We all knew that scientific publishing is a great racket in terms of extracting money from universities. But we could at least console ourselves that the content was peer-reviewed. Well, guess what? According to The Scientist of 7th May 2009,
Scientific publishing giant Elsevier put out a total of six publications between 2000 and 2005 that were sponsored by unnamed pharmaceutical companies and looked like peer reviewed medical journals but did not disclose sponsorship the company has admitted. Elsevier is conducting an ‘internal review’ of its publishing practices after allegations came to light that the company produced a pharmaceutical company-funded publication in the early 2000s without disclosing that the ‘journal’ was corporate sponsored.
The allegations involve the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine a publication paid for by pharmaceutical company Merck that amounted to a compendium of reprinted scientific articles and one-source reviews most of which presented data favorable to Merck’s products. The Scientist obtained two 2003 issues of the journal — which bore the imprint of Elsevier’s Excerpta Medica — neither of which carried a statement obviating Merck’s sponsorship of the publication. An Elsevier spokesperson told The Scientist in an email that a total of six titles in a “series of sponsored article publications” were put out by their Australia office and bore the Excerpta Medica imprint from 2000 to 2005. These titles were: the Australasian Journal of General Practice the Australasian Journal of Neurology the Australasian Journal of Cardiology the Australasian Journal of Clinical Pharmacy the Australasian Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Australasian Journal of Bone & Joint Medicine . Elsevier declined to provide the names of the sponsors of these titles according to the company spokesperson.