Professor gets his dog a position at 7 academic journals

For scientists and researchers, getting papers published in respected journals is critical for their careers.

So it’s a good thing that Dr. Olivia Doll, respected authority and academic, is intimately involved in curating journals within the medical community. She sits on seven different editorial boards for journals focused on everything from drug abuse to respiratory medicine.

She also looks like this.

Yes, Dr. Doll is a 5-year-old Staffordshire terrier whose real name is Ollie.

Mike Daube, Ollie’s owner, is a public health expert and professor at Curtin University in Australia. He decided to create a fake academic background and persona for his dog, and use it to apply for positions on editorial boards because he wanted to draw attention to the plethora of sham academic journals that exist.

“Every academic gets several of these emails a day from sham journals,” Daube told Perth Now. “The more I saw of it, the more I thought that you need a light shining on these things.”

Why are these sham journals so problematic?

“There are young academics, there are people in developing countries who are being conned by this,” Daube explained. “They think that if they send papers to these journals, it’s a decent publication … and they are being charged for it.”

The fact that Daube was able to get a dog with a fake doctorate and background (senior lecturer at Subiaco College of Veterinary Science, associate to the Dog’s Refuge Home) onto the editorial board of these publications shows just how illegitimate they are.

Every academic gets several of these emails a day from sham journals

As Daube points out, just one click would have allowed any of these journals to discover that Dr. Olivia Doll was completely fake. And yet none of them took the time to properly vet Dr. Doll, and that’s probably true of all applicants they receive.

In case you’re interested in the rest of Dr. Doll’s illustrious career, Perth Now reports that she has research interest in “the benefits of abdominal massage for medium-sized canines and the role of domestic canines in promoting optimal mental health in aging males.” She was on track to become the associate editor of the Global Journal of Addiction and Rehabilitation Medicine. She was also recently asked to review a paper on the management of tumors.

It sounds like Dr. Doll has done pretty well for herself. She also has some advice for young academics, which she told her owner to pass along to you.

“She said to me that she hopes that any academics who think of responding to these will have paws for thought,” Daube dutifully relayed, “and that if they do send their papers to any of these sham journals, she reckons they’re barking mad.”

Wise words from a wise dog.

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The Farmers Dog, a customized pet food subscription service, scoops up $8.1 million

The Farmers Dog wants to fill the bowls of canines everywhere with fresh food made especially for them. Based in New York City, the startup plans to expand its dog food delivery service after closing a $8.1 million Series A round led by Shasta Ventures. Returning investors Forerunner Ventures, Collaborative Fund, and SV Angel also participated.

This brings the total The Farmers Dog has raised so far to $10.1 million. Founded in 2015 by Brett Podolsky and Jonathan Regev, the company claims to have delivered over one million meals already and is the latest subscription-based startup backed by Shasta Ventures, whose success stories include Dollar Shave Club and Warby Parker.

Pet food is a big businessglobal retail sales were about $70 billion in 2015 ($24 billion in the U.S. alone), according to GfK market research, and have grown steadily despite the slow economy. In fact, the pet care industry is considered relatively recession-proof because people are willing to continue spending money on their furry companions even if they have to cut expenses elsewhere.

The idea for The Farmers Dog was formed after Podolsky began feeding his dog, a Rottweiler named Jada, home cooked meals on her vets recommendation. Jada suffered from chronic stomach issues since she was a puppy and Podolsky had already tried many types of commercial pet food to help her, but he says she wasnt cured until he started making all her food.

It got us looking into the pet food industry. We noticed that while all of the marketing revolved around healthy buzzwords like real and natural, the products inside the bag were generally the same highly processed mystery food left on the shelf for a year or two, Podolsky and Regev told TechCrunch in an email.

We thought if we could create a subscription for each dogthen why wouldnt we? They eat the same thing everydaywe could make the food fresh, skip the middlemen, and deliver a product thats truly healthy, affordable, and simply not available in traditional retail channels.

Since dogs are usually happy to eat the same thing, unlike their more finicky human family members, The Farmers Dog is able to send multiple weeks worth of food at a time, instead of just a few meals, and save on delivery costs.

Our system is very unique in that it optimizes the amount we send depending on the cost to ship and the dogs needs, said Regev. This way our cost to deliver is far less than what wed be paying to a distributor or retailer, and we can invest those savings back into product quality.

The foundersbootstrapped the company for a year while cooking dog food in a small commercial kitchen in Brooklyn. The companys meal plans currently start at $11 per week and are customized based on each dogs age, breed, size, activity level, and health needs. Before delivery, The Farmers Dog divides food into individual servings based on each animals caloric needs, since the recommended portions on many commercial pet food packages are often too big.

Podolsky and Regev say their products are sourced and produced to human-grade standards, using USDA and FDA-inspected ingredients that are prepared in facilities with safety standards usually reserved for human food.

The commercial pet food industry is plagued with recalls, so quality is something we take seriously, they said. We only use human-grade ingredients and facilities, and have traceability to know where each ingredient ends up. We manufacture food on demand so nothing ever sits in a store or deep freezer for months, which reduces any chance of foodborne diseases.

In order to scale up, the startup relies on a proprietary algorithm to customize meal plans while keeping costs down. It also collects data and tracks improvements from customers whose dogs have similar profiles to improve its products. The Farmers Dogs new funding will be used to develop new products, hire more people for its customer support and tech teams, and grow the startups production capacity.

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