Analysis of 5000 predatory emails : IJS Short Reports

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Correspondence

Analysis of 5000 predatory emails

Kakamad, Fahmi H. PhDa,b,c,; Salih, Abdulwahid M. MDa,c; Abdulla, Berwn A. BScb,c; Abdullah, Fakher LLBb; Ahmed, Jaafar O. MDb; Salih, Rawezh Q. BScb,c; Mohammed, Shvan H. BScb; Mikael, Tomas M. BScb,c; Kakamad, Suhaib H. BScb; Fatah, Gona M. BScb,c

Author Information
doi: 10.1097/SR9.0000000000000016
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Predatory publishing is a relatively new and rapidly growing menace in scientific communication. The immoral cybercriminals are abusing the open-access model by defeating the editorial and peer-review process, which is often lacking or negligible1. Invitation through the spam emails directly to the authors is a growing trend used by the predatory journals to submit manuscripts, join editorial boards, or write what pretended to be peer review report2. Though this tactic has helped these journals to hunt their victims, there is no detailed analysis of these spam emails. The report aims to analyze these emails.

We collected those predatory emails received by the first author during 507 days (from April 4, 2018, to September 5, 2019). He is a 34-year-old with 72 publications, 66 (83.3%) of them were in the fields of general, cardiothoracic, and vascular surgeries. The inclusion criteria incorporated only those emails that had been sent by the titles flagged as predatory by Kscien list (the updated version of Beall’s list)3. There were 5000 emails. The trappers had different requests, the most common invitation was for manuscript submission (Table 1). Only 630 (12.6%) of the subjects were related to general, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeries. About 1516 (30.32%) emails mentioned the supposed to be the address of the senders, whereas 3484 (69.68%) emails did not, the most common sender location was the United States (1154, 23.0.8%) (Appendix). Only 84 (1.7%) trappers used general email addresses (75, 1.5% had Gmail and 9, 0.2% had Yahoo) others emails (98.3%) were institutional. One hundred thirty-five senders (2.7%) stated the amount of fee, the mean and SD was 378.72±215.34 US dollar. The types of the currency were 116 (85.9) US dollars, Euro 6 (4.5%), and pound 13 (9.6%). About 4466 (89.3%) emails were sent during working days (Sunday-Friday). Only 273 (5.5%) emails addressed the previous author’s publications, 2081 (41.6%) of the predators announced a deadline for the request. Nine hundred twenty-two (18.52%) emails were from the organizers of the conferences and workshops, 808 (87.25%) named the venues of the events (Appendix), 36 (3.89%) revealed the photos of whom supposed to be the keynote speakers.

Table 1 - Purpose of invitations.
Variables Number (%)
Manuscript submission 3903 (78.1)
Speaker for conferences 526 (10.5)
Attending conferences and workshops 214 (4.3)
Joining editorial boards 119 (2.4)
Abstract Submission 115 (2.3)
Reviewing manuscript 50 (1)
Chapter writing 33 (0.7)
More than one purpose 40 (0.8)
Total 5000 (100)

Emails from the predatory titles have many evolving and tricky trends that should be recognized by the researchers. Scholars should be cautious about any offer that comes via emails, whether from journals, workshops or conferences.

Ethical approval

Approval has been taken from kscien Organization For Scientific Research.

Sources of funding

None.

Authors contribution

All authors contributed to the idea of the research, data collection and final approval of the manuscript.

Conflicts of interest disclosure

The authors declare that they have no financial conflict of interest with regard to the content of this report.

Research registration unique identifying number (UIN)

None.

Guarantor

Fahmi H. Kakamad.

Appendix

Table A1 - Country of origin of the senders.
Variables Numbers (%)
Unknown 3484 (69.68)
USA 1154 (23.0.8)
UK 298 (5.98)
India 12 (0.24)
China 6 (0.12)
UAE 4 (0.08)
Germany 4 (0.08)
Japan 4 (0.08)
Singapore 3 (0.06)
Italy 3 (0.06)
Canada 3 (0.06)
Denmark 2 (0.04)
Spain 2 (0.04)
Egypt 2 (0.04)
New Zealand 2 (0.04)
Portugal 2 (0.04)
Australia 2 (0.04)
Malaysia 1 (0.02)
Pakistan 1 (0.02)
France 1 (0.02)
KSA 1 (0.02)
Switzerland 1 (0.02)
Romania 1 (0.02)
Iran 1 (0.02)
Total 5000 (100)

Table A2 - Country of the events.
Variables Number (%)
Italy 90 (11.1)
Australia 89 (11)
UK 85 (10.5)
Spain 82 (10.1)
Germany 60 (7.4)
USA 59 (7.3)
Japan 55 (6.8)
UAE 48 (5.9)
France 40 (5)
The Netherlands 30 (3.7)
Singapore 26 (3.2)
Malaysia 24 (3)
Switzerland 23 (2.8)
China 19 (2.4)
Thailand 10 (1.2)
Korea 8 (1)
Poland 8 (1)
Czech 7 (0.9)
Belgium 6 (0.7)
Scotland 5 (0.6)
Portugal 5 (0.6)
Turkey 3 (0.4)
Bulgaria 3 (0.4)
Norway 3 (0.4)
India 3 (0.4)
Denmark 3 (0.4)
Georgia 3 (0.4)
South Africa 2 (0.2)
Canada 2 (0.2)
Ireland 2 (0.2)
Maldive 1 (0.1)
Estonia 1 (0.1)
Malta 1 (0.1)
Prague 1 (0.1)
Russia 1 (0.1)
Total 808 (100)

References

1. Omer J, Mohammed SH, Salih RQ, et al. Predatory journals in psychiatry. Lancet Psychiatry 2019;6:564–5.
2. Moher D, Srivastava A. You are invited to submit…. BMC Med 2015;13:180.
3. Kakamad FH, Mohammed SH, Najar KA, et al. Kscien’s list; a new strategy to hoist predatory journals and publishers. Int J Surg Open 2019;17:5–7.
Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of IJS Publishing Group Ltd.