The scam involved the review process. An author submitting a paper was asked to provide the names and email addresses of two potential reviewers. Some authors reportedly abused this process and created two fake identities, along with two new email addresses, submitting these names and emails as the two reviewers.
Not surprisingly, these bogus reviewers praised the papers they reviewed, and the papers were published in the journal. Eventually some began to learn of and reveal the scam.
One description of the scam appeared on the Dawn.com website.
After I wrote my original blog post, I learned how the journal, despite being a scam, had gained legitimacy in the eyes of some.
The journal appeared on the Thomson Reuters Master Journal List for science. This listing is selective, but the requirements for getting a title on the list are not that difficult.
The list itself is open access; you don’t need a subscription to it like you do for Web of Science or Web of Knowledge. The vast majority of the world’s population does not have access to Web of Science or Web of Knowledge, so for them, the free Thomson Reuters Master Journal List really functions just like Web of Science. Inclusion on this list, despite the low barrier, effectively confers legitimacy in the developing world.
The home page of the African Journal of Business Management boasts that it is “covered by ISI Social Science Citation Index,” citing the name of a proprietary list, not the free one.
Also, as a result of my earlier blog post, and more importantly the Dawn.com article and the work of others in Asia, the journal has been de-listed from the Thompson Reuters list, a victory for all who demand high standards in scholarly open-access publishing. Seeing the scam Thomson Reuters removed the fraudulent journal from its list.