Thursday, May 7, 2009
As it turns out, the big publishing house Elsevier didn't just put out one "fake" journal, it apparently put out seven during the early 2000s, according to this Scientist story by Bob Grant. Elsevier now says that it is conducting an internal review of its publishing practices in order to make certain that such things do not happen again. The journals were apparently part of a marketing scheme carried out to accommodate at least one pharmaceutical company. Michael Hansen, CEO of the Health Sciences Division said in a prepared statement,
Elsevier prides itself on operating its business in the most ethical, honest and transparent manner possible. We have been stewards of the scientific record for more than 125 years and we take our role in advancing medical and scientific research seriously.
It has recently come to my attention that from 2000 to 2005, our Australia office published a series of sponsored article compilation publications, on behalf of pharmaceutical clients, that were made to look like journals and lacked the proper disclosures. This was an unacceptable practice, and we regret that it took place.
We are currently conducting an internal review but believe this was an isolated practice from a past period in time. It does not reflect the way we operate today. The individuals involved in the project have long since left the company. I have affirmed our business practices as they relate to what defines a journal and the proper use of disclosure language with our employees to ensure this does not happen again.
We will continue to partner with all scientists and clinical investigators, including those in the pharmaceutical industry, to help communicate the findings of high-quality, peer-reviewed medical research. We have strict disclosure rules in place so that readers are aware of any financial interests behind a specific article or journal, or when entire compilation products are created for pharmaceutical marketing purposes.
I understand this issue has troubled our communities of authors, editors, customers and employees. But I can assure all that the integrity of Elsevier’s publications and business practices remains intact.