Since a letter of mine was published in the New Zealand Medical Journal recently, I've started receiving occasional emails inviting me to send in a paper to a new journal for publication. It's immediately obvious that these are sham journals, as they call me Dr Honeychurch and are for topics that are unrelated to my area of interest (and not even expertise!), alternative medicine:

International Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Journal

Dear Dr. Mark Honeychurch,

Hope you are doing well.

I am delighted to inform you that International Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Journal were planning to release Volume 1 Issue 1 by the 1st week of May. Hence we require one article to accomplish the issue.

Moreover i am having 48 hours in hand to accomplish the task, thus I have chosen some renowned people like you to support us for release the upcoming issue in time. Accordingly support us by submitting your any type of articles for publication.

Hope you understand my concern and your kind attention in this regard highly esteemed.

Await your optimistic response and apologies in advance for disturbing your busy schedule.

Best Regards,

Evangeline Reid

An Australian Professor has done a good job of exposing just how bad these journals are by registering his dog as an editor for seven of them. They include journals on topics such as drug abuse, psychiatry and respiratory medicine.

The dog is named as "Dr Olivia Doll", and its owner - Professor Mike Daube - has been responding to the emails he's been receiving from journals owned by unscrupulous companies who try to make money from scientists by charging them to have their work published in their journals.

Dr Doll is on the editorial board of 7 journals, including being an associate editor of the "Global Journal of Addiction and Rehabilitation Medicine". The image used, rather than being that of Ollie the dog, is a picture of pop star Kylie Minogue wearing glasses.

Dr Doll's listed research interests included "the benefits of abdominal massage for medium-sized canines" and "the role of domestic canines in promoting optimal mental health in ageing males" - basically belly rubbing and making dog owners happy.