Fake scientist without qualifications accepted as editor-in-chief of 4 predatory journals

Written by Laura Dyrda | April 03, 2017 | Print  |

Predatory journals are popping up that accept article submissions and fees from authors, but don't rigorously vet the articles before publishing them. A team of researchers showed just how desperate some of these journals are in a "sting" operation, sending a letter from an unqualified "fake" scientist asking for an editorial position in hundreds of journals, according to a Medscape report.

The research findings were published in Nature on March 22. The fake applicant didn't have any authorships listed on Web of Science or Scopus and didn't list any academic journal or reviewer experience on her CV. However, that didn't stop four journals from naming her "editor-in-chief" within hours of her application's submission.


The study authors sent 120 applications to journals listed on the Journal Citation Reports, Director of Open Access Journals and Beall's list, making 360 applications sent in total. None of the JCR journals accepted the request and 40 percent sent a rejection notice; among the DOAJ journals, 7 percent accepted the fake scientist for an editorial position and 38 sent rejection notices.


Among the Beall's list journals, 33 percent accepted the fake scientist as an editor and 13 percent rejected her. Since the study was conducted, Jeffrey Beall removed the blacklist. The study authors reported many of the journals accepting the fake scientist had names similar to legitimate journals.


After receiving acceptances, the study authors withdrew the fake scientist's application from consideration, but 11 journals continued to list her on their editorial boards, including one journal to which the researchers didn't submit an application.


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