off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Pressure to Publish
and Fraudulent 
Journal websites


At a time when the authors are under pressure to publish and are keen to see their manuscript in print as soon as possible, some fraudulent journal websites have appeared on the net which promise immediate publication. Most of these websites neither give any details of their offices nor the editorial board or the managing editor. They trap the impatient authors and charge them heavy publication fees. Most of these journals are named as International journal of this and that specialty and these fake medial journals have no peer review system at all. Authors are advised to be careful of such publishers and do not be carried away by the claims made in these websites, always check about the authenticity of these websites, their credibility before submitting their manuscripts for publication. Some of these fraudulent website use the names which are similar to the websites of leading biomedical journals with a slight change which at times is not noticed by the authors.

The scientific publication world these days is full of shady agencies, corrupt scientists and compromised editors who are all involved in this racket. If this was not enough even some of these agencies offer options to buy authorship slot on a paper written by other scientists, buying a scientific paper from an online catalog of manuscripts which are advertised on the net with guaranteed publication. According to reports there are over two dozen agencies that have been identified and most of them promise paper publication in biomedical journals covered by Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) Web of Sciences. Guaranteeing publication by these agencies should ring an alarm bell for the Editors who must safeguard their integrity and credibility. Since some of the medical universities have made it compulsory for their postgraduates to publish a paper based on their Thesis before they can appear in the examination, these PGs are under lot of pressure and in a hurry sometimes they get trapped and when they find out the truth, it is too late.
Yet another malpractice which has come to light is the addition of new authors once the manuscript has been accepted for publication. Though at times addition of an author may be necessary once he or she makes some intellectual contribution when the authors are asked to revise the manuscript responding to reviewer’s comments and suggestions but this is being misused and abused by some authors as well. What they do is they ask for money from others to add their name on the authorship list of a paper which has been accepted and is sure to be published. Not only that even submission of too many papers from the same e mail should also alert the Editors who must be careful and ensure that it was not being maneuvered by some agency. When the authors and submission is from overseas, at times it becomes difficult to ascertain all these facts. All these increasing malpractices and scientific misconduct has prompted the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors who now in its revised authorship guidelines demands that “one of the authors to serve as a guarantor of a paper’s integrity and authorship from inception to publication.”
In Pakistan since Pakistan Medical and Dental Council has recognized a large number of biomedical journal some of which do not have or practice any peer review policy, it is not uncommon to see announcement by some journals inviting authors to pay Rs. 25,000/- and their manuscript will be published within a month. We must realize that having journals without any quality control is highly destructive. It has far reaching consequences particularly in the developing countries because it has opened the gates for people with bogus scientific credentials to join the faculty of various medical institutions and medical universities. Hence, the authors are advised that it is better to wait and get their manuscripts published in journals with quality control, which practice peer review which also ensures improvement of the quality of their research work before its final publication rather than getting their work published in obscure journals or get trapped by these fraudulent websites of fake and phony journals.{jcomments on}

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