Bambang Parmanto, a University of Pittsburgh information scientist, resigned from his editorship at The Open Information Science Journal(TOISCIJ) after reading a story on The Scientist's website yesterday (June 10) that described a hoax paper submission to the journal. Editors at journal claimed to have peer reviewed the article and slated it for publication pending the submission of $800 in "open access fees."
"I didn't like what happened," Parmanto told The Scientist. "If this is true, I don't have full control of the content that is accepted to this journal." Parmanto said that he had never seen the phony manuscript that was accepted by TOISCIJ. "I want to lessen my exposure to the risk of being taken advantage of."
Parmanto, who became editor-in-chief of TOISCIJ when Bentham launched the journal last year, said that he had reviewed manuscripts for inclusion in the journal previously, but that he made up his mind to resign from his volunteer position "because of the potential for abuse," of the kind uncovered by the hoax. Parmanto did add, however, that the perpetrators of the hoax -- Cornell grad student Philip Davis and Kent Anderson, executive director of international business and product development at the New England Journal of Medicine -- were also guilty of some degree of unethical behavior.
"This is a process based on trust," he said. "An author should submit something legitimate, and the process on the review side should decide if a paper is worth publishing or not. In this case, the process was broken on both sides."
A member of a sister publication's editorial advisory board also quit, saying he no longer wanted his name associated with the company.
The fake article was generated by a computer program that strung the words together.
The resignations are the latest twist in a growing scandal that has involved ghostwriters and fake journals sponsored by drug companies to promote their medications -- which turn out later to have serious side effects.