscript, for corrections. ... We, hereby, invite you to consider submitting an original research paper or review/survey article of your interest in the Jyoti Academic Press for consideration of possible publication.  Thanking you, Yours sincerely, Rashmi Agrawal, General Manager, Jyoti Academic Press, 53A/51 Chowk Ganga Das, Allahabad 211003, Uttar Pradesh, India, rashmi@jyotiacademicpress.org

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Journals with the Imaginary Dr. Szust (aka Dr. Fraud) as an Editor

The Polish word "szust" means "fraud." In this case, it meant a sting.

In 2015, researchers at the University of Wrocław "created a profile of a fictitious scientist named Anna O. Szust and applied on her behalf to the editorial boards of 360 journals." 1/ The good doctor, whse professed Ph.D. was in "Social Sciences History,"
was dismally inadequate for a role as editor. Szust's 'work' had never been indexed in the Web of Science or Scopus databases, nor did she have a single citation in any literature database. Her CV listed no articles in academic journals or any experience as a reviewer, much less an editor. The books and chapters on her CV did not exist and could not be found through any search engine. Even the publishing houses were fake.
The journals were "a mix of legitimate titles and suspected predators." One third were bona fide -- they had "an official impact factor as indexed on Journal Citation Reports" (JCR). None of these journals accepted Dr. Szust as an editor.

One-third of the journals were in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Journals on this list "must meet certain standards of quality, including ethical publishing practices [and] be fully open access." Seven percent of these journals accepted Szust.

The remainder of the journals were on Jeffrey Beall's now defunct "blacklist [of] potential predatory journals ... that, in his opinion, exploited researchers and failed to meet basic standards of scholarly publishing." A full forty (33%) of the predatory titles accepted Szust.

"At least a dozen journals appointed Szust as editor conditional on, or strongly encouraging, some form of payment or profit." One publisher wrote that "If you want to start a new journal...you will get 30% of the revenue earned thru you." Another expressed its "pleasure to add your name as our editor in chief for this journal with no responsibilities."

All the journals that accepted Szust were notified that she "kindly withdraws her application." Yet, "her name still appears on the editorial boards listed by at least 11 journals' websites. In fact, she is listed as an editor of at least one journal to which we did not apply. She is also listed as management staff [and], a member of conference organizing committees."

The researchers did not reveal any journal titles. They offered two reasons for shielding these journals: "in part because predatory publishers often choose names confusingly similar to reputable titles, and in part because we believe the problem is much larger than the journals we sampled." Could there be an additional reason? Fear of litigation?

A quick search (5/9/17) of the web turns up the fictitious Anna Szust as an editor of the following journals:
International Journal of Current Research and Review (ICJRR), Radiance Research Academy (Regd.), 148, IMSR Building, Ayurvedic Layout, Near NIT Complex, Sakkardara, Nagpur-24, Maharashtra State, India, +91-7709956456
Nova Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nova Explore Publication INC., 5453A Yonge Street, ON, Canada, info@novaexplore.com, +1-647-875-7225
International Journal of Art and Humanity Science, 13/28 Vikas Nagar, First Floor, Lucknow-226022 India, (Call us during 11 A.M - 2 P.M on Weekdays only), Mobile : +91-9451380794
Global Journal of Sociology, SciencePark Science, Organization and Counseling LTD., 13 Subat Street, No: 17, 99030, Kyrenia – Cyprus, info@sproc.org, Tel: +90 533836699
International Journal of Psychology and Cognitive Science, no address (the publisher is the mysterious "American Association for Science and Technology.
The nonexistent social sciences historian is not merely a member of the editorial board of the last journal. She is the editorial board -- there are no other members and no reviewers listed as of 5/14/17. She also is a member of the advisory board of the Jabalpur Management Association, which advertises an MBA program and international conferences (5/10/17).

NOTE
  1. Piotr Sorokowski et al., Predatory Journals Recruit Fake Editor, Nature 543:481–483, Mar. 23, 2017, http://www.nature.com/news/predatory-journals-recruit-fake-editor-1.21662

Sunday, May 7, 2017

International Knowledge Press

International Knowledge Press spams for articles and reviewers. Its website (5/7/17) gives no information on when it was founded. Although it imposes page charges on authors, it publishes no open access journals.

The website for the Asian Journal of Current Research, which was the first from IKP to solicit me, promises that a "Complete list of Editors will be published soon." For now, the journal has no named editor-in-chief, and its editorial board includes one US scholar: "Prof. Palle E. T. Jorgensen, Department of Mathematics, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA, palle-jorgensen@uiowa.edu, https://math.uiowa.edu/people/palle-jorgensen."

The latest issue (2017:2) is sparse. It consists of two articles for a total of 14 pages. The articles would cost $30 each to download. They come from authors in India. The scope of the journal in literally unlimited. A webpage states: "Scope of this journal includes (but not limited to): ... all other science and engineering disciplines, etc."

IKP's server is in India. The domain ikpress.org was registered to P. Mondal of Hoogly, West Bengal, India 712410, +91-9434356957, pinakibckv1@yahoo.com, in 2013. IKP also may be operating as Science Domain International (discussed here) and ResearchPromotion.com.
Email
  • Sent: May 4, 2017, 5:44:44 PM EDT,
    From: Ms Rina Basu (editor09@ikkpress.org)
    Greetings!! We are contacting you from Asian Journal of Current Research. This is a subscription based Hardcopy journal. We follow robust and neutral double-blind peer review system. We are committed to provide Quality and Fast publication. Please see our editorial board. Some of our journals are covered by respected indexing services (in process) like: ... . Extremely nominal page charge is applicable ... . This special page charge also covers the cost of complimentary PDF copy of the article, one complimentary journal hard-copy and international postage charges. ... with regards, Ms. Shyamali Basu
    EUROPE: International Knowledge Press, S107, 3 Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB, UK, Fax: +44 (0)161 667 4459
    ASIA PACIFIC: International Knowledge Press, N. S. Road, Tarakeswar, Hooghly, PIN-712410, West Bengal, India
  • Sent: May 18, 2017, 2:32:10 AM EDT
    From: Ms Anandi Das (editor09@ikkpress.org)
    Journal of Basic and Applied Research international
    Dear Colleague,
    We are contacting you from Journal of Basic and Applied Research international. This is a subscription based Hardcopy journal ... . Present ongoing issue is Volume 11-Issue 1. We follow robust and neutral double-blind peer review system. We are committed to provide Quality and Fast publication. Please see our editorial board. ... Some of our journals are covered by respected indexing services (in process) ... .
    Extremely nominal page charge is applicable: ...
    with regards, Ms. Shyamali Basu
    Journal of Basic and Applied Research international
    EUROPE: International Knowledge Press, S107, 3 Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB, UK, Fax: +44 (0)161 667 4459
    ASIA PACIFIC: International Knowledge Press, N. S. Road, Tarakeswar, Hooghly, PIN-712410, West Bengal, India 
  • Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2017, 7:30:37 AM EDT
    From: Ms Anjani Roy (editor09@ikkpress.org)
    Journal of Basic and Applied Research International
    Dear Colleague,
    We are contacting you from Journal of Basic and Applied Research international. ... Present ongoing issue is Volume 11-Issue 1. We follow robust and neutral double-blind peer review system. We are committed to provide Quality and Fast publication. Please see our editorial board. ...
    Some of our journals are covered by respected indexing services (in process) like: ... .
    Extremely nominal page charge is applicable... . This special page charge also covers the cost of complimentary PDF copy of the article, one complimentary journal hard-copy and five complimentary reprints and international postage charges. ...
    with regards, Ms. Shyamali Basu,
    Journal of Basic and Applied Research international
    EUROPE: International Knowledge Press, S107, 3 Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB, UK, Fax: +44 (0)161 667 4459
    ASIA PACIFIC: International Knowledge Press, N. S. Road, Tarakeswar, Hooghly, PIN-712410, West Bengal, India