American Journal of Modern Physics

This morning an e-mail came in from the “Science Publishing Group”, a call for “Editorial Board Members, Reviewers and Paper” for their open access journals, advertised as

Full peer review: All manuscripts submitted to our journals undergo double blind peer review.
Fast publication: Fast peer review process of papers within approximately one month of submission.

This included a special deal on the “Article Processing Charge”: \$70 or \$120 before May 15. I’ve been highly suspicious of all “author pays” open access schemes in math or physics, so I decided to check into what this one was. When I went to their web-site and looked at their list of journals, the first on the list that looked like it would have material in it I would know something about was the American Journal of Modern Physics. The first paper that showed up on the journal web-page was MSSM Neutral Higgs Production Cross Section Via Gluon Fusion and Bottom Quark Fusion at NNLO in QCD by Tetiana Obikhod, so I took a quick look at it.

It looked perfectly competent, but oddly it wasn’t on the arXiv, and the only papers by that author on the arXiv appeared to be some papers on F-theory and D-branes from 1997-98. A little bit of investigation quickly showed that much of the paper was plagiarized from elsewhere, including at least a 2003 paper by Harlander and Kilgore, Higgs boson production in bottom quark fusion at next-to-next-to-leading order and a 2011 paper by Bagnaschi et al. Higgs production via gluon fusion in the POWHEG approach in the SM and in the MSSM (neither of which are listed in the references).

For instance, the AJMP paper introduction has

In the Standard Model the gluon fusion process [12] is the dominant Higgs production mechanism at the LHC. The total cross section receives very large next-to-leading order (NLO) QCD corrections, which were first computed in [13]. Later calculations [14, 15] retained the exact dependence on the masses of the top and bottom quarks running in the loops. The next-to-next-to-leading order (NNLO) QCD corrections are also large, and have been computed in [16]. The role of electroweak (EW) corrections has been discussed in [17]. The impact of mixed QCD-EW corrections has been discussed in [18]. The residual uncertainty on the total cross section depends on the uncomputed higher-order QCD effects and on the uncertainties that affect the parton distribution functions (PDF) of the proton [19].

while Bagnaschi et al. has

In the Standard Model (SM) the gluon fusion process [4] is the dominant Higgs production mechanism both at the Tevatron and at the LHC. The total cross section receives very large next-to-leading order (NLO) QCD corrections, which were first computed in ref. [5] in the so-called heavy-quark effective theory (HQET), i.e. including only the top-quark contributions in the limit mt → ∞. Later calculations [6, 7, 8, 9, 10] retained the exact dependence on the masses of the top and bottom quarks running in the loops. The next-to-next-to-leading order (NNLO) QCD corrections are also large, and have been computed in the HQET in ref. [11]. The finite-top-mass effects at NNLO QCD have been studied in ref. [12] and found to be small. The resummation to all orders of soft gluon radiation has been studied in refs. [13, 14]. Leading third-order (NNNLO) QCD terms have been discussed in ref. [15]. The role of electroweak (EW) corrections has been discussed in refs. [16, 17, 18, 19]. The impact of mixed QCD-EW corrections has been discussed in ref. [20]. The residual uncertainty on the total cross section depends mainly on the uncomputed higher-order QCD effects and on the uncertainties that affect the parton distribution functions (PDF) of the proton [21, 22, 3].

In the body of the AJMP paper, for example starting at the bottom of page 3 with

The subprocesses to be evaluated at the partonic level are given as following…

the following material in the paper including the equations is an edited version of Harlander and Kilgore, starting at their page 4 with

The subprocesses to be evaluated at the partonic level are given as following…

As far as I can tell without spending more time on it, the author did run some kind of package to calculate something (the plots in the paper aren’t in the older papers), and then wrote the surrounding paper largely by plagiarizing the other two papers. There’s a good reason this one isn’t on the arXiv: they now run an automated system which would have immediately identified the plagiarism problem.

It’s possible that I just got unlucky, that there was a problem only with the first of the papers I looked at, but this seems unlikely. I realize that this is a very obvious case of a journal with extremely low standards, run to make money off of the increasingly popular “author pays” model of financing journals, but I’m hoping that those that are trying to move high-quality journals to this model are seriously thinking through the issues involved. Just this month in the AMS Notices, there is discussion of a proposal to move two of the AMS journals in that direction. Yes, this is very different than AJMP, but there’s an argument to be made about the “author pays” model that it is best avoided, since it’s a good idea to keep academic and vanity publishing strictly separate endeavors.

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30 Responses to American Journal of Modern Physics

  1. jinb says:

    The sad thing is the plagiarist will still probably get a job from people who aren’t in a position to evaluate the work and just see the all-important “published in …” stamp.

  2. Marty says:

    You wrote “It’s possible that I just got unlucky, that there was a problem only with the first of the papers I looked at, but this seems unlikely.”

    I looked at the *second* of the papers, “Raleigh waves…” by Rajneesh Kakar and Shikha Kakar. This is also cut and paste from other sources (without citation) as far as I can tell. Parts are also duplicated in the article by the same authors in “Journal of Chemical, Biological and Physical Sciences”

    Among many other instances (found by google searches), compare “We consider Oxyz Cartesian co-ordinate system with o being any point on the free surface, here we consider the free surface and interface of granular layer resting on nonhomogeneous granular half space bounded by two planes of different material given by z = 0 and z = H respectively. Also it is assumed that oz being normal to half space and Rayleigh wave propagation in the positive direction of xaxis. Here it is also assumed that at a great distance from centre of disturbance, the wave propagation is two dimensional and is polarized in xz-plane.” in AJMP to:

    “We consider oxyz cartesian co-ordinate system with o being any point on the free surface, here we consider the free surface and interface of granular layer resting on non-homogeneous granular half space bounded by two planes of different material given by z = 0 and z = H respectively. Also it is assumed that oz being normal to half space and Rayleigh wave propagation in the positive direction of x-axis.” in Sethi-Gupta-Gupta, “Propogation of Surface Waves in non-Homogeneous, Magneto Granular Medium under the Influence of Gravity & Initial Compression”, also compare to “Int. J. of Appl. Math and Mech. 6 (20): 50-65, 2010

  3. Matt Leifer says:

    Picking on scam journals published by predatory open access publishers does not discredit the author-pays model. It is a bit like saying that all conferences where you have to pay a registration fee must be bad just because you got some spam emails from scam conferences. The truth is there are crappy journals in the closed access world as well (Chaos, Solitons and Fractals anyone?), but everyone knows what the good journals are and ignores the rest. Why wouldn’t we do the same with open access journals? Why don’t you look at some of the reputable journals that adopt an author pays model, e.g. the New Journal of Physics or Physical Review X?

  4. srp says:


    Good points. The community of readers and citers will sort it all out.

    One could even argue that since the balance of attention scarcity these days falls on inundated readers who have access to the arXiv, it makes little sense for readers to pay for more articles. Maybe readers should pay people who can tell them which articles not to bother reading–“anti-publishing.”

    But after the last go-around on this subject it appears that it will take an extremely powerful lance blow to unseat our host from his hobby-horse.

  5. Peter Woit says:


    I don’t doubt that it’s possible to have high-quality author pays journals in fields where that has been part of the culture of the field. Even so though, it seems to me that anyone running such a journal should be worrying about the problem of the financial incentives of the organization being driven by the equation “more accepted papers=more income”. As well as the fact that they’re in a business now being invaded by hordes of scam artists.

    In fields that I know about (math and HEP physics), there is no culture of high quality author pays journals (at least not that I’m aware of). Anyone starting such a thing has to explain how they’re going to deal not only with the misaligned incentive problem, but also the problem of getting people who can publish in excellent journals for free to pay instead.


    “Maybe readers should pay people who can tell them which articles not to bother reading–“anti-publishing.””

    Excellent idea, I’m a pro at this. Will contact some VCs with my business plan right away…

  6. chiz says:

    Playing Devil’s advocate for a moment – Obikhod is Ukrainian. Maybe, possibly, perhaps, she isn’t a fluent or confident English speaker, and just took sentences from other papers in lieu of struggling to write them herself.

  7. Peter Woit says:


    That sort of thing is fairly common, especially in introductory material, and you could try to excuse the borrowings from Bagnaschi et al. that way. In this paper though, large chunks, including lots of equations, are later in the paper taken from Harlander and Kilgore. The equation plagiarism is hard to excuse as a language problem.

    Funny, I just got another promotional e-mail from “Science Publishing Group” a few minutes ago.

  8. Brian Dolan says:

    It seems to me that it is inevitable that this kind of thing will happen with the so-called “open access” system. With the old “reader pays” system the journals had to maintain standards to make money, no-one will pay to read articles in a poor quality journal. But with the open access model, the more papers the journal publishes the more money they make and the quality becomes completely irrelevant. It might be argued that they must still maintain standards or no-one will want to publish in them, but that is manifestly wrong — as jinb says in an earlier comment “the plagiarist will still probably get a job from people who aren’t in a position to evaluate the work”. There are more people than ever desperate to publish to further their careers and the journals will have no problem getting articles from all an sundry (mostly paid for by public funds …).

  9. Alex says:

    I would venture a guess that opening an “author pays” high energy physics journal is the perfect recipe for going broke and getting ridiculed. I don’t know a single high energy theorist who would be willing to pay any significant amount of money for being allowed to submit an article to any particular journal. The fact that said journal will be known as “the vanity journal” will make it even worse. We referee for free, which is a way of paying journals, but that is a different thing.

  10. Judith McGovern says:

    You might be interested to know that the UK government has announced its intention to move towards a requirement for all papers resulting from research-council funded work to be published in “gold open access” journals – ie those which make all papers freely available immediately, and hence inevitably are author-pays. (Other forms of open access such as putting the text on ArXiv are “green” rather than “gold”.) There has even been a significant sum of money made available to finance page charges initially.
    The reasonably prestigious IoP journals (eg J Phys G) are therefore moving to allow this model.

    Many of those working in areas where self-archiving has been the norm see little benefit in the new system, and worry about being required to get approval from someone in the University in order to publish….

  11. Rhys Davies says:

    @Judith McGovern:
    This was discussed at the STFC “Town Meeting”, at the end of the theory meeting at Durham, just before Christmas. STFC dish out the majority of high-energy/fundamental physics funding in the UK, and they are well aware of the strong ‘green’ open-access culture in the field, arising from the universal use of the arXiv. The impression I got was that they are trying very hard to convince the higher-ups that this is sufficient.

    Your link contains a document, last updated just two days ago, which includes the following clauses:

    “RCUK recognises a journal as being compliant with this policy if:

    The journal consents to deposit of the final Accepted Manuscript in any repository, without restriction on non-commercial re-use and within a defined period.”


    “While RCUK recognises that many researchers derive value from sharing early versions of papers (for example, by using the arXiv pre-print archive), RCUK will consider only versions ‘as accepted for publication’ when assessing compliance with its policy.”

    So at this stage, it sounds like nothing much should change, as long as authors remember to update their arXiv submission to the version which is accepted for publication.

  12. Peter Woit says:

    Thanks Judith and Rhys,

    That’s exactly the sort of thing I’m worried about. In HEP/Math, the only “open access” problem is things not being on the arXiv. Misguided attempts to solve the supposed problem that don’t recognize may lead to a worse situation and new problems.

  13. Low Math, Meekly Interacting says:

    I hope I’m not annoying anyone by chiming in, but I find the discussion fascinating. For better or for worse, I think open-access is going to be new paradigm relatively soon, so if it has major and insurmountable flaws, it will impact all scientific disciplines. My own attitude is the current paradigm in the life sciences is so flawed anyhow (in both industry and academia) that we may as well at least try something different. But physics and mathematics has the arXiv ingrained in the culture, which appears to render traditional publications almost redundant EXCEPT for the very important fact that if one wants a career, they need peer-reviewed papers on their CV. So, how do you have a career that requires the Gold Standard of peer review when the customary suppliers of that standard are no longer economically viable? If perverse incentives render open-access journals an intrinsically-flawed model, whither the tradition of peer review?

  14. Bernhard says:

    It is really worrying to hear that JP G is embarking on this. I was fist thinking that this whole thing was a bit of exaggeration because I always thought these journals would anyway never be taken seriously due to low impact factor. But if JP G is planning this big mistake, then one wonders what is next. It is annoying to lose the option of a good journal like the JP G, but if they adopt this model I think many people (me included) will just avoid publishing there.

  15. Felipe Zaldivar says:

    Just in case someone has some doubts on the quality of the journals of the “Science Publishing Group”, prompted by Peter’s post and curiosity I looked at one of its “math” journals, “Pure and Applied Mathematics Journal”, which has already two volumes, each one with one issue. In the 2012 volume there are two papers. One, with the title “Galois Groups of Polynomials and the Construction of Finite Fields” caught my attention and I took a look at it. Well, I shouldn’t have done this. I know, you know, and I think everybody knows what this so-called open access predators are doing. The paper (for lack of any other name) is a list, with no particular order, of elementary results from the usual undergraduate algebra course. However, the exercises (one may believe it could be an assignment) listed at the end are quality are not even on the level of a bad, very bad, undergraduate student! If you feel curious you may look at the “paper” at the link below:

  16. S says:

    As others have said, you can’t generalize author-pays as a whole by a few bad apples. Otherwise I could point to the various spam emails I get every day, and conclude that the entire internet outside of big corporate walled gardens has nothing of value.

    You mentioned the AMS plan to try author pays with a couple journals. As I understand, the PAMS is so inundated with submissions that editors have actually been given limits on how many papers they’re allowed to accept. This creates perverse incentives in a different direction. Suddenly it becomes extremely difficult to get published in a journal like PAMS if you don’t have close connections with an editor there. This exacerbates the problem of mathematical insulationism, where the high-tier journals tend to publish exclusively work in flavor-of-the-year fields and anything out of the ordinary is toxic.

    The only way to completely avoid perverse incentives altogether is to use a model like the Electronic Journal of Combinatorics: no author fees and no limits on how many articles can be accepted. (It’s 2013, why is the AMS still limiting journals based on how many sheets of paper a physical volume can hold?)

  17. Jon Lennox says:

    In all non-broken cases, “author pays” is really “funder pays”, right? The assumption is that everyone doing research in these fields has a research grant.

    So it seems to me that you could get the incentives a lot better, without changing the ultimate flow of money, if the funding agencies funded the journals directly. That way, the journals’ incentive would be to put out the best journal they could (so their grants get renewed) rather than to publish as many papers as possible.

    It would also be a lot fairer to researchers without funding.

  18. tomate says:

    I am a fresh researcher in statistical physics. I will tell an episode about open access – and maybe ask for an advice on publishing.

    Some months ago I received an invitation to write an article for a special issue of a journal (new institutional email account just activated). Since I had some publishable material on that very subject, I decided to roll up my sleeves and started writing. Was I naive! I didn’t realize that the “invitation” was for a pay-per-publish journal (my fault of course! I didn’t read all details of their email, but who would think that you have to pay when invited our for dinner?). I got my work ready, formatted according to the journal’s Latex style, and finally, when I submitted it, I was asked to pay.

    I got mad. I vigorously protested, and this eventually led to something: It might be that my paper is accepted even without fee. In the meanwhile, I realized that the “special issue” is just a strategy to get money from a closed self-citing community. Whilst my paper is the due quality for a research paper (that I believe), I noticed that these special issues are filled up with old review material. I wonder how refereeing is being conducted there…

    So, on the one hand, I don’t want to be misguided for a member of such a cummunity, and I don’t like people to think that I pay for publishing (even if I don’t). On the other hand, this work is ready, and you all know how much a pa**-**-***-*ss is to format it for another journal (admitting that the subject is interesting enough for any otherjournal).

  19. Peter Woit says:


    Thanks for writing. That story shows clearly one of the big problems with journals like this: they sometimes get authors to send them good articles, by one means or another. Their whole business model is based upon trying to make themselves hard to distinguish from more reputable journals, by any means they can. People who think these scams are not a major problem because they can just easily be ignored are underestimating the ingenuity and goals of those running these operations.

  20. Peter Woit says:


    Thanks for the comment. What you’re suggesting I think is kind of what the international funding agencies in HEP are planning to do with SCOAP^3. This does deal to some extent with the incentives problem, especially if the threat of being defunded is real (although now the incentive for the publisher is still to drive down quality and publish as many papers as possible, taking the journal right up to the line where it would get defunded, but not over it). The main argument against it in that case is that instead of getting rid of the expensive journal publishers like Elsevier, it entrenches them permanently, supplanting university budget money they were in danger of losing with more stable government money.

    This is an international consortium with possibly stable funding. If it were a US funded operation, you might worry about having your scientific literature shut off when budgets are cut or sequestered.

  21. srp says:

    Online dating scams occasionally snare a Paul Frampton. Author-pays publishing scams occasionally snare a naive researcher or steal a couple of minutes from a reader. Peer review allows all kinds of bad behavior by reviewers sabotaging their rivals and promoting their friends. Occasionally the existence of life insurance motivates a murder (this was actually a major objection to life insurance when it was an innovation.)

    Institutions must be judged on the balance of their effects.

  22. Low Math, Meekly Interacting says:

    srp nails it. I’d say the institution of peer review, as it exists today, is in need of a serious overhaul, if for no other reason than it cannot cope with the current level of scientific misconduct (though there are plenty of other reasons). In some disciplines, this problem is obviously a lot more troublesome than in others, but fragmentation of scientific standards between disciplines seems pretty untenable to me. So we have a new paradigm emerging, which is to realign the payment structure so as to make research publications freely accessible to all. This has enormous implications, as it disrupts the business model of the customary “gatekeepers” of research publication, with attendant effects on the “gold standard” of peer review.

    I certainly acknowledge the dangers inherent in the author-pays model, but the status quo is being stretched beyond its limits, and the completely free model of a preprint archive kinda looks like the Wild West, even with the system of sponsorship, and even the author of this blog has suffered injustice at the hands of that system.

    So is there something better in the works? Science is a human enterprise, and it’s entirely subject to human failings. I’m not optimistic we’re all going to become Vulcans, so ways of coping with the human condition are needed. What saves the enterprise and helps insure its supremacy is its competitive (and even adversarial) nature and the fact that the competition is settled by observation of the Real World (however you like to define that). It would seem to me, at minimum, that making the fruits of scientists’ labors as freely and openly available as possible does the most to foster scrutiny of and challenge to scientific claims, and open access does at least aspire to go some way towards achieving that goal. It likely has problems. We already have problems. Is some weighing of relative problems (both known and conjectured) justified as we attempt to change the publication system?

  23. Jon Lennox says:

    Peter: Is the incentive to publish lots of mediocre papers (keeping your journal just good enough) any different for funder-pays than it is for traditional subscriber-pays? I think the factor that’s kept the mediocre paper count down in the past was the space limitations implicit in physical publishing — once you’ve gone to an electronic format, that’s out the window, regardless of how the money’s flowing.

    Also, if you’re in a funder-pays environment, is there really a problem with entrenchment of publishers like Elsevier? If they’re doing a enough job to keep their grants going, and the journals are open-access, I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically wrong with them being big. (I guess you might run into a regulatory capture problem, where they get their grants renewed due to lobbying rather than quality, or the like.)

  24. Brian Dolan says:

    As one of the 13,000 people who have signed Tim Gower’s “Cost of Knowledge” petition against Elsevier’s practices (, I would be very unhappy to seem then being given money directly out of the tax-payer’s pocket.

    “Low Math, Meekly Interacting” above gets to the kernel of the problem, that the current system relies on peer reviewed publications to assess grant applications, job and promotion applications, so we cannot do without it. But it doesn’t have to cost the Earth.
    We (i.e. active researchers) already do all the research, we type and typeset the articles, we act as editors and we do the refereeing. So what do we need the journals for?

    Let me throw out the following idea for discussion. At least in physics, with the archive, we can completely eliminate the journals: all we need to do is set up editorial panels for various sub-disciplines ourselves and, when someone submits a paper they indicate whether or not they want it to be refereed for “publication”. We go through the usual refereeing process and, if it is accepted, it appears in the archive listings as “published” (maybe put a little asterisk beside, to indicate “published”). This would completely equivalent what the journals do at the moment, and would cost almost nothing. Of course we would have to persuade the funding agencies that this is “Gold Standard”.

    The only problem I can see with this proposal is that there would then be only one place to send articles and, if it’s rejected, there is no second option — no other “journal” to send it to.

  25. Bob Levine says:


    I like your idea and have always thought that something like this should be the model. But doesn’t its viability depend on persuading departmental P & T committees that this new ‘gold standard’ is also a new ‘blue ribbon’ outlet? The cooperation of academe (not just at the departmental level but through all the levels of admin review) would seem essential for the success of this approach, and I don’t know what the level of resistance to it would be on the part of senior established scientists in physics, let alone other fields which don’t have something like arxiv, with its semi-‘established’ status. The problem is not just one of publication format; the whole culture of the university meritocracy seems to be part of the issue.

  26. Jeff McGowan says:

    I think Brian Dolan has a very interesting idea. In math anyway there’s already a partial refereeing process for arxiv, since anything interesting will get read by many people, and if there’s a problem they’ll let the author(s) know, and it usually gets pulled. Of course you can’t force someone to pull it that I know of, and some things probably don’t get read my many, if any, people, so they slip through the cracks. I think journals have historically served 3 purposes. First of course, they make things accessible. That’s is not an issue now. Second, the refereeing process kept things legit. That’s still an issue, but as Brian points out we’re doing that anyway now for free, so why not just do it for arxiv? Third, they sorted things quality wise – if I see a paper in JDG or GAFA or Transactions or whatever, I know it’s got to be interesting in some way. This relates to what Brian said about the problem with arxiv and making it a refereed source is that you have only one venue. Maybe the way around this is to have a stable of referees, have everything read by say 3 of them, and have them not only check the validity of the paper but also grade it. That way papers which would be in Annals and papers for Proceedings (or lower) could all be published, as long as they were correct, essentially it would be like having many journals, and you submit to all at once, the referees decide which one to publish in.

  27. Peter,

    You say:

    That story shows clearly one of the big problems with journals like this: they sometimes get authors to send them good articles, by one means or another. Their whole business model is based upon trying to make themselves hard to distinguish from more reputable journals, by any means they can.

    I would have agreed with you if his story were about how the journal tricked him into sending a good research paper through a dishonest means. But as far as I can tell from his comment, it seems to be due to his own lack of a due diligence. He himself says he didn’t carefully read the email from the journal. He doesn’t seem to have researched the journal and/or publisher before submission either.

    Do you think it is a problem for a new journal to attract good papers through acceptable means in order to become indistinguishable from other reputable journals? If the journal dishonestly hid the fee or put it in tiny fine print, I see a problem. If you were talking about spamming researchers’ mail boxes, I would understand to an extent. But if it is just that the author was careless, what he descried may not clearly show a big problem in academic publishing.

    I don’t think you would say it is a problem that reputable journals want to publish good papers. Why shouldn’t struggling journals wish for good papers then? If they become indistinguishable from already established journals because of their effort in attracting good papers, it’s just they’re already one of them at least in terms of quality.

    I understand that a certain open access model may make some journals want to publish papers regardless of their quality. I agree that this can be a problem. But I don’t think being open access makes it unacceptable for a journal to want to publish good papers. It’s only a problem if they want bad papers.

    Now, if a journal dishonestly tricks researchers so they get good papers, it’s certainly a problem. But it’s a terrible thing regardless of publishing model. I don’t think open access models particularly encourage such dishonest conduct more strongly than other models. I don’t think the comment you’re responding to clearly suggests that it was a dishonest trick either. If anything, I tend to think that his tone of writing makes it difficult to guess exactly what happened.

  28. Peter Woit says:


    You’re right that electronic format does remove a traditional brake on journals lowering their standards. Still though, there is a difference between any model where they get paid per article and one where the amount they are paid is determined by other factors.

    Much of the debate about Elsevier in recent years has been of the order of “how can we get rid of them: they’re costing our community a lot of money way out of proportion to the value they provide”. Before having granting agencies directly funding Elsevier, I think that issue should be addressed: are they worth it?

    Yuichiro Fujiwara,

    I think you’re blaming the victim here. Yes, victims of scams wouldn’t be victims if they did a better job of figuring things out before getting scammed.

    Obviously reputable journals should want to publish good papers, having scam artists who manage to publish good papers is a problem though. Publishing outfits like this one are not just in the business of getting paid by plagiarists and incompetents to do vanity publishing for them, but are engaged in a serious effort to mislead people and make them think they are something they are not (a legitimate operation with real standards), and are sometimes successful. They’re doing this because they can make money off an author-pays model. I’m just pointing out that before the math and HEP communities abandon their traditional practices and move to author-pays, they should keep in mind that this model is already leading to a huge scam-publishing problem.

  29. Peter,

    I don’t think I’m blaming “the victim of a scam.” I’m saying that we don’t know if he is actually a victim or if it was a scam in the first place.

    He only told his side of the story anonymously in a not extremely professional tone on the internet without giving any concrete evidence that backs up his claim when he can clearly do so by, for example, giving the link(s) to said special issue and/or post what you seem to believe is a dishonest email to “trick” him into submitting a good paper. I tend to take an angry, anonymous, one-sided story without supporting evidence cum grano salis, especially when the unhappy person didn’t give the link to openly available evidence.

    Of course, the journal in question may in fact be of extremely low quality or even part of a scam you describe, although I can’t agree that it is clear from his comment that this was the case. Even then, I am having a hard time convincing myself he is a “victim” who shouldn’t be blamed. Perhaps, it is the norm in statistical physics, but I find it very careless to submit your own work you are pride of to a journal you know nothing about. It is not that “victims of scams wouldn’t be victims if they did a better job of figuring things out before getting scammed.” You are supposed to make sure you know what the journal is like before you submit your own work.

    I would have sympathized with him if it were a sophisticated scam such as listing famous researchers on the editorial board without permission and uploading good quality papers from established journals as if they were originally published in the scam journal. But in my opinion, it doesn’t count as getting scammed if you publish in a low quality journal because you didn’t check what it’s like before submission.

    Also, I can’t agree with your argument that a certain open access model is leading to scam-publishing problem. I don’t think it is the direct cause. Would you tell your university’s administrators that they should keep in mind that the “student-pay” model of university education is leading to a huge scam diploma-mill problem? They scam naive students because they can make money off of them. But I don’t know if we should be wary of the student-pay model or if universities should rethink their business model because of the existence of diploma mills.

    I agree that we should know there are academic publishing scams out there. And I understand that making it easy to start a new journal also makes it easy to start a publishing scam. But if you were pointing this out, I fail to see how the comment you were replying to “clearly shows” it.

  30. k.c. gupta says:

    MR. Marty

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