The business model of these "predatory publishers" is a scientific version of those phishes from Nigerians who want help transferring a few million dollars into your bank account.
To find out just how common predatory publishing is, Science contributor John Bohannon sent a deliberately faked research article 305 times to online journals. More than half the journals that supposedly reviewed the fake paper accepted it."This sting operation," Bohannan writes, reveals "the contours of an emerging Wild West in academic publishing."
Online scientific journals are springing up at a great rate. There are thousands out there. Many, such as PLoS One, are totally respectable. This "open access" model is making good science more accessible than ever before, without making users pay the hefty subscription fees of traditional print journals.
You could do all that brain work. Or you could make it up. Many online journals are ready to publish bad research in exchange for a credit card number.
That's the conclusion of an elaborate sting carried out by Science, a leading mainline journal. The result should trouble doctors, patients, policymakers and anyone who has a stake in the integrity of science (and who doesn't?).