Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Journals with the Imaginary Dr. Szust (aka Dr. Fraud) as an Editor

The Polish word "szust" means "fraud." In this case, it meant a sting.

In 2015, researchers at the University of Wrocław "created a profile of a fictitious scientist named Anna O. Szust and applied on her behalf to the editorial boards of 360 journals." 1/ The good doctor, whse professed Ph.D. was in "Social Sciences History,"
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 journals were "a mix of legitimate titles and suspected predators." One third were bona fide -- they had "an official impact factor as indexed on Journal Citation Reports" (JCR). None of these journals accepted Dr. Szust as an editor.

One-third of the journals were in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Journals on this list "must meet certain standards of quality, including ethical publishing practices [and] be fully open access." Seven percent of these journals accepted Szust.

The remainder of the journals were on Jeffrey Beall's now defunct "blacklist [of] potential predatory journals ... that, in his opinion, exploited researchers and failed to meet basic standards of scholarly publishing." A full forty (33%) of the predatory titles accepted Szust.

"At least a dozen journals appointed Szust as editor conditional on, or strongly encouraging, some form of payment or profit." One publisher wrote that "If you want to start a new journal...you will get 30% of the revenue earned thru you." Another expressed its "pleasure to add your name as our editor in chief for this journal with no responsibilities."

All the journals that accepted Szust were notified that she "kindly withdraws her application." Yet, "her name still appears on the editorial boards listed by at least 11 journals' websites. In fact, she is listed as an editor of at least one journal to which we did not apply. She is also listed as management staff [and], a member of conference organizing committees."

The researchers did not reveal any journal titles. They offered two reasons for shielding these journals: "in part because predatory publishers often choose names confusingly similar to reputable titles, and in part because we believe the problem is much larger than the journals we sampled." Could there be an additional reason? Fear of litigation?

A quick search (5/9/17) of the web turns up the fictitious Anna Szust as an editor of the following journals:
International Journal of Current Research and Review (ICJRR), Radiance Research Academy (Regd.), 148, IMSR Building, Ayurvedic Layout, Near NIT Complex, Sakkardara, Nagpur-24, Maharashtra State, India, +91-7709956456
Nova Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nova Explore Publication INC., 5453A Yonge Street, ON, Canada, info@novaexplore.com, +1-647-875-7225
International Journal of Art and Humanity Science, 13/28 Vikas Nagar, First Floor, Lucknow-226022 India, (Call us during 11 A.M - 2 P.M on Weekdays only), Mobile : +91-9451380794
Global Journal of Sociology, SciencePark Science, Organization and Counseling LTD., 13 Subat Street, No: 17, 99030, Kyrenia – Cyprus, info@sproc.org, Tel: +90 533836699
International Journal of Psychology and Cognitive Science, no address (the publisher is the mysterious "American Association for Science and Technology.
The nonexistent social sciences historian is not merely a member of the editorial board of the last journal. She is the editorial board -- there are no other members and no reviewers listed as of 5/14/17. She also is a member of the advisory board of the Jabalpur Management Association, which advertises an MBA program and international conferences (5/10/17).

  1. Piotr Sorokowski et al., Predatory Journals Recruit Fake Editor, Nature 543:481–483, Mar. 23, 2017, http://www.nature.com/news/predatory-journals-recruit-fake-editor-1.21662

1 comment:

  1. I'd note here that the Polish for "fraud" is actually "oszust" (the fictitious researcher's middle initial + last name) rather than "szust" (see https://www.nature.com/news/predatory-journals-recruit-fake-editor-1.21662).

    You can confirm this using Google Translate (translate.google.com). Google translates "szust" as "sushi."