Another Open-Access Innovation: Article Brokers

Aspirans.com

Brokerage house.

Aspirans.com is an article broker. In other words, it’s a company that will arrange for you to publish articles in scholarly journals. All that’s required is a credit card.

The company specializes in arranging the publishing of articles in journals that:

  1. Are indexed in Scopus, or,
  2. Have legitimate Thomson Reuters impact factors

Aspirans.com seeks out and finds journals that meet these criteria and also offer easy acceptance of articles. They find these weakest links and provide authors the service of getting published there.

The gold (author pays) open-access model has a conflict of interest. The more articles a gold open-access journal accepts and publishes, the more money it makes.

There are thousands of journals in the Scopus database and thousands of journals with Thomson Reuters impact factors. Many are in both databases. Occasionally, some of the gold OA journals in these databases “go bad” and skimp on peer review so they can earn easy money from desperate authors.

Article brokers like Aspirans.com specialize in finding these weakest-link journals and brokering the publication of articles in the journals.

Here is one of those journals. It’s the European Journal of Science and Theology.

European Journal of Science and Theology

Easy Journal of Science and Theology

I’ve learned of a connection between Aspirans.com and this journal, which is indexed in Scopus.

If you need a publication in a Scopus-indexed journal, you can contact Aspirans and they will help you. I am told the fee is $600.

Looking at some of the journal’s recent issues, one observes that they are large, full of articles, and many of the articles have no apparent connection to the journal’s focus, the intersection of science and theology.

There are many out-of-scope articles published in the journal, evidence of a connection to an article broker. Here are some examples:

Social Adaptation Features of Children in Foster Care
National Profiles of Internet-Communication Results of Cross-National Cluster Analysis
Urals and the Problem of ‘Eastern Ancestral Home’ Of Hungarians
The Fortification of Settlements in Medieval Alania

Recent issues of the journal show a healthy number of articles being published. Here is the data for volume 11 (2015):

11.1 (February)    = 24
11.2 (April)       = 18
11.3 (June)        = 24
11.4 (August)      = 24
11.5 (October)     = 26

The journal states that it will publish six issues per year, but it’s already published the August and October issues. That’s five issues this year, with five months to go.

European Journal of Science and Theology is cryptic about its author fees, saying only, “Page charge: There is no charge per printed page.”

Open-access journals, author payments, and the pressure to publish in indexed journals continue to bring much corruption to scholarly publishing.

The best strategy for researchers is to develop and submit their article manuscripts themselves to high-quality, well-managed, truly peer-reviewed journals, following the journal’s instructions, using the other articles as examples, and utilizing their own language editor if needed.

Brokers that promise to “fix” articles and submit them to the most suitable journal do it knowing that they can just make them look good visually and send them to weak-link or predatory “journals”, and so authors pay twice and earn no respect in their field.

18 Responses to Another Open-Access Innovation: Article Brokers

  1. Yurii says:

    This site is in Russian and it is hosted on a server from Kazakhstan. I think it might be a bit more complicated then just article brokers. From what I see they essentially offer editing, translation,submission services and as such are not different from dozens editing companies across the globe. Now, as for the list of journals that they select from – it is somewhat more complicated as well.
    In Russia (and I presume in Kazakhstan) there is a state entity called “Higher Attestation Commission” that oversees all academic degrees (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_Attestation_Commission)

    This organization publishes the list of journals that they consider legitimate. To fulfill degree requirement one need to be publishe in journals form this list.

    Aspirans.com seems to be working with the authors to translate and submit their articles to the journals from this list. I am not saying that these guys a legitimate but on the surface they are essentially operating as an editing/translating/submitting service limited by the requirements of the Higher Attestation Commission.

    They are somewhat expensive (in my opinion) and I am not sure I understand the point as there is a fair number of Russian journals in the Higher Attestation Commission list.

  2. European Journal of Science and Theology has nothing to do with Aspirans.com. As far as I know. But I will check it out.

    The rest of your comments request a detailed answer but I don’t know if it worth the effort.

    Does your site have the copyright agreement to use the header of EJST and to modify it? Please prove it.

    Dr. Iulian Rusu
    Editor-in-Chief EJST

    • I reject your denial.

      Because the image only consists of simple geometric shapes and/or text, it does not meet the threshold of originality needed for copyright protection and is therefore in the public domain.

  3. Alex says:

    It is not proofreading. It is russian and ukrainian nertworked mafia. Analogues of aspirans.com (publication in a Scopus-indexed journal + publications for Higher Attestation Commission) in Russia [Part 3]:
    20) http://iadces.com/ru/
    21) http://consultation.info/articles.html (SI Web of Science, ISI Web of Knowledge, Scopus, ISI PubMed, Astrophysics, Mathematics, Chemical Abstracts, Springer, Agris)
    22) http://ok.ru/group/52221675372695
    23) http://scopusrus.umi.ru/
    24) http://vk.com/scopusrus
    25) http://yaaspirant.ru/article/ctati-v-zhurnalah-scopus-i-web-science-ot-65-t-r-vk-comscopusrus-cayt-scopusrusgmail-com
    26) http://www.worldeventer.com/event/scopus-web-of-science,1140669985946943
    27) http://glodealer.com/events/krasnodar/uvazhaemye-kollegi-dorogie-druzya-scopus-rus-stati-scopus
    28) http://www.academicpapers.org/#!publication/c1pbk
    29) http://konferen.ru/preview/3671
    30) http://scipeople.ru/group/9772/topic/8628/

  4. liuhao says:

    May you analyze this journal (Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology)? One of the editor-in-chief (Dr. Harry Hua-Xiang Xia, http://www.jcthnet.com/index.php/editorial-board/editors-in-chief) is the owner of the publisher also(http://www.xiahepublishing.com/) who created editing service company in china(http://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%A4%8F%E5%8D%8E%E5%90%91) (http://www.medjaden.com/). I am curious about what he want to do. Whether he wants to have papers edited by him published in his journal fast to make more money?

    • I analyzed Xia & He Publishing (the publisher of Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology) recently and found it borderline. I did not add it to the list.

      I think you are correct about him wanting to make more money.

      Even though this publisher is not on my list, I would advice authors to use caution with this publisher. It’s is probably a better idea to find a stronger publisher than this one.

  5. stevelaudig says:

    I applaud Mr. Beall’s efforts. If you don’t have “clean” science its just smoke and mirrors and lobbyists and lying.

  6. The post is rather controversial. The most upsetting in it is that the information was presented subjectively and
    oversimplified. The author of the post should contact Aspirans.com for comments it would help him to understand the problem, unless of course he set himself such a task.
    Being the head of the Aspirans.com project I have no relations neither with European Journal of Science and Theology nor any other journal. We provide necessary information and consultation services to the authors, such as proofreading and translation. The author takes his/her own independent decision on which journal he/she wants to submit the article to. Proofreading of the articles and some instructions to the authors cause improvement of the article quality but it depends on the author willingness to work on it.
    Our services are not free, just like the services of any other agency.
    I’m not going to advertise our services here. If you are interested in more details on our services feel free to contact us via email info@aspirans.info.

    Aspirans.com CEO Denis Shakhov

  7. tekija says:

    Retraction Watch has a link to unethical behavior by OMICS, which often has featured here, in Australia, e.g. an unknowing Editor-in-Chief…http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/predatory-publishers-criticised-unethical-unprincipled-tactics/6656122

  8. tekija says:

    Retraction watch now mentions that these brokers/editing services may provide fake reviews that ensure paper acceptance – unbeknownst to the authors. This still leads to retraction of course, as a surprise to the same authors.

    http://retractionwatch.com/2015/08/17/64-more-papers-retracted-for-fake-reviews-this-time-from-springer-journals/#more-31295

  9. Edoardo says:

    Thank you for this interesting blog! Do you think that Medicine (Baltimore) http://journals.lww.com/md-journal/Pages/default.aspx may be an example of good OA journal?

    • It does not meet the criteria for classification as a predatory journal at this time, but it certainly does have many problems. I am publishing a blog post about this journal tomorrow.

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