Is This a Paper Mill?

Journal Publication

Is this a paper mill?

A recent article entitled “For Sale: ‘Your Name Here’ in a Prestigious Science Journal” published in Scientific American described paper mills, companies that — for a fee — arrange to write a paper for a customer and then get it published in a reputable journal. The customer is listed as one of the paper’s authors and gets academic credit for the publication, even though all he did was pay a fee to the company

I wonder if the company called Journal Publication might be a paper mill. Its flashy website has bold statements like “Get your research published in globally recognized journals” and “Superior consultancy provided to guarantee journal publication for your research.”

The site itself is not transparent. It provides almost no information about the company itself, such as where it is based. The domain name registration data lists Panama, but I doubt this is the firm’s location.

Journal Publication

Mr. Phyllis D. Dow ?

The website has a professional flair to it, but closer scrutiny reveals several telling flaws, such as the testimonial above, which shows a man’s picture with a woman’s name.

Another testimonial purports to be from “Ellen A. Allen, Standford University.” I think the name is contrived, and the correct spelling of the university’s name is Stanford.

I  recommend against using the services of “Journal Publication.” Save your money, write a good paper, and submit it directly to the journal. I think that most of the papers that companies like this one manage to get published will eventually be discovered and retracted.

Addendum:  After I drafted this blog post, I learned of an additional brand likely from the same company called The Research Publication.

24 Responses to Is This a Paper Mill?

  1. Frank Lu says:

    Question-do they also do the “research”? I can’t determine if this is so in glancing through their website. Very flashy and not scholarly.

  2. Frank Lu says:

    Oh, I checked the Research Publication site and they actually have some “execs” with generic Anglo names. Googling for Robert Frakes turned up a large number of images. Unless there was some surgical enhancements, none of them look like the Frakes in the RP website. Also, their “live chat” popup is the same as in JP. This reinforces Jeff’s suspicion that they are the same operation.

  3. I think you are being unfair, Jeffrey. Phyllis is actually a respectable businessman, as you can see here:

  4. Nils says:

    “{Thank you} to the experts…”? “I was able to get my {journal} published”? “Neilson {Comapny}”? Even if it were not dishonest to have your paper written by someone else, would you trust a company with such a poor mastery of english?

    • jshrager says:

      It is definitely not dishonest to have your paper written by someone else. It’s called ghost writing, and it’s done all the time. You don’t even have to acknowledge the ghost writer unless a/he desires it. Some explicitly refuse to be acknowledged. (I don’t know what the publication standard are for this, but the very most that that could reasonably be required would be acknowledgement.) The listed authors of the paper are the responsible parties. They agree to be responsible for everything about the paper. If they allow an unacknowledged ghost writer to screw up the paper, it is the authors, not the ghost writer, who get(s) the blame.

      • Samir Hachani says:

        ” It is definitely not dishonest to have your paper written by someone else ” ?????????? Are you serious ? I have written the very little number of papers I authored MYSELF and would not let anybody do that in my name !!!!

      • Many journals, especially the good ones, do not allow ghost writing (or gift authorship) and have requirements like this one I found: “All authors must warrant that their article is their own original work … “. So, Jeff, while your statement may be true in theory, it is often not true in practice.

      • Nils says:

        I’m also suprised by your comment, jshrager. I understand that a non-native speaker may ask a native speaker to have a look at the english (though serious journals will correct your english anyway while preparing the proofs), but that’s where I draw the line. Also, the hard part is doing the research, writing the paper is comparatively easy. Why would one hire someone to do the latter?

      • Nils says:

        @ maximilianhaeussler: The Wikipedia entry you mention does not seem to support that gostwriting is “accepted and prevalent”. It gives examples of some journals having between 2% and 11% ghostwritten articles, chiefly for research carried out by drug companies. And the entry says at several places that this practice may in certain cases be illegal.

        As Jeffrey said, many serious journals are quite explicit on the conditions for submitting a manuscript, and they usually exclude ghostwriting, guest authorship, and similar practices.

      • Frank Lu says:

        I’d like to respond to Nils from my selfish viewpoint that doing the research is easy for me as I’m a professor who can call on his students. Writing is the hard part since most students think that their job is over. Takes a lot of discipline to write — writer’s block, choice of words, blah, blah. I’m sure many of you have served as reviewers and have witnessed the atrocious papers that have been written, native or non-native practitioners of “scientific English.” Ah, we should all write in Latin.

      • Nils says:

        Dear Frank,
        You make it sound like your students do all the research, and you do all the writing. Perhaps that’s the way it is in your field. I’m glad it’s not as clear-cut in mine. When I cosign a paper with one of my students, both have participated in research and in writing. How else will the students learn to become researchers?

      • herr doktor bimler says:

        Ah, we should all write in Latin.

        How about writing in Lorem Ipsum? Occasionally the originators of new predatory journals are so lazy they leave the Lorem placeholder text in the website.

    • Frank Lu says:

      Hi Nils, Haha…definitely not so simple as I painted it. Writing is a collective, emotional affair. So much pain that finally results in joy. I just think that most scientific types don’t like to write and you are right. We have to train our students to write, and to write well. No copying, no ghostwriting, no doing things that their momma will not be proud of.

      Happy New Year and Beatus scriptis


  5. Robert Colwell says:

    Notice that Phyllis works for the Neilson Comapny [sic].

  6. Mohamed.Ali.Elnu says:…………funny…theses..are…composed..and…engineered….by…many…MSc.holders////

  7. Ross says:

    There are companies that will fix your English and submit the paper for you to the journal of your choice. However, you must write the first draft and review the changes. All they do is fix the English and put it in the correct format.

  8. KRLemmons says:

    Reblogged this on Lifelong Quest and commented:
    Let the writer be aware.

  9. i am not native english speaker, i have good ISI publications, english was not a problem, i send my articles to english editor before sending it to a jornal, so english is not justification of plagiarising.

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