Here’s one for the fake-journal files: Tom Spears at the Ottawa Citizen has found a shady online journal (The “Journal of Spectroscopy and Molecular Physics”) listing its whole editorial board, with names and photographs. Only problem is, the names don’t match the photos. The person listed as Managing Editor, supposedly one “Mario Augentaller”, is actually a photograph of Mario Pinto, who is head of Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (and who tells the newspaper that he’s never heard of the journal). Another photograph, supposedly of “Prof. Richard Turner”, is actually of Sir Richard Doll, a respected British epidemiologist who died in 2005. Classy. Other physicians and professors from Michigan, Arkansas, and Massachusetts appear to have had their online photos raided by these morons – none of them, as you might guess, have anything to do with the journal (or, in most cases, with spectroscopy or physics at all).
The “Instructions to Authors” page is also full of links to forms from Elsevier’s web site, so you might perhaps get the impression that there is some connection with that large publishing firm. But you would be just as wrong as you would be in relying on those photos and names of the editorial board. When Spears contacted this this “journal” (I can’t not put those quotation marks in), he was told – prepare yourselves for this one – that “unknown hackers” sabotaged their web site some months back. And you know what those malicious hackers are like – they were so evil that they took the trouble of putting in a whole fake editorial board, complete with photos, and also added those links back to Elsevier. The journal said that they’ve been unable to fix the site since these desperadoes messed everything up, so what is one to do? It’s only been a few months, anyway.
I can add a bit to the article. Neither CrossRef nor WorldCat have anything assigned to the ISSN number listed by the web site. Despite the Thomson Reuters logo on the journal’s front page, I can’t find any evidence that their impact factor has actually been calculated by that company. The journal is listed on a fake-impact-factor web site (“generalimpactfactor.com”), which is of a piece with the rest of their operation. That same front page also lists a “Call for Papers” for a meeting in Milan next spring, but the web link (to a domain for the European Society for Applied Superconductivity) is dead, and the ESAS itself has no such meeting listed. If you do a Google search for the name of the conference (the “International Conference on Nanooptics and Nanoinformatics”), the only hit you get is. . .the front page of this phony journal. So good luck submitting a paper to that one.
Should you wish to submit a paper to the “journal” itself, publication will set you back $1900, excluding taxes. And in return, you get this prestigious listing on your publication list, so consider it money well spent. Right?