in case you needed another reason to raise an eyebrow at Elsevier

I sometimes get a case of schadenfreude reading about bad things that happen to big companies that have a hand in library businesses. This latest mess involves Elsevier publishing what can charitably called a “sponsored journal” and what can uncharitably be called a fake scam journal, sponsored by Merck and internded solely to be cited in support of their drug Fosamax. If anyone has ongoing dealings with Elsevier and would like to get across to them how uncool this is, I’d appreciate it. Original article published at available here with free registration. [nowthis]

Elsevier acknowledged that Merck had sponsored the publication, but did not disclose the amount the drug company paid. In a statement emailed to The Scientist, Elsevier said that the company “does not today consider a compilation of reprinted articles a ‘Journal’.”

“Elsevier acknowledges the concern that the journals in question didn’t have the appropriate disclosures,” the statement continued. “It is worth noting that project in question was produced 6 years ago and disclosure protocols have evolved since 2003. Elsevier’s current disclosure policies meet the rigor and requirements of the current publishing environment.”

The Elsevier spokesperson said the company wasn’t aware of how many copies of the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine were produced or how the publication was distributed in Australia, but noted that “the common practice for sponsored journals is that doctors receive them complimentary.” The spokesperson added that Elsevier had no plans to look further into the matter.

4 thoughts on “in case you needed another reason to raise an eyebrow at Elsevier

  1. Much has been made out of the fact that this “throw away” (as some Docotor’s call this type of publication) is not indexed in PubMed/MEDLINE, etc. However, it has made its way into Worldcat and was cited by at least one online newsite. Elsevier seems to be helping others to deceive: we need our vendors to help us develope trust-worthy sources of information. Important questions are: what are the ISSN numbers of all the fake journals that Elsevier publishes? Who else published fake journals and who is “sponsoring” them? How often have these fake publications been cited unknowningly by scholars? I think a lot of people would be devastated if they discovered that they had cited a fake publication.

  2. The Scientist now reports that Elsevier admits to publishing 6 fake scam journals.

    Scientific publishing giant Elsevier put out a total of six publications between 2000 and 2005 that were sponsored by unnamed pharmaceutical companies and looked like peer reviewed medical journals, but did not disclose sponsorship, the company has admitted.

    Elsevier is conducting an “internal review” of its publishing practices after allegations came to light that the company produced a pharmaceutical company-funded publication in the early 2000s without disclosing that the “journal” was corporate sponsored.

    For their part, Elsevier execs claim they didn’t know it was happening::

    It has recently come to my attention that from 2000 to 2005, our Australia office published a series of sponsored article compilation publications, on behalf of pharmaceutical clients, that were made to look like journals and lacked the proper disclosures. This was an unacceptable practice, and we regret that it took place.

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