Welcome to Science Sunday bloggies! We are currently dealing with yet another snowstorm dumping over a foot a snow in the Boston area. Good weather for writing, but I have had enough. I’m getting closer and closer to impulsively buying a ticket to any warm destination.

Today, I wanted to write about random (and probably illegitimate) journal and conference spam. Everyday I get sent two or three emails from a journal or conference I have never heard of asking for submissions or offering editorial board positions. More established researchers probably get way more. These starting flowing into my inbox when I started publishing regularly and when I got my F31 fellowship from the NIH.

When I first started to get these requests (especially for the editorial board positions), I would get excited. I thought it showed that people were noticing and appreciating my work. I felt a sense of pride. Who wouldn’t like to get a little appreciation or kudos for the work they do?

After the initial excitement wore off a little, I started noticing some odd things about these requests. First, the wording of the emails was ridiculous. They would write things like “Greetings for the day”, “We have initiated a journal”, and “Have a nice and healthy day.” These are things you would never see in a professional email or request. It was just odd.

Second, I had never heard of any of these journals or the journals had nothing to do with my research expertise. My mentors and colleagues had never heard of them either. That was not a good sign. Plus, the journal topics they covered were not in human genetics or in my phenotype areas. Some examples are “Journal of Enzymology and Enzyme Engineering” (I have no experience in enzymes) and “Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education” (nope, no experience). Not even a borderline competent journal would invite me, some with no experience in these areas, to be an editor or even an author.

Thankfully, one of my best friends, google, was there to help me out. I googled some of these journals. Their websites would just seem shady. Things just didn’t seem right. Fortunately, others had received these requests and started discussing them online. They didn’t seem legitimate. The Internet is so fantastic for checking out these things and honestly for getting information on anything. If you have any doubts about anything, just google it!

After taking all of this information in, I simply started clicking the spam button on these emails. I trusted my judgment and gut feelings. If I didn’t know the journal and they didn’t seem to be a legitimate new venture, I didn’t want to be a part of it. A publication or an editorial board position is not worth a ding on my name. Your reputation means so much in research. So, be careful! Email subject lines can and are misleading. Get information! It is so easy nowadays!

Thank you all for stopping by Science Sunday this week! Have you received these sorts of requests before? How have you dealt with these? Let me know below or on twitter @DrFsThoughts.

See you later bloggies!

-Dr. F