Used-Car-Style Marketing Comes to Scholarly Publishing

PublishFast Publish Fast

Not the way it’s supposed to work.

We recently learned of a website called PublishFast® that offers to sell quick and easy publishing opportunities for scholarly authors.

The site calls itself a “confidential academic service” and says it will help you “get a VIP treatment from the editors of a selection of top-quality journals which are indexed by Science Citation Index (SCI)*, Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI)*, Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI)* and Scopus*.”

The journal titles are not divulged on the site. The company also boasts, “PublishFast® is probably the best kept secret among many proliferate researchers in the academic world for years!” [I think they mean prolific, not proliferate].

This statement — plus a chart on the main page — misleads readers into believing that the service started in 2011. In fact, the domain-name registration data suggests a recent UK origin:

Registrant’s address:
First Avenue
Publishers Bldg
Bodmin
CON
PL31 2JX
United Kingdom

Registrar
1 & 1 Internet AG [Tag = SCHLUND]
URL: http://www.1and1.co.uk or http://registrar.1und1.info

Relevant dates:
Registered on: 17-Feb-2014
Expiry date:  17-Feb-2016
Last updated:  17-Feb-2014

Publish Fast 2

Please don’t believe any of this.

Regarding cost, on its FAQ page, PublishFast says it charges $199. But this charge is just for the service. There is likely a separate fee for the APC, the article processing charge, once the paper gets accepted.

I am certain that everyone with a stake in the future of scholarly communication will agree that this site is a corruption of the ideals of scholarship. Let’s all hope it goes away soon.

Hat tip: Dr. Mehdad Jalalian

14 Responses to Used-Car-Style Marketing Comes to Scholarly Publishing

  1. Jeff Shrager says:

    This is great (from their faq): “We are a group of scholars from leading research institutions and universities with a vast experience in academic publishing process. … WE DO NOT PROVIDE INFORMATION ABOUT OURSELVES ON THIS WEB SITE FOR OBVIOUS REASONS. FOR LEGAL INORMATION OUR SOLICITIORS CAN BE CONTACTED THROUGH E-MAIL PROVIDED ON THIS PAGE AND THEY WILL RESPOND TO ANY ENQUIRIES ON OUR BEHALF.” (upcase emphasis mine). I think that you could actually rate the quality of a journal just by putting their faq into a spell checker and counting the errors. This one has at least three: inormation, seperate, beleive, artice…and those are just the ones I noticed in skimming! (Not to mention grammatical errors!)

  2. “First Avenue” and “Publishers Building (Bldg)” do not appear to exist in Bodmin, which is a small town in Cornwall, England.

    The postcode PL31 2JX is however the postcode for Bodmin’s public library http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=24079 Libraries often have free wifi and internet-connected PCs.

    While searching for publishers with links to Bodmin, I came across “WealthWatch”: http://www.wealthwatch.co.uk/contact-us.html

    There are no obvious links to PublishFast and it is likely a coincidence that they share a town, but I leave this possible clue out there for others to follow up on.

  3. A. Rezvani says:

    “With PublishFast® Article acceptance rate” If they are ever true why don’t they provide some instances? I am sure everyone one has realized that some publishers such as Oxford journals and Elsevier journals suggest authors to send their papers for improving language of the manuscript but this does not grantee that the paper will be accepted or the editor will contact the editor of the journal as they put down in their website. “Let editors contact editors to find a suitable outlet for your article…”. This is really funny. We all know that this is almost impossible and the editor in chief’s decision will be based on the quality of a paper and they never listen to what others say. Poor those authors who may fall in their trap.
    The reasons why they have hide their identities are not “obvious” at all.

    • A. Rezvani says:

      Every single sentence is written without even thinking and knowing the procedure.
      “PublishFast® helps academicials [ academicians ?] to jump the queue in academic publishing! PublishFast® is a service which connects authors to journal editors on a fast-track basis. Articles submitted to PublishFast® are forwarded directly and confidentially to the editors of no less than five and up to ten selected journals which are indexed by Science Citation Index (SCI)*, Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI)*, Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI)* or Scopus* as selected by the authors during the article submission process.”

      This is unethical and unacceptable. They teach writers how to cheat. submitting an article to 10 journals at the same time seems funny and a big lie. Don’t they have to abide by the journal rules and state that the manuscript is not under review or submitted for publication elsewhere. Then how is multiple submission possible? OMG, who these guys are….

      • Guido B says:

        Well, they also say this in their FAQ:

        “Do you submit the same article more than one journal at the same time?
        Yes we do. However, editor are made aware of this. Our submission of articles is not an official submission until confirmed by any editor that the article is of interest to the journal. If any editor shows interest, we provide authors with a list of all journals which have shown interest in publishing their article and leave the final choice of the journal to our authors.”

        So apparently they do not really *submit* to multiple journals, but just ask some editors whether they would potentially interested. This makes their ‘service’ even lamer (although less unethical), because everyone could just do that for themselves at no cost. Also, they claim to “have contact with over two hundred high impact journals”, which is not a lot if they cover all areas of science…

  4. Ashley Hastings says:

    Call in the next five minutes and you’ll get this set of steak knives absolutely free!

  5. Ken Lanfear says:

    Too bad, because I think there’s a real need for a service that would pre-review manuscripts, help authors choose a suitable journal, and prepare articles with a realistic chance of acceptance. Young scientists in developing nations often don’t seem to have the mentors to help them in these important aspects of getting published. Once a weak article is submitted, journal editors only have time to give limited advice in their rejection letter.

    There is one and only one secret to getting articles accepted in top science journals: Good science!

    • Jeff Shrager says:

      Although not quite what you asked for, allow me to trumpet this amazing service: Nature Publishing Group (with which I am in no way affiliated!) offers an absolutely wonderful service that permits anyone, whether publishing with Nature or otherwise!, to send them a paper for editing by their professional editors for a very reasonable rate (if you’re willing to wait a couple of weeks):

      https://languageediting.nature.com/

      I used them when I had a reviewer on a paper who inexplicably couldn’t understand my writing, and insisted that I must not be a native speaker of English. (I most definitely am, having been born and raised in the US and having, probably at the time, over 50 peer reviewed papers to my name!) Who knows. Maybe I had writer’s block on that paper.

      Anyway, so after three rounds with the annoying reviewer about my grammar I sent the paper to NPG, and they “fixed” it. Then I sent it back to the editor and told them that if they still didn’t like my English they could argue with Nature.

      They took the paper! :-)

      Maybe these predictor publishers should send their web pages to NPG…or anyone, for that matter! … Which gives me an idea for a business: Predate on the predators! How about a service that, for a few tens of thousands of dollars will set you up in your own predatory publisher, including the whole workflow platform, a bogus name generator, and even a bogus review generator. Hey, it can even seed the thing with a bunch of paper created by SciGen! In fact, then it can even create a blog post for this blog announcing the new journal!

      • I think your English is excellent.

      • Liam Mac Liam says:

        That Predatory Publishing package sounds like a real money-spinner, Jeff. However you forgot to include the services of the shills to respond to the Beall blogpost by saying what a great publisher it is.
        Might be worth throwing in a few free retraction generators as well for early adopters.

      • Nils says:

        BTW, how do we know there are still any humans involved in this whole predatory publishing business? Anybody tried a Turing test?

  6. Dr. Arkroyd says:

    Jeffrey, did you look inside? It’s free of charge!

    In the box “Target Journals” you are requested to select not any specific journals but rather “the citation index in which you wish your article to be published”.

    You are then prompted to provide corresponding author details and an optional cover letter to the editor(s).

    Next – this is very important – you will need to tick a box to accept a most hilarious “legal disclaimer” which reads as follows (*** is my highlight):

    “Legal Disclaimer: Although we make every effort to find a suitable outlet for your article we can not guarantee that it will be accepted. Submission ***fee is non-refundable and the name of the journals or the editors that we contacted will not be disclosed***. Any named products on this website are copyright © and/or trademarks ™ of their respective companies and are hereby acknowledged. By checking this box you are agreeing to this disclaimer.”

    The only thing remaining is to give your credit card details or use the PayPal.

    So, they can pocket the money, have a nice time, and later let you know the paper was not accepted, sorry, fee not refundable (we spent it already).

    Worse still, they might actually send in your name and with your details your paper to ten journals, making you break their rule of unique submission ten times over.

    Or they might make better use of your credit card and identity.

    Want to enter such a lucrative business? Their site is run by http://www.submittable.com/ It is only 220 USD per year for 300 submissions per month. And Playboy uses it, too.

  7. Joro Paveto says:

    Well well ….
    Look here:
    http://www.europeanjournalofscientificresearch.com/ejsr_abstracting.html
    http://www.americanjournalofscientificresearch.com/
    Probably the victims of publish fast will be offered to pay the article processing charges in these journals.
    Both journals has been covered by WOS (now dropped) but probably they are still covered by Scopus …

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