Another Respected Society Journal Victimized by Title Thief

Journal of Natural Products (counterfeit)

The copycat journal’s unprofessional masthead, boasting fake impact factors.

I learned recently of a journal whose title exactly copies the title of a respected journal in the same field, the Journal of Natural Products. The counterfeit journal is based in India, while the original journal is published by a respected scholarly society.

The copycat journal is apparently the effort of one man, Sudhanshu Tiwari. A recent statement that appears on the journal’s website under the heading “FROM EDITOR DESK” gives evidence of the journal’s low quality:

I wish all of you a very “HAPPY NEW YEAR (2016)” and I want to convey our cardiac thanks to all of you, due to your kind support we have published volume 08(2015) of our ON-LINE JOURNAL “Journal of Natural Products” (ISSN 0974-5211). We are also receiving huge amount of noble research paper for forth coming issue from all over world.

The letter continues:

All paper published by J.N.P. is blindly peer reviewed.

Well, they got that right.

The letter brags about all the fake metrics — including fake impact factors — the journal has “earned.” There are now a couple dozen companies that sell contrived impact factors to predatory journals.

The journals then display these impact factors on their websites to attract article submissions, particularly submissions from people needing to publish in impact factor journals.

It costs 5,000 rupees for one’s article to appear this pay-to-publish journal. Using an unoriginal journal title, a website, and some fake metrics, one can earn a good, steady living by tricking people.

Under United States law, one cannot copyright a journal title.

Journal of Natural Products (authentic).jpg

The legitimate journal.

The victim journal is the Journal of Natural Products from ACS Publications, part of the American Chemical Society.

Currently in volume 79, the journal originally launched in 1936 under a different title. There is a Wikipedia article about the journal that tells its interesting history.

There is no practical action that can be taken against copycat publishers such as this one. Because the bogus journal is open-access, libraries cannot cancel their subscriptions to it. There’s no way to make it go away.

As long as we have author-financed scholarly publishing, such scams will continue to appear and prosper.

Hat tip: Dr. Guido F. Pauli

 

27 Responses to Another Respected Society Journal Victimized by Title Thief

  1. My “cardiac thanks” (sic) to you Jeffrey for another interesting blog. The statement “As long as we have author-financed scholarly publishing, such scams will continue to appear and prosper” is a provocative one. You’re probably correct. Nonetheless, there are many things to admire about the OA model. For one, publicly funded research is available to the public. Secondly, researchers really do benefit from access to the literature, irrespective of the ongoing games of subscription roulette wherein large publishing houses have often got the better of university libraries. Thirdly, developing world scholars have at least read-access (and usually not at the cost of write-access). Of course you’re correct in the implication that where payment decisions are made by authors, not librarians, there’s more temptation to wire money to dodgy pseudo-journals. However, I see no reason why universities have to approve author-suggested OA payments to bottom-of-the-barrel operators, nor any reason why academics should either read their material or prop them up by unpaid reviewing or editing.

  2. Blair Hesp says:

    I’m not familair with US law, but in many countries based on the British legal system, such as New Zealand where I am based, civil action could probably be taken under the tort of “passing off”, i.e. deliberately trying to use the reputation of a well-known company to confuse a potential customer into thinking they are dealing with that reputable company. In New Zealand, this could also be considered to be “deceptive and misleading conduct” under our Fair Trading Act, not that any of this could be applied across borders.

    However, I would be interested to see how long this site would stay active in the face of legal action, especially as the legal actions above are inevitably drawn out and expensive, but if journals don’t act to protect their reputation, this will inevitably carry on and they will lose out as a result as their reputation gets dragged down by the imposters i.e. the legitimate journal gets confused witht he predatory journal. This is also an aspect of trademark law – if you allow your name to become used as a generic term, e.g. Hoover for vacuum cleaners, Sellotape for adhesive tape, and as a result of inaction, then your ability to do something about it lessens further with time.

  3. dWeb says:

    I’m going to start using “cardiac thanks” colloquially

  4. quiquelps says:

    I agree with John Mitchel on universities not being obliged to pay “author-suggested OA payments to bottom-of-the-barrel operators”. While I have used OA journals to publish, I have always attached Jeffrey’s list to my request for “costos editoriales”, trying to make the list a standard reference in my institution.
    So, OA must not be predatory or counterfeits and all that. JB’s list saved me of publishing with Bentham. I don’t want a bad karma!

  5. tudoreynon says:

    Thanks for your work by the way, I know you get taken for granted a lot, but it has been really useful to me recently. Thanks

  6. Perhaps a naive question, but can journal titles be trademarked, and can this kind of thing be addressed as a trademark infringement? http://www.uspto.gov/page/about-trademark-infringement

  7. Linda Zellmer says:

    While it is not possible to copyright a journal title, it is possible to file for a trademark on a journal title. When we had some patent training here at Western Illinois University, I asked about whether a journal title could be trademarked and was told that they can. Thus, the proper way to protect a journal title in the U.S. is to file for a trademark on the title. Of course, that just works in the U.S. and could be ignored by an operation in another country.

  8. herr doktor bimler says:

    There is a Sudhanshu Tiwari at the right location who’s published various papers on natural products, many through predatory journals from Hindawi and ScienceQ and IDOSI.
    http://www.hindawi.com/84231827/

    But he has published and continues to publish through the perfectly-legitimate “Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources” (was “Natural Product Radiance”), which may have inspired him to go into business, and inspired his journal’s title.

    • The Grim Reaper says:

      Herr Doktor, thanks for the tip.

      Observe closely:

      Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources
      Volume 8, Issue 1, 2014, Pages 48-54
      Changes in some biochemical parameters in the liver and muscle of Colisa fasciatus due to toxicity of ethanolic extract of Nerium indicum Mill. (Lal Kaner) latex
      Tiwari, S., Singh, A.
      Department of Zoology, D.D.U. Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India

      vs

      Natural Product Radiance
      Volume 8, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 48-54
      Changes in some biochemical parameters in the liver and muscle of colisa fasciatus due to toxicity of ethanolic extract of nerium indicutn mill. (Lai Kaner) latex (Article)
      Tiwari, S., Singh, A.
      Department of Zoology, D.D.U. Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur-273 009, Uttar Pradesh, India

      Identical titles. Identical abstracts on Scopus. Can someone access the full texts of both papers and conduct an analysis?

  9. Veno says:

    “Cardiac thanks” to you Jeffrey-I just learned a new phrase from the predatory journal! You have made my day again with some good sense of humour interspersed in a serious discourse. It is amazing how bold and audacious some of these journals can be to the extent of hijacking the names of legitimate journals! I hope that the ACS would put up a disclaimer about this journal before some people get deceived.

  10. Greg says:

    I think that there is a place for one more publisher in your list: International Academy of Business and Public Administration Discipline http://www.iabpad.com

    It has 7 journals. Hagen, Nassar and Hassan are very busy people – they are Editor-in-Chief / Editor / Managing Editor for all seven journals.

  11. sukumar shanmugam says:

    mr. beall can you give us list of attenticated journal list

  12. Ryan says:

    “Cardiac thanks”? What the hell is this? Here’s the best part: “J.N.P. is a very rapid response journal, its objective is to inform corresponding author of the decision on their submitted manuscripts within 15 DAYS of their submission.” That was awesome and very novel. I extend my cardiac congratulations to Mr. Tiwai, or whoever that may be, for his cardiac attempt.

    • Keith Fraser says:

      I think “cardiac thanks” is a mistranslation into English of a phrase equivalent to “heartfelt thanks” (probably using Google Translate or something similar).

      • Matthew P says:

        Or article spinning (in this case, “thank you” note spinning). This looks like a good place to put one’s thesaurus-based plagiarism.

      • MC says:

        Not unlike how immigrants in various countries in Europe are ridiculed for their over-the-top methods of thanking natives in their mother tongue. “Et tussen tak”, in Sweden, for example, gets a lot of snickers and laughs; it translates to “a thousand thank yous” and no westerner would say that.

  13. L_C says:

    I wonder if Tiwari has/ ever had any commercial interests in natural products?

    There’s a vague link between him and an old company known as Lanu Natural products (via his email sudhansh4@rediffmail.com), but nothing definitive:

    http://www.wealth-yp.com/Energy/NaturalGas/2012-08-16/51896.html

    The Alibaba account linked to in the site above no longer exists, but the company has ads on other sites such as ExportersIndia.com:

    http://www.exportersindia.com/lanu-natural-products/

    It appears to be a company ran by two sisters (Lalia and Nura) through their home in Georgia. It had a previous affiliation with GerTec GmbH in Germany and a purported supply source in Somalia. The business was registered in Georgia in 2003 and had a website that is currently only viewable through the Wayback machine:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20051226120007/http://www.lanu-naturalproducts.com/companies.htm

    It was officially dissolved in 2005, but continued to be advertised on Indian and Chinese websites/yellow pages until at least 2013. I imagine that it did not fare well in American markets since the product lineup included animal blood and serums.

    Also, regarding Tiwari’s other projects, he does have a book, which appears to be work from his old thesis (there’s an ‘about the author’ blurb if you click through the book images). It was notably published by the somewhat infamous Lambert Academic Publishing company:

    http://www.amazon.com/Effect-plant-extracted-compounds-fish/dp/3848445905

    There was a previous OA post explaining why this is a questionable company:

    https://scholarlyoa.com/2012/11/05/lambert-academic-publishing-a-must-to-avoid/

    Finally, while the title of Tiwari’s Journal is identical to the one from ACS Publications, the journal’s site and layout are strikingly similar to Natural Product Communications, a subscription journal that I believe was created a few years before Tiwari’s debut:

    http://www.naturalproduct.us/index.asp

    Although, I’m not quite sure how to explain this resemblance… It could simply be a matter of similar site creators/ website templates or another such connection?

    • herr doktor bimler says:

      while the title of Tiwari’s Journal is identical to the one from ACS Publications

      He has included a note within his Editorial Statement, clarifying the difference between his journal and the ACS journal of the same name. I am willing to believe that his reuse of the title was not intended to mislead.

      • L_C says:

        I am willing to to believe that he did not intend to deceive potential authors, but would still prefer that he and other publishers did not duplicate well-established titles since it obviously leads to confusion, especially if such a clarification is warranted.

  14. Ryan says:

    I don’t know about translation, but, if you are operating a publishing company, supposedly, it is imperative that, at least, you put up the content that is genuine and professional. I also happened to communicate with this Tiwari guy, and, frankly, he made my day. I never laughed this much just by staring my laptop screen.

  15. Adrian says:

    Dear Jeffery,

    I would like to ask about Academic Star Publishing Company ( Modern Environmental Science and Engineering Journal) that is new journal can we trust this journal or it s already on your list ?

    Thank you very much

  16. I am prof Dr Ali yousuf aalagha baghdad university sport college in iraq teacher from 1980 take part more than 100 conference in 40 country

  17. Mr.adithya says:

    Dear sir, as it is mentioned that ijbarr journal is standalone,for your kind information it is published by a publication named as slaapublications ,Bangalore,india. could you please remove this journal from this list,because we had published some paper in that journal,it may affect us.

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