Academic Journals Online is a scam

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <ams@toroid.org>

2013-02-18

Some weeks ago, I received a very spammy-looking email Request for Papers from the editorial team of Academic Journals Online (cfp@academicjournalsonline.co.in). Nine times out of ten, I would have deleted it without a second thought, but something about it annoyed me enough to investigate further.

Academic Journals Online (AJO) is a peer-reviewed online International journals [sic] that publishes manuscripts monthly.

I went to their web site (academicjournalsonline.co.in) and had a quick look around. The journals are all named "International Journal of Trends in …" (Computer Science, Multidisciplinary Engineering, Medical Science, etc.). The site claims repeatedly that they are open-access, but charges INR 500 to see more than the abstract of any paper. (The list of papers was accessible in mid-January, but has been made "Members-only" now.) I found no credible independent references to any of these journals.

Here's the abstract of a 2012 paper from the IJTCS, "Cloud Computing-An ASPRIN Wonder Solution To Ever Growing IT Needs":

Cloud computing has become the ASPRIN Wonder solution to the ever growing insatiable hungry needs of IT Organizations related to Private, government and corporate sectors, Aspirin in the medical world has been wonder solution for a number of ills affecting the human body similarly the fanatic believers of Cloud computing propose it as the wonder solution to the ever stressed out IT resources needed globally. The unquenchable thirst for collaboration and sharing has paved the way for cloud computing thereby heralding the entry of a much needed economical technological catalyst. Tetra bytes of information surge like a tsunami of data waves even as we read this paper .This paper deals with understanding its concept, and the advantages it offers via various models but also goes on to critically examining the adoption risks for implementing cloud computing , pointing the security challenges ,the users concerns, and more importantly factors needed to be addressed to update cloud computing.

The paper is credited to Profs. Yashpal Singh Bist (Management Studies) and Charu Agarwal (Computer Science) from the Daas College of Management and Technology in Dehra Dun. The college appears to exist, but does not have a web site. Being queasy from riding the surging data waves, I did not make any further attempt to find out if the authors exist. (This abstract was fairly representative of the other papers I looked at.)

Their site also lists an editorial board with 157(!) names. I selected a few people at random and wrote to the ones I could find contact details for, asking if they knew they were on this editorial board. The half-dozen replies I received were all negative. I also found AJO listed on fakejournals.blogspot.in (but that site is no longer up).

The academicjournalsonline.co.in domain is registered to a Sajeevan Rao Arigela in Delhi, who is also the head of the editorial board, and thus presumably the mastermind behind AJO. I sent him some mail (Cc:ed to the editors) saying I was surprised that a renowned international journal publisher would fraudulently list people on their editorial board.

To my surprise, the editor replied a few days later:

Thank you very much for your evaluation Report,

I would like to inform that We have all requisite documents which are required as the formalities for fulfillment of Criteria for the Registeration of Editorial Board Members.

Really, I am surprising to see that how the IEEE(India Strongest Body),ELSEVIER(Oldest Publisher),SPRINGER(World Renowed Publisher/AICTE Govt. Body Recommended to the Institutes to Subscribe),World Academic Press(Renowed Body),Academic Journals Online(Mother Organisation born in 1979),Philips Publisher,Apex (Distributor) are taken in to the list of Fake Journals.

Further, I would like to update that It is very diffcult to Challenge to the Academician & Professional Experts from all over the world Institutes & Industries to put the remark on his/her Research work-contributed and which has published with his/her declaration and Concent in term of Copy rights aswell.

Again, It is not fair to state that this is fake Journals and This Research Journals are build up by the contribution of the different Experts from different area of Specialisation.

I notice that AJO is also involved in a vocational skills certification scheme ("Certified Merger and Acquisitions Analyst", "Certified Twitter Apps Developer"). The good Dr. Rao, apparently a professor at Bharatiya Vidyapeeth University and the author of a couple of textbooks, is also featured in various photographs rubbing shoulders with Delhi's Minister for Health and Family Welfare among other luminaries.

Update (2012-02-22): Here are some articles about academic publishing scams:

Academic Journals Online is also listed in Beall's list of Predatory Publishers 2013.