“Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List” has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication


Screen_Shot_2014-11-21_at_10.19.51_AM.0.0Indeed yes, a scientific paper entitled “Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List” has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication.

So the story here is that back in 2005 the authors,  David Mazières and Eddie Kohler, wrote this “paper” as a joke reply to the gazillions of emails they get from vanity journals and so when solicited for a submission they just send this back. The entire paper, all 10 pages is as above, a repeat of the phrase in question as an ever so none subtle clue.

A paper full of just words would be not only dull, but just might also fail to communicate the message they were sending, so to ensure full and complete disclosure of their feels was taking place, they included a few diagrams as well ..

Screen_Shot_2014-11-21_at_9.53.24_AM.0

As you might imagine, many liked the paper, so they picked it up and used it as their standard reply to the spam solicitations for papers, and as reported by Scholarly Open Access …

After receiving a spam email from the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology, Dr. Peter Vamplew of Federation University Australia’s School of Engineering and Information Technology sent the anti-spam article as a reply to the spam email without any other message, expecting that they might open it and read it, but not that it would be considered for publication.

To his surprise, the journal accepted the paper and sent him an acceptance email that had two PDF attachments. One was a formal statement of acceptance and the second was the reviewer report.

International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology

The screenshot above is from the acceptance letter. The following screenshot is from the review form, in which an anonymous reviewer indicated that the paper’s appropriateness for the journal is “excellent.”

International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology

Peer-Review is the definitive scientific standard .. right?

Actually no, it is not, but rather is a step you take to commence a conversation with the wider community. As an example creationists will often cite lists of peer-reviewed scientific papers, but such papers and the associated journals that publish them are not credible, here are a couple of examples ..

  • BIO-Complexity : This is not a credible peer-review journal, instead it is a creationist journal issued by the Biologic Institute. They in turn are funded by the Discovery Institute … yes, it is their own pet journal and has exactly zero credibility within the wider scientific community
  • Life : Yet another journal that has no scientific credibility and is treated as something to laugh at
  • International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics : This is a fringe publication of the featherweight Wessex Institute of Technology, in other words it is also not a real scientific journal, but is simply a vanity journal that publishes papers written by its own editors
  • etc…

Being published within a credible peer-reviewed journal is all about communicating with a wider audience to explain what you have discovered, and the steps you followed to make that discovery, so if the community does not consider a peer-reviewed journal to be credible then you are actually talking to nobody and are only fooling yourself.

There has now been an explosion of open access journals out there who will willingly and happily publish any paper for a fee, their very existence is not about the quality of the information, but rather is all about making money for the publisher, and so the content is completely and utterly worthless.

So how can you work out what is and is not bogus?

Sadly, often the only way you can really know is by being inside the community and so you find out from those around you and also from experience, but there are a few other helpful hints such as these …

  • Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, keeps an up-to-date list to help researchers avoid being taken in – but the numbers keep growing, so his list might not be complete, and yet getting a hit there may indeed save you a lot of grief.
  • You can also search the Journal in well-known databases including ISI, Scopus or Pubmed
  • Web of Science publishes anually the Journal Citation Report (JCR) for all journals in science and social sciences. Scopus publishes two quality indicators for journals: the Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) and SCImago Journal Rank (SJR), those values are provided free of charge in this url: http://www.journalmetrics.com/.
  • You can find all indicators of journals of Scopus and its evolution from 1999 to 2012, in the portal of free access SCImago Journal & Country Rank: http://www.scimagojr.com/journalrank.php. This portal includes the journals and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus® database (Elsevier B.V.)
  • Visit http://www.impactfactorsearch.com for JCR impact factor data in a convenient searchable format. This database is updated as the latest data becomes available.
  • Journals are often judged on their impact factor (a number that rates how often their articles are cited by other journals), but be aware Spears reports that some of these journals are now buying fake impact factors.

The bottom line here is that there is a growing problem and so researchers are forced to waste rather of lot of time trying to filter out the gold from the straw.

What we have learned today is that if you are indeed actively researching the combination of “fucking” and “emails”, and have a paper ready for publication, then the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology will quite happily publish you, but only if you pass their rather “extensive” peer-review and then wire $150 directly into the bank account of a Mr Tej Pal Singh. Oh and yes while the paper was accepted for publication, Dr. Peter Vamplew will not be sending them $150, so it will not be appearing in print.

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