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Some of my colleagues and I got offers from employees of some reputed journal (not from journal itself), to publish our research paper for free, if:

  • We include their name as co-author
  • We use 60%+ citation of their journal (Doesn't it add up to IF??)

In return:

  • It will be published completely free
  • They will give us discount of some sort for next publication

Is it may be some kind of scam?

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6  
Also of interest: What are "fake", "shady", and/or "predatory" journals? –  ff524 Jul 13 at 18:19
51  
I'm sorry that this comment will seem harsh but I really can't think of any other way to say it: anyone who thinks for even a microsecond that this might be a reasonable offer seriously needs to read up on publication ethics. If these people really were employees of the journal and the journal really was reputable, they would be fired as soon as the journal found out what they were doing. –  David Richerby Jul 13 at 20:39
8  
Also, if that journal is reputed, I'd seriously think about forwarding that email to upper-level management person with short explanation about what's wrong. Such practices (I mean "include me as co-author") should be killed with fire. –  quetzalcoatl Jul 13 at 22:46
4  
What they are asking for is about as reasonable as telling you that they'll publish your paper only if you include a footnote with a joke about a priest, a rabbi, and a Buddhist monk who all walk into a bar and get into a mildly hilarious situation. Setting aside the issue of publication fees, the only thing that a serious journal should require is that the paper is good enough. –  Koldito Jul 14 at 8:02
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I agree with @quetzalcoatl: forward the mail to the official contact address(es) of the journal. They need to know. –  Raphael Jul 15 at 5:13

3 Answers 3

up vote 56 down vote accepted

This is a scam.

You are not the ones being scammed, however. The editors are proposing to scam your readers, with your assistance, making you scammers as well. Walk away before you damage your reputation.

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Whether or not this is a scam, it is completely unethical.

Under no circumstances is someone entitled to a publication credit in exchange for "free" publication of a paper. Don't forget that many reputable journals do not charge publication fees. It may be entirely possible for you to get your paper published without such an arrangement, which will be better for you, largely because any journal whose employees operate in such a manner isn't worth publishing in.

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Although this question has fully answered, just hear my point of view.

Have you ever asked yourself:

  • What obligations those people have to fulfill their promises? After all they have not committed to the basic ethic matters.
  • How are you going to claim the discount for your next publication?
  • What kind of publication this journal hase made, that you want to cite 60%+ of them in your work?

If you claim anything after this, they easily ignore the whole deal. The only thing that they have in their mind is to rise up their reputation, by any means. Charging people for publishing and then offering them discounts with this method, is just a scam. It's more like paper-cooking.

Don't let yourself to be used.

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