Academic spam – the perpetual flow of invitations from fake journals

By Jonas Waldenström

Time for a Friday’s rant. Buckle up.

I am sick and tired of invitations to submit articles to bogus journals. It is an endless shit flow of attempts to lure scientists to publish research in imaginary journals. I am not interested – I don’t want to spend my time and money on useless junk.

Most people delete the emails directly, but for the past year I have instead forwarded them to a special folder. Just to keep a count on them, and get a feel from which publishers they emanate. Today I opened that folder and read a few of them.

In one year I received 428 emails. That’s more one per day, each day of the week (and I am sure I have missed several as well). Looking closer at the 28 emails I received this month:

  • 23 of them were sent from publishers listed on Beall’s list of predatory journals
  • 12 of them were addressed to me (with varying success in correctly spelling my name), the rest were generic (‘Dear colleague’), or addressed to co-authors. My favorite was ‘Hello Dr <name>’
  • 2 of them had journal titles that reasonable match the science I do. The rest of them were tangential, or utterly out of target. For instance, given my scientific profile why would I ever contemplate to publish in ‘Journal of Business Research’, ‘Journal of Plant Physiology and Pathology’, or ‘Advances in Dairy Research’?
  • Some of them have pretty nice homepages, but a closer inspection clearly reveals that the mission is not to promote science, but to earn money.
  • Contact details are minimal – and, I suppose, quite often just post boxes.
  • Instructions to authors are either poorly written, superficial (‘Please write abstract, introduction, material and methods, results and discussion’), or a copy and paste job from other journals.
  • Submissions are usually welcome via email.
  • They all promise fast turn around time from submission to publication. Sometimes within a week.

The one thing that is always evident is that there is a small fee to be payed…

OK - so that's how you write a scientific paper. Excellent. Also note that "All papers will be published in the Journal after peer-review of process" - what ever that means.

OK – so that’s how you write a scientific paper. Excellent. Also note that “All papers will be published in the Journal after peer-review of process” – what ever that means.

Although some of them are amusing to read, the whole business leaves a lingering foul taste in your mouth. These predatory publishers wouldn’t be around if not a sufficient number of people actually submitted papers to them. Either these people are fooled, or they are fools themselves. Both things are bad for science.

One of the emails ended with this little quote. A spam mail feigning its innocence.

One of the emails ended with this little quote. A spam mail feigning its innocence.

*******************************************************************************************************************

If you enjoyed this post, or other posts on this blog, why not follow the blog via email, Feedly or get updates via Twitter by following @DrSnygg?

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Academic spam – the perpetual flow of invitations from fake journals

    • The one thing that is certain when it comes to academic publishing is that everyone is paying, all the time. Either we (the scientists) pay when we publish the paper, or we (everyone that wants to read the paper) pay, directly or indirectly, when we read the paper. Traditionally, people or institutions payed for subscriptions to journals, but the new business model is to pay for articles to be open-access. Thus the reader gets them for free (but paid for them through the taxes, one could say).

      The cost for publishing varies tremendously in open-access journals, from small sums to very large sums (e.g. 1500-2000 dollars) in some top-notch journals.

      • you could just publish online ! Your webpage, your blog, arxiv.org,…
        Just make sure google grasps it with the right keywords
        and maybe others who gained some reputation in the system
        reviewed and judged it

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s