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Royal Society spam & more

Just a rant about spam (and more spam) from pay-to-publish and closed-access journals. Nothing much to see here.

The latest offender is from something called the “Royal Society.” I don’t even know to which king or queen this particular society owes allegiance, because they have a .org URL. Exercising their royal prerogative, they created an account for me without my permission.

I clicked through to their web site to see if the journal was both free and open, but it turns out to be a pay-to-publish journal. The sovereign in question must have rather shallow pockets, as they’re asking authors to pony up a $1260 (plus VAT!) “article processing charge”.

Whenever I get review requests for pay-to-publish or closed-access journals, I just decline. Not so easy here as I can’t reply to their email. Instead, they indicate they’re going to keep spamming me and I have to actively opt out. I think I’m going to chnage my policy to never review for a journal that signs me up for their reviewing site without my permission.

Now onto the details. Here’s the text of the mail they sent (my bold face).

Dear Dr Carpenter,

An account has been created for you on the Royal Society Open Science ScholarOne Manuscripts site for online manuscript submission and review. You are likely to be invited to contribute to the journal as a reviewer or author in the near future. For information about the journal please visit http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org.

Your account login details are as follows:

USER ID: carp@alias-i.com
PASSWORD: To set your password please click the link below. Clicking the link will take you directly to the option for setting your permanent password.
https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rsos?URL_MASK=blah-blah-blah

Please log in to https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rsos to:
– Choose a memorable user ID and password for easy login
– Associate your ORCID ID with your account
– Add your affiliation details
Tell us when you are unavailable, or delete your account
– Opt out of emails relating to the Royal Society and/or its journal content

When you log in for the first time, you will be asked to complete your profile.

The Royal Society is committed to your privacy and to the protection of your personal information. View our privacy policy at https://royalsociety.org/about-us/terms-conditions-policies/privacy-policy/#authors.

Please contact us if you have any questions about why an account has been created.

Sincerely,

Royal Society Open Science Editorial Office
openscience@royalsociety.org

Keep up-to-date:
Content and keyword alerts: http://royalsocietypublishing.org/alerts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RSocPublishing
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RoyalSocietyPublishingFanPage
Log in to Remove This Account – https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rsos?URL_MASK=blah-blah-blah

To avoid more spam, I thought I’d log in to remove the account, but wait, they have quirky weak password requirements.

Create New Password
Password Requirements:

Cannot be a recently used password
Cannot be the same as your username
Minimum of 8 characters
Minimum of 2 numbers
Minimum of 1 letter (Upper or lower case)
More Information May be Required

If the site requires more information, you will be taken to your profile next.

* = Required Fields

Of course it required more information.

Your Profile Needs to be Updated
The following profile item(s) need to be updated before you can access the site:

Salutation is a required field
Country / Region is a required field

Thankfully, a country and salutation were pre-entered by whoever decided to put me into this system. After this, I had to click through several more screens of profile creation for reviewers until I found a “delete your account” section. Done. Finally.

Done, not done

No sooner had I shaken off a pay-to-publish journal when I get hit with the same thing from a closed-access IEEE journal (the name “ScholarOne” is repeated acorss spams, so maybe that’s the name of the spam tool).

Dear Dr. Carpenter:

Welcome to the Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems – ScholarOne Manuscripts site for online manuscript submission and review. Your name has been added to our reviewer database in the hopes that you will be available to review manuscripts for the Journal which fall within your area of expertise.

Your USER ID for your account is as follows:

SITE URL: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/tcad
USER ID: carp@alias-i.com
PASSWORD: To set your password please click the link below. Clicking the link will take you directly to the option for setting your permanent password.

https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/tcad?blah-blah-blah

When you log in for the first time, you will be asked to complete your full postal address, telephone, and fax number. You will also be asked to select a number of keywords describing your particular area(s) of expertise.

Thank you for your participation.

17 Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    Bob:

    Wow, you show real dedication! I usually just tag this kind of message as spam in my inbox and then never look back.

  2. Robin Morris says:

    The Royal Society is essentially the UK’s National Academy of Sciences. I’m sorry that they did this to you.

  3. Eric de Souza says:

    Whereas the Royal Society is well known and started with “Royal Society Open Science” some years ago, I have not heard of and couldn’t find “Royal Society Open Science ScholarOne” on its site. This seems to be an attempt to hijack the respectability of Royal Society by some unknown group. I’m sure the Royal Society would love to hear about it, if they haven’t already.

    • Simon Gates says:

      I dont think so. The Royal Society publishes a number of journals; ScholarOne is a manuscript submission and management website used by quite a lot of journals. Presumably it belongs to one of the big publishers. So I think it’s all legit, if a bit annoying (ots of journals do this sort of thing – I’ve always just ignored it).

  4. Liorel says:

    Had you been an EU citizen, this would have been a great opportunity to ship them GDPR: https://shipyourenemiesgdpr.com/ They would have done all the nice work for you and, to be honest, they would probably have stored your email in a file named “not_to_email_ever_again.csv”.

    Which is exactly what you want.

  5. Rahul says:

    Is “closed-access” the same as “pay-to-read”?

  6. Claire says:

    This is quite common in my field, and normally is followed by a request to review.

  7. Shravan says:

    Bob, I think you’re being too harsh here. If one were to follow these criteria, one would never accept any review at all. Except for old fashioned journals (very few left now), all journals approach “new” people (new to them) like this.

    BTW, this also means we will never get you as a reviewer,which is a big loss for the field.

    PS Sorry forthe wilddouble spacing and the no spacing.My Mac laptop simply doesn’t react to spacebar pressesanymore,and sometimes it reacts by creating a doublespace. I just bought a win machine, and will switch over the next few weeks from mac forgood.

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