I got an interesting email today. Ostensibly from Prof. Jochem Koos (a good Dutch name) from Elsevier, the email gives editorial and review policies for its journals. After stating that referees must be of the highest quality, the letter then asks potential editors and reviewers to fill out a form to certify their credentials and be added to their list. The bad part is that it costs $100 to be added to the list. The good part is that referees are to be paid $30 per page reviewed. $30! I just finished a 50 page monster for an Elsevier journal. I could get $1500?! Wow! Does that go for revisions too? I could get that paper in an endless series of revisions at $1500 per round. “There is a comma misplaced on page 26. I will need to see a revision before I recommend publication.” Ka-ching! And if I am running a bit short on cash a few reviews of the form “Interesting paper but I would like to see it … 13 pages longer” should be just the thing for making the mortgage payment.
Of course, it is all a ruse. Elsevier does not pay $30/page for refereeing (at least, not in operations research) and you don’t have to pay $100 to get on an approved list to referee.
It is surprising that a group that overwhelmingly has PhDs can be a target for such a scam. On the other hand, considering some of the people I have met in my professional life, perhaps it is not that surprising.
Bottom line: don’t send off $100 to just anyone with a gmail address. Elsevier has some more information on these sorts of emails.