Paper mills are companies that write scholarly articles and then sell the authorship to researchers needing extra publications. They then arrange to have the articles published in prestigious journals. I have evidence that a possible paper mill is looking for journals in North America that will collaborate with it and publish its brokered articles in exchange for money.
Paper mills are in the business of selling authorship on articles to authors needing publications. A paper mill may have someone on its staff actually write the articles, or they may contract this function out. The articles may have four or five authors, and these authorship spots are sold to their customers.
Some paper mills will submit articles individually, the way it’s normally done, acting on the corresponding author’s behalf.
But I am now seeing the possibility of larger, more wholesale operations taking shape. Journal editors have forwarded to me solicitation emails from possible paper mills seeking to publish papers in impact factor journals from North America. Here is an example:
From: 李丽 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Inquiry for information about time of reviewing and charges for publication.
Date: April 16, 2015 at 10:13:00 PM PDT
Dear respected editor,
I am the director of foreign trade of International Bauhaus Science Press. I heard that your Journal(ADVANCES IN NURSING
SCIENCE) is very famous and is also popular in readers. Now our Press has received many articles of relevant field. When searching your website we found that some of the articles meet the requirements for publication in your esteemed Journal so we want to contribute to you. Could you please inform us the time of reviewing and the charges? Looking forward to your early reply.
The publisher mentioned in the letter is International Bauhaus Science Press, and this may be a front for a paper mill. I added it to my list of questionable publishers in November, 2014. Its website was skeletal, with little content, and it is now blank. It was located here, but this link is dead. A Google search for the press retrieves this site, but it isn’t really a publisher’s website. [The Wayback Machine’s version of the original Bauhaus site is here.]
The journal they solicited, Advances in Nursing Science, is a respected journal with an impact factor — just what paper mill customers want.
I would advise journal editors to be on the lookout for such solicitations. I think these are not legitimate and should be rejected, as the editor of Advances in Nursing Science wisely did.