Report: “Russian Site Peddles Paper Authorship in Reputable Journals for Up to $5000 a Pop”
Since 2019, Anna Abalkina has been monitoring a website that offers an illicit way for scientists to burnish their CVs. The site, operated from Russia, openly offers to sell authorship slots on soon-to-be-published scientific papers, for fees ranging from several hundred dollars to nearly $5000.
Abalkina, a sociologist at the Free University of Berlin, has documented what appears to be a flourishing business on the site, www.123mi.ru. Since it debuted in December 2018, she has analyzed more than 1000 advertisements posted there and found at least 419 that appeared to match manuscripts that later appeared in dozens of different journals, she reported in a preprint posted on arXiv in March.
More than 100 of these identified papers were published in 68 journals run by established publishers, including Elsevier, Oxford University Press, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, Wolters Kluwer, and Wiley-Blackwell, although most of these were specialized publications. Russian authors outnumbered any other nationality on the website’s tally of recent contracts.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.