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.