From the inbox:
On November 22nd, Elsevier journals began to receive submissions that were highly problematic. The submissions in question were so blatantly in breach of basic ethics rules that we suspect they may have been deliberate attempts to test our editorial standards.
We would like to bring this issue to your attention and provide some tips on how to identify possible fake submissions. All of the points listed below were common to the articles in question:
1. The articles could be found online by a simple search (and were in fact plagiarized)
2. Listed affiliations were of very prestigious institutes, yet email addresses were generic (e.g. yahoo.com)
3. Authors could not be found in their affiliated institute's directory
4. Phone numbers given were in a different country to that of the affiliated institute
5. Articles were submitted simultaneously to other journals in the same family
All of the above points are relatively easy to spot, and given the fact that many obvious breaches were simultaneously included in all of the articles it does appear to be an attempt to uncover journals with loose editorial standards.
This is similar to the attack on online journals that was reported in Retraction Watch.