Science Alert is a predatory, scholarly open-access publisher based in Pakistan (despite the publisher’s false claim on its website that it is based in New York and Singapore). Its tag line is “Where the innovation begins.”
Unfortunately, Science Alert’s latest innovation is unethical.
The publisher sends thank-you emails to authors who cite articles from its journals in other publishers’ journals. In these emails, it offers them a waiver of author processing charges on a future article if they cite enough of Science Alert’s articles elsewhere.
The purpose of this incentive is to increase citations to Science Alert journals which will lead to new and increased Impact Factors™ (IF) in their journals. The publisher is gaming the IF system for its own benefit.
Here is a reproduction of a Science Alert email that documents this practice [PDF Copy here]:
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: ScienceAlert <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, October 5, 2012 8:53 AM
Subject: Thanks for citing the article
I am writing you this e-mail on behalf of the entire editorial team of the “Journal of Applied Sciences” and would like to show our deep appreciation for citing the following article
Title: Chloro-Organics in Papermill Effluent: Identification and Removal by Sequencing Batch Biofilm Reactor
In your following recently published paper.
Title: High temperature combined with drought affect rainfed spring wheat and barley in South-Eastern Russia: I. Phenology and growth
We hope you will cite articles from Science Alert Journals in your future publications. By citing more articles from Science Alert Journals you will get more chance to publish your significant research findings FREE of cost in any Science Alert Journal. You may search the related articles from the main page of the Science Alert website (http://www.scialert.net/) for citing in your future articles. We hope, you will consider Science Alert Journals (www.scialert.net/journals.php) for publication of your future research/review articles.
Thank you once again for citing the above article.
Regard Muhammad Imran Pasha Publishing Editor Science Alert
This is a clear example of unethical publishing practices. By increasing the Impact Factors of its journals, Science Alert will attract more submissions, thereby increasing its revenue from author processing charges.
Other predatory publishers are likely creating innovative ways to falsely their journals’ Impact Factors.
I recommend that all scholars discontinue any existing relationships with Science Alert and not enter into any new ones.