Is "Modern Scientific Press" legit?
July 27, 2012 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Is "Modern Scientific Press" a legitimate peer-reviewed scientific publisher?

Several months ago, one of the "Modern Scientific Press" family of journals invited me to join their editorial board for a journal that I had never heard of but whose title is broadly descriptive of the area in which the lab I direct does research. I.e., it's not 'nuts' that I would be on an editorial board of a journal with this name.

Out of curiosity, I looked more closely at this journal, and saw my name now listed on their editorial board. I did not accept their invitation to join the editorial board, but was trying to get more familiar with the journal so that I could decide if accepting this invitation was a good decision.

Now I wonder if this publisher is a scam-publisher or not. Google does not reveal anything along these lines. So is "Modern Scientific Press" a legitimate scientific publishing house, or not?
posted by u2604ab to Science & Nature (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
From an outsider looking in, it doesn't look very legit. Almost every journal is called "The International Journal of Modern $SUBJECT", the covers are clearly fake, and a legit publisher would have a proper process for recruiting to an editorial board. Also, most of the journals appear to be at Vol. 1.
posted by scruss at 1:15 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

It appears to be a company created about nine months ago. I have a hard time imagining how this is a real peer-reviewed academic press.
posted by scody at 1:36 PM on July 27, 2012

On the one hand, they're just getting started as a new open-access publisher. Nothing wrong with that, and sure, the journals all start at Vol 1, no biggie.

But. They've put you up on the website (with your email, even!) without your agreement. That's not cool at all, and not a promising sign.
posted by secretseasons at 1:59 PM on July 27, 2012

This looks like the sort of thing I would not want my name associated with. Including your name without your permission is a severe ethical lapse, and I wouldn't want my name associated with that either.
posted by grouse at 2:08 PM on July 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

If a journal listed me on its editorial board with my explicit permission, they would be getting a letter from my lawyer so fast that their heads would spin. This is not something a legit organization would do. And if you direct a lab in the area in which the journal publishes, and you've never heard of it, that's a pretty big clue that it's a scam.
posted by brianogilvie at 3:14 PM on July 27, 2012

Response by poster: To be clear: I have communicated to them that I am not on their editorial board, and they should remove my name from the list. The question is really about the legitimacy of this upstart publishing house, which seems questionable. It would only take one 'bad-actor' in a publishing house that has tens of journals to add me impermissibly to their editorial board.

To be sure, they do appear 'low-rent,' but there's nothing wrong, per-se, with starting a new publishing house and new journals. And of course I won't have heard of a new journal, even if it is 'in my field' until I've heard of it.
posted by u2604ab at 3:32 PM on July 27, 2012

It's true that everyone has to start somewhere. But if you compare the quality of the scientific content, production, and yes, editorial board, of any of these journals with a journal from PLoS or BioMed Central in their first years (a mere 11–12 years ago, so I remember it well), this "Modern Scientific Press" appears quite a bit lacking.
posted by grouse at 3:46 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This is clearly a scam.

First off, they're a "Gold OA" journal — in other words, they want authors to pay them money in order to publish a paper. Gold OA isn't necessarily a scam, but a new Gold OA journal has to go way out of its way to convince authors that they're legit. And these guys haven't done that:
  • They haven't gotten anyone in legit academia to acknowledge their existence in any way. This thread is currently the second Google hit for the name of the company. For the couple of journal titles of theirs that I Googled, the only hits are on their own website. For a real journal, you'd expect announcements on some acadmic blogs and mailing lists at the very least.
  • They have a gabillion journals with totally generic titles, all founded at the same instant, which makes sense if you're trying to maximize the number of suckers you can pull in, but makes no sense at all if you're a real publishing company trying to grow in a sustainable way.
  • Some of the journals don't even have any editorial staff yet. They have a "Join Editorial Team" link on the front page, which isn't how any real journal in the world recruits their editorial board.
  • The site is poorly proofread. Worse: the titles of some of the journals have grammatical errors in them (e.g. "International Journal of Information Science and System").
  • Their "paper submission guide" looks like the top of a freshman comp syllabus, complete with big bold-print admonishments against plagiarism. In a real journal that would go without saying, and instead there would be real guidelines about the subject matter of the journal, the lengths of papers it accepts, and so on.
  • There aren't names on the site for an editor-in-chief, or any kind of advisory board. In fact, other than the "editorial boards" of each journal (i.e. suckers who have typed their names into that form or responded to an email like the one you got), there are no names on the site at all. The only postal address given is a PO Box. Whoever is actually running this does not want you to know who they are. This is totally unlike how actual academics behave: if you're involved in a project, by golly you take credit for it. What they're doing is, unfortunately, totally legal, but they are absolutely not a real good-faith publishing company.

posted by nebulawindphone at 5:36 PM on July 27, 2012 [11 favorites]

Is there anyone else on their editorial board whom you recognize from your field? If so, maybe contact that person and ask them about the journals (eg, were they also added without their permission, etc). If not, that seems like a strike against.
posted by hattifattener at 5:38 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Everything nebulawindphone said, and then some.
Get your name removed from their website as soon as you can!!
posted by Prof Iterole at 10:11 PM on July 27, 2012

Response by poster: Followup: My name is gone from the "editorial board." Not touching that stuff(!)
posted by u2604ab at 7:27 PM on July 31, 2012

Nature has a column by Jeffrey Beall on this issue, "Predatory publishers are corrupting open access."
posted by grouse at 5:04 PM on September 21, 2012

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