Publisher offers cash for citations

Worried about scarce research funding? Does the prospect of paying rent on that meager post-doc salary keep you up at night? Fear no more! 

Innoscience Research in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to the rescue.

The company has launched an innovative (read: shady) scheme to pay researchers to cite studies from several journals it controls. How much can you earn? That depends. The payout is structured this way: $6 a citation and up to five cites, or $30, per paper, or $150 in total across all five journals. 

At that rate a scientist who publishes six articles annually and refers to all five journals five times each might bring in as much as $900 a year, while hyperprolific authors like the ones John Ioannidis and colleagues identified could expect to rake in as much, much more. (Ioannidis himself is of course quite prolific, so he could make a pretty penny were he so inclined.) Here’s a thought exercise: If Akihisa Inoue, a materials scientist and a former president of Tohoku University in Japan had been able to cash out in each of the roughly 2,500 articles he published between 1976 and 2018, he could have pulled in about $385,000. That’s bank!)

Here’s the pitch, which was received by someone who forwarded it to us by email: 

Who doesn’t like extra rewards? Now you can get more rewards $$ from us by doing this:

Cite any article from journals below:

1) International Journal of Bioprinting (IJB):

2) Journal of Clinical and Translational Research (JCTR):

3) Journal of Clinical and Nursing Research:

4) Cancer Plus:

5) Proceedings of Anticancer Research:

When the article gets accepted in any SCI/SCIE journals, you can claim the rewards from us. The manuscript could be your own manuscript, your students’ manuscript and even our collaborative project. How much can you claim?

– 6 USD per citation, max 5 citation per journal!


In one manuscript of yours:

– IJB- Cited 3 articles: 3 x 6 USD = 18 USD

– JCTR- Cited 5 articles: 5 x 6 USD = 30 USD

– Cancer plus: Cited 2 articles: 2 x 6 USD = 12 USD

Total rewards for that article: 60 USD

Let’s work for it and check out all the journals!

How about let’s not. 

The company did not respond to requests for comment.

We note that this is not the first time we have seen journals specifically request citations to what they publish, although those generally don’t involve cash. The schemes are, of course, just another way to game the metrics that play such a large role in academia.

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9 thoughts on “Publisher offers cash for citations”

  1. Step 1: Find pay-to-publish predatory journal that doesn’t actually review publications, wherein the publication fee is less than the citation bounty.
    Step 2: Use random paper generator to generate garbage paper. (Remember the peer review is fake, so it doesn’t matter).
    Step 3: Add bounty citations to journal article.
    Step 4: Profit.

      1. absolutely! I just browsed the journal site for the 5G paper. Another impressive thing was this paper was reviewed by 10 referees….and they listed the reviewers’ names (except for 2) as well.

        Evidence for a connection between COVID-19 and exposure to radiofrequency radiation from wireless communications including 5G

        Author(s): Beverly Rubik / Robert R. Brown
        Handling editor(s): Editor-in-chief: Michal Heger
        Reviewer(s): Anonymous reviewer 1 / Anonymous reviewer 2 / Michal Heger / Ronald N Kostoff / David O Carpenter / Martin Pall / Michael Buchele / Suleyman Dasdag / Agostino Di Ciaula / Matúš Durdík

          1. Yes, Kostoff has been at war with the 21st century. 5G, environmental pollution (vaguely defined), Covid vaccination…. His Google Scholar profile is diverse (and there are some things that also appear to be within his professional area).

          2. And to think that, based on his posts in this other RW discussion,, and from the perspective of someone like me who has little background knowledge on the relevant issues, I thought perhaps there might be a possibility that RNK’s arguments/data had some merit. Ugh … Frankly, I think some of these people are causing harm to public health and should be held accountable.

        1. Please see the comments from all reviewers as well for every review round, which we publish with all our papers for full transparency as metadata:

          This allows the article’s readers, and you, to get the full set of perspectives on the story, both contra and pro.

          I knew a priori this was a risky endeavor for the journal, which is why I secured so many reviewers from different fields on the topic and weighed in myself with comments to CYA.

          Please note that up until August 2022 we were not charging any OA fees or taking any money from anyone. So no business model behind this publication.

          You may not like the story ( I don’t buy everything myself because biological effects depend on radiation density and exposure time), but at least appreciate the transparency, scrutiny, and vetting process that this paper was subjected to.

          Michal Heger
          Editor JCTR

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