An Australian computer scientist tired of being spammed by a fake academic journal submitted a paper entitled — and consisting entirely of the words — “Get me off your f*cking mailing list,” only to have the essay rated “excellent” by an anonymous reviewer and have the journal extend him an offer to publish it for $150, io9’s Robbie Gonzalez reports.
The offer was made by the prestigious-sounding International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology, which despite its name, is a non-peer-reviewed, for-profit enterprise designed to take advantage of the pressure on scientists to publish — by offering to place their works in reputably named, online-only journals for fees that range anywhere from $25 to $5,000.
Publication is essential to advancement in the sciences — be it a grant application or a tenure review — and these journals allow unqualified scholars to buy a resume comparable to those of their more established peers.
A University of Colorado librarian, Jeffrey Beall, keeps a list of for-profit, open-access publishers and journals that currently contains at 550 entries.
One of the criteria for inclusion on that list is “send[ing] spam requests to scholars unqualified to review submitted manuscripts,” and it was this request that inspired Peter Vamplew to submit David Mazieres and Eddie Kohler’s 2005 paper, “Get me off your f*cking mailing list,” to the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology.
The paper included an impressive array of pointless charts and graphs, such as this one:
Not only did the journal agree to publish it, for a fee, but it did so despite the fact that the person submitting it, Vamplew, was not one of the listed authors. Ignoring blatant acts of plagiarism is, however, par for the course with such publications, as John Bohannon’s “Who’s Afraid of Peer Review” investigation for Science — a journal with actual prestige — documented last year.