Publisher Requires only 20% Original Content in Article Submissions

Global Science and Technology Forum

Cease and desist.

The publisher Global Science and Technology Forum (GSTF) has been sending out some very revealing spam recently. The spam emails solicit new articles and state that only 20% of the content has to be original.

Global Science and Technology Forum is based in Singapore. My university — perhaps wisely — will not let me view the site on my office computer, warning “An unacceptable security risk is posed by this site.”

ddd

Here’s what I get when I try to access their site. (Image retrieved Oct. 8, 2013)

GSTF is risky in other ways as well.

In early 2012, GSTF was successful in a legal action against me. I had included the publisher on my list, and they got a lawyer here in Denver to pressure me to remove the publisher from my list.

It turns out the wife of GSTF’s owner is Mala Ravindran, a lawyer with the Singaporean law firm of Low Yeap Toh & Goon. The firm has reciprocal agreements with firms here in the U.S. The lawyer that successfully pressured me here in Denver was actually a friend of a friend of mine.

Spam Email

GSTF recently started up some new journals, and it is now spamming heavily, seeking article submissions from researchers. Several people have forwarded me copies of the spam email, and each one has this passage:

If your paper has been published in any other platform, a new version of your paper for JAE must reflect at least 20% difference in content from the one published in the Conference Proceedings or any other journal.

In my opinion, no legitimate publisher would ever make such a statement or allow so much unoriginal content to be published as if it were new in their journals. The policy may have serious copyright implications. It does have serious ethical implications.

Also, the spam emails were sent out in the name of Dr. Stephen Martin, a member of GSTF’s “Board of Governors.” He’s a former speaker of the Australian Parliament, and I wonder if he’s aware his name is being used to solicit scholarly manuscripts that only have to have at least “20% difference in content.”

I emailed the editors of three GSTF journals alerting them to this email. One was appalled to learn of it and immediately emailed the company. Another already knew about it and reported that she has already asked to be removed from the masthead. A third has not responded.

Yesterday morning I received a barely literate email from GSTF — apparently one of the editors told them I was making inquiries. Here’s part of what they said:

The EDM you had received was an inadvertent one (we have hope you would genuine mistake by a staff handling it) mail sent by one of the staff and steps have been taken to remove this message.

I don’t know what “EDM” means; it must be a euphemism for spam. I think the company’s statement is not truthful because I found the same clause about requiring papers to be only 20% original in three different spam emails for three different GSTF journals. Copies of the spam emails also appear all over the Internet.

There is a good chance that this blog post will attract another cease-and-desist order from Low Yeap Toh & Goon. So, please enjoy this while it lasts. If you run a predatory publishing operation, it helps to have a wife who works in a law firm and who will attack anyone who dares to question your practices.

Appendix: Copies of two of the GSTF spam emails, and a copy of the email they sent me yesterday morning.

GSTF spam

GSTF response

21 Responses to Publisher Requires only 20% Original Content in Article Submissions

  1. Which judge is signing these cease & desist letters, and what gives him/her jurisdiction over your blog?

    Also, it might be worth trying to recover the old posts through archive.org. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be there, but i might be searching incorrectly as I don’t know when the removed article was published.

    • No judge had signed the letter; they were from GSTF.
      The blog posts are still there; I removed paragraphs from some of them that related to GSTF, and I don’t remember which ones they were.

      • Nochills says:

        You seem to have received a Cease & Desist notice which is without basis.

        The ‘Chilling Effects’ database collects such curiosities.

        For example, this notice hosted by Chilling Effects http://www.chillingeffects.org/protest/notice.cgi?NoticeID=33101 originates from an educational institution in the same country as GSTF and has similar Google colors (which may all just incidental).

        That C&D has been filed under the category ‘protests’, which is to say that it attempts to ‘chill’ digital protests. In your case it would be categorized differently, of course.

        When there is no basis, you shouldn’t have to self-censor. In the example case, the protest site http://www.forabettergiis.blogspot.com/ remains readable despite the C&D notice.

  2. Stephen B says:

    Jeffrey – I’ve copied this article onto a personal blog in case it does become the subject of a “cease-and-desist” order. Please let me know if this is unwanted – but the availability of this information should not be subject to legal bullying.

  3. RSSS says:

    Please review this journal http://www.ijllalw.org/
    as it seems there are few points that sounds strange. It is not clear where it is published while the print copies are sold by Digital print Australia and I am sure DPA has no information. There different prices for online and hardcopy and it seems authors do not care about doing plagiarism.

    • Dr. Taher Bahrani says:

      It is not like that!!! It is an academic journal which is published in Malaysia. All the editorial board members are known.

  4. RSSS says:

    The link to this journal does not work in your list

  5. Folahan Adekola says:

    I want to commend you for this wonderful service to the academic community. I believe all academic librarians in Africa also need to key into this.

  6. Reviewer says:

    Weird. This company has actually connection with the institution where I work in Singapore. Knowing the tough rules for plagiarism there, I am surprised they are allowed such connection. I am not really sure what this is but I agree with you these are not a great publishing company…

  7. tekija says:

    Speaking about broad scopes and large editorial boards, is this the record: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/

  8. Laura says:

    I wonder if the colors in their logo are 20% different than Google’s…

  9. Prof. Ann Lee (CORE Team) says:

    Jeffery Beall, please list your research publication history as we have no idea with respect to your academic and research background…….

  10. Looked in Linked-IN says:

    The “GSTF Response” (http://scholarlyoa.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/gstf-response.pdf ) is signed off by one Sunderarajan claiming to be a Ph.D in Computer Science from NUS (National University of Singapore). The linked in page is here

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sundararajan-v-s/6/a52/693

    and it matches the details. Since GSTF claims to have a connection to NUS this may be the connection perhaps ? I hope to see ‘Reviewer”s follow up response on this.

  11. There are other issues. I naively got a thesis ready for submission to a new journal in music that GSTF were doing – they were charging me $300 for publishing, plus 5% ‘for paypal administration costs’. Paypal’s admin rates max out at 3%, if there needed to be any more proof of their seediness.

  12. Dr. Sundararajan says:

    The below comments were earlier posted by Prof. Emanuel S. Grant in Dec 2013. We are resending the same on behalf of Prof Grant and with his full knowledge, consent and permission as it was not posted previously.

    ——————————–
    Mr Jeffrey Beall
    UCD
    Via Email

    “I am an associate of GSTF, but am commenting in my capacity as an academic who has reviewed many journal and conference submissions. Academic conferences maybe viewed as external forums for critical review of ongoing/developing or nearing completion of research efforts. Internal review forums would be the group of involved researchers and immediate colleagues. Journals maybe seen as the repositories of perfected/completed works; they serve to chronicle works that have been attested to be complete authoritative statements of the topics covered. Journals should never be a forum for work that has not been critiqued, towards achieving that state of being complete and authoritative. If one accepts that proposition then the question is just how much content should be acceptable as original (unpublished in any other forum). Further, the phrase “original content” does not imply that the rest of the content is simply source from other researchers’/authors’ works; the entire content (with exception of related and background material) has to be that of the submitting authors. The “…at least twenty percent” required by GSTF seems to be a reasonable baseline, as it ensures that there is enough unpublished content to protect publishers’ ownership rights, and be complete and authoritative on the subject.

    The rest of your blog content on GSTF seems to be highly misleading and petty personal assaults on the GSTF organization and personnel. The site block of GSTF by your institution’s Internet security tool has nothing to do with the activities of GSTF. While your lack of technical knowledge on the matter is excusable, your inability to make reasonable or logical conclusion cannot be excused. Another failure of drawing logical conclusion is your assertion that you were “pressured” “…to remove the publisher [GSTF] from my list”. If “…GSTF was successful in a legal action against” you then you were not pressured; you were WRONG!

    Your insinuation of some kind of nefarious act on the part of GSTF’s principal’s wife and you being “pressured” into some action, only belies your weakness of character, and argument on the subject. The “friend of a friend” was probably acting in your best interest (a libelous lawsuit) when he/she advised you to remove your initial mal-intended posting. The cause to which you have self-appointed yourself is a needed one, but the manner in which you have conducted yourself, with respect to GSTF undermines a noble effort. On the outset you state “In my opinion, no legitimate publisher would ever make such a statement or allow so much unoriginal content to be published as if it were new in their journals.”, and that is exactly what it is; your opinion, not a statement of authority or fact! “

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Prof Emanuel S. Grant, Ph.D.

  13. Dr. Sundararajan says:

    The below comments were earlier posted by Professor the Hon Stephen Martin in Dec 2013. We are resending the same on behalf of Professor the Hon Stephen Martin and with his full knowledge, consent and permission as it was not posted previously.

    ———————————
    Mr Jeffrey Beall
    UCD
    Via Email

    I am writing to you with respect to your comments on your blog that would appear to impugn my association with Global Science and Technology Forum (GSTF).

    I would like to put it on record that I have been associated with Dr Anton Ravindran and GSTF even before its inception. My current association is in the capacity of member of the Governing Board, along with a number of highly qualified and reputable academics. I wish to categorically state that I have no issue with GSTF’s integrity and the manner in which they conduct themselves.

    As such, I would ask that you immediately remove the comments about me on your blog as the innuendo implied is both inappropriate and misleading to any reader.

    You may wish to note that I am in complete agreement with Professor Emanuel Grant’s comments to you and have read the correspondence between yourself and Dr Sundar.

    Should you not agree to remove any reference to me an appropriate alternative would be to post this email directly on your blog.

    If your intentions and objectives are genuine, professional and scholarly as you claim, then it should be done in a manner exhibiting objectivity and transparency foremost, else your blog is a mockery both to yourself and any academic institution you may be associated with. Your blog in its present form is a platform for petty, personal and vindictive comments under a self-assumed guise of an authority for scholarly commentary.

    Your immediate attention to this matter is requested.

    Professor the Hon Stephen Martin

  14. Dr. Sundararajan says:

    “Re your comments about my PhD from NUS, for the record I did earn a PhD in computer science from NUS where I also worked as a Post Doctoral Research fellow as well as NTU. Re your comments about plagiarism, GSTF doesn’t condone it. All submissions for the journals are thru EDAS and checked for plagiarism. All papers are peer reviewed before acceptance. All accepted papers for the journals are indexed by several well-known databases. GSTF has also partnered with Springer to publish GSTF’s journals on Springer’s Open Access publishing platform. Anything to say to the contrary is anathema and defamatory. Please visit GSTF web site for scores of testimonials (http://www.globalstf.org/videos.php) from the delegates around the globe who have associated with academic activities of GSTF”.

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