In which a predatory journal wants my paper

Every week or so I get an invitation to republish one of my papers about evolution and genetics in some wildly inappropriate journal. These are, of course, the predatory journals that glom onto nearly any scientist, however relevant their research, to get money (you have to pay to publish in them). Here’s an email that just arrived:

Editor ARCJGO []

Dear Dr. JA Jerry A Coyne,

Greetings from ARC Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics

It has been a great experience reading your research article Theodosius Dobzhansky on Hybrid Sterility and Speciation  and we hope that you are continuing to pursue research work in the subject. We would like to know more about your current research work. So, we recommend your name as one of our honorable authors who can contribute to the upcoming issue of ARCJGO.

Articles are invited from all the related aspects of Gynecology and Obstetrics. ARC Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.Welcomes you to submit any type of articles on various aspects of Gynecology and Obstetrics, but not limited to the below given classification.

  • Infertility
  • General Gynecology
  • Laparoscopic Surgery
  • Pregnancy Diagnosis
  • Female Urology
  • Puberty

Some of our recently published papers

  1. Treatment of Infertility by Natural Factors in a Patient Who Had Seven Failed Procedures of In Vitro Fertilization
  2. Intravesical Electromotive Botulinum Toxin in Women with Overactive Bladder – A Pilot Study
  3. Antenatal Magnesium Sulphate (Mgso4) for Fetal NeuroProtection Prior to Preterm Labor: Mini-Review

We promise you to provide the best editorial service for you and will support you to publish the article at the earliest possibility. Kindly acknowledge this email. For any further clarification, you can always reach us

Note: Article Publication Charges is 450 USD for the articles submitted on or before December 20th, 2017.

If your research interest/topic doesn’t match this journal, you can visit our complete list of journals at: Journals List

Best wishes
InduSri. K
Editorial Assistant
ARC Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Theodosius Dobzhansky was a famous evolutionary geneticist and my academic grandfather. My article was simply a celebration of his famous 1936 paper that reported the first genetic analysis of hybrid sterility, a form of reproductive isolation. It was published in Genetics. Why and how this ob-gyn journal found it, and why they want it for ARC Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, is beyond me.

Sometimes I’m tempted to respond to these emails and see if can get this work into an inappropriate journal. But of course I’d have to pay big bucks to do that, for this offer isn’t without strings!


  1. Merilee
    Posted December 15, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Laporoscopies on fruit flies, perhaps?

  2. Posted December 15, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    As well as outright predators, we have “respectable” publishers running two-track systems; that for me was the real lesson of penisgate:

  3. Liz
    Posted December 15, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    As in animals like mules even though the females can be fertile or like exploring reproduction in humans like maybe people with down syndrome?

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 15, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    As something of an amateur gynecologist myself, I urge you to publish in this journal.

    You sure it’s not being run by a Nigerian prince? Whatever you do, don’t send them your soc. sec. number or banking info.

    • Liz
      Posted December 15, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      What the heck is an amateur gynecologist?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 15, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        A joke.

        • Liz
          Posted December 15, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

          Got it.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 15, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        Some one who does it for the good feeling, not payment.

    • Posted December 15, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Say, if you’re interested in non-professional study of human anatomy and systems, maybe you’d like to join the amateur proctology club I’m trying to start. Not many people have shown interest, which is kind of a bummer.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 15, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        I’ll meet you halfway … say, in the vicinity of the grundle?

        • Posted December 15, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          good lord! Whatever you do do NOT Google “grundle”, especially not out of naiveté.

          I need go bleach my eyes. Trigger warnings, guys.

          • nicky
            Posted December 15, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            Well, an advice of NOT googling something is guaranteed to get people doing just that. Googleled: ‘Grundle meaning’
            So ‘grundle’ is ‘perineum’, no trigger warning needed. I didn’t know the term, so thanks anyway.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted December 15, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

              Perfectly respectable, I think.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted December 15, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

              And do not google ‘grundle’ with Google Images selected…

              Incidentally, it appears to have an alternate meaning, which is a species of small sardine-like fish (or possibly a dish made from same)


        • Posted December 15, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          That taint the term I learned.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        For those of a certain sense of humour, there is – a perfectly respectable email provider.

  5. Desnes Diev
    Posted December 15, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    “Why and how this ob-gyn journal found it, and why they want it for ARC Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, is beyond me”

    Perhaps they come from bots designed to find papers in journal databases, to identify the author(s), and send preformatted letters based on key words? In a way, they’re like Nigerian or similar email scams but targeting researchers: a very small success rate is not negligible when you send a huge number of hooks. And you can consider that 450 USD is cheaper than the fees to publish in legitimate scientific journals (> 1500 USD on average).

    I receive at least 2 of such proposals by week. In addition to 2-4 invitations (to pay) for meetings I don’t care about (some may be real scientific meetings but others must be money traps).

    • Linda K
      Posted December 15, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      That is the hilarious part – we “invite” you to submit your article and to pay for the privilege?! Who is falling for this?

      • Desnes Diev
        Posted December 15, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        I had a look on the website of ARC Journals. It’s like a high school work with pretty pictures. The text could have been inspired by a used car salesman’s speech. For a taste of it:
        “Best Scientific, Open Access, Academic Journals Online

        ARC is an ideal house of publications that accepts and promotes a creative research across the globe without any reservations over religion, nationality, boundaries. It serves as a vehicle of research and education between the modern youth and the experienced, competent and qualified professionals through their intellectual awakening. […]”

        They affirm that they “Have Vast Journal Categories” and “Publish Advanced Scientific Innovations”, nothing less. Moreover they “Vow for a Quality Peer Review Process” but it’s not too clear who are the reviewers.

        The first sentence of the Introduction for the “International Journal of Research Studies in Zoology” is:
        “Zoology or Animal science is the branch of science that identifies with the set of all animals, including the structure, embryology, advancement, order, propensities, and circulation of all creatures, both living and terminated, and how they connect with their biological communities.”

        Inspiring confidence, no? Surely, it is crucial to explain zoology to zoologists. (OK, maybe to those working on “terminated” animals.)

        [Linda K:] “Who is falling for this?”

        Sadly, the homepage show some titles with authors from Turkey, Brazil, etc.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 15, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps they come from bots designed to find papers in journal databases

      Not just journal databases. All my work was commercial, and most of it under NDA to prevent publication because of it’s commercial sensitivity. But I get some of these invites too. I suspect they trawl Linked-in and other such semi-respectable sites.
      This one is relatively well-targeted – “sterility” and “infertility” being in the same block in a thesaurus.

  6. kieran
    Posted December 15, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Look up James Veitch and his replies to spam emails


    • John Dentinger
      Posted December 15, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      And before JV, there was Don Novello, writing as Lazlo Toth in “The Lazlo Letters.”
      He wrote wacky letters to people, corporations, etc. and then added their replies. This was, I believe, long before he “worked” for the Vatican as Father Guido.

  7. Liz
    Posted December 15, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Vertical Venn Diagram with No Circles

    Gynecology (female) & Andrology (male)
    Study and/or medical practice dealing with reproduction

    Does not study orgasms (shared)

    Study of the evolution of living organisms
    Evolutionary Biology

  8. Simon Hayward
    Posted December 15, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    They’ll follow up with a “gentle reminder” in a couple of weeks – we should keep track of how many of these we delete per day. I’m at ten in the last 24 hours in the trash file, including one on prenatal development and, in addition, an invitation to “Placenta 2018” in Las Vegas. Also got a job application yesterday from a guy in China with a degree in communications-related electronics (I work on prostate cancer and BPH).

    The irritating thing is that I occasionally end up deleting messages from real journals or people when I’m adopting a “the delete key is your friend” approach early in the morning.

  9. Posted December 15, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    “Dr. JA Jerry A. Coyne”

    Talk about getting off on the wrong foot.

    I would bet that your article wasn’t read by anybody, but came up in the results of a search for key words relating to Gyn/Ob issues (sterility/fertility).

    • Posted December 15, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Yes, they probably use web crawlers – I get invites to re-publish papers first published over a decade ago.

      • Posted December 15, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        Mos def — and it caught “sterility”.

  10. Stephen Barnard
    Posted December 15, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    But think of the addition to your CV! /s

  11. Posted December 15, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I’ve gotten even more irrelevant ones: my publications are all in philosophy of science and technology, broadly speaking, and yet I got an invite to publish in what was supposedly a mechanical engineering journal. I was also called “doctor”, when I have no such title.

    Some of them even play up the fact that they are supposedly “open access” or the like.

    What to do about them, other than educate people?

    • BJ
      Posted December 15, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      “Some of them even play up the fact that they are supposedly ‘open access’ or the like.”

      I’ve seen a lot of pomo entryists claim that open access journals are actually far better than reputable journals with actual standards because they allow the publication of “research” that would normally be suppressed by the patriarchal white supremacist idea of scientific rigor/peer review.

  12. BJ
    Posted December 15, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Anything can be monetized.

  13. nicky
    Posted December 15, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Send them an invoice for 450 U$.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 15, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Send them a cheque for 650Won. Or if you can get one, a trillion Zimbabwean Dollar note and ask for change of 999,999,999,350 ZWL

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted December 15, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      The ARC Publications Private Ltd Office is in Ongole, India*. Perhaps PCC(e) could honor them with a visit to ask to be “unsuscribed” from their mailing lists 😉

      * In case someone can send us a picture of the building (I had no success with Google Maps):
      Registered Office
      ARC Publications Private Limited
      # 37-1-4(15), First Floor,
      Second Line, Annavarappadu,
      Ongole, Andhra Pradesh, INDIA,

  14. Graham Jones
    Posted December 15, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Searching for “get me off your f—–g mailing list” will lead you to my favourite response to the problem.

  15. jay
    Posted December 16, 2017 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Years ago my mother was told that her poetry was selected to be included in a published anthology. Fortunately she got suspicious when told she could pre order copies of the book ‘for friends and family’.

    After repeated pushes on their part, she tracked down the publisher (in UK) and called him from CA in the middle of the British night. After her tongue lashing, she was dropped from the mailing list.

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