Some flaky journals are so anxious for content that they will lower their advertised fees or publish for free. That is what some authors of spoofs have discovered after submitting absurd papers.
"Neuroskeptic" at Discover Magazine prepared a "spoof manuscript about 'midi-chlorians' – the fictional entities which live inside cells and give Jedi their powers in Star Wars." It was filled with "references to the galaxy far, far away, and submitted ... to nine journals under the names of Dr Lucas McGeorge and Dr Annette Kin." The author found that
The American Journal of Medical and Biological Research (SciEP) accepted the paper, but asked for a $360 fee, which I didn’t pay. Amazingly, three other journals not only accepted but actually published the spoof. [T]he International Journal of Molecular Biology: Open Access (MedCrave), Austin Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Austin) and American Research Journal of Biosciences (ARJ). I hadn’t expected this, as all those journals charge publication fees, but I never paid them a penny. \1/A biologist, threatening to withdraw a paper on "What Up with Birds?" and send it to Nature, negotiated a $1,600 charge down to $1,027, to $99, and then, pleading "financial crisis," to $0. The journal manager reported that he had "done session with our Higher Authorities" to obtain this one-time waiver. \2/ The abstract of the article, which appeared this month, reads as follows:
Many people wonder: what’s the deal with birds? This is a common query. Birds are pretty weird. I mean, they have feathers. WTF? Most other animals don’t have feathers. To investigate this issue, I looked at some birds. I looked at a woodpecker, a parrot, and a penguin. They were all pretty weird! In conclusion, we may never know the deal with birds, but further study is warranted.The paper and Iris's alleged peer review are discussed in other blog postings. \3/
UPDATE 5/9/20: On ResearchGate today, Malek Alghdeir commented that "I was invited to publish a chapter in a book by IntechOpen. Then asked me to pay 1400 £! firstly, the editor of my chapter suggests a great discount, but after that, they accepted to publish my chapter free."
- Neuroskeptic, Predatory Journals Hit By 'Star Wars' Sting, Discover, July 22, 2017 5:57 AM, https://www.discovermagazine.com/mind/predatory-journals-hit-by-star-wars-sting
- https://twitter.com/evornithology/status/1224775369783435264?s=20 (hilarious Twitter thread)
- Iris Publishers Releases the World's First Quantification of the Deal with Birds, Flaky Academic Journals, Apr. 26, 2020; Ryan F. Mandelbaum, Sketchy Science Journal Publishes Article Titled 'What's the Deal With Birds?', Gizmodo, Apr. 17, 2020 4:40PM, https://gizmodo.com/sketchy-science-journal-publishes-article-titled-whats-1842924936/amp