In fact, they love them so much that they had an entire division devoted to making money off of the pharmaceutical industry’s need to publish poser peer-reviewed journals and phony editorials, aka “advertorials”. According to BoingBoing, Elsevier had an entire imprint comprised of 6 journals that were published for pharma.
Why’d they do it? The obvious answer is: MONEY. There could be no other good reason. What Elsevier didn’t think about was, of course, how much in PR these “advertorials” would cost them when a respected academic publisher was found to be the handmaiden of the pharmaceutical industry, publishing puff-pieces and fake peer-review journals alongside the real deal.
I’m sure Elsevier will weather this storm, but I would charge academics to think about the journals in which they publish much more closely now and for doctors to question the source much more carefully. It would appear that publication in a journal doesn’t mean what it used to in the medical literature–thanks to decisions like those made at Elsevier.
Summer Johnson, PhD