Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dr. Hoss Cartwright

Yes, indeed. The older, or shall I say, more experienced of my readers will fondly remember Hoss Cartwright, of Bonanza fame. A German blogger, Fefe, pointed me in the direction of an article in the Laborjournal blog from March 2015 that I completely missed.

Burkhard Morgenstern is a professor for Bioinformatics in Göttingen, Germany. He apparently got fed up with all the spam solicitations for articles for the many junk journals, that he decided to get back at them. He spammed 20-30 journals (some even in open CC) with a short letter from Dr. Hoss Cartwright, requesting to join the editorial board of "your exciting journal".

Request to join editorial board
About a week later Hoss was welcomed to the board, with apologies for the late response:

Happy to have you
They even put his CV on the page, apparently without reading it. Morgenstern documented it with a screenshot. The CV has since been removed from the page, although the Internet Archive still has a link to a snapshot of the listing with Hoss on the board.
Best CV I've seen in a long time
I contacted Prof. Morgenstern and he noted that he had done a similar thing some years back with another OMICS journal. At that time he managed to get the fictional "Peter Uhnemann", a fake person invented by the German satirical magazine Titanic, on board the journal "Molecular Biology."  Jonathan Eisen's blog The Tree of Life gives details of this scam of the spammers.

If these journals are so careless in putting together their editorial boards, one wonders about the quality of the peer review done for the journals. OMICS had a bit of a spat with the National Institute of Health (lawyer's letter can be read here)  and is now forbidden from suggesting that they are listed on PubMed Central or on PubMed. OMICS appears, however,  to be purchasing journals that are still listed on the databases, according to ScholarlyOA, in order to get around this.

Another attempt to get listed on PubMed Central appears to be to have the authors submit an "author manuscript" to PMC, as NIH-funded researchers are now required to do. When their paper is published, then a link to the OMICS journal article is added. The journal article now also includes a link back to PubMed. Here is one of many examples: Author manuscript at PubMed Central, put in PMC on 2015-02-23 and then received by OMICS two days later and published 2015-03-21.    

Perhaps it is time to teach people that PubMed is an index and not a mark of quality. One must still read and evaluate the papers.

Update:  Dr. Hoss has now been accepted for the editorial board of Pak Publishing Group's "International Journal of Veterinary Sciences Research":
Dr. Hoss accepted as editor for another journal

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please note that I moderate comments. Any comments that I consider unscientific will not be published.