Practice that goes beyond dubious

As Editor of the journal I receive a lot of JHND related email every week. This ranges from enquiries about the suitability of proposed manuscripts for the journal, to queries about the reasoning behind the rejection of a paper. This week a new trend appears to have infected my email inbox. I have had three messages that run something like this:

Dear Editor,
I am a teacher in a Chinese university. As far as I know, there are more than 20 authors who are interested in your journal very much, of course including me. Nowadays my colleagues and I have many good articles which meet your range of draft, so we really want these articles to be published in your journal. I believe that the quality and content of our articles all conform to your journal’s requirements.
Besides, for the publication fees, we can pay high for each article if our articles are allowed to be published. We think both of us will benefit from this cooperation. I hope you can consider such thing. 
If you have any problem, you can also write your requirements to me.
Looking forward to your positive reply.

Now, I will leave you to ponder this for just a second or two before moving on… These messages are basically attempts to bribe me into publishing manuscripts. No exact figures have been mentioned, but the phrase used is ‘we can pay high for each article if our articles are allowed to be published’. This would be a bribe.  I am lost for words. Regardless of the illegality of such a transaction and the fact that accepting such an offer would result in my dismissal from the University of Nottingham, this proposition is outrageously unethical from a publication standpoint. The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics works to the highest level of ethical and quality standards. We only publish work which has gone through rigorous peer-review and take the step of double-blinding that process to minimise bias and conflicts of interest. We aim to publish only work of high quality (the top 15% of all submissions we receive) and have introduced steps to ensure the highest standards of reporting and integrity around randomised controlled trials and epidemiological studies. We do not charge publication fees (although there is a fee for Open Access). My message back to the people sending these emails to me will be not just a firm no- they will be blacklisted and effectively banned from publishing in JHND. I am more than willing to share that list with other editors on request. I feel that it is important that all journal editors speak out on this issue and make a clear stand to show that the academic publishing system is not for sale. Unknown

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