Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dove Medical Press and Libertas Academica: Spammer of the Month


Dove Medical Press and Libertas Academica, both based in Auckland (New Zealand), both published by Timothy Hill aka Tom Hill aka Tim Hill (the same person?), currently use relentless spamming techniques, flooding prospective authors with unsolicited emails as a marketing strategy for their vanity journals which come in the disguise of serious open access journals.
The issues are remarkably similar to the Bentham case: The marketing is badly targeted - I received "invitations" to submit articles for journals which are not in my field (e.g. Bioinformatics and Biology) -, I have been unsuccessful to get off their mailing list, there are no automatic unsubscribe links (not to talk about the fact that I never subscribed to anything in the first place), and when I finally got through with my emails, publishers were unapologetic (for details see comments thread to the Bentham case).

All emails "invite" me to submit a paper to their "open access journals" (sometimes they advertise "special issues"), which are actually "vanity" journals, as they are nowhere indexed or ranked and there is no true selection process - basically, if you have money, you can get published.

What makes these publishers loose any credibility is their persistent spamming activity. After having received spam emails for all kinds of different journals from Libertas Academica on Jan 29, 2008, March 4th, March 23rd, April 21st, May 8th, Jun 10th, Jun 18th, I received the 8th spam email on Jul 8th, despite repeated requests to stop spamming my account

I had similar issues with Dove Medical Press, also based in Auckland, New Zealand.

There seem to be other relationships between these two publishers. It is interesting that on one website Tim Hill, described as publisher of Dove Medical Press, praises a particular spam software (WebCite Archive). A Tom Hill is also listed as the publisher of Libertas Academica in Auckland. I would also assume that it is no coincidence that any requests to stop spamming addressed to both companies are persistently ignored?

In any case, some annoying or illegal activities are going on in Auckland, and anybody who receives spam emails from Dove Medical Press, Libertas Academica, Timothy Hill, Tim Hill, or Tom Hill, should submit a complaint to the New Zealand Spam Complaint System.

Throw-away vanity journals published by LA: “Analytical Chemistry Insights” “Biomarker Insights” “Bioinformatics and Biology Insights” “Cancer Informatics” “Clinical Medicine: Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders” “Clinical Medicine: Cardiology” “Clinical Medicine: Circulatory, Respiratory and Pulmonary Medicine” “Clinical Medicine: Oncology” “Drug Target Insights” “Evolutionary Bioinformatics” “Gene Regulation and Systems Biology” “Integrative Medicine Insights” “Perspectives in Medicinal Chemistry” “Translational OncoGenomics” (and others).


These publishers damage the reputation of open access journals. Spamming is not an acceptable way to solicit manuscripts.

Postscript 1 (November 5th, 2008):
"While it does appear that there are a number of unscrupulous OA publishers operating, I could find no reason to conclude that Dove is one of them."
He also clarified that Tim and Tom Hill are father and son.

Postscript 2 (February 26th, 2010):
Richard Poynder now thinks that OASPA should be embarrassed for having Dove Medical Press as member, because it published substandard research from Alabama shooter Amy Bishop.

Postscript 3 (October 5th, 2013):
It is too bad that OASPA accepted Dove as member, but at the time it did (without my involvement), I believed everybody deserves a second chance. It will be interesting to see how OASPA reacts, now that Dove accepted a obviously flawed spoof paper after superficial peer-review in the Science sting.

1 comment:

Henrik Nielsen said...

Libertas Academica is also an OASPA member. Do you still regard their journals as vanity journals?