A Scientific Journal Goes Down the Tubes

By Richard Horgan Comment

ExperimentalClinicalCardiologyCoverNew York-based magazine The Scientist has brought to our attention a reminder of just how widespread the corrosion of the print world has become.

Per their pick-up of a recent Ottawa Citizen investigation, Toronto-born publication Experimental & Clinical Cardiology was sold in 2013 by Pulsus Publishing Group to some individuals based in NYC. Those buyers apparently quickly flipped the magazine to new proprietors and the rest is sordid history:

The new owners claim to be in Switzerland, but according to the Citizen, contributor payments are routed to a bank in Turks and Caicos. “We don’t have a clue who these people are,” [former publisher Robert] Kalina told the paper. “It is very sad.”

Since being sold and moved offshore, the journal is now publishing anything submitted along with a fee of $1,200, packaging spurious studies as serious scientific papers. Citizen science reporter Tom Spears submitted a manuscript under the nonsensical title, “VEGF Proliferation in Cardiac cells Contributes to Vascular Declension.” The manuscript plagiarized the main text from a published article on HIV, replacing each mention of “HIV” with the word “cardiac,” and included blank graphs. The supposedly “peer-reviewed” journal published the paper.

Holy heartbeat. The original article by Spears is here. The reporter notes that Colorado academic Jeffrey Beall was among the first to spot the egregiousness, which appears to have become extremely profitable:

Experimental & Clinical Cardiology published 142 articles in July alone, worth a total of $170,000 U.S. for one month. It operates online only and doesn’t bother with editing, so it has almost no costs.

[Image via: cardiologyacademicpress.com]