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.”
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.
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.