Friday, April 17, 2009

Fake Journal Publishing Scam

Here is an interesting scam that I hadn't seen before. Someone is sending out mail purportedly from the academic publisher Elsevier soliciting professors to submit papers to vaguely described journals. The scam is apparently that your paper gets "accepted" and then you are asked to pay "processing fees", which go to the scammers without any article ever appearing anywhere.

Then again, anyone who could be fooled by the ridiculous message below probably deserves what they get.

From: Elsevier Journals



* *


Dear Colleague,

On behalf of all the Editors-in-chief of Elsevier Journals, we wish to
Communicate to you that we are currently accepting manuscripts in all Fields
of human Endeavour.

All articles published will be peer-reviewed. The following types of papers
are considered for publication:

- Original articles in basic and applied research.

- Critical reviews, surveys, opinions, commentaries and essays.

Authors are invited to submit manuscripts reporting recent developments in
their fields. Papers submitted will be sorted out and published in any of
our numerous journals that best Fits. This is a special publication
procedure which published works will be discussed at seminars (organized by
Elsevier) at strategic Cities all over the world. Please maximize this
opportunity to showcase your research work to the world.

The submitted papers must be written in English and describe original
research not published nor currently under review by other journals.
Parallel submissions will not be accepted.

Our goal is to inform authors about their paper(s) within one week of
receipt. All submitted papers, if relevant to the theme and objectives of
the journal, will go through an external peer-review process.

Prospective authors should send their manuscript(s) in *Microsoft Word or
PDF format* to ** and should Include a cover sheet
containing corresponding Author(s) name, Paper Title, affiliation, phone,
fax number, email address etc.

Kind Regards,

Emily Robinson(Prof.)

PS: Pls. show interest by mailing ** if your
Manuscript is not ready but will be ready soon.

I love the claim that "Papers submitted will be sorted out and published in any of
our numerous journals that best Fits."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Feel Sorry for This Student

Here is some (redacted) e-mail I received today:

Dear Professor Jeffrey Shallit,

I am a Ph.D. student in the University XXX in XXX . I passed the theoretical courses and comprehensive exam and plan to defend my Ph.D. thesis proposal in next few months.
I would like to have your scientific support in my Ph.D. program as a co-supervisor. My Ph.D. thesis is about Cryptography Protocols.
In fact my research interest is about the following topics:
1. Distributed Cryptography Protocol such as Threshold Cryptography, secret sharing, ...
2. Security and Privacy Issue (specially Location Privacy)
3. Desinging and Evaluating Interactive Protocol
4. Digital Signatures

Please let me know if you could help me to define a research probelm or to define a project on any of the above topics to do it co-operatively.
I should mention that my M.Sc thesis was about XXX under the supervision of "Dr. XXX".

I do not need any finantial support. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

I have attached my CV to this e-mail.

This student seems quite misinformed about the process. Finding a topic for a Ph. D. thesis is the job for the student and supervisor together; the supervisor suggests possible problems to work on, and the student surveys the literature and attends conferences to get ideas about others. But sending e-mail to request good topics is very likely to fail because (a) the number of really good problems is small (b) they tend to be jealously guarded by professors in order to distribute to their own students and colleagues. By a "really good problem" I mean one that few have thought of or worked on before, or a new approach to an old problem, and one that is likely to be interesting and have impact, and yet solvable in 2-4 years.

Finally, the student chose me to ask for topics, even though I have never published in any of the topics he/she listed.

This student is not getting very good advice from his/her advisers.