OMICS Publishing Group is one of the most prolific, abusive, and annoying spammers. Here we give an example of an email exchange sparked by one of OMICS’ spam emails soliciting articles for a special issue of its journal Hair: Therapy & Transplantation. The special issue is to be entitled Alopecia Areata.
The spam email is signed by two people. One of them is a prominent professor (whose name has been redacted), and the other is “Angelina,” one of OMICS’ “editorial assistants.” The name is likely contrived. No email address was given for the professor.
The second email below is from the researcher who received the email. He found the email address of the professor whose name was on the email and responded to him directly. The researcher points out that the mail is inappropriate for him because he is an ophthalmic surgeon with no experience in alopecia, despite the spam email’s praise of his work in the field.
The final email below is a response from the daughter of the special issue’s purported editor, writing on his behalf. She indicates that her father is ill and that she has already written to OMICS informing them that her father cannot contribute to the journal. [PDF version of the spam emails]
Original spam email:
From: Editor-htt [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 23 July 2014 15:38
Subject: Article Invitation for Special Issue: Alopecia Areata
Hair: Therapy & Transplantation
Dear Dr. [redacted],
Due to your many valuable contributions and significant expertise in the field, we would like to invite you to contribute articles addressing the Special Issue “Alopecia Areata” in 2014. Your enthusiasm and participation will greatly contribute to this special issue in 2014. We believe that this issue can be a significant milestone and hope that you are willing to contribute.
Special Issue: 2014
Alopecia Areata: Diagnosis, Pathogenesis and Treatment
Edited By [redacted]
Head of Trichology Division
For more details on Special Issues please visit http://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/specialissueHTT.php
We are glad to invite you to submit Research article/Review article/Case Reports/Image Articles/Special Issue articles for our prestigious journal, Hair: Therapy & Transplantation. Your contribution is of great importance for us and it will help to establish its high standards.
If you have manuscript ready to publish you may submit now, so that we will finish review process quickly, please let us know your feasible time to contribute.
The deadline for submissions is 10th August 2014 or you send us your possible date of submission. The target publishing date is 28th August 2014.
You may submit your paper by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org (or) online at http://www.editorialmanager.com/medicaljournals
Special features to articles published in the Hair: Therapy & Transplantation include
• Timely dissemination of your research work
• Free PDF/Digital file of your published paper
• No restriction for use/distribution
• Create great looking digital files for distribution
• Sharing you published work in social networking like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, RSS feeds, etc.
• Translation of published paper to more than 50 languages
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter & I wish you a fantastic week full of joy, health and happiness.
We are looking forward to hear from you soon!
With kind regards,
Head of Trichology Division
Email from the recipient of the spam email to the researcher improperly listed as the special issue’s purported editor:
–Allegato al messaggio inoltrato–
Subject: RE: Article Invitation for Special Issue: Alopecia Areata
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:28:05 +0300
Dear prof. [redacted],
I wish good success to your special issue, but I fail to understand what makes you believe that I have done “many valuable contributions” and shown “significant expertise” that would qualify me as an author in the exciting field of alopecia, given that I am an ophthalmic surgeon.
Email from the daughter of the researcher improperly listed as the special issue’s purported editor:
Sent: 26 July 2014 15:51
Subject: FW: I: RE: Article Invitation for Special Issue: Alopecia Areata
Thanks for your email to my father, Prof. [redacted]. unfortunately my father is not well and I personally wrote to the below person advising that he will not be able to contribute. They are clearly using my father’s name to write to other potential contributors, without even doing the appropriate checks. Please accept my apologies, but my father was not involved in the below. I will write a new email to them. Kind regards,
So, what are the takeaways from this email exchange? I think we can conclude …
1. OMICS sends out spam emails signed by prominent researchers who are not aware that their names are being used.
2. Topics for OMICS’ special issues are not developed by the editors-in-chief or by the editorial boards but by the publisher itself.
3. OMICS’ spam email is sometimes misdirected, targeting researchers in disciplines unrelated to the spamming journal’s scope.
4. OMICS Publishing Group exploits researchers’ names and affiliations for its own profit.
I also think that OMICS should mention the article processing fees it charges in every spam email it sends out. Time and time again, I have received emails from scholars who have submitted papers in response to spam emails such as the one above only to have them quickly accepted — and followed by an invoice received several days later.
Hat tip: Dr. Tero Kivelä