The brand-new mega oncology journal Cancer Research Frontiers is in the process of launching. It is not associated with Nature Publishing Group’s open-access imprint Frontiers, as far as I can tell. The journal is ambitious and makes many promises to prospective authors, promises I am not sure they can keep.
For example, the journal promises that peer review will be completed and acceptance decisions will be made within four weeks and promises that the articles will be indexed in PubMed and included in PubMed Central, even though these two services likely haven’t heard of this new journal yet. The website states,
Cancer Research Frontiers offers fast publication whilst maintaining rigorous peer review. Initial decisions on publication will be reached within four weeks. After manuscripts are accepted, they will be published online within 24 hours. Fully formatted versions of the article will replace the accepted manuscript within one week. Articles will then be available through PubMed Central and listed/indexed by PubMed.
Is a rushed peer-review process acceptable in a complex, precise, and crucial field such as oncology?
The journal is also trying to lure potential authors by hanging their ambitious impact factor plans in front of them. The journal’s website says:
When we started this journal, our editorial team set a goal: middle-high journal ranking within the categories [sic] of oncology, with an initial impact factor between 3 and 5 by 2016, and even higher later. We believe our goal are [sic] attainable because of our peer-review methods (quick and fair), a robust stream of submissions from top researchers, and a cadre of prestigious editors and reviewers.
The journal’s website makes these promises regarding indexing and impact factor:
Cancer Research Frontiers will be indexed by PubMed, Google Scholar, the Chemical Abstracts Service, Index Copernicus, DOAJ, and OAJSE after several consecutive issues have been published and Cancer Research Frontiers has fulfilled the indexing requirements.
Although Cancer Research Frontiers does not now have an Impact Factor, it is working with Thomson Reuters (ISI) to ensure that citation analysis of articles published in Cancer Research Frontiers will be available within three years.
On its ‘contact us’ page the journal gives this address:
123 3rd Ave, Suite 101, New York, NY 10003, USA
However, when I search this address on Google Maps, I see a drugstore.
Who is behind this journal? I have no idea. The domain name registration is “privacy protected” and provides no helpful information. I was surprised to learn that the Editor-in-Chief is:
William R. Brown, M.D.
Professor Emeritus of Medicine
University of Colorado
Denver, Colorado, USA
I was surprised because this is my university! I emailed Dr. Brown but have not received a response. Also, my university’s medical campus is in Aurora, Colorado, not Denver.
Did all the editorial board members really agree to serve? I learned about this journal through a doctor in Poland who received a spam email praising one of his earlier works and inviting him to submit a paper to this journal’s “inaugural issue.” The old “we read your excellent article, please send us one” trick.
The journal states that it is a member of COPE, but I cannot find it on their membership list. Is it lying?
The journal has published one article so far, an editorial, by the EiC, Dr. Brown, and one colleague. The editorial does not have a DOI associated with it, despite that the journal says it will assign them:
The correct term is “Digital object identifier,” not “Digital objective identifier.”
So, in summary, this is a brand-new journal that is making promises it may not be able to keep in order to attract article submissions, it is spamming authors using the old trick of praising their earlier articles, it promises a fast peer review despite the complex nature of the oncology field, and it seems unaware of scholarly publishing conventions. There are many open-access oncology journals out there, and this journal has not made a case that it’s better than the existing ones or worthy of manuscript submissions.
Here’s a copy of the spam email.