Russian website reportedly selling science article authorships
Several websites are reporting that a Russian website is selling authorships for research papers being published in several journals. Sites making such claims include retractionwatch.com and Science Chronicle—they are further claiming that the Web of Science group Clarivate Analytics has been investigating the Russian-based website—called 123mi.ru—and has found evidence that the group behind the site is selling authorships on research papers that are set for publication in scientific journals.
The name of the entity accused of selling authorships is International Publisher—translations made by Science Chronicle suggest the group behind the site is selling authorships on finished articles listed in Scopus—and also some listed by Web of Science. There are apparently authorship guarantees and tiered pricing.
The website also reportedly has listings for 344 articles that are currently ready for publication for which interested parties can purchase first, second, third or lower authorships. Science Chronicle notes that 73 of the papers are to be published in India-based journals, 54 based in Venezuela, 48 in the U.S., 33 in Russia and 28 in Pakistan—the names of the journals are not given. They also note that the site claims that all of the papers have already been approved for publication, though they do not name them or the original authors.
Science Chronicle spoke with the Web of Science group's external communications director, Amy Bourke-Waite, about the site in Russia, and say she believes that the website is dealing in authorships on real papers. She reportedly also told them that they are continuing to investigate the site and the group behind it.
Meanwhile, the team at retractionwatch is reporting that they have found evidence of 10,000 researchers paying to have their names added to over 2000 published articles they played no role in creating. They further claim that they have found evidence of paper authorships being sold for as much as $500 for first authorship. They also claim to have received ideas on how the website works from Web of Science Editor in Chief Nandita Quaderi—junior level people working for a publisher are called with requests by a "professor" claiming to have forgotten to include a certain co-author. Because such papers have already been accepted for publication, names can be added after editorial review.
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