The world of fake journals and non-conferences

From time to time, these GEITP pages, have covered this RISING MENACE of “predatory open-access online” journals. During the past decade –– this corrupt field of publishers has expanded from virtually none, to well over 15,000 “fake journals” today. And there are no signs of their slowing down, because it’s such an easy way to make large amounts of money.

Every day, most of us receive at least 10 to 20, but often more than 50 emails(!!), requesting us “publish here with us, write anything, even one or two pages is enough, we need one more article to fill the present issue,” or “please be speaker at this meeting and we’ll publish the proceedings,” etc. etc. etc. For the “papers,” one must pay exorbitant “page charges”, and for meetings one must pay high registration fees, plus room and board and travel, and then pay “page charges” for the “proceedings” to be published “in our prestigious journal.” Below is the latest, yet-another, more detailed SCAM story about predatory journals and meetings/symposia/congresses invitations.


The world of fake journals and non-conferences

A small team of journalists went undercover to investigate a massive underground network of fake science journals and conferences. Their probe found millions of dollars exchanging hands, largely from unsuspecting scientists –– earning the operators of predatory platforms a tidy sum at researchers’ expense.


By Daniel Oberhaus


Aug 14 2018
Hundreds of Researchers from Harvard, Yale and Stanford Were Published in Fake Academic Journals
How the World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology has become a multi-million-dollar organization –– promoting bullshit science through fake conferences and journals.*&output-quality=55

Image: Shutterstock

In the so-called “post-truth era,” science seems like one of the last bastions of objective knowledge, but what if science itself were to succumb to fake news? Over the past year, German journalist Svea Eckert and a small team of journalists went undercover to investigate a massive underground network of fake science journals and conferences.

In the course of the investigation, which was chronicled in the film documentary “Inside the Fake Science Factory,” the team analyzed over 175,000 articles published in predatory journals and found hundreds of papers from academics at leading institutions, as well as substantial amounts of research pushed by pharmaceutical corporations, tobacco companies, and others. Last year, one fake science institution run by a Turkish family was estimated to have earned more than $4 million in revenue through conferences and journals.

The story begins with Chris Sumner, a co-founder of the nonprofit Online Privacy Foundation, who unwittingly attended a conference organized by the World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (WASET) last October. At first glance, WASET seemed to be a legitimate organization. Its website lists thousands of conferences around the world in pretty much every conceivable academic discipline, with dates scheduled all the way out to 2031. It has also published over ten thousand papers in an “open science, peer reviewed, interdisciplinary, monthly and fully referred [sic] international research journal” that covers everything from aerospace engineering to nutrition. To any scientist familiar with the peer review process, however, WASET’s site has a number of red flags, such as spelling errors and the sheer scope of the disciplines it publishes.

Sumner attended the WASET conference to get feedback on his research, but after attending, it soon became obvious that the conference was a scam. After digging into WASET’s background, Sumner partnered with Eckert and her colleague Till Krause, who adopted fictitious academic personas and began submitting papers to WASET’s journal. The first paper to get accepted was titled “Highly-Available, Collaborative, Trainable Communication –– a policy neutral approach,” which claims to be about a type of cryptoanalysis based on “unified scalable theory.” The paper was accepted by the WASET journal with minimal notes and praise for the authors’ contribution to this field of research.

There was just one problem: The paper was pure nonsense that had been written by a joke software program designed by some MIT students to algorithmically generate computer science papers. It was, in a word, total bullshit, i.e. nonsense.

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