SHANGHAI, CHINA—The e-mail arrived around noon from the mysterious sender “Publish SCI Paper,” with the subject line “Transfer co-first author and co-corresponding author.” A message body uncluttered with pleasantries contained a scientific abstract with all the usual ingredients, bar one: author names. The message said that the paper, describing a potential strategy for curbing drug resistance in cancer cells, had been accepted by Elsevier’s International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology. Now its authorship was for sale.
“There are some authors who don’t have much use for their papers after they’re published, and they can be transferred to you,” a sales agent for a company called Wanfang Huizhi told a Science reporter posing as a scientist. Wanfang Huizhi, the agent explained, acts as an intermediary between researchers with forthcoming papers in good journals and scientists needing to snag publications. The company would sell the title of co–first author on the cancer paper for 90,000 yuan ($14,800). Adding two names—co–first author and co–corresponding author—would run $26,300, with a deposit due upon acceptance and the rest on publication. A purported sales document from Wanfang Huizhi obtained by Science touts the convenience of this kind of arrangement: “You only need to pay attention to your academic research. The heavy labor can be left to us. Our service can help you make progress in your academic path!”… Continue ReadingSource: Science, November 29, 2013 Labex Korea on Twitter and Facebook