60 days of spam: scholarly publishers

Presented here is an analysis of 114 unsolicited English-language invitations to submit work to journals received over a 60 day period at two personal email accounts (Google and QUT). For each unsolicited email the journal and publisher were recorded, and the presence of the publisher on an archived version of Beall’s list of “potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers” was checked.

The 114 invitations were sent by a totalĀ of 89 unique journals, published by 35 unique publishers. This was equivalent to an average of 1.9 invitations per day, with 1.28 invitations per journal, and 3.26 invitations per publisher. 100% of invitations related to open-access journals. A summary of publisher information is presented in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Unsolicited invitations to publish in scholarly journals.

The six worst offending publishers, most of which featured on the archived version of Beall’s list, are presented in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2. Senders of unsolicited invitations to publish in scholarly journals.

Many of the journals for which I received invites were unrelated to my area of research, including topics such as textile science, hotel management and functional foods. The relevance of invitations to my research area (radiation oncology and/or medical physics) is summarised in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3. Relevance of spam to my research area (radiation oncology / medical physics). ‘Yes’ indicates a focus on my research area, while ‘Maybe’ indicates potential for work in my field to be published.