Everything’s Bogus at The Journal of Nature and Science

Bogus peer review.

Bogus peer review.

If you haven’t already, you may soon receive a spam email from the predatory Journal of Nature and Science (JNSCI) — I just got one myself. The spam email will praise one of your recent articles and ask you to re-work it into a short, new article for the journal. It will be signed by “Dr. Frank, Ph.D., Editor/Reviewer,” a contrived name.

“Dr. Frank” is really Aiguo Wu, a former postdoc and later staff researcher at UCLA. He lives in Monterey Park, California and operates the journal out of his apartment.

Another former researcher turned publisher.

Another former researcher turned publisher.

Wu’s image and profile appear on the lab website of UCLA’s Dr. Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, at his “NeuroLife Laboratory.” However, Wu’s LinkedIn profile indicates he left the lab (and UCLA) in 2013 to dedicate himself to the journal, spamming and cashing in on the easy article acceptance the journal offers.

Manage Your Own Peer Review

Indeed, the Journal of Nature and Science stands out for allowing scholarly authors the option of arranging their own pre-submission peer review and then sending the review reports along with the manuscript to the journal, where it is then rapidly published for a fee.

The details.

The details.

The journal’s “Peer Review Process” page spells it out:

Before Submission: Your manuscript has been reviewed by two or more reviewers and improved based on their comments when you submit it to JNSCI. That means the peer review process is completed by yourself before you submit it to JNSCI.

JNSCI is more than happy to publish your pre-pub peer reviewed article.

Naturally, such a system is subject to abuse, with authors writing peer reviews of their own papers and submitting them as if they were from peers.

JNSCI’s Marketing Strategy

The journal’s niche is that it offers researchers the ability to publish short articles quickly and cheaply — and with the self-done peer review.

Wu charges 99 dollars to publish a research article and 80 dollars to publish a review article. If you got one of the spam emails, you are an “invited author” and have the opportunity to ask for a 50% discount on the fees.

He also offers a free option, but the published papers are not published open-access, and authors must transfer copyright. The papers are then available through a pay-per-view option. He profits from either option.


Wu’s shabby journal is an affront to both nature and science. His spam emails are annoying many busy researchers, and they should cease immediately. The journal exists only to enable Wu to make an easy profit from researchers’ need to publish. I wonder if he is reporting all his income to state and federal tax authorities.

Hat tip: Dr. Kathryn H. Jacobsen

Appendix: The spam email I received:

From: Dr.Frank | Editor [mailto:publish@jnsci.org]
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2016 7:52 AM
To: Beall, Jeffrey <Jeffrey.Beall@ucdenver.edu>
Subject: Dangerous Predatory Publishers Threaten Medical Research.-

Hello, your paper is so interesting to me. May I ask you:

Could you contribute short review based on your published papers OR report your new research findings in JNSCI?

JNSCI (2377-2700) has published more than 100 interesting articles from Editor-invited and/or NIH-funded authors.

You can submit online: www.jnsci.org OR by email: admin@jnsci.org

Your paper may be published rapidly within just one week. Hope you have interest at this time OR in the future.

Thanks for help.

Best wishes,

Dr. Frank, Ph.D., Editor/Reviewer
Journal of Nature and Science (JNSCI)
ISSN 2377-2700 | www.jnsci.org | Los Angeles, CA
Note. I do not have mailing list, but send you this personally (not automatically) after I saw your interesting paper. Please forgive me if you received similar email.

28 Responses to Everything’s Bogus at The Journal of Nature and Science

  1. Keith says:

    Why would he give his alter ego only one name? (Possible answer: he thinks it’ll prevent people from Googling the mysterious Dr. Frank to see if they’re legit, and therefore he assumes they’ll then give up and submit their papers without checking his bona fides, as opposed to not submitting their papers at all.) Is “Frank” a first name or a last name? Is it supposed to be short for Frankenstein (pronounced Fronkensteen, (C) Mel Brooks)?

  2. tekija says:

    Frank – doesn’t the very name inspire confidence!

  3. $ dig +short -t txt jnsci.org.rhsbl.scientificspam.net
    “[JNSCI] [Aiguo Wu, aka Dr. Frank, puts your own article subject right here] publish@jnsci.org 20160924″

    What a coincidence.

  4. wkdawson says:

    Jeffrey, I do agree with you that there are many strange things that are hard to understand with this one.

    Nevertheless, I don’t think it is necessary to opine that “I wonder if he is reporting all his income to state and federal tax authorities.” Perhaps you are right and it is surely wise to be wary. However, it is a peripheral issue of personal character and integrity, it elicits bile, and it really assumes the worst ugliness in people. It is better to focus your fury on the pertinent wrongdoing.

    He could be just naive (with his peer review model) and thinking he is clever (with his “Dr Frank”). He was a researcher/staff scientist, so I could just as easily assume that he had some dream he wanted to fulfill.

    I’m not saying that my assessment is better, only that none of us know his real motives or character.

  5. Apoptosis says:

    So modest. Wonder why he didn’t go the whole hog and call his publication ‘Journal of Nature, Science, Cell and Immunology’ or ‘Journal of Nature, Science and Clinical Investigation’. The acronym hints at the possibility…

  6. Riaz says:

    I loved the journal name. You have got both “Nature” and “Science” under one single title. How cool is that!!

    • Marco says:

      How about the journal called “Nature and Science”? No need to say you published in the journal of nature and science, you actually can say, without blinking, that you published in “Nature and Science” – http://www.sciencepub.net/nature/

      It’s the home of this hilarious paper:
      Easy experiment to visualize dark matter…or it could be dust…

      • Keith says:

        Flippin’ heck…

        “Choose a convenient dark room whose roof
        is made up of tiles. Make an artificial hole by slightly
        rearranging a tile. If this dark room is facing north,
        the convenient time for doing this experiment is
        between 8.00 am to 9.00 am or 4.00 pm to 5.00 pm.
        during sun light. This test mainly depends on
        climatic conditions. Particularly the sun should be
        visible and bright to the naked eye. Choose an ideal
        time and lock the doors and windows of the above
        mentioned room. While the sun’s light rays moves
        from top to bottom in the dark room, along the light
        path countless number of very tiny particles can be
        easily seen. For this viewing, no sophisticated
        equipments/apparatus are required. What are the
        physical phenomena of this result?”

        Congratulations. You have discovered dust.

      • wkdawson says:

        The word “obfuscate” is rooted from Latin: “around” and “darken”.
        Politicians typically obfuscate
        Therefore, politicians must have loads of dark matter; they’re always keeping us in the dark aren’t they?

        it almost works… :-)

  7. James Hartley says:

    Thanks for these informative e-mails.

    What do you suggest we do when we get one? I usually ignore them, but is it worthwhile replying to say we are aware of what they are up to? Is it worth saying that we are forwarding their e-mails to the Inland Revenue! Or would this just stir up further trouble for us!


    Jim Hartley

  8. FD says:

    Regardless of the peer review model that is questionable as authors themselves could send their own comments as reviewers, the name of science (as a field) and nature (as an environment) is not the proprietary of anyone. So, I do not see any bad in such a name. Science and nature are part of our life, but not the copyright or the possession of any journal or individual.

    • Keith says:

      One issue is that it’s an overly general title. It’s all very well for long-standing “most important papers” journals with large editorial teams and access to top peer reviewers, like the actual Nature and Science, but a poorly edited start-up journal calling itself something so generalized just smells of “We’ll print anything”. A start-up journal would be better off sticking to a narrower field (preferably one that doesn’t already have over 9000 journals dedicated to it) so that it only needs editors and peer reviewers with expertise in that field.

      (I’m still waiting to see a naff journal calling itself the Journal of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, though there probably already is one.)

    • CN says:

      The main issue here is that Science and Nature are the two journals every academic wants to publish in. Well, in my field this new awesome journal would be “The Journal of Nature, Science, and Physical Review Letters.” None of those words are proprietary, but would cause much hilarity when combined.

      • FD says:

        Why every academic wants to publish in Science and Nature…?
        It is NOT true that every scientist wants to publish in Science or Nature.
        Is there any difference between journals published and accessible online? Are the letters or pages of some journals made from precious metals and other journals from plastic tissues?
        Can you tell what would be the difference to read a prose her or there or anywhere else if it is bearing an interesting message?
        What would you get more by reading a piece of text on a paper tagged Science or Nature compared with a paper tagged Journal X in Biology, or journal Y Chemistry or Z in Medicine…etc?
        Science and Nature and many other journals have built their “reputations” on biased metrics (impact factor) that many scientists ignore the deficiencies.
        With Internet, this has been changed now. The impact factor is a deficient measure, and there is no much difference between journal pages. The main element in publishing is the content but not the form or journal name.

      • wkdawson says:


        It is not exactly “every academic”, but most of us who are serious researchers consider the quality of some of our discoveries or ideas worthy of publishing in top journals, such as those. It would surely look better on a resume and would make it easier to get hired if you have such arrows in your quiver.

        Moreover, there is a certain value in the quality of peer review of these journals. It is not always exactly true, but having been asked to review for one of the Nature journals before, I did see the work of other reviewers. On the other hand, I have also seen some reviewer’s work that was far better in my guest editor stent at Entropy than and many top journals. So the most important thing is to have reviewers who actually read and think about your work and don’t play politics. Those reviewers are priceless and you should thank them, sincerely — even if they are harsh with you. What you want is that your paper shines, and peer review of a good idea can really do that — and it can also improve mediocre ideas too.

        Of course, there is also the dark side of this. It would pay to remember that Rutherford, an excellent English scientist, called nuclear power “pure moonshine”. For all the glitter and pomp, the bloke on the street is almost just as qualified as the so-called “expert” to predict the future. So the hype and arrogance that comes with these things, and the notion that success is really powered by one’s own strength and abilities is a far too oversold aspect of this venue. A lot of this is the product of good luck, good circumstance, good opportunities and good timing, though obviously some genuine skill is a critical prerequisite. Some people are very good, but misfortune follows them around. So it is not exactly as it appears.

        Moreover, there is a tendency to game the system because of the points. Because there are vast pressures to obtain the good life, fraud in varying shades also happens. This blog attacks OA, but it is a problem everywhere. Maybe it is easier to get away with it in these obscure OAs, but I think this was always the case even long before OA was even a concept.

        So it is not like everything good and worthy is in Science and Nature, and everything junk is elsewhere. Gold can be anywhere, dross also.

  9. DeviKaran says:

    I received a similar email yesterday!! Not even a word changed in the content except for the title of my article. How lazy is that!!

  10. FD says:


    Sometimes I feel that many so-called ‘scientists’ are too naive when they associate quality to journal X or Y.

    I’m afraid that this kind of speech that spoils the scientific fields and makes pleasure to the praised journals to continue spoiling the field.
    Can you tell why one should recruit someone who has on his CV a journal X more than journal Y if the ideas published in the ‘top” journal X has nothing useful compared with those in non-top journal Y?
    The academic environment is sick by such distorted vision and biased judgment.
    Nature and Science have now many open access sister journals whose the goal is to win millions $ per year but not for their “high quality”. The problem is that the number of naive scientists who believe and repeat this misleading claim is crazily great!
    The “quality” has nothing to do with journal X or Y.
    Publishing a paper in a so-called “top journal” won’t give it more intrinsic value than publishing in a personal web page. Sometimes, we can find valuable information or interesting ideas in this blog (of Jeffrey Beall) much more than in Science or Nature…
    By the way, can you define what ‘quality’ does mean? How do you judge that a paper is of a higher quality than another? Is there any unbiased scale or ladder for this?
    The system is already deeply gamed and biased. It is not because some journals such as Nature or Science describe themselves as top journals that we should believe it.
    Most if not all authors submit to Nature or Science not because they wish to have ‘tough peer review reports” but because of the artificial and biased advantages they will have. The goal of authors is to have their papers published as easily as possible but not to have “quality” and reluctant peer review. It is not the journal that offer the peer review but the peers that we can find them in any field, any journal.

    If you submit a good idea to Nature and Science but you get a peer review report that rejects it, what did you benefit from their ‘quality’ peer review?
    Another example: if you have product X (say PC or smartphone) that you sell it to buyer 1 or buyer 2, will your smartphone have more intrinsic value or quality if it was bought by buyer 1 rather than buyer 2, or inversely?
    The same principle for articles (products) and journals (buyers); it is not the buyer who give quality to your product but your product itself (i.e. your ideas, analysis, argument, judgement, etc. but not the journal).
    Many scientists and researchers need a lot of training on the objectivity of judgement but not only to work as robots and to repeat what they read without critical eyes that journal X or Y is of high quality!

    • Keith says:

      “The “quality” has nothing to do with journal X or Y.”

      In theory (note, in theory), if a particular journal is more selective in the papers it publishes and uses superior editors and reviewers to do so, then the research it publishes will be of higher quality. It’s not that the journal conveys quality in and of itself, but that it selects for quality. Obviously this does not always work as intended, but anyone evaluating a piece of research should of course actually read it and assess its apparent quality themselves. The journal in which it is published is simply a preliminary indicator (i.e. if it’s in one of the “top” journals it’s worth at least having a look at, if it’s in one of those listed by Jeffrey it probably isn’t), in the same way that the abstract, the professionalism with which it’s laid out etc. are preliminary indicators.

      “If you submit a good idea to Nature and Science but you get a peer review report that rejects it, what did you benefit from their ‘quality’ peer review?”

      The realization that you missed an important error in your work, which you can now go back and correct? Experience in how to present research to an acceptable standard? You seem to be falling into (or blithely accepting other people falling into) the trap that creates all these predatory journals, namely the assumption that the end-goal and/or measuring standard of research is publishing papers.

      • FD says:

        Let’s first define what “quality” means and how do we determine it? “Quality” is a very subjective term that does not mean much in the scientific arena. The same applies for “superior editor” that you used here. What a “superior editor” or “superior reviewer” would mean?

        The indicators you mention are often false or biased indicators.

        Editors and reviewers are humans whatever the journals or fields. They could have plus or minus experiences and could be right or wrong, and this is not specific to a given journal, either.

        Of course, when money is the sole goal, there would be many issues whatever the journal. Note, however, the goal of all journals is primarily money, particularly for Nature and Science…. Take a look at their subscription fees or their open access fees and will you see! These journals abuse of the naivety of many scientists and administrators who believe that these journals are “top” journals while in reality, they are not.

        Do you find it normal that a library should pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as a subscription fee for Nature or Science while the money could be used to develop or modernize the library itself or improve the conditions of its employees? Neither the content, nor the real costs of any journals, as highly ranked as it could be, justify such exorbitant fees.

        The standards are also an elastic term that varies from field to another and from one person to another. However, the scientific methodology is often the same; observation, test and discussion and conclusion. The discussions and conclusions are often personal views that could be true or false, whatever the journal, author, editor or reviewer…

      • Keith says:

        FD – There are things that can generally be agreed upon as indicators of quality or lack thereof in a scientific paper. The badly written papers published in the predatory journals tagged by Jeffrey show obvious examples of the latter: grammar errors that render information ambiguous or incomprehensible, inconsistently labelled figures or equations, mathematical errors or inconsistencies, inadequately explained conclusions or leaps of logic, major extrapolations from a few experimental data points, etc. Editors and peer reviewers at scientific journals should act as gatekeepers to separate properly written-up, rigorously carried out research from shakily founded, incomprehensible stuff written to satisfy quotas or promote an ideological point. In theory, under a free-market ethos, journals which do a good job of this deserve to earn higher fees so that they can pay their editors a salary that reflects their skill and integrity. (One can obviously discuss whether subscription fees adequately reflect the quality of a particular journal.)

        When you eliminate the badly written papers, ones with flimsy logic, ones with inadequate evidence to back up their claims etc., then yes, it becomes harder to single out the highest-quality or most important papers. So to an extent, I guess, I agree with you – a few “elite” journals shouldn’t be lauded too much above all others (the same way graduates of “elite” universities or secondary schools shouldn’t be given overly preferential treatment). However, I’m less concerned with this end of the spectrum of quality and more with eliminating the stuff at the bottom which may be perpetuating misinformation or just obscuring higher-quality research under a pile of incomprehensible flim-flam. It’s all very well to say that all research can now be published for free on the Internet, but most people don’t have the time to wade through every unedited paper on sites like Vixra to find nuggets of useful and reliable information.

    • wkdawson says:


      If reviewers reject a paper submitted to Nature or Science, I would say that it depends

      If there was something seriously wrong that you somehow missed, you would probably prefer that it not be published and then learn for yourself this mistake.

      If it was inadequately argued (but it is right), well, if it is good peer review, it will still help you. After all, if these reviewers had issues with your explanation, then obviously readers will too. The reviewer report is only a helpful indicator of how other people will receive the paper. Then you can think over the comments and try to rewrite the paper in a way that addresses those opinions.

      Now, I am very well aware that some reviewers and editors could be politicians, and if that is your lot, they will treat you badly and sometimes even steal you work. I don’t know what proportion of the times that actually happens with Nature or Science, but certainly in Science it does happen and it is not impossible that it does happen.

      If you mean this latter point, then yes, I agree that the system is far from fair and it can even be far worse than that.

      I mentioned Rutherford. It It is true that real innovation can be very difficult to recognize and I suspect they miss it all the time. They are surprisingly risk averse, so the obscure journals are more likely to publish real innovation than these top journals.

      Nevertheless, they do receive submissions from people all over the world, many of whom are genuinely good. Maybe you yourself for example. Would you say that all people who submit there are simply doing so to game the system? If you felt that you had a very news worthy idea that should be broadcast to the world, would you still chose an obscure journal?

      I agree with you that the product (the work the author does) is what is most important, and I think administrators should evaluate a person’s work based upon what they have really done, not where it was published.

      • FD says:

        “Quality” and assessments of manuscripts are subjective opinions of people who might be “right” or “wrong”, depending on what and how we consider something as “right” or “wrong”.
        Editors and reviewers who are in charge of a manuscript in a given journal do not exceed ~ 3-4 people in most cases, so they do not necessarily represent the whole community and their opinions might be less or more critical than they should be.
        I strongly agree with you, many editors and reviewers could be politicians, or politicized, or thieves of ideas, and this happens in all journals including Science and Nature. Actually, considering the many biased advantages to publish in these journals, the theft of ideas might be much more frequent than in other journals as reviewers or editors always try to draw benefit for their own agenda.
        In addition to steal authors’ ideas, Science and Nature steal ideas from each other. In many cases, they cover similar topics or special issues either at the same time or successively. Besides, they accept papers more easily when authors publish in either one!
        I do not say that all people who submit to these journals they do it to game the system because the system is already gamed, so they continue to gaming it further!
        Now, with the Internet, the broadcast of interesting ideas is no more limited to journal X or Y. A simple post on a website could help popularize or broadcast ideas. Gone the day of the monopoly of scientific advancements by some journals, but the naivety of many so-called scientists does not help mitigating this harm.
        I saw many examples of “scientists” bragging their published paper in Science and Nature even when they publish in one of the mushrooming or countless journals of the NPG group: one author has tagged his paper published in Scientific Reports as “Nature Scientific Reports”!
        You can imagine the goal behind such a show-off!
        Many Chinese journals are now published in association with NPG in a paid model (as was the case for Frontiers) and I suppose that Chinese authors would also brag all their publications as Nature Journal X, Y, Z….!
        In other words, many Chinese societies now delegate the publications of their own journals to NPG to appear “prestigious” in the eye of other competitors or countries against an important amount of money paid to Nature for this purpose!
        You should know the ridiculous example that a Chinese author will get recompenses of $30,000 when they publish in Science or Nature, as if the letters or pages of Nature or Science were made from diamond and other journals from dust!

        You can imagine the pressure and frauds that such a policy could generate particularly in the absence of ethical rules.

      • wkdawson says:

        FD: I can basically agree with you. Incentives like large payments and promotions to prestigious institutes for publication in these journals verses the tough job of actually reading the papers of the scientist and making an assessment based on the content is quite dangerous.

        It is ironic when one contrasts this with the life of people like the co-discoverer of calculus. Both Newton and Leibniz developed calculus, largely independently. However, Leibniz developed the very notation for integrals and derivatives that is learned by _every single_ engineering and science major (almost exactly as the original!). Yet only the man’s secretary attended his funeral. The man died alone. So much for all the cheap pomp and charades of academia.

        Apparently, genuine value and innovation is rarely attributed correctly, even by experts.

  11. FD says:


    The indicators you talk about (predatory journals, ‘bad’ writing…etc.) are subjective indicators and they are not always indicative of ‘quality’.
    You certainly know that illiterate cookers could make ‘better’ meals (high quality food!) than highly educated guys while cookers might be unable to write a full sentence without errors!
    The same in industry where workers could produce ‘good quality’ products while they might be uneducated or never went to high schools…
    An author could also produce a ‘good’ work but he might say it ‘badly’ for different reasons (for ex. the writing language is not his native language, etc.). South Korean or Japanese… speak English “badly” but they are able to make ‘good quality products, don’t they?
    Writing is not always a good indicator of “goodness” or “badness”. There are well-written garbage papers in Science, Nature, Cell, Lancet, etc.
    Journals are simply means of dissemination of ideas and debates that could be wrong, true, good, useful, useless… etc.
    When you see Nature bragging its index or people who publish there, you understand some of the publishing goals.
    Check it out, it is mostly for profit and money that journals, scientists and institutions, etc., are ranked.
    Dividing people or journals into ‘prestigious’ and ‘rabble’ is an elitist and harmful practice in science and society.

    • wkdawson says:


      Mostly, I can agree in principle. However, I think it needs the proviso that your views are about articles submitted by authors in good faith. Unfortunately, this is the real world where some politicians (of varying shades of dirtiness) also exist; fair enough to emphasize “everywhere”.

      On the other hand, it is also true that, _some reviewers_ (and editors) actually do take their job seriously and try their best to fulfill the obligations of reviewing and helping the authors.

      I agree that we should not rely too heavily on cheap and facile metrics, we should judge people based upon reading their work or be silent, Whereas impact factor and number of citations may measure whether the work is a “hot topic”, such is not an assessment of genuine value.. Mathematics usually does not gain much of any practical significance for many centuries at best. Maybe some of it has none, but could still be interesting. Is that bad? Who knows?

      Likewise, on your point about linguistic ability It is not necessarily a measure of quality either, though people should do their best to express their idea clearly, That is also an important part of scientific communication. Nevertheless, I agree that “bad writing” does not necessarily equate with “bad idea”.

    • Keith says:

      As I noted, the superficial factors discussed are only preliminary indicators of the quality of research. However, it’s the job of a competent editor to help turn a poorly-written but important paper into something of an acceptable professional standard. Editors who don’t do this, and happily allow illegible/incoherent papers to be published, are not doing their job properly and are potentially harming the careers of people who haven’t yet learned how to present their work well.

      This applies similarly to issues relating to people publishing in a language that’s not their first. If a journal publishes papers in a particular language, then it’s the editors’ job to sort out problems with an author’s use of that language, by requiring them to have their work properly proofread and amended before submission (or before final publication) and/or by carrying out such editing themselves. Different journals have different policies on this – of two journals I’ve done peer review for, one instructed reviewers not to list English errors unless they distorted the author’s meaning, while the other instructed reviewers to use the accuracy of English writing (or lack thereof) as one of the criteria for acceptance/rejection of a paper.

      Regardless of a journal’s policies, papers that are badly written, confusingly laid out etc. are less likely to be read in full, because people will give up reading them if they’re confused as to the author’s meaning and/or if they suspect the preparation of the paper was sloppy (because people who can’t be bothered to number their figures consistently or get an English speaker or professional editor to proofread their grammar are more likely to have also failed to label their experimental samples correctly or check their results).

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