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Fake research journals (enough already!)

May 3, 2014

You’ve got a mail

– “Dear Prof. xxx, Considering your substantial expertise in the field, we invite you to contribute to our journal”.

– “What an honour!  Thank you!”


Straight to the trash

How many emails do we get every day, asking us to contribute to open-access/fake/bandit (select what applies) science journals? You might guess it depends on whether you are a famous scientist or just a fresher in your field. Well, not even…

No later than Today, I recieved an invitation to publish in Trends in Computer Science & Security  and another in the Journal of Bioanalysis & Biomedicine. For the record: I am active in chemical engineering. Nothing related to this.


Quality control

And this is not simply a mail box issue. Some of these journals – also called predatory journals – offer extremely fast publishing service and extremely low ethical standards. Actually, their spamming emails simply mean:

– “You are a young under pressure researcher and you are facing difficulties getting accepted by the big science journals? No problem: just pay 500 € and your paper will be published online in the next 3 weeks, in a fancy-named journal and with a nice page layout, so you can put it in your CV.”

Quality or relevance does not count.


A small experiment

In a recent blog post published in “The Ottawa Citizen”, Tom Spears demonstrates nicely the surrealism of the situation. I recommend to read the full story here. To make the story short: he just wrote a fake research paper and then submitted it to a series of these spamming journals. The paper was a simple collection of copy-pasted text from existing publications related to various research fields. It didn’t make any sense and was 100% plagiarism. Acceptance was granted very fast from a range of “journals” (Merit Research Journal of Agricultural Science and Soil Sciences, International Journal of Science and Technology, Science Journal of Agricultural Research and Management, the International Journal of Current Research, Science Park, Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Research, American Journal of Scientific Research, and International Journal of Latest Research in Engineering and Computing).


Pirate conferences

The latest trend I have noticed is what could be called “pirat conference”. Organized every 4 years in our field, we have the prestigious ICC (International Congress on Catalysis). This is the actual platform where the experts of the field meet with colleagues and present their latest results. The next edition (ICC2016) will be organized in Beijin in 2016 under the auspices of a prestigious international scientific committee.

Now we keep getting spammed by another conference organized also in Beijin and judiciously called “Int’l Conf. on Catalysis” (ICC). Confusing. Some students and post-docs from our lab prepared an abstract, ready to send it to this website and excited about getting the possibility to present their work at the famous ICC conference. This event is however organized by some non-catalysis conference company with basically just a business background. There also, you have to pay to get your communcation published in an open access journal. I am however puzzled to see some big names in their committee. Strange. I don’t know anything about their selection process ; but one can be suspicious.

Funny thing is that I found the first circular of the real ICC conference in my spam box last week. The email also included a communiqué to officially state that they didn’t have anyting to do with the pirate conference.


Email spam, waste of time, financial scam, ethical scandal. Such practice is probably not pushing the Science in the right direction. Enough already!


From → Opinion

  1. Nicolle Queiroz-Hazarbassanov permalink

    Hello Damien!

    I came across your blog because I googled the International journal of current research (what a vague and lame name). I am so fed up of these emails! But it really scared me to know there are even pirate conferences. How can this be even possible?!?! Thanks for sharing this info. Nicolle

  2. drhappy permalink

    It is really a concern when journals like International Journal of Current Research openly show PubMed indexing. Once i submitted my article to this journal and within 2 hours i got reply that my article was accepted. What the hell…Is there any organisation to take stern action against these fake journals which loot money in name of research.

  3. Joseph Oyinbrakemi Tate permalink

    Many thanks for this heads up info. I just received a mail from this International Journal of Current Research stating that they have an impact rate of over 7 points. How ridiculous! Where are they from and how can this scam be curtailed? They are really getting on my nerves by the day.

    J.O. Tate

  4. Ahmed H. Alrefai permalink

    I sent an article to international journal of current research and second day they confirm its acceptance and asked me to pay $150 . then as i was surprised for the quick response with no modifications or comments, i sent a letter to what is called the auditor saying I am not ready to pay anything for publishing my work. He replied I can reduce the fees for you to $100.

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  1. List of active predator journals (run!) | External diffusion

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