Now — Attempted Bribery

Article production has its own corruptions, up to and including attempted bribery

Now — Attempted Bribery

For all the posturing about how OA is about democratizing and improving scientific communication, it seems pretty corruptible — from Plan S’ prime mover acknowledging that oligarchs were the ones to rally in order to get publishers to knuckle under and start serving their interests, to exploitative publishers like MDPI, to predatory publishers, to peer-review-eschewing preprint servers funded by Silicon Valley slush funds, it all reeks of big money and selfish interests.

In the world of OA incentives, article production is the coin of the realm, and getting articles out — and out fast — is a priority for various stakeholders, including authors, institutions, funders, OA publishers, and governments.

Speed and an assurance of publication are so important they are leading to attempts to bribe editors.

I was copied on a recent exchange between two editors who have seen more than their share of these attempts. This particular one involves an entity posing as a language translation service, even though the LinkedIn profile in question returns you to the individual profile (and the individual is listed as a “permanent” employee of the company).

In essence, the individual is offering the editor $1,000 he can pocket personally if he expedites the review and acceptance of a paper:

This is about as brazen as it gets — a commercial intermediary paid by clients to push selected papers into journals, and offering to grease the palm of the editor to help ensure swift handling and acceptance.

Similar offers have become increasingly common, but often they are of the suggestive variety — something more along the lines of, “If you, Editor, are able to expedite and publish some articles, we can certainly come to a mutually beneficial arrangement of some kind.”

Actually setting a price and describing the money as something the editor can keep personally set this one apart.

Have you or your editors been offered bribes to expedite the review and/or acceptance of papers? If so, I’d like to see more evidence of this, the techniques and prices involved, and who is originating the attempted grift. Please send what you have to me via email. I will anonymize when necessary, and if there is a sufficient response, I’ll share more examples down the road.

Also, you don’t need to palm me a personal $1,000 fast-track fee to handle your submissions in an expeditious manner . . .