Strange academic journals: Scam?

We have discovered what may be the world’s strangest collection of academic journals. Published by a shadowy entity, it suggests — at first glance, anyway — some kind of scam. But is there a scam, or not? If there is, what’s the point of it? If there’s not, same question. Maybe you can help us find the answers.

One journal is named Psychology. All its articles have been previously published elsewhere, some almost a decade ago — but nowhere is that mentioned. You can download the entire first issue. It contains four articles. Here are links to the originals of those articles, which are essentially identical to the versions in this new journal:

Basic and Applied Psychology Contribute to A Harmonious Society” J. Bruce Overmier, Advances in Psychological Science, vol. 16, no. 5, 2008, pp. 673-8.
Suicide Bombers,” Vamik D. Volkan, 2000.
It’s the Thought That Counts: The Role of Hostile Cognition in Shaping Aggressive Responses to Social Exclusion,” C. Nathan DeWall, Jean M. Twenge, Seth A. Gitter and Roy F. Baumeister, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 96, no. 1, January 2009, pp. 45-59.
Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments,” David Dunning and Justin Kruger, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 77, no. 6, December 1999, pp. 1121-34.

We learned about this from a Yale University chemist. He received an unsolicited email invitation to join the apparently-nonexistent editorial board. Trying and failing to find basic info about the journal, this chemist became intrigued — especially because he recognized that one of the reprinted articles, Dunning and Kruger‘s “Unskilled and Unaware…”, was honored with an Ig Nobel Prize, way back in the year 2000.

The publisher, Scientific Research Publishing, has other journals, as well. Some of them (Applied Mathematics, Journal of Modern Physics, Biosciences*, Journal of Cancer Therapy**, etc.) also appear to follow the “publish things that were already published, but don’t mention that” principle.

On the organization’s web site, we found barely any identifying or location information. The contact page says “Name: Scientific Research Publishing, Inc. USA” and lists an email address —  but we have not found any such corporation in the USA, and email sent to that address has produced no reply.  The web site is registered to an organization in Wuhan, China.

Scientific Research Publishing, also known as scirp.org, also organizes conferences. Discussions in the blogosphere [see this one, for example and for pointers to others], for whatever those are worth, suggest that some of those conferences, too, are full of mystery.

———–

* This is an especially odd case. One of its articles (“Descriptively probabilistic relationship between mutated primary structure of von Hippel-Lindau protein and its clinical outcome,” by Shao-Min Yan and Guang Wu, in the November 2009 issue ) also appeared in one of the publisher’s other journals (Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering, in the June 2009 issue).

**  Another odd case: An article called “Conformal Microwave Imaging for Breast Cancer Detection”, published in the September 2009 issue with no author listed, is virtually identical to an article published in the April 2003 issue of IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques with authorship credited to Li Dun Li, P.M. Meaney, and K.D. Paulsen.

10 Responses to “Strange academic journals: Scam?”

  1. Strange academic journals: Scam? « TAUROSCAT Says:

    […] ** Another odd case: An article called “Conformal Microwave Imaging for Breast Cancer Detection”, published in the September 2009 issue with no author listed, is virtually identical to an article published in the April 2003 issue of IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques with authorship credited to Li Dun Li, P.M. Meaney, and K.D. Paulsen. Archives of Improbable Research […]

  2. martin_g Says:

    I think we should be careful of jumping to conclusions. If an organisation were to run a fake journal, cut’n’paste other people’s work as their own, organize bogus conferences and officially register themselves as ‘ wuhandaxuegaokejiyanjiuyufazhanzhongxin ‘ ( Google it ) would that necessarily mean it’s all a scam ?

  3. Joanna Bryson Says:

    I am guessing it is Open Access, and once you submit an article they tell you how much it costs. I just got invited to the board of one not in my discipline, and that usually only happens with Open Access journals.

  4. Strange academic journals: Scam? « Says:

    […] ** Another odd case: An article called “Conformal Microwave Imaging for Breast Cancer Detection”, published in the September 2009 issue with no author listed, is virtually identical to an article published in the April 2003 issue of IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques with authorship credited to Li Dun Li, P.M. Meaney, and K.D. Paulsen. Archives of Improbable Research […]

  5. New Climate Change Denial Crock and other flotsam « Greenfyre’s Says:

    […] when you note that this is Vol 1 no 3 of the “International Journal of Geosciences”, part of “what may be the world’s strangest collection of academic journals.” The IJG stands […]

  6. Firewood Logs- Buy Firewood – Firewood for sale » Lessons from Past Climate Predictions: Syun-Ichi Akasofu Says:

    […] Natural Science, which is published by Scientific Research Publishing, which has been called "what may be the world’s strangest collection of academic journals."  Most of the following discussion focuses on the unpublished version of the […]

  7. What The IPCC Ignores, According To The GWPF @ Jo Abbess Says:

    […] Age” cited by Briefing Paper No1 was published in Natural Science (Vol 2.11) whose publishers raise some achademic eyebrows. The 2010 paper is a much shortened version of an unpublished 2009 paper (50Mb […]

  8. Why Marcie Rathke is not Alan Sokal | That's Mathematics! Says:

    […] Scientific Research Publishing (SCIRP), operates over 200 other journals, and several of them have received unfavorable attention before. Unlike Social Text, APM emphatically does not represent the forefront […]

  9. Pesce risorto, cont. – Ocasapiens - Blog - Repubblica.it Says:

    […] predona è un fatto ben documentato. Per dirla con il Pulitzer, invito il “co-signer” ad approfondire il […]

  10. Mohamed El Naschie Says:

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