Among the things I learned while doing the research for that post, but didn't write about at the time, was that Mohamed Rady is actually listed as being on the editorial board of an even fishier online open access setup, The Journal of Clinical Research and Bioethics. Now, if BMC Medical Ethics is seen as the somewhat shabby underbrush (to their credit, they have actually modified the "unofficial impact factor" badge into a "tracked for impact factor" one!), the JCRB is definitely residing at a level closer to the ground. This much I had picked up via the persistent emails requesting manuscripts (and "open access fees") that I and many colleagues are constantly spammed with. However, not until today was I made aware of just how much of an actual cat hole the JCRB operation is.
My Finnish colleague, Pekka Louhiala supplies the following story, quoted verbatim with his permission from the closed Facebook-group Bioethics International (if you're interested in joining, contact Steve Miles on Facebook), except for the title of the manuscript and the dates, which I have edited in order to shield the authors of the concerned paper – as Pekka told me, they not be burdened by the rather severe misconduct of JCRB. The dates are given so that A in times precedes B, and B precedes C.
It may appear harsh to jump directly to the conclusion that Pekka does here, but when one inspects the details about the "open access fee" one is required to pay to be published in this fine forum (click pic to enlarge), the hypothesis gains in credibility:
Add Pekka's story above (date of publication preceding the date of the first round of reviews had been delivered, just to mention the most blatant thing), plus the fact that JCRB is keeping Mohamed Rady on its editorial board as a guarantee for academic integrity and quality and I don't think that anyone needs much more evidence. I actually feel sorry for some of the people listed as members of the editorial board, several of whom I suspect are unaware of the true nature of the JCRB operation. Well, they need not be anymore. If they have any sense of integrity they will hand in their resignations immediately.
Just to clarify: I have nothing against open access or online solutions to academic publishing – on the contrary, I love both as long as they uphold academic standards of quality and integrity. However, as mentioned and once again evidenced, the simplicity of setting up something that looks like an academic journal just to make cash that this creates unfortunately attracts some scum and scam. Now, if not before, we know that the Journal of Clinical Research and Bioethics belongs in this latter category.