Skip to main content

The Dark Side

More Fake Journal Sleaze

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 (“”), 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?

6 comments on “More Fake Journal Sleaze”

  1. Soon-to-be-former BMS person MOLS says:

    Tom Spears has done several of these fake-journal exposé stories. Sure lots of bottom-feeding muck. Also some of these outfits run junk conferences like this one:

  2. BR says:

    The website is clearly not legitimate and seems like it was easily put together in a day or two by one person. It makes me wonder who went through the trouble to make this fake journal website to make their publications in their CV seem legitimate at the surface. It would be great to see a CV chock full of “Journal of Spectroscopy and Molecular Physics” articles. After all, it is easier to make a fake journal that to actually do work…

  3. Old Pump Kicker says:

    I can’t even figure out where to send the $1900 to get a paper published. What good is a scam website which can’t rip anybody off?
    BR must be right; this must be a fake journal created solely for the purpose of padding the CVs of someone cited on the front page. There don’t seem to be links to the cited papers, paywalled or not.

  4. DrSnowboard says:

    But it has to be legit, it has a YouTube channel…….

  5. lafong says:

    Amusingly, even the articles in the “recent issue” on the web site seem to be fake. I was curious who might have claimed to have published here and looked through the list. First, it is suspicious that very few of the authors have more than one initial, but then searching on a half dozen names with the term spectroscopy revealed only the hit of this web page. So I assume it is an elaborate joke rather than a scam. Certainly if I were to create a joke journal, I’d have Elsevier links:-)

  6. loupgarous says:

    CAVEAT SCRIPTOR – A meditation and discussion On Open Access Publishing covers the pitfalls of the brave new world of open access scientific publication.

    I’ve actually been exposed to another fine publication of the same Science Publishing Group) the author of Caveat Scriptor uses as an example of bogosity in scientific publications:

    “SciencePG as the exemplar
    52 new journal titles, none with content (as of December 2012)
    Address given as 548 Fashion Avenue, New York, NY (no one there)
    Charge before May 15, 2013: $70 or $120
    For 4 of their journals, charge before March 20, 2013: $50.
    In one email message, they told me that they expected a
    previous publication of mine (at least they had that right) to be
    published in revised and extended format in one of their

    Just to make sure this wasn’t a single case of writer’s remorse, I found “Three New Questionable Open-Access Publishers” which also reports on Science Publishing Group, and not with affection:

    “2. Science Publishing Group is notable for two things: spam and possible trademark abuse.

    This publisher is currently unapologetically engaged in a massive spam campaign. They are spamming researchers all over the world soliciting manuscripts and editorial board applications. They may be harvesting email addresses themselves or they may be purchasing lists from companies that specialize in selling email addresses.

    The publisher unabashedly uses the logo for the Google Chrome browser as its logo. Do they think no one will notice?

    Science Publishing Group has 52 brand-new journal titles, yet none has any content. It has four education titles, which is rare for a questionable publisher. How will the educational research community — one with many society publishers — respond to these journals?

    This publisher claims it’s located at 548 Fashion Avenue in New York, but I think that’s either a fake address or the address of a mail-forwarding agency.”

    My experience with Science Publishing Group was while evaluating one of their publications, the American Journal of Modern Physics, as being reliable enough to support citations in wikipedia. So far, our consensus has been “not.”

    The editorial board of the American Journal of Modern Physics had, when I first checked, 30 members, of which two actually lived and worked in the United States (curiously, one said he worked at Fermilab).

    Since then, their editorial board has contracted to 22 members, the Fermilab guy having left that august company, leaving a member of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at Texas Tech as the only member of the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Modern Physics domiciled in the United States of America.

    I notice now that their submission guidelines are password-protected, probably because when they were public, the “manuscript handling fee” was US$380, not counting reprint charges. And there are now articles in the American Journal of Modern Physics.
    Earthshaking articles questioning the very foundations of physics as it’s currently understood by rubes like Stephen Hawking and Steven Weinberg.

    Caveat scriptor, y’all.

Comments are closed.