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Academic spam and open access publishing

Judging by how much spam I get nowadays it seems academic open access publishing is lucrative.

I keep getting targeted spam from Bentham, Hindawi, InTech, and others. The strategy seems to be to mine reputable conference and journal papers for email addresses and then use them for targeted spam.

I have now received five emails from open access publisher InTech about a book chapter based on a previously published paper. These guys never give up! This is an excerpt from the last one:

Dear Dr. Kristensson,

We apologize for contacting you again on the matter of your nomination to contribute to the book named in the title of this email, but since we haven’t received an answer from you, we are taking the liberty of contacting you again (you may have been busy or our previous emails may have ended up in your email filters). However, this is the last email you will receive from us. If you can find time, please reply to our previous email which is below:

My name is MSc Iva Lipovic and I am contacting you regarding a new InTech book project under the working title “Speech Technologies”, ISBN: 978-953-307-152-7.

This book will be published by InTech – an Open Access publisher covering the fields of Science, Technology and Medicine.

You are invited to participate in this book project based on your paper “Automatic Selection of Recognition Errors by Respeaking the Intended Text”, your publishing history and the quality of your research. However, we are not asking you to republish your work, but we would like you to prepare a new paper on one of the topics this book project covers.

Why on earth would I spend time and effort to write a book chapter for a random individual I have never heard of and who doesn’t seem to have any credentials whatsoever in the field? And who reads these book chapters? And what exactly is the point of an open access “book chapter”? Sounds like a web page to me. With the exception I have to pay InTech plenty of money to put it up. I might as well just make the text available on the web myself.

Another open access publisher that likes to send spam is Hindawi. However, news to me was that Hindawi now spams on behalf of EURASIP, an organization I thought was reputable (until now):

Dear Dr. Kristensson,

I am writing to invite you to submit an article to “EURASIP Journal on Audio, Speech, and Music Processing,” which provides a rapid forum for the dissemination of original research articles as well as review articles related to the theory and applications of audio, speech, and music processing.

EURASIP Journal on Audio, Speech, and Music Processing is published using an open access publication model, meaning that all interested readers are able to freely access the journal online at http://www.hindawi.com/journals/asmp/contents.html without the need for a subscription.

Another example is Bentham who wants me to write a review on random patents based on keyword searches (the weirdest concept I have heard of so far for a journal):

Dear Dr. Kristensson,

Bentham Science Publishers has launched a series of innovative
journals publishing review articles on recent patents in major
therapeutic areas of drug discovery as well as biotechnology,
nanotechnology, engineering, computer science and material science
disciplines. Please refer to Bentham Science’s website at
http://www.pat-comp-sci.org/AllTitles for further details.

An exciting journal entitled “Recent Patents on Computer Science
(CSENG)” was launched in January 2008. This journal publishes review
articles written by experts on recent patents in the field of Computer
Science. Please visit the journal‘s website at
http://www.compscieng.org for the Editorial Board, sample issue,
abstracts of recent issues and other details.

Recent Patents on Computer Science (CSENG) is indexed in Genamics
JournalSeek, Compendex,Scopus

If you would like to submit a review article to the journal on an
important patent area in Computer Science, then please provide us the
title of your proposed article and a tentative date of submission at
editorial@compscieng.org. Moreover in your reply, could you please
suggest some specific keywords, keyword phrases related to your topic,
so that detailed patents may be sent to you for the preparation of
your manuscript.

I keep wondering who is actually editing and reviewing all these journals and books. While they keep spamming me for paper submissions (and lucrative fees after they have accepted the papers), I haven’t received any invitations to do any reviews.

63 Responses to “Academic spam and open access publishing”

  1. Brian says:

    How about setting up a blog to list the academics who publish in such journals?

  2. [...] spam researchers for manuscripts for the most ridiculous journals and “edited books” (here, here and here). The peer-review and quality-control appears to be minimal and the publication fees [...]

  3. Kpmitton says:

    I just look at the lists of editorial reviewers. When a large percentage seem to be ppost docs or scientists without their own lab, beware! I started reviewing papers in my particular subject as a post doc, with demonstrated results in my field, but no one put me on a review board.

    Kpmitton
    assoc. Prof.

  4. DublinGuy says:

    Intech’s prime motivation is money. They are churning out ‘books’ at an alarming rate – 1,763 so far, and each book chapter is around 30 chapters or so. They charge each contributing author(s) $840 per chapter. Based on these numbers they’re revenue so far is over $33 million. Let that number sink in.

    These ‘book’s have no credibility. They call them books to lure in academics so they can claim a book chapter on their resume. They don’t care about the review process since readers aren’t going to be paying to read these ‘book’s anyway.

  5. Jacks says:

    As a PhD student in his final year, I can tell you that Intech computer science/engineer books are reasonable.

    The robotics and biometrics books in particular are good. I can’t comment on other areas as I am not knowledgeable in those fields.

    DublinGuy, $33 million is a lot, I agree. How much do Elsevier earn from subscribers? Also, From what I read, Intech dont charge authors from third world countries.

  6. [...] for submissions and demand high fees to publish manuscripts in dodgy books and journals (here, here, here and [...]

  7. InTech book Editor says:

    I am a Senior Researcher and I have worked as Editor for several books published by InTech. I had the same initial doubts about this or other publishing houses sending emails inviting scientists to join the books. However, I decided to collaborate with them as an opportunity to spread my work and learn more about other teams’ work. Also, InTech may be annoying, but is not related to malpractice or fake peer-review (as far as I know).

    As Editor of these books, I was very careful to provide the same level of revieweing that I do for any other SCI journal. Most of the authors followed my comments to improve the quality of their chapters, and the ones who didn’t were rejected as in any SCI journl. In fact, I rejected several chapters (causing a $850 loss for InTech with each rejection) and the publishers never complained and remove the chapters as I requested. Most of the authors were not top-names in their fields, but their contributions were reasonably well done. All things considered, I am pleased with the quality of the contributions, the editorial process, and the quality of the final printed book. I think they are honest and useful contributions to the field. Also, being free for download also makes them useful for researchers with little resources. In conclusion, I am not ashamed to have my name on those books, and I would be happy to Editor more books if InTech asks me again.

    My advice if you get these invitatios and you are interestes is simple: 1) check the Editor publishing record and contact him/her to know how the review process will be carried out; 2) submit your research that is fine but not cutting-edge: Think about these books as having the same level as a conference Proceedings; 3) publish with InTech if you have money that you don’t need for your research;

  8. ashok says:

    sir, i am a junior liver transplant surgeon and contributing to three chapters on behalf of my professor in the book “hepatic surgery”. I have gone through the editor’s profile who is editor of this book. The editor of this book is really renowned surgeon and has had many scientific publications and he is also a famous surgeon in his country. Also, many authors who are contributing are from japan and USA. I think the people who left comments about the intech created doubts..but as i went through contributing author’s histories, they all are renowned in the foeld of surgery. As i am publishing the chapters in this book, just want to know how much impact it carries? is their called the impact factor? anyways again mentioning you, the book name is “hepatic surgery” & wil be published in november. My professor himself is chief of high volume liver transplant center in taiwan. so i know it must be a great opportunity.

  9. aag says:

    Dear Ashok, your line “i am contributing to three chapters on behalf of my professor” illustrates an important side of this problem. Soliciting ghost-writing from underlings is scientific misconduct, and your Professor should be ashamed. However, this kind of malpractice is so common in many cultures that it doesn’t even raise eyebrows – and you obviously do not feel as a victim! It is exactly because of these practices that the lists of names on Intech’s (and other predatory publishers’) books mean nothing!

  10. Arkog says:

    Well, let’s face it, nowadays most of science on earth is done by Ph.D. students and Post-docs, not by professors, so why should the “working-class” of science be denied the chance to have their part of the cake if they are totally capable of writting good reviews in their own field?

    I haven’t contributed to any of those books even if I was asked several times. I guess that I have the same reluctant reaction as most of you when I get those invitations: who is behind the book, what are the review standards, etc. But sincerely I don’t think we should bring the discussion into the traditional hierarchical status issue omnipresent in the scientific culture. Who says that a journal is reputable or not? Usually themselves. Nature calls itself a reputable journal and scientists just believe it and go with the wind. Why? because Nature is a bussiness, and they know that calling themselves reputable is good for their bussiness. But sincerely, there are way many papers in Nature that would have never been published if the authors wouldn’t have been affiliated to a “reputable” university. And who knows how many excellent papers have been rejected by Nature only because the authors were not affiliated to Harvard, Oxford or to whatever other “traditionally reputed” universities. And I never submitted a paper to Nature, so no, this is not the comment of some frustrated individual.

    The open access model is very new and we all have to learn to live with it. Mistakes will happen and many will try to take advantage of the system on the road. But I hope that in the end good science will benefit of the model, inpependently of the “social status” of the authors and the institutions they work for. They way science is done today is different to how it was 30-50 years ago and I hope that a quality-driven status criteria will overcome the name-driven criteria.

    Best.

  11. Fake and Bogus Review in Hindawi Publishing Corporation. says:

    From the Blog:
    http://fakeconferences.blogspot.com

    Fake and Bogus Review in Hindawi Publishing Corporation. Junk Hindawi Journals. They have ON-OFF Review. Pass or Reject. If your paper has many mathematical equations and graphics, then HINDAWI Fake Journals will publish it immediately, but you will be called to pay a Publication Fee from 400 USD to 2000 USD.
    Fake and Bogus Review in Hindawi Publishing Corporation. Junk Hindawi Journals.

    Some colleagues received this SPAM from HINDAWI. Actually HINDAWI Journals do not have any real review process. They have ON-OFF Review. Pass or Reject. If your paper has many mathematical equations and graphics, then HINDAWI Fake Journals will publish it immediately, but you will be called to pay a Publication Fee from 400 USD to 2000 USD. These Bogus Journals sent million of spam, junk email everyday. Avoid any relation with Hindawi. Do not serve as member in their fake committees. Actually, most of the members in their Editorial boards are without their knowledge. Do not review papers in these Fake and Bogus Journals. Another blog reporting Hindawi Fake Journals’ Review is this http://netdriver.blogspot.com/2009/05/hindawi-is-complete-non-english-bogus.html

    A sample of a Hindawi bogus email announcement is this:

    I am writing to invite you to submit an article to Advances in Aerospace Engineering which is a fast track peer-reviewed journal for original research articles as well as review articles related to all aspects of industrial engineering. The average review time for the ISRN series of journals is 14 days from the point of submission until a final decision has been reached.

    Advances in Aerospace Engineering is published using an open access publication model, meaning that all interested readers are able to freely access the journal online at http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aae/ without the need for a subscription, and authors retain the copyright of their work. All manuscripts that are submitted to the journal during October 2013 will not be subject to any article processing charges.

    The journal has a distinguished Editorial Board with extensive academic qualifications, ensuring that the journal maintains high scientific standards and has a broad international coverage. A current list of the journal’s editors can be found http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aae/

    Manuscripts should be submitted to the journal online at http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aae/
    Once a manuscript has been accepted for publication, it will undergo language copyediting, typesetting, and reference validation in order to provide the highest publication quality possible.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the journal.

    Best regards,
    Editorial Office
    Advances in Aerospace Engineering
    Hindawi Publishing Corporation
    http://www.hindawi.com

  12. Stefania says:

    I am in the second year of PhD and just received 2 offeres to publish of course on my own budget. If I depose so much effort in research and try to write something pertinent where is my reward? No incentive?
    this world is so messed up! I appreciate so much this blog.

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