Iran-Based Paper Mill Seeks Collaborations with Scholarly Journals

Aria Farnoos Isatis

Also called “ART Group.”

Iran-based Aria Farnoos Isatis Co., Ltd publicly presents itself as an author services company, providing translation and copy editing services to scholarly authors, but a close analysis of the spam email it is sending to journal editors and publishers reveals a questionable motive. The spam email bears this title: “Collaboration proposal in journal publishing/ impact factor increasing.”

I got a copy of a spam email this company sent to a journal in southern Europe. In the message, the company refers to itself as “ART Group.”

These selections from the spam reveal the firm’s true motives. Again, this spam email is a proposal being sent to scholarly journals and publishers:

Our Headquarter is located in Tehran with affiliated offices in Ahvaz, Mashhad and Isfahan. We also have partners in India, Pakistan and Iraq. We also have offices in three major universities of Iran where we provide the aforementioned services to faculty members and researchers. We have more than 4000 regular registered clients who use scientific publishing services of our company.

Regarding the aforementioned descriptions, we offer you a collaboration proposal in two fields: Journal paper submission and Impact factor increasing plan.

Description of proposal: ART Group sends you high numbers of papers, 20 papers per issue for the start. We review the scientific contribution, novelty and scope of the paper and select the appropriate prepares. Then, we prepare the manuscripts performing the language editing, journal formatting and finalize them for submission.

Peer review process: ART group can perform a peer review process for each paper and evaluates the scientific contribution of them. In this case the expected submission to publication period will reduce to 20 days.

Impact factor increasing plan

Description of proposal: ART Group has more than 4000 regular clients who are faculty researchers from different universities in Iran and other countries. We have collaboration contract with three main universities in Iran. As a result, high numbers of scientific papers are handled by our teams. We offer journal selection, editing and scientific consulting services for these papers. We can cite the published papers in your previous issue(s) of your journal in the papers submitted in high Impact Factor journals. These plan guarantees the impact factor increase of the target journal through a 1 to 2 years period.

ART Group cites the papers published in the target journal in the papers submitting to the high IF journals to increase the impact factor and cross or self citation indices of the target journal. In this case we need the archive of previous issues of the journal. Usually, we firstly submit some original and review papers of our clients into your target journal. We expect a rapid peer-reviewing process for our submitted papers. We will submit two to five papers for each issue of your journal and cite these papers in future high IF journals. For each issue, depending on the subject and field of study one to five citations are achievable.

ART Group has currently partnership agreements with several journals and publishers. Also, high numbers of highly H-index authors use our services. Therefore, we have good potential in offering the impact factor increasing services.

The spam email is signed:

Ali Yadollahpour

Avoid like the plague.

Ali Yadollahpour

Ali Yadollahpour

I think that A. Yadollahpour is really Ali Yadollahpour. I cannot confirm that he is really a DOAJ (Directory of Open-Access Journals) associate editor as he claims in the spam email, but it may be true.

I was easily able to find unoriginal, uncited text in his article “Applications of Expert Systems in Management of Chronic Kidney Disease: A Review of Predicting Techniques.” Yadollahpour clearly knows how to work the system to his advantage.

I think this guy and his company are a threat to the integrity of scholarly communication. I wonder how many publishers this company has signed up as clients and how much damage it’s already done.

I strongly recommend that scholarly authors and scholarly journals avoid doing business with Aria Farnoos Isatis Co., Ltd.

Appendix:

The full spam email, with the recipient publisher’s name redacted.

13 Responses to Iran-Based Paper Mill Seeks Collaborations with Scholarly Journals

  1. Bill Williams says:

    Scary!

  2. Journal editor says:

    Dear Dr. Beall,

    Thank you for sharing this great piece of information. Actually this is not the first case and there are hundreds of these illegitimate shops and centers in Iran.
    Here is the case, there is a street in Tehran, called Enghlab where you can find many book shops, printing shops and so on. There are plenty of shops over there in which they offer different services. As a student, researchers, lecturer, you may go there and buy whatever you wish in few minutes. You can purchase, small research papers in English and Farsi, theses, journal articles, dissertations and whatever you need. Whatever you need is to have a few $ is your pocket. In case if you can not find the paper or dissertation that you need, you can order and they will write for you and if you also need some papers to publish out of it or beside that, they will charge you and will take care of it. Indeed to gain your MA, MS, PhD, you don’t need to be a hardworking one and know the ABCs of the research, but to make sure that you have some peppers ($) in your pocket when you enter into a shop.
    The one you posted is very typical and no wonder the writer can be an Iranian.

    Anyways, let me introduce something astonishing.
    You are most welcome to take my message, alter it and write your next post.

    To begin with, I think you have had a post earlier about ISC (Islamic World Science Citation Center) which the center of all of these problems. [http://www.isc.gov.ir/] (https://scholarlyoa.com/2013/12/31/what-is-the-real-motivation-behind-the-islamic-science-citation-index/)

    Since that post was written by someone else and some parts were irreverent to the goal of ISC, I decided to wire this note and inform the others what is going on.

    To me, there are a number of reasons which might be convincing enough to add ISC to the Misleading metrics companies list in your blog.

    1. There are many journals in ISC masterlist in which either publishers or journals are predatory.

    2. It seems that there is no criteria to evaluate the journals and they include and exclude the journals based on no reason.

    3. Although they have mentioned that they only include journals from ISLAMIC countries, seemingly there are many journals that are from none-Islamic countries and this is in contrast with rules and regulations.http://www.isc.gov.ir/ShowFaq.aspx

    4. Oddly. ISC has been established against ISI. (it is founded during the previous government and I am sure the current government is longer going to give them a face). Some people call is Islamic ISI which is totally meaningless. The previous government noticed that Iranian science production has been declined drastically [http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13931012000156] . And that is why they founded ISC. Since it aims to compete with ISI, universities began to give credits to researchers who publish in ISC indexed journals. In fact, the amount of credit was almost the same as ISI indexed journals. Clearly it doesn’t make a difference to them to publish in ISI or ISC journals which is not fair at all. They began to index journals from different countries such as Turkey, some Arab countries, Malaysia, China, Pakistan etc. I hope those countries stop indexing their journals in ISC, because it is predatory metric organization. If they don’t so, their quality will drop and will find themselves in a situation where Iran is now.

    5. I also realized that they have started giving impact factor to journals indexed in ISC in which you have highlighted that no has got such a power to assign IF except thomson R.
    Here is the link and I am not sure why they have not done this web-site in English. Perhaps, the only reason is to convince authors from Iran and Islamic counties to publish their paper in ISC indexed journals which has fake IF.

    http://hrank.isc.gov.ir/scientific.aspx?page=all&year=1388&typ=0&stat=0

    It is obvious that the ISC intention is not contributing to the science, but also to stop it and It is really sad to see such a rudimentary movement. On top of that, they have recruited some people who are not really expert and and have a little knowledge about indexing, research, metadata etc. This is of course apart from the founder (Dr. Mehrdad) who resigned recently.

    In conclusion, it is an unnecessary small organization which has been established by Ministry of Science Research and technology during the past government to waste money and hinder the science production. Instead of funding ISC, they could and still can fund researches and encourage the researchers to publish their findings in reputable journals. Be it Subscribed or Open access. Iran doesn’t need ISC and universities should stop giving credit to authors who publish in ISC journals because not only do not they contribute, but also they seriously betray and discourage serious and experienced researchers. Publishing in ISC is not comparable to publishing in an ISC journal and it is not fair at all to give the same credit.

  3. Should we not question anyone engaging with a company headquartered in Iran, with partners in India, Pakistan and Iraq? Sounds like the scholarly axis of evil!

    But secondly, a reminder to question the value of Impact Factors and glamour publications.

  4. David says:

    He is not DOAJ Associate Editor. He is actually using this association to attract people. DOAJ is a reputed organization. I am also forwarding this post to DOAJ.

  5. Guido B says:

    Wow. I think this case is striking because it is so blatant. It looks as if they really don’t think there is anything unethical about impact factor gaming…

  6. A concerned Author says:

    Unfortunately, Iranian scientific community is plagued with numerous fraudulent acts which are genuinely appalling and disgusting. I would like to share with you one of the most egregious ways used by some so-called scholarly authors when it comes to producing a paper. I have recently learned that there are some articles published in domestic Iranian journals that are actually mere translation of papers published in other languages, especially English language into Persian. Authors involved in such blatant actions just go to the bother of translating a paper published in a high-quality journal into Iranian language and then publish it in their own and institution`s names . This happens mainly due to the fact that domestically operated journals in Iran seriously lack thorough review processes and this aspect that a submitted paper by an Iranian author might be just a translation of foreign authors` works is never investigated by many Iranian journals.

  7. Amar Sing says:

    The problem of translating paper from one language into another one exists in any society!

  8. An Iranian Concerned says:

    Islamic Scientific Index (ISC) suffers from the following issues,
    1. The idea of this index is to attract high quality journals published by Islamic countries indexed by other well-known indexes to its index and provides metrics for the Islamic countries. However, after about five years, most well-known journals headquarter in Islamic countries have not welcome this index. Therefore, any data released by this index is bias.
    2. Many journals headquartered in India, Pakistan, Turkey or Arabian countries whose editor-in-chief could not list their journals in well-known indexes have joined this index. Some of them have nothing to do with Islam, neither editors are Muslim nor country is mainly run by Muslim!
    3. The Ministry of Science, Research and Technology (MSRT) of Iran is the primary founder of this index. MSRT gives credit to journals published in Iran and recently ISC index, on its Persian forum, has stated that they index journals which are already confirmed by MSRT. As a result, they extracted many journals published by Islamic Azad Universities. The problem is that this index under present circumstances is more a function of MSRT rules and confuse of what it was originally planned to do! It is clear that they really do not know about their strategy, rules and regulation. These days, most newly introduced indexes such as DOAJ have placed their rules and regulations for indexing on their websites. ISC does not have such rules and regulations.
    4. I believe Islam and indexing science has no correlation! People could contribute to science regardless of religion, race or nationality. In today’s world, everyone has to be concern about Global Warming, EBOLA, AIDS, etc.

    In today’s technology, one can categorize so called Islamic run journals using well-known databases such as Scopus, Scimago or even ISI. It is an easy task to put some filter on data provided by well recognized databases and extract what they need. Therefore, sooner or later, the founder of this index will come to conclusion to change the business model into a more legitimate one.
    I believe Iranian Scientific community could get rid of some the present challenges by closing ISC index department and asking people just to publish high quality journals indexed by ISI, Scopus, Compendex, etc.

  9. ART Group says:

    First of all I believe when a person claim itself as an academic person, it should act academically or at least a minimum of fairness.
    you are a unprofessional and very superficial guy that announce such critical information about a real person with registered company. Al of your investigations are unreal and fake. I will file a legal appeal against you and your website. You are supposed to immediately remove this post as all of its content are insulting our professional aspects. Which kind of spam email you are talking about. As our professional services and our experiences in journal publishing with more than 4400 regular clients we offer a publishing collaboration to some limited journals. You misuse and iklegally publicly disseminate the private information and content whose recipient is inclusive and this is an illegal action. We will demand an intense claim on this.

  10. Ali (pseudonym) says:

    I am an Iranian researcher in applied linguistics. I am really sorry to hear that the price of knowledge and science in my country is under the appropriate level. I admit that we made big mistakes regarding the matter of scientific papers. However, Please never judge us by those frauds like this company. when I read your comments about my country and my people, I was really ashamed and angry. Be honest, I never plagiarize and never translate. I guarantee We will change our policy. In near future, we throw low value article from our system. please be patient and don’t consider these base men as the whole range of researchers in Iran.
    I want to use offensive words for these people who are not researcher. I doubt whether they are human and understand that what they do is against national and international law

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