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Oh, Elsevier…

Derek Lowe is shaking his head over Elsevier's tactic to garner good reviews for its textbooks, which comes on the heels of its Merck fake journals fiasco. According to Inside Higher Ed, an Elsevier employee sent an email to contributors to a psychology textbook soliciting positive reviews:

Now that the book is published, we need your help to get some 5 star reviews posted to both Amazon and Barnes & Noble to help support and promote it. As you know, these online reviews are extremely persuasive when customers are considering a purchase. For your time, we would like to compensate you with a copy of the book under review as well as a $25 Amazon gift card.

Elsevier tells Inside Higher Ed that it was "a poorly written e-mail" that did not reflect company policy. "In all instances the request should be unbiased, with no incentives for a positive review, and that's where this particular e-mail went too far," Tom Reller, director of corporate relations for Elsevier says.

Lowe adds, "So when you're encouraging people to write reviews, and offering them some baksheesh for doing so, that's fine. You just don't want to be so gauche as to actually come out and say that you want the reviews to be positive."

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