April 5th, 2011

Scamming Academic Journals

Academic scams are not just limited to meetings.

Every so often, I receive an e-mail that goes something like this:

Dear Dr. Sax,

The journal Contemporary Organic Biosynthesis [journal name made up] covers all the latest and outstanding developments in organic biosynthesis studies. It is one of the leading journals for expert reviews in the field. Please visit the journal’s Web site at www.organicbiosynthesisreviews.com to see our Mission and Scope.

It is my pleasure to invite you to submit the title of your article, a one-page abstract and the submission deadline for the Editor-in-Chief’s approval to editorial@obsr.com.  We also invite you to to consider to guest edit a thematic issue to the journal of 5 – 12 invited articles from colleagues of your choice.

Guest Editors of thematic issues and all main contributing authors will receive a free online subscription to the journal for one year.


Griffila Zaporsky-Branson, PhD [I also made that name up]

As you probably know if you’re reading this site, I am barely more qualified to write a review on “organic biosynthesis” than Oprah Winfrey.  So obviously this is a form letter sent to hundreds (if not thousands) of academic MDs.

But beyond that, how do “journals” like this make money?  Is there a large author fee once the scholarly review is written and “approved” by Dr. Zaporsky-Branson?  Do they sell advertisements?  Do they require a valid credit card before the requested reprints are sent out, with money neatly diverted to someone’s bank account?

Regardless, as with the Nigerian e-mail scams, obviously someone is biting — otherwise these emails wouldn’t exist at all.

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HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

Contributing Editor

NEJM Journal Watch
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