There are many small learned and professional societies in the world, some of which publish one or more journals. Smaller, more specialized societies generally lack the resources, time, and expertise to publish their own journals, so they frequently contract out this function.
This is the story of one company that offers to publish journals for small societies for free. The business model is such that the article processing charges (sometimes waived for the first years) and advertising revenue sustain the journal. In theory, it’s a good deal for the publisher, for he earns income from the journal, and it’s a good deal for the society, for its members then get a specialized journal where they can publish articles and further the interests of the society, all without costs to the organization.
I have learned that there is one such publisher that is best avoided. This publisher operates using several names or brands. They are:
Blackhorse Science + Business Media, Ltd., SP. Z O.O., Warsaw, Poland
Formerly associated with Springer as is claimed on the website (however so far no one within Springer could confirm this), this firm is now independent, though its name mimics Springer Science + Business Media. I don’t understand how a Polish firm got the name “Blackhorse” and why the company logo is that of a lion. Its website, mostly in Polish but with some English, brazenly uses pictures of Albert Einstein and other scientists to make itself look legitimate. The English contains many typographical errors. Many of the links are not working, including the one to their editorial pages (http://www.editorialoffice.pl/), the one to the projects, or the one to the Insight on-line Library (http://www.insight-library.net/).
On the Blackhorse site the following journals are listed: Sepsis, Fluids, Przegląd Flebologiczny (Phlebology Reviews), International Journal on Abdominal Research (IJAR), and Hemostaza.
Trzaska Evert Michalski, LLC, Lewes, DE, USA
This brand is the most suspicious of the three. The name is taken from a prominent 20th century Polish bookseller and publisher. However, this new firm is incorporated in Delaware, a state in the United States that allows online incorporation for $50. Trazska Evert Michalski LLC was incorporated using the Delaware-based Harvard Business Services. So it appears that the owner has taken a revered Polish business name and used it to incorporate a business in Delaware. Why not incorporate it in Poland? Will the owner faithfully report the firm’s income to Delaware and U.S. tax authorities? On the Blackhorse website is stated “Większościowy pakiet udziałów Blackhorse Science Business Media przejmuje amerykański inwestor – firma Trzaska Evert Michalski, LLC.” Which means: “An American investor – the company Trzaska, Evert Michalski, LLC acquired the majority of stakes of Blackhorse Science Business Media.” And on the TEM publishers (http://www.tempublishers.com) site is stated “Today in Warsaw (Poland), Trzaska Evert Michalski, LLC took over the majority of shares of Blackhorse Science Business Media, Ltd.”
What a coincidence that Blackhorse Science Business Media and Trzaska Evert Michalski were set up and run by the same people!
As stated on their first page “Dziś mamy zaszczyt i wielki przywilej być częścią grupy wydawniczej o ponad dziewięćdziesięcioletniej tradycji.”, which literally means: “Today we feel honored and privileged to be part of the publishing group (Trzaska Evert Michalski) with more than ninety-years of tradition.” However the original Polish publishers had already stopped their activity soon after World War II.
Also, the website for this brand is just a stub. It looks like it was set up in about an hour and still contains filler text. The postal address indicated on the website is fake and if you send a regular letter you may expect the following response “return to sender – refused – unable to forward – registered agents – no authorization to receive mail for this addressee.” So it is obvious that this is just an offshore company without any assets.
Insight on-line Library (http://www.insight-library.net) publishes 23 journals, both in Polish and in English, and most are subscription journals. This site is difficult to navigate if you are even able to connect to it. It’s slow and awkward. Many of these journals are society journals, and I know there are many unhappy stories to be told here – indeed I have heard some of them. This “online” library appears to be offline, except that it has moved its content to: http://blacktest.kei.pl/insight.
These publishing brands are apparently owned by a “Dr.” Piotr Mariusz Dobosz, of Warsaw. But in fact, an enquiry at the International Cooperation Department of the Polish Supreme Chamber of Physicians and Dentists revealed that Piotr Dobosz is not allowed to call himself MD.
I’m told that Mr. Dobosz’s custom is to approach small learned societies and offer to publish a journal for them, of course for free and without tricks. He then draws up a contract that says, “Production cost of the journal in the electronic form is offered as zero cost.”
Then over time, Dobosz begins publishing the journal, but, unexpectedly, the society starts to receive bills for his work, despite Dobosz’s promises that the journal would incur “zero cost” to the organization.
At this time, I’m told, is when Dobosz starts legal maneuverings against these societies, in addition to other tricks, such as sending out emails threatening authors, or sending out emails in the name of the editors without permission, and the like.
This entire operation, including the three brands, Blackhorse Science + Business Media, Trzaska Evert Michalski, LLC, and Insight on-line Library, all seem highly questionable to me.
Therefore, I strongly recommend that all scholarly societies avoid doing business with this publisher, including all three of its brands and including all journals. There are many better options.
Appendix: List of Insight on-line Library Journals as of January 3, 2014:
- Annals of Diagnostic Paediatric Pathology
- Archives of Perinatal Medicine
- Central European Journal of Immunology
- Folia Neuropathologica
- Leczenie Ran (Wound Management)
- Leczenie Żywieniowe i Metaboliczne (Clinical And Metabolic Nutrition)
- Lekarz Wojskowy (Military Medicine)
- Ortodoncja Polska
- Perspectives in Enviromental Sciences
- Polish Psychological Bulletin
- Polski Przegląd Radiologii (Polish Radiology Review)
- Postępy Osteoartrologii (Progress in Ostearthrology)
- Problemy HIV i Aids
- Przegląd Chirurgii Dziecięcej (Paediatric Surgery)
- Przegląd Flebologiczny (Phlebology Review)
- Przegląd Ginekologiczno-Położniczy (Obstetrics and Gynecology Rview)