Company Offers Academic Ghostwriting Service


Pay to write, pay to publish.

HallScript, a Lebanon-based company that specializes in writing- and editing-related services, offers ghostwriting as a service.

Currently spamming under a likely contrived name (Dale Keith Roberts), the company offers “holistic” language and copyright services:

From: Dale Keith Roberts <>
Date: Wed, May 25, 2016 at 10:06 AM
Subject: New service for clients
To: [redacted]

Holistic Language & Copyright Services

HallScript is a newly established enterprise consisting of highly qualified and experienced professionals (based in Lebanon and officially endorsed by the Ministry of Economy & Trade of Lebanon) offering superior quality services and competitive rates in translation, editing/proofreading, copyright management and design (digital & hard copy formats, in various major world languages). Added to these professional services are our expert content writers in finance, economics, business, technical & scientific subjects and much more. Our prestigious clients include the RAND Corporation and Cambridge University. We invite you to browse through the website on the Internet (go to –, and we hope to be able to have the unique opportunity of working closely with your business/institute, in the near future.

Managing Director

Miss Tina Maalouf

Ghostwriting involves paying someone to write something on your behalf, something you take authorship credit for.

In some domains, such as mass-market autobiography, it’s not considered unethical. But in scholarly writing, ghostwriting is unethical, and it’s considered a form of “academic dishonesty.”

The pay-to-publish model is leading to many changes in scholarly publishing. You pay to publish, and increasingly, some researchers pay companies to complete other parts of the research process also.

Researchers with access to funds will be more successful than those without. Merit, innovation, good ideas, and novelty will take second place to money in the bank used for scholarly publishing.

Scholarly publishing is becoming less about sharing discoveries and more about paying companies to prepare and publish something so you can get academic credit.

Hat tip: Dr. Solomon Stein

18 Responses to Company Offers Academic Ghostwriting Service

  1. Jeffrey, this type of service is rather common, and it would be presumptuous to think it is restricted to the developing world.
    Look at this:
    They are based in US, according to phone number.
    Or, here is one based in Germany:
    In UK:
    They all offer plagiarism-free services, how cool is this! Just to think of all the academics the system has chewed and spit out, so they can sink so low as to sell their services to their dishonest peers, who make careers with stolen degrees…
    Shall I keep Googling?

    • I never said it was restricted to Developing Countries; please don’t put words in my mouth.
      Sure, find me another one that uses the term ghostwriting and is directed at academics, and, if possible, has Columbia University as a client.

      • Jeffrey, the clarification about developing world was intended for your readers, hence my links about US/UK/German “service” providers.
        Ghostwriting needs a certain kind of faculty academics who wave such theses through. Buying a dissertation alone won’t do, you need a professor to accept it.
        Actually, I wonder if such services exist where an academic can buy publications, with paid ghost-writers writing and submitting them to one of the less scrupulous journals?

      • Derek says:

        Leonid, you wrote “Actually, I wonder if such services exist where an academic can buy publications, with paid ghost-writers writing and submitting them to one of the less scrupulous journals?”
        There was some debate in the economics blog sphere on whether this was a serious offer to sell a paper, or a joke:
        If true, it is not exactly a production line “service”. However, the journals he names are top journals.

  2. Sudesh says:

    How is ghostwriting different from the scenario when a company engages freelance content writers for its blog, takes the copyright from the writer and posts the content as its own?
    That happened with for a company blog, ghostwriting happens with academic writing.
    If someone does not have time to write, can’t he/she pay someone else to write for me, if that writer/company agrees? How is that academic dishonesty?

    • A “company blog” is not a component of the peer-reviewed literature. Please re-read what I wrote. Check the documentation I linked to.

      • P. Udoma says:

        Hear! Hear! I’ve never understood why people don’t get that academic writing is actually just as much process based as product based… It’s a LEARNING ACITIVITY to write a paper, people!

        For many years I wouldn’t allow my students to write their first and second drafts on a computer. lol! Handwritten only. Third draft could be typed. Talk about mitigating the likelihood of purchased papers… : )

        I never allowed them to pay others to type their papers, either, as it prevented them from engaging in the invention process that goes on in revision. They might see other things to change, while typing.

        I must sound very old…

        P. Udoma
        Pro-Cure Health Design

    • OffHours says:

      “How is ghostwriting different from the scenario when a company engages freelance content writers for its blog, takes the copyright from the writer and posts the content as its own?”

      I think along this line: a company blog is a public communication in the name of a legal entity which aims to sell services, products or ideas to the public, it is governed by commercial and copyright laws, advertising and marketing regulations. A legal entity is an abstract concept, it basically cannot write anything on its own, it can only pay its employees for blogging in the name of the company or outsource this task. While a natural or physical person earning an academic degree in his or her own name claims that his or her submission is the fruit of his or her own intellectual labor to prove his or her qualification. If someone does not have time to write, he or she should take an academic leave. Attempting to prove one’s qualification with someone else’s work is fraudulent.

      • Sudesh says:

        OK, I will modify my statement to read:

        How is ghostwriting different from the scenario when an “individual” engages freelance content writers for his/her blog, takes the copyright from the writer and posts the content as his/her own? In digital marketing, with persons who are too busy to write content for their own blogs, this is very common.Even in music, fiction and non-fiction industry.

        “While a natural or physical person earning an academic degree in his or her own name claims that his or her submission is the fruit of his or her own intellectual labor to prove his or her qualification.”

        Here I think we need to make a distinction between thinking, planning and doing an experiment / study and the process of writing the paper. Thinking, planning and doing an experiment / study is the real fruit of “own intellectual labor” which proves his or her qualification. Writing is a one part of the whole process. Probably more papers are rejected due to poor study design than due to bad writing. If a person can thinking, plan and do an experiment / study; why not pay someone else to write it, if that person can not and he/she has the money to pay for it?

        Ghost writing is frowned upon in medicine, when it is common in other fields, is probably due to its use by pharmaceutical companies to promote their products. But that is more of of a ghost-writer guest-write nexus.

        The practice of writing papers is necessary, even essential for young scholars – as it is a LEARNING ACTIVITY (P Udoma above), and practice makes a man perfect. It needs knowing the study inside-out, creativity, clear concepts, which help in the long run.

        It is interesting to note from Wikipedia – A 2009 New York Times article estimated that 11% of New England Journal of Medicine articles, 8% of JAMA, Lancet and PLoS Medicine articles, 5% of Annals of Internal Medicine articles and 2% of Nature Medicine were ghost written.

        So, high profile authors, publishing in high profile journals use ghost writers!!!

      • OffHours says:

        Sudesh, I wholeheartedly agree with the paragraph citing the importance of writing as learning activity for young scholars. To follow your thought, if any established scholar feels he has professionally grown far above that humble intellectual job of formulating his own thoughts and findings, isn’t it high time he started mentoring young scholars and, among other things, by giving them credit for reporting his research data, instead of forcing them to do it for free because they are dependent on him or instead of paying someone else for ghostwriting?

        To credit your ghostwriter or your student as your co-author is the only honest way to go in relation to your readership. As a reader I expect everything to be correctly attributable. Otherwise, when one falsifies the authorship, the next step for him is to falsify the research data, then to fictionalize the whole research. The latter is hitting pretty close to home. Let me assume there is at least an assocciation between the widespread academic ghostwriting and plagiarism in our dear developing science and hacking of Western subscription journals in hope that the percent of garbage is lower there.

        Digital marketing, fiction and non-fiction are three different beasts, science is a fourth one. I guess you do not reject George R. R. Martin’s writings on the basis of lacking a testable hypothesis and replicable results – these principles are alien to his genre; digital marketing and scientific research have different objectives and methods as well (who would have thought?)

  3. P. Udoma says:

    Ah yes… ghostwriting. Just another word for plagiarism. So “plagiarism-free” ghostwriting can’t actually exist. As someone who has taught writing at all academic levels beyond high school for 30 years, I wish we could travel the world with a giant butterfly net and catch all the crooks who are actually doing people out of learning — but not out of their doctoral degrees. They still pass with the fake papers, even defend plagiarized dissertations. Then they become — yup — professors.

    One thing I do want to bring up as a slight digression…

    The term “pay to publish.” I see it used a lot in our community.

    You see, I have the honor of consulting for OA companies who actually are operating ethically and want to be as good as they can be at what they provide.

    What concerns me about the term is that paying APCs does not mean in all cases that one is paying and then getting published *because* one has paid. Those are the crooked open access companies who do that. Anyone over 50 remembers those ads in the backs of comic books and magazines for the bogus poetry anthologies. EVERYONE got published. All they had to do was buy the anthology. That, to me, is “pay to publish.”

    The straightforward, ethical OA companies (and yes, they do exist) actually provide excellent (and liberal) peer review and have a decent rejection rate. If you are lucky enough to have your paper accepted, you then pay APCs because those companies have no other way to pay their employees and run their operations. “Pay to publish” implies an order of events that doesn’t apply here.

    I welcome all discussion. I am always learning.

    P. Udoma
    Pro-Cure Health Design

  4. Lynn Huntsinger says:

    Finally, a place to send struggling assistant professors.

  5. Ahmad Hassanat says:

    I think good quality ghostwriting is not exist so far, it is similar to those Forex brokers who try to convince you to make you a lot of money if you invest with them, if this is guaranteed, why not they work for themselves and get a lot of money, and then they do not have to kiss my!
    Same thing for a ghostwriter, if they are good writers, with innovative ideas, they can be very famous by publishing their “good” work, and no need to write to the others for money!
    Having known they failed there, they come to sell unpublished and bad quality work.

  6. Guy says:

    Dear Jeffrey,
    You wrote, “Scholarly publishing is becoming less about sharing discoveries and more about paying companies to prepare and publish something so you can get academic credit.”

    Based on my 30 years experience with academic research, the vast majority of peer-reviewed papers and presentations are timid, banal, redundant, and mostly pointless. My impression is that the entire structure of academic publishing, regardless of ghost writing activity, exists primarily so that teachers can accumulate academic points for employment status. Unless the basic structure is improved the results should be expected to remain quite the same.

    Some have suggested to me examples of successful, i.e. intelligible and meaningful genres of academic research including, robotics and semiconductors. In all such cases I find there is corporate money underwriting the academic departments, chairs, research topics, processes, and objectives.

    A sincere restructuring of academic publishing (in the absence of corporate influence), would begin with a review the original aims of the academic points system teachers are expected to follow. If the aims include; promotion of lifelong learning, advancement of the art, and production of intelligible, meaningful findings, well then the problem lies elsewhere in the structure.

    I very much appreciate your insights and findings with regard to how soiled academic publishing has become. Another blog I follow is called Retraction Watch. They curate, consolidate, and report the titles of retracted papers.

    Thank you.

    Kind regards,
    Guy Cihi
    Lexxica R&D

  7. KN says:

    Interesting! The email address bears the name “Dale Keith Roberts “. However, the person signs off as “Miss Tina Maalouf”

  8. OffHours says:

    It seems like there are writing skills in Lebanon which failed to find any way to be productively employed. As it is mentioned above by Leonid, such er… services are offered in western countries as well. Such “services” are a familiar cornerstone of educational process in countries based on the Russian academic tradition too. I used to assume that evident plagiarism is restricted to courseworks and undergraduate degree theses, while ghostwriting aimed to produce at least a mediocre quality paper able to withstand public scrutiny is blossoming on a PhD level, when a person with political or ‘scientific’ ambitions buys a prestigious PhD badge. Surprisingly (or not), there are anecdotes to the contrary:

    “Some of the intellectual theft Dissernet has identified is comic in its brazenness and absurdity. Duma member Igor Igoshin allegedly earned his economics degree by turning someone else’s paper on the Russian chocolate industry into a thesis on meat; the dissertation replaced every mention of “chocolate” with “beef,” “dark chocolate” with “home-grown beef,” and “white chocolate” with “imported beef.” All numbers, charts, and analysis were preserved in their original form. More recently, Dissernet revealed that an oncologist named Yuri Tsarapkin had handed in a medical article about breast cancer that was adapted—data and all—from someone else’s paper on stomach cancer. That paper, which was presented as a study of human subjects, turned out to have been plagiarized from yet another source: a study of cancer in dogs and rats.

    While academic fraud exists all over the world, the pervasiveness of the deception in Russia is unparalleled, as is the extent to which it is tolerated.”

  9. I find all this rather detrimental to the genuine efforts of Miss Tina Maalouf and myself to promote HallScript as a legitimate and reliable service for linguistic and legal spheres.

    We have both regional and Occidental clients; undertaking both commercial and academic commissions (which includes the RAND Corporation). Fundamentally, the location of the enterprise is intrinsic to specific translation resources (i.e. Arabic), while attempting to acquire commissions for other languages (certain colleges of Cambridge University access the service).

    Miss Maalouf and myself aspire to high professional standards and we do not compromise our devotion to this pursuit of excellence.

    As the saying goes, Do not judge a book by its cover…

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