Tuesday, February 17, 2015

From the annals of fake publishing: Cocoa Puffs edition

This caper is reminiscent of the highly cited "Get me off your fucking mailing list" (Alex Smolyanitsky Journal of Computational Intelligence and Electronic Systems and Aperito Journal of NanoScience Technology (2014)). It features Harvard medical researcher Mark Shrime.
Shrime decided to see how easy it would be to publish an article. So he made one up. Like, he literally made one up. He did it using www.randomtextgenerator.com. The article is entitled "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?" and its authors are the venerable Pinkerton A. LeBrain and Orson Welles. The subtitle reads: "The surgical and neoplastic role of cacao extract in breakfast cereals." Shrime submitted it to 37 journals over two weeks and, so far, 17 of them have accepted it. (They have not "published" it, but say they will as soon as Shrime pays the $500. This is often referred to as a "processing fee." Shrime has no plans to pay them.) Several have already typeset it and given him reviews, as you can see at the end of this article. One publication says his methods are "novel and innovative"!. But when Shrime looked up the physical locations of these publications, he discovered that many had very suspicious addresses; one was actually inside a strip club.
Here's a link to the paper.

As academic administration focuses more and more on 'metrics'---of papers published and cited, for example, I suspect that these scam publishing outfits will proliferate even more wildly. Think of them as an opportunistic infection made possible by an academic system sickened by over-management. 
(h/t Boris)

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