I gotta hand it to the criminal mind. It is always thinking of new ways to separate people from their money. The latest (and first in medical publishing that I know) is a variant of the Nigerian scam, and it uses Elsevier as the bait. The email from “Chief editor” Jochem Koos (hey, that’s a Dutch name, right? It must be legit…) is looking for reviewers of manuscripts submitted to Elsevier. And the pay (PAY?) is good – $30 per page of manuscript reviewed. All you have to do is pass the screening of your credentials, and pay $100 for the screening process. What a deal! You get back that $100 and more with your first review.
Elsevier is aware of this scam, and has posted a web page warning people about it, but I’m surprised it hasn’t received much publicity. Librarians might want to warn their faculty, although it is hard to imagine even the greenest, most naive instructor falling for this. A document accompanying the email is reproduced below, complete with spelling errors and mangled English.
Elsevier’s “Article of the Future” seems to be the blogging topic du semaine. Take a look at their press release and the two prototypes demonstrating the concept. According to the press release, key features are:
*A hierarchical presentation of text and figures – readers can elect to drill down through the layers based on their current task in the scientific workflow and their level of expertise and interest.
*Bulleted article highlights and graphical abstract – readers can quickly gain an understanding of the paper’s main message and navigate directly to specific sub-sections of the results and figures.
*The graphical abstract encourages browsing, promotes interdisciplinary scholarship and helps readers identify more quickly which papers are most relevant to their research interests.
Another planned feature is a short audio interview of the primary author with the journal editor. This is all very eye catching and whiz bangy. Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb asks whether this is “ground-breaking stuff or yesterday’s news repackaged.” He links to various blog opinions, which range from “another key development in an interesting transitionary period for both the publishing and media sectors” to “a collection of everything that is possible to do now, but for which there is no commercial demand.”
Kent Anderson of The Scholarly Kitchen says it “looks like an article from the past, with some embedded hyperlinks, some AJAX tabs, two basic social media elements, and not much else.” Paul Carvill at the Online Journalism Blog calls the prototypes “underwhelming, cumbersome and shortsighted.”