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Tally of Elsevier's Fake Medical Journals Now Reaches 9 [Science After Sunclipse]

It all began with the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine. Then, the story continued with six more Elsevier "journals" turning out to be advertisements for corporate sponsors. Now, amid a flurry of buck-passing and corporate temporizing, the total has grown to nine.

Bob Grant reports,

Elsevier provided The Scientist with the names of additional custom publications produced by the company's Australia office from 2000-2005, that an Elsevier spokesperson admitted "should not have been called 'journals'." According to Elsevier, these other publications differed from AJBJM in that they were not sponsored by a single corporation, but were instead paid for by selling "clearly-marked" advertisements purchased by several pharmaceutical companies.

Like AJBJM, the additional publications did not contain original research. Sponsors had some editorial input, but not as much as Merck had over AJBJM, the spokesperson said. "We don't have any indication that any one of our advertisers or sponsors had the level of sponsor-editorial control that existed in [AJBJM]."

The nine spurious publications identified to date are the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, the Australasian Journal of Cardiology, the Australasian Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine, the Australasian Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, the Australasian Journal of Clinical Practice, the Australasian Journal of General Practice, the Australasian Journal of Hospital Medicine, the Australasian Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine and
the Australasian Journal of Neurology. While an Elsevier spokesperson claims that the problems with the other eight journals did not suffer the same severity of problems as the AJBJM, the contents of the other publications have yet to be reviewed by external investigators.

Questions of how much money was spent building this "phony journal empire" remain open.

Tip a' the fedora to Peter Suber.

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