An egotistical Thai researcher claims he has “the most number [sic] of international publications as first author in global [sic] international record.” However, he mostly publishes letters to the editor and one-paragraph editorials, many of them in predatory journals.
The man is Viroj Wiwanitkit. He apparently loves predatory journals and serves as editor-in-chief of some and on the editorial boards of many others. He is a visiting professor at China’s Hainan Medical University.
He also loves to write short, vacuous pieces in journals — editorials and letters to the editor — to get his publication count up. Then he brags about the number:
Many of the letters to the editor and editorials he writes or co-writes seem to be written at the high school level. He strings short, declarative sentences together, sentences that merely state the obvious.
His correspondence pieces tend to be published in higher-quality journals, many of them subscription journals. How have so many journals fallen for his game?
In writing his letters to the editor, he trades in controversy, a strategy to provoke readers to write follow up letters, citing his earlier one. In this way, he gets cited frequently also, often in top journals.
His non-correspondence pieces are mostly published in predatory journals and are typically short. Here’s an editorial that appeared recently in OMICS International’s Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases, of which he serves on the editorial board:
The editorial’s text is just one paragraph. This clever researcher has figured out a way to make it look — on paper — like he’s a highly productive researcher. His altmetrics are also deceptively elevated. However, most of his publications are “easy” ones: letters to the editor and short editorials, chiefly in pay-to-publish open-access journals.
It’s ironic that a man who studies infectious diseases uses predatory journals to buy his way to prestige, for predatory journals are infecting all of scholarly communication.
Examples of letters to the editor written or co-written by Viroj Wiwanitkit:
- Bromide contamination in rice, cancer risk for consumer
- Re: Patient Preferences for Receiving Reports of Test Results
- Zika virus, autoimmunity and microcephaly: Other things for consideration
Examples of short editorials / articles: