The applicant’s nom de plume was not exactly subtle, if you know Polish. The middle initial and surname of the author, Anna O. Szust, mean “fraudster.” Her publications were fake and her degrees were fake. The book chapters she listed among her publications could not be found, but perhaps that should not have been a surprise because the book publishers were fake, too.
Yet, when Dr. Fraud applied to 360 randomly selected open-access academic journals asking to be an editor, 48 accepted her and four made her editor in chief. She got two offers to start a new journal and be its editor. One journal sent her an email saying, “It’s our pleasure to add your name as our editor in chief for the journal with no responsibilities.”
Little did they know that they had fallen for a sting, plotted and carried out by a group of researchers who wanted to draw attention to and systematically document the seamy side of open-access publishing.
A Scholarly Sting Operation Shines a Light on ‘Predatory’ Journals - The New York Times