Academic Spam

I’ve just been spammed by the American Chemical Society. The spam starts:

Polymorphism Articles from Crystal Growth & Design

Based on your previously published work related to polymorphism, we thought you might be interested in these recently published articles:

and then lists a bunch of articles about crystals. Something that has nothing to do with my work – I don’t even take sugar in my coffee!
Because I’m not a chemist, I’ve no idea if this is a reputable society, or a bunch of jerks. I’m leaning towards the latter, but can anyone fill me in?

About rpg

Scientist, poet, gadfly
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17 Responses to Academic Spam

  1. Eva Amsen says:

    The ACS is reputable (but is it really from the ACS?)
    I guess polymorphism also means something crystal-related?

  2. Bob O'Hara says:

    It looks like it is from them, from their marketing people. I’ve sent a sharp email back.

  3. Darren Saunders says:

    Given recent controversy, would the numerous offers to author books and review articles I’ve recently received from Bentham Publishing fit into this category?

  4. Elizabeth Moritz says:

    Like Eva said, the ACS is a reputable society. Members of our lab even go to the annual ACS conference that is widely attended by hundreds of chemists in the U.S. every year.
    I’ve never heard of anyone getting spammed by ACS, and many of us here subscribe to get the TOCs for their journals in our email without a problem. I hope this isn’t a new marketing ploy that will turn up in my inbox as well…

  5. Kristi Vogel says:

    I have just one paper in Mutation Research, but I blame it for the variety of toxicology spam I continue to receive. Ironically, I work on a spontaneous tumor model, and the paper dealt with spontaneous, not induced, mutant frequencies and spectra. Perhaps it’s a cosmic hint to write up the genotoxicity studies.

  6. Jennifer Rohn says:

    I used to work in journals, and had to liaise with their marketing departments, so I can faithfully report back that many academic and commercial publishers purchase lists of researchers in various fields (I think from Thompson ISI) and carry out mailshots, trying to drum up business. What probably happened, Bob, is that there is a Robert O’Hara in that field and they got the wrong one. It’s a fairly common name, I assume?
    Normally you can’t buy the contact details per se. You buy the rights for a one-off mailshot — the companies don’t divulge the actual information, but enable the contact. You can draw up from a very broad or limited set: authors in a particular journal, for example. Or every author who has even published in journals with particular keywords (‘cancer’, for example). Journals judge how successful these mailshots are by the number of clickthroughs. They must convert a few subscriptions/submissions or they wouldn’t bother.

  7. Raf Aerts says:

    There is an O’Hara with a publication on polymorphism indeed, in a NPG journal.
    O’Hara R, Schroder CM, Mahadevan R, et al. (2007) Serotonin transporter polymorphism, memory and hippocampal volume in the elderly: association and interaction with cortisol
    MOLECULAR PSYCHIATRY 12(6):544-555 (DOI)

  8. Richard P. Grant says:

    Contributor ID. You know you want to.

  9. Bob O'Hara says:

    Ah, thanks for the explanations.
    The problem with Contributor ID is that we would need two. One for proper tracking of ourselves, and one for the spammers, academic or otherwise.
    I wonder – should I forward the spam to Prof. O’Hara? Would she appreciate it?

  10. Richard P. Grant says:

    naw, that’s what good mail filters are for.
    (And how did ACS confuse Stanford with Finland?)

  11. Jennifer Rohn says:

    Not ACS, Richard. ISI, or whatever contact vendor it was.

  12. Bart Penders says:

    Bentham Publishing and Hindawi Publishing groups excell at academic spamming. If only their invitations to write or edit books, e-books, articles or reports would even slightly align with my actual disciplinary identity… Not to mention the ridiculous amount of invitations to conferences in Dubai I am receiving of late…

  13. Richard P. Grant says:

    Point, Jenny.

  14. Maxine Clarke says:

    Bart – I too am getting a lot of (very insistent) invitations to conferences in Dubai recently. I must make a mental note to myself not to suggest in reply that you go in my place 😉 (So long as you do me the same favour!)

  15. Bart Penders says:

    If it requires an explicit mental note, you must consider me your standard replacement. I need to remember that 😉

  16. Joe Dunckley says:

    ACS are “reputable”? 😉
    linky (see also countless other OAN posts)
    I think I need a new teach the controversy t-shirt: linky

  17. Maxine Clarke says:

    Richard – Stanford and Finland both end with the same letter. It’s a mistake anyone could make, be fair 😉

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