Weekend reads: Six-figure publishing bonuses; Google’s scientific influence campaign

The week at Retraction Watch featured the story of a group devastated to learn that they had used the wrong mice in their experiments, and the tale of how keycard swipe records gave away faked data. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

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6 thoughts on “Weekend reads: Six-figure publishing bonuses; Google’s scientific influence campaign”

  1. A journal in India is now subject to the sincerest form of publishing flattery: A fake clone.

    Jeffrey Beall’s list of cloned predatory journals was a useful resource. He called them “hijacked journals” but it is more a case of identity theft. Archives exist of the list — e.g.
    — but they are increasingly out-of-date, as the scammers keep adding new ones. Anyone who can be persuaded to take up the baton will earn a lot of gratitude.

    Checking my Spam folder, I find the submission solicitations streaming in from “Arctic Journal” (http://arcticjournal.org/submit.html) — a recently-cloned version of the legitimate, well-established version at http://arctic.ucalgary.ca/about-arctic-journal.

    Another new clone — “Hereditas Journal” (http://hereditas-journal.com/submit.html). The original is part of BMC and may have enough clout to do something about it: https://hereditasjournal.biomedcentral.com/.

    The spammograms arrive just before or just after other spam from older, already-recognised predaceous clones like “Jokull” and “Interciencia” and “Revistas Academicas”, and are identically formatted, so the same crooks are involved.

  2. A journal in India is now subject to the sincerest form of publishing flattery: A fake clone.

    These cloned fakes — a branch of the broader parasitic-journal ecosystem — indicate a problem with the idea of White Lists for academic publishing. Any list of journals that will count towards promotion or tenure is like shining a spotlight on journals to become the next targets of the predatory-cloning scammers… they can read lists too!

    Of course there is a tie-in with the predatory-conference industry. I see that the recently-cloned ‘Current Science’ is on the whitelist curated by the Centre for Research at Anna University. So we can safely predict that the next round of Indian scamferences will invite prospective attendees with the promise that if they pay the top-tier registration fee, their presentation will be published in ‘Current Science’, to the benefit of their careers.

    There are precedents for this prediction. The “International Organization of Scientific Research and Development” — parasitic-journal publishers and scamference organisers — were doing this in 2016, using publication in “Transylvanian Review” as the bait for attendance. The original of that journal appears on the Anna University whitelist, so a predatory clone was created in early 2015.

  3. I am rather surprised that the legitimate journal does not even protect itself with an SSL certificate which cannot be faked,

    1. A lot of journals have not done that. For instance, Science still uses http in their urls (for example, a recent paper with http instead of https (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6347/162) . A quick analysis of NCBI Catalog suggests that >95% of the urls in the NCBI catalog are ‘http’ and not ‘https’ (look for the ELocationID tag in the xml output).
      However, the catalog may be a bit outdated as most Springer journals have started re-directing traffic to their https pages even though the NCBI Catalog still gives the http link. I suspect the rise of ‘https’ in the corporate journal publishers is due to the rise of sci-hub and its neat trick of linking to PDFs from the journal web-page itself (which works with http, but not with https). Other cash-strapped journals have not yet migrated to ‘https’.

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