April 2nd, 2016

You Too Can Have Fun with Academic Spam

Like most doctors who work at academic medical centers, I get a fair amount of “academic spam” — invitations to bogus meetings that take place in some exotic or at least warm place (China, Dubai, and Orlando are favorites), efforts to sell me monoclonal antibodies or, more recently, CRISPR-altered mice, and of course requests to contribute research papers or review articles to made-up journals.

These efforts must make money because, well, otherwise they wouldn’t exist.

So here’s a wonderful opportunity that recently came my way (some details changed to protect the “innocent”, but assuredly I haven’t changed the writing style or font colors one bit):

Editorial Board Membership: Wilkie Renal Disorders
Dear Dr. Paul E,
Greetings of the day!
It is an excited endeavor to start a new open access journal in the field of Medicine. At the onset, we would like to invite you to join us as an Honourable Editorial Board Member of Wilkie Renal Disorders.
Wilkie Renal Disorders is an open access, peer reviewed, scholarly journal dedicated to publishing articles in all areas. The aim of the journal is to provide a forum for Nephrologists, researchers, physicians, and other health professionals to find most recent advances in the areas of clinical and experimental renal disorders.
If you are interested, kindly provide your short CV full contact details along with expertise keywords of your ongoing research work.
We await your reply with interest.
Best regards,
Samantha Farnsworth
Editorial office-  Wilkie Renal Disorders
# 54 Turniptown Way,

Tel: +1-201-698-7575


You can imagine how excited I was to receive this invitation. Quickly, I replied as follows:

Dear Samantha:

Greetings of the day back to you! I’d be honoured to accept your invitation to be on the Honourable Editorial Board of “Wilkie Renal Disorders”. Here are my demands, which an impressive journal like yours no doubt will find easy to fulfill:

  1. green iguanaThat you provide me board certification in nephrology, as I am currently trained only in bloodletting and bicycle repair.
  2. That you continue to refer to me as “Dr. Paul E.” The “Sax” part was always tricky for people to spell, and took too long to write.
  3. That during Editorial Board meetings, you allow me to bring my companion pet lizard, a green iguana whose name is Oscar. He’d appreciate a name tag during the meetings so that he feels like part of the team! Attached please find a photo so you’ll recognize him when he comes.

I look forward to a long and productive working relationship!

Paul E.

Haven’t heard back yet. Maybe they have a “no iguanas” policy for their renal journal.

But the good news is that the next day the same publishing company invited me to be on the board of their Orthopedics journal, which I hear is much more liberal with companion pets.

6 Responses to “You Too Can Have Fun with Academic Spam”

  1. Loretta S says:

    Thanks for the good laugh, Paul! I am still laughing at “bloodletting and bicycle repair”. I get plenty of these emails at my academic email address. Thank goodness they have not learned my home email address, where I must daily wade through spam propositioning me in ways that cannot be repeated on a family-friendly blog. Adding invitations to made-up journals would be too much to bear.

  2. Sue Vicente says:

    I say go with the Orthopedics journal…more relevance to bicycle repair.

  3. Carlos del Rio says:

    Speaking of “Academic spam”…..want to come with me to Bali? Hear it’s beautiful!


    Begin forwarded message:

    From: Maria Delgao – Olga Nikolova
    Date: April 1, 2016 at 8:33:05 PM EDT
    Subject: We co-organize also with the Halu Oleo University of Indonesia in Bali, Indonesia a Multiconference in May 7-9, 2016 ………..
    Reply-To: Maria Delgao – Olga Nikolova

    Dear Professor

    We co-organize also with the Halu Oleo University of Indonesia in Bali, Indonesia,
    a Multiconference in May 7-9, 2016 in the famous Bali of Indonesia: Check http://www.wseas.org and we would like to invite you come as Invited Speaker from your university with publications in ISI/ESCI/SCIE Journals as usual.

    This year, the conference papers will appear in high quality indexed Journals
    (that host Proceedings, see details below) while the extended version will be published in one of our 57 ISI / ESCI / SCIE / ACM / etc indexed Journals.
    Hard-copies and CD-ROM will be published on demand after the conference.

  4. Susan Larrabee says:

    In order to collect a CEU I attended a conference today on Compassion Fatigue, what used to be called Burnout. The presenter told us the top strategy to avoid it is humor. Thanks for helping me stay in the game!

  5. RBI says:

    Greetings of the day Paul!

    Even before your post, I had been keeping a tally to examine whether “Greetings of the day!!!” has a 100% correlation with spam invitation for publication/presentation.

    My preliminary research shows this to be true.

  6. Malika M Hart says:

    Love it!
    Have only just started receiving academic spam.May start providing some creative replies too!

HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

Contributing Editor

NEJM Journal Watch
Infectious Diseases

Biography | Disclosures | Summaries

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