Friday, April 17, 2009

Fake Journal Publishing Scam

Here is an interesting scam that I hadn't seen before. Someone is sending out mail purportedly from the academic publisher Elsevier soliciting professors to submit papers to vaguely described journals. The scam is apparently that your paper gets "accepted" and then you are asked to pay "processing fees", which go to the scammers without any article ever appearing anywhere.

Then again, anyone who could be fooled by the ridiculous message below probably deserves what they get.

From: Elsevier Journals



* *


Dear Colleague,

On behalf of all the Editors-in-chief of Elsevier Journals, we wish to
Communicate to you that we are currently accepting manuscripts in all Fields
of human Endeavour.

All articles published will be peer-reviewed. The following types of papers
are considered for publication:

- Original articles in basic and applied research.

- Critical reviews, surveys, opinions, commentaries and essays.

Authors are invited to submit manuscripts reporting recent developments in
their fields. Papers submitted will be sorted out and published in any of
our numerous journals that best Fits. This is a special publication
procedure which published works will be discussed at seminars (organized by
Elsevier) at strategic Cities all over the world. Please maximize this
opportunity to showcase your research work to the world.

The submitted papers must be written in English and describe original
research not published nor currently under review by other journals.
Parallel submissions will not be accepted.

Our goal is to inform authors about their paper(s) within one week of
receipt. All submitted papers, if relevant to the theme and objectives of
the journal, will go through an external peer-review process.

Prospective authors should send their manuscript(s) in *Microsoft Word or
PDF format* to ** and should Include a cover sheet
containing corresponding Author(s) name, Paper Title, affiliation, phone,
fax number, email address etc.

Kind Regards,

Emily Robinson(Prof.)

PS: Pls. show interest by mailing ** if your
Manuscript is not ready but will be ready soon.

I love the claim that "Papers submitted will be sorted out and published in any of
our numerous journals that best Fits."


MN said...

I honestly don't see how this would work. It's one thing to send an e-mail from "", asking for papers. Another completely different is to have the refinement to forge credible financial information to convince someone to wire the said fees. Could they be after something else? I don't see what value the manuscripts would have to them.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is aimed at mainstream researchers, but rather people on the margins. For example, amateurs, cranks, people with Ph.D.s who have been unsuccessful in finding academic jobs but feel that more publications could help, perhaps people in third world countries who want to build their CVs to get jobs or school admission in the US. Some of these people are extremely eager to get something published and may not have the perspective to know what standard procedures are or how to recognize a scam. Of course, they may not have much money, but you don't need a high response rate for the scam to be successful. Suppose you ask for page charges of $100/page plus $100 for each figure. Maybe a few people will just pay without question, and the people who complain that they lack the funds can be offered a special, discount rate. You won't get rich from this scam, but I can imagine you might collect several thousand dollars with a few dozen hours of effort. That's a pretty good hourly rate.

Steve Murphy said...


You would think that this scam is obvious but as our host can attest, we had a similar phishing scheme here at uwaterloo - just aimed at basic uwaterloo user ID and pwords. Some of the worst offenders for falling for this were the profs

(note I am also a prof at UW; no I did not fall for it.. I was tempted to do a '419eater' type revenge but too busy...)

Unknown said...

I love the specification of Word and pdf as the only acceptable formats.

Anonymous said...

Lot's of fake or abusive journals have cropped up, this one I found on researchgate.

The scam journal has a dubious list of reviewers and registration form.

Anonymous said...

I have recently publsihed a paper in IJCSI. It is an open access journal officially registered in Mauritius.

Anonymous said...

open access journals and all are havin ISSN code. why u callin em fake?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Dear Most Recent Anonymous:

You seem quite confused. There was no journal - not a single one - mentioned in this phishing scam - and certainly not an open access one.

Emanuelle said...

@Jeffrey I think you must delete/remove the anonymous comments that attempt to disgrace open-access journals and mislead readers.
Emanuelle, ACM Services

Anonymous said...

I believe that many ACM conferences are garbage (fake conferences or bogus conferences) and I can prove it very easily: Most of the ACM Conferences dot not have peer review in the full paper. They make review only on the Abstract. This is why ACM Conferences are fake and bogus. Google: ACM Fake Conferences
or see this web page:
The ACM says that most of its conferences are non-refereed!
Do you want any other proof?
You can also google: ACM Bogus conferences

Jeffrey Shallit said...

I think you're being silly. I think nearly every AMS regional and national conference, for example, accepts pretty much every abstract and does no refereeing at all on the abstracts; yet they are not "bogus" or "junk".