Thursday, February 1, 2018

scientificliterature.org and how to identify scam medical journal publication sites

My wife has a friend who, together with her husband, are hard working medical professionals here in Spain.

She often writes articles for conferences and makes speeches concerning medical research.

Sadly, people like her and her husband are the target of unscrupulous scammers who use social-engineering to entice them to help them "publish" their articles and then surprise them with previously-hidden fees.

To have published papers is considered a virtue in the academic world; the medical profession is no different.  So when a prestigious looking website contacts you and asks you to write a paper, doctors will naturally want to participate.

You need to be careful!  I've written this blog post to highlight this particular company "Scientific Literature LLC"  Who are clearly scammers of the highest order.

Here are some quick and easy tips to help you determine if the website is a scam or not.

Study the site carefully

Most sites will look very professional, this is their ace card.  But with careful analysis you will be able to see through the fancy looking logos and text.




"Our company will support the new encroachment oh high eminence research articles through the open access policy. "

What a load of drivel.  In fact most of the text on this page is utter rubbish.  Admittedly for our Spanish-speaking friends, this will be harder and lots of business-speak can be unfathomable but this is clearly bunkum.

Our company is a non-revenue scientific publishing association which circulates high quality, peer-reviewed journals and formulates them easy to get too explicitly to all the learners

More drivel - and it even says it's "non-revenue"... so what are they doing sending Invoices?

These people are scammers; their spelling and grammar will not be as good as you'd expect from a reputable site.

Check the Social Links



On this site none of the LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or G+ links work.   One non-functioning might be excusable - but all of them! No way.

A reputable organisation will have a Facebook page with hundreds if not thousands of followers.  Look a the interaction of these users; are they commenting intelligently?   Look at the bios of the followers - do they look real or sparsely populated; meaning they could be fake too.

Look at the WHOIS of the domain name

Whilst this is not a guaranteed giveaway it can help in your detective-work.

Use a service like http://whois.domaintools.com/  just enter the domain name and the registrant information will be shown.



Some clues here; a reputable company is very unlikely to be using a "privacy service" of any kind, nor is it likely to have incomplete or incorrect information here.   Also unlikely to be using a "hotmail" or "gmail" address as the registered contact.

Everything shown on this page stinks.

Google the company name and the domain name

https://www.google.com/search?q="scientificliterature.org"

Use "quotation" marks if you are entering the domain name.

A reputable publishing service will referenced on many academic sites; like universities (ending .edu or .ac.uk etc), governmental sites (.gov) or other well-known entities.

This site has no such references.  Make sure you click through the results to page 4 or 5 at least.

Results for this company show they have been sending suspect spam, and are even on a list of "Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers".

Legality?

The reason "publishers" like this can get away with it is that what they are doing, whilst being a pointless waste of time and money, is not illegal.

What to do if you have been scammed?

It is completely unacceptable to suddenly receive an Invoice for work done; this is commonly disguised as "copy editing work" or "handling charges".

DO NOT PAY THEM.

Did you sign any contract where you agreed to any payment?  No, you didn't.  As in the case of our friends here they didn't.

So under what law are they going to enforce a payment?  None.

Simply delete the emails as they are sent.  No doubt the scammer has automated systems that will spew more and more serious and threatening emails at you, and all their other victims.

If you were to ever get to Court, which you won't, the judge would ask for the paperwork contract signed by you, which doesn't exist.

So sleep easy.

Please feel free to post the names of any other companies or people that have tried to extort money from you in the comments below, so other's can find them via Google.

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