I’m not the least bit surprised by this effort. The predatory junk journals will do what ever they can think of to bring in customers and cash, with no restrictions and no shame:
. . .we created a profile of a fictitious scientist named Anna O. Szust and applied on her behalf to the editorial boards of 360 journals. Oszust is the Polish word for ‘a fraud’. We gave her fake scientific degrees and credited her with spoof book chapters. Her academic interests included, among others, the theory of science and sport, cognitive sciences and methodological bases of social sciences. We also created accounts for Szust on Academia.edu, Google+ and Twitter, and made a faculty webpage at the Institute of Philosophy at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. The page could be accessed only through a link we provided on her CV.
The profile was dismally inadequate for a role as editor. Szust’s ‘work’ had never been indexed in the Web of Science or Scopus databases, nor did she have a single citation in any literature database. Her CV listed no articles in academic journals or any experience as a reviewer, much less an editor. The books and chapters on her CV did not exist and could not be found through any search engine. Even the publishing houses were fake.
The 360 journals were divided (120 each) between ones on the Journal Citation Reports list (which are presumably reputable), the Directory of Open Access Journals (a mixed bag), and the former Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers (not much of a mixed bag at all, unfortunately). None of the JCR journals accepted “Szust” as an editorial board member, and good for them. 8 of the DOAJ went for it, though, and 40 out of the 120 Beall’s List journals were only too happy to accept “her” offer. About 40% of the first two journal groups send an actual rejection of the idea, but only 13% of the predatory list did so (the rest didn’t respond at all).
But wait, there’s more, as the infomercials say:
At least a dozen journals appointed Szust as editor conditional on, or strongly encouraging, some form of payment or profit (see ‘Spot the predator’). In some cases, this was a direct payment, such as a subscription fee requested by one journal of US$750 (later reduced to “ONLY $650”), or a donation of $50 (although Szust was accepted without paying).
Others asked Szust to organize a conference after which the presenters’ papers would be published (for a fee) in a special proceedings issue. One publisher suggested that the profits be split (“60% us 40% You”). Twice, Szust was offered the opportunity to start a new journal as lead editor. One e-mail proposed “30% of the revenue earned thru you” for launching a new journal, but 20% for joining an existing journal as editor.
This is starting to sound like a multilevel marketing scheme – “For every new journal you start, you earn new referral fees! And if those people go on to start journals, then. . .”
The authors of this new study eventually informed all the journals that had accepted their fake editor of what they were up to, but as of press time, 11 of them still list Szuzt on their editorial boards. No word on whether she’s serving alongside Hoss Cartwright or not, though. . .