Is running a journal becoming too much of a drag? Just get help from a new organization that is trying to make an offer that journals can’t refuse.
On a website splashed with pictures that connote classic mob movies (Marlon Brando as The Godfather, Al Pacino, cigars), a new service called “Journals Mafia” tries to convince journals to partner with them, or even sell the publication outright.
The company appears to act as an intermediary between authors and journals — accepting articles, formatting and fixing the language, and submitting it to the journal. Since the authors pay to publish the articles, the company shares the profits with journals that publish the paper — anywhere from $1,000-$10,000 per month:
A trio of researchers based in Russia is asking to pull another set of figures and a table from a 2008 paper on modeling ATP formation after an investigation found the fourth researcher – the first author on the paper — “falsified or fabricated” the data they reflect.
All but one of the authors of a 2013 Journal of Molecular Evolution paper have requested a partial retraction due to “erroneous data” and “scientific misconduct” on the part of the remaining author.
The note blames second author Michael Kolesnikov for falsifying data on the formation of ATP. According to the notice, the misconduct was confirmed by a “thorough investigation” by the Bach Institute of Biochemistry in Russia, which no longer employs Kolesnikov.
More than two years ago, we wrote about a retraction for duplication inBiophysical Journal prompted by an email from pseudonymous whistleblower Clare Francis. That post generated a robust discussion, including one comment from someone calling himself or herself “Double Dutch.”
A group of virologists from Kazakhstan and Russia have lost their 2011 bird flu article in Virologica Sinica. Their offense: plagiarizing from a previous article by a team from Sweden on a similar topic.
Back in May we reported on an Expression of Concern in Cell Cycle — a notice that had entered life as a retraction but mysteriously metamorphosed into the less dramatic form. The statement limned a rather bizarre dispute between researchers who crossed paths at the University of Minnesota and are now embroiled in litigation over ownership of the data.
Now, it gets weirder. Responding to further correspondence from the university, the journal has effectively washed its hands of the matter — without bothering to wipe down the sink or hang up the towel.
The journal Cell Cycle is expressing a “note” of concern about a 2012 paper by a former researcher at the University of Minnesota, who has claimed that her mentor at the institution was violating her copyright. It turns out the journal had briefly retracted the paper, but reversed itself with the expression of concern — a curious about-face that, in our experience, often indicates the work of lawyers.
That seems to be the case here, too.
The article, “Chalcone-based small-molecule inhibitors attenuate malignant phenotype via targeting deubiquitinating enzymes,” was already the subject of an erratum, available here: