For-Profit Dishonesty:

Malpractice in Scholarly Publishing

By Mikaela Felty on Jun 3, 2022
For over 30 years, IGI Global has been committed to ethical publication practices. In 2017, IGI Global was formally recognized by the Committee on Public Ethics (COPE) as a viable, ethical, and prestigious publisher of scholarly content. As a full member of COPE, IGI Global is passionate about not only maintaining the strictest ethical standards for its own publications, but also in protecting our researchers and contributors from unethical and predatory practices they may come across.
From predatory publishing to blatant scams, researchers and academicians must navigate through waves of unethical publishing practices in order to contribute to scientific knowledge. Many industries currently exist to take advantage of the research community and mass produce fraudulent or low-quality papers to pollute the academic sphere. Oftentimes, these companies will sell academic work to the highest bidder, leading to “authors” who neither researched nor wrote the paper. We would like to highlight two of these practices so that you may protect yourself from these offers and from tarnishing your reputation through academic dishonesty.
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Ghost Writing for Book Reviews
A researcher shared an odd experience that he recently had in an article from the Scholarly Kitchen. This researcher encountered a proposal from a company asking him to become a reviewer. This company was not a publisher, but facilitated business between reviewers and those who wanted credit for book reviews. This company would provide scholarly books in the researcher’s area of expertise, have the researcher write reviews of these books, then provide the name of the “author” purchasing the review to put their own name on. While it is the company’s preference that this person is listed as the sole author, the real author of the review may be listed as a secondary author on the review. The reviewer is promised an honorarium of $800 for each review published in a Web of Science indexed journal (Anderson 2022).
Why is This Problematic?
The true author of the reviews is not receiving authorship credit for their work, and the person receiving authorship credit is receiving undue academic advancement, despite having no connection to the actual author nor the process in developing the review.
How Do We Prevent This?
Journals can require book reviewers to affirmatively state that they are the authors of the review. This does not help with those who may lie; however, should their academic dishonesty be revealed later on, they have a record of the lie.
Moreover, researchers writing reviews for books should take complete ownership and credit of their work and themselves seek publications to submit the review to.
Selling Authorship and Coauthorship
Along the same grain as these “ghost authored book reviews,” thousands of academic paper mills are in the industry of selling authorship credentials. These papers are often of low quality or plagiarized, and more than often only accepted by predatory journals which lack the proper tools to detect these practices. Despite the low quality of these papers, these paper mills will charge those seeking to buy authorship anywhere between $1,300-$6,200 per article (Abalkina, 2021).
Why is This Problematic?
This situation is usually caused by promotion criteria and financial incentives for faculty from universities. Some scholars, unfortunately, will seek to take advantage of the system through these unethical practices. Even certain universities will take advantage of this behavior from their faculty to boost higher budget allocations (Abalkina, 2021). These practices harm the research community; not only are they contributing to predatory journals and industries which make their profits from stealing others’ content, but these scholars are flooding the available research with low-quality or plagiarized work and greatly diminishing the academic integrity of themselves and their universities.
Still, despite the “benefits” to the scholars and universities, the only real winners are the predatory journals and academic paper mills. Scholars are paying outrageous costs for low-quality articles to be put into low-quality journals under their names. When the scholar is exposed for their unethical practices, their reputation is tarnished, but the industries will continue to push on either way.
How Do We Prevent This?
There are organizations that can trace these fraudulent activities. The investigations by the RAS Commission and Dissernet have provided the ability for the academic community to trace the clients of paper mills (Abalkina 2021). This has helped to expose those who take part in this dishonesty, but these operations are very large.
However, the first line of defense comes from editors themselves, who should always carefully review each manuscript submitted to their publication and ensure that it undergoes a rigorous peer review process before making a formal decision on it.
Authors can also protect themselves from falling victim to such schemes by ensuring that journals they submit to have proper peer review processes in place and, if an Open Access journal, have clear guidelines on any Open Access processing charges and when they will be requested (i.e., after the peer review process has taken place and the article formally accepted into the journal). Authors should question any publications that ask for money in exchange for guaranteed acceptance of the article or in exchange for a quicker peer review process.
Should you have high quality papers that you are looking to publish in reputed sources, please visit the Publications Seeking Submissions page for a list of books and journals currently seeking submissions.
For more information, please contact the Acquisitions Team at
About IGI Global

Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA with a subsidiary office (IGI Science and Technology, Ltd.), operating out of Beijing, China, IGI Global is an independent medium sized academic publisher committed to facilitating the discovery of pioneering research that enhances and expands the body of knowledge available to the global research community. Working in close collaboration with expert researchers and professionals from leading institutions, IGI Global disseminates quality content across 350+ topics in 11 core subject areas, including business, computer science, education, engineering, healthcare, social sciences, and more. All these publications have been contributed by over 150,000+ industry-leading researchers and experts worldwide, ensuring that each title contains the most emerging and timeliest research. To learn more about IGI Global, click here.

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I've been publishing with IGI Global, however my publications have been rejected in my institution. they consider it to be predatory. how can I do to convince my employer that it is not among the predatory publications?