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Good practices

Forged confirmation letters

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which publishes more than 30 technical and scientific journals, has learned that its name is being fraudulently used to scam people out of money. At least seven researchers have been contacted by supposed publishing companies—one of which has been traced to China—which offer to help get papers published in ASCE journals in return for a fee. Authors who accepted the offer received a confirmation letter soon after that contained the journal’s letterhead and the expected date of publication, but the articles were never published. The manuscripts were never even reviewed by the editors of the journals. Of the seven deceived researchers identified so far, two were from Iran and five from China. In a blog post on website The Scholarly Kitchen, Angela Cochran, journals director at ASCE, suggested that as well as clearly explaining the fees and deadlines involved in the process, publishers of scientific journals should make the rules for submitting a manuscript more transparent on their websites—making it clear, for example, that texts can only be submitted to a specific email address and that all correspondence between authors and editors will be conducted via emails linked to that same system.

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