Tuesday, 12 November 2013

There's a new scam targeting academics, and it calls itself David Publishing...

Checking my emails this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find an email from a group known as David Publishing that expressed an interest in a paper that I recently presented at UCL's "Monstrous Antiquities" conference for a new journal that they were starting up, History Research. Naturally I was quite excited, thinking that this journal –– claiming to be based in California –– had taken an interest in my recent talk and would like to publish it. But something just didn't sit right with me. The email had clearly been written by someone for whom English was not their first language, and the journal claimed to cover *everything* that fell within the remit of history. The whole email was indeed a bit of a mess, and it was clear that they had simply copy-and-pasted the name of my paper into a pre-existing text, not even bothering to ensure that the two fonts were the same. If this was indeed an academic press, I thought, then it was certainly a sloppy and amateurish operation. 

The dubious email which I received.

Being an academic, my first instinct is to research, and like all good Westerners are now trained to do, I went straight to Google. What I found confirmed my suspicions. David Publishing is no legitimate academic press. It is a Chinese-based company that send out these phishing emails in order to attract gullible or over-eager academics, particularly graduate students who might not have any experience with legitimate academic publications. Their peer review system is a joke, and it seems apparent that their only interest is to extort money from the academics whose work they publish. After giving you the results of your peer review, which will typically be glowing with praise no matter the quality of your work, they let you know that they would simply love to publish your paper.... for a fee. And it's no small fee either, with the company charging around $20 per page. So let me make this perfectly clear for everyone else in academia; if you come across any of these phishing emails, do not be fooled, just send it straight to the spam box. You can learn more about this contemptible, predatory company over at the Leiter Reports Blog, and the Scholarly Open Access blog.


  1. Hah, yes I thought as much, but since my presentation appeared to be well received I hoped that perhaps the highly reputable academic in the audience might have recommended me to a reputable publisher.

    This is a bit like the Nigerian 419 scam. Tell people that they have made it big and then let them know that there are administration fees. Our egos are big enough to make us believe it:-)

  2. Ethel, I have had an identical experience to yours and my response was similar to yours as well. I had presented at an international conference in the UK and was given the same spiel with an invitation to join the editorial board! I realized that I was being taken for a ride and am glad that people are becoming aware of this fraud of a company. They need to be blacklisted.
    Sabina Pillai

  3. Many of these shysters and charlatans with open access "journals" or pompous sounding "CONferences" from China,etc....hustlers and hucksters looking for click bait and charging hundreds to "publish." As Barnum says, a sucker born every minute.

  4. Glad to have encountered this resource via our University librarian as they are still scamming away in 2017. Like you the initial contact was a nice surprise from a recently present peice of work but their fishy reply made me go looking a bit harder again!

  5. AW! Just received such an email this morning after presenting three conference in our University Biennial Conference last year. Apparently, i thought they published freely as they did not mentioned any cost implications even after my being inquisitive. This is an eye opener!

  6. Scam is still happening. I just presented at a conference and received their email a week later!

  7. While less than a bonafide academic journal, they did publish an article of mine online that has received numerous hits and kudos. They also asked for money in advance (I believe $600) but I refused and was published anyway --- perhaps because I tempted them with some additional ready-to-be-published work, a commitment I did not adhere to. As for their peer-review process - it's dubious at best.

  8. Just got the similar e-mail, thank god I found this blog.

  9. Thank you all. You save me 500 dollars. They wanted to charge me 60 dollars for page and I was about to send them my money.

  10. bingo. you being suspicious. well, my case, i bother asked my lecturer of my master degree, back then. somehow that line is correct, "when somethin is too good to be true, then it must not be true"

  11. cannot put my wordpress Blog, errr. it's in English (for I am Indonesian)

  12. God bless you for this post. They just sent me something to publish in their Journal of Materials Science and Engineering A, which is also the name of a completely legitimate Elsevier publication. Theirs, of course, is a crock of garbage.

  13. Thank you for your post. I have received the same email from david publishing after presenting my work just recently.

  14. Dear Ethan! God bless you for this post! Thank God I found this blog. :)
    They sent me something to publish in their journals of China-USA Business Review (ISSN 1537-1514) and Chinese Business Review (ISSN 1537-1506). It is second e-mail from the same "publisher". The first one was from Journal of US-China Public Administration (ISSN 1548-6591 (print); ISSN 1935-9691 (online))

  15. Seems this scam is still going. Hopefully that means they are desperate and reaching for a last breath. I received the same email (multiple times actually). The weird phrasings and overall odd tone signaled scam so I never responded to any of the attempts. Try to spread the word throughout your networks about this operation. Peace.

  16. Thank you very much for the information. Really helpful.

  17. Unfortunately, I was gullible and worked hard to revise and submit a paper to them, that I'd presented in "working form" at a conference. Today I went searching to see what happened to my submission, what it's status might be. I submitted on their website in early June, and have yet to hear back. Also, when I replied to the original email, it got bounced back as undeliverable. Figures. "What a world, what a world...." said my favorite witch as she was melting. Guess its time to find a legitimate press for said paper.

  18. Thank you very much. Também recebi o email e já estava pensando em submeter meu artigo.

  19. Still going on... Again misleading by using an Elsevier journal title...

    From Knowledge to Wisdom
    Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering
    ISSN: 2328-2142 DOI: 10.17265/2328-2142
    Dear F. Coghe,

    This is Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering (ISSN 2328-2142), a professional journal published across the United States by David Publishing Company, Valley Cottage, NY, USA.

    We have learned your paper Numerical Modelling of the Plastic Deformation of Ti-6AI-4V Sheets Under Explosive Loading in The 2017 11th European LS-DYNA Conference .

    We are very interested in your paper and also would like to publish your other unpublished papers in the Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering. If you have the idea of making our journal a vehicle for your research interests, please send electronic version of your papers or books to us through email attachment in MS word format or submit it via our Online Submission System, and you are also welcome to check our homepage and latest issue via the quick link as follows:

    <444(07-20-16-14-(01-22-17-25-55)(1).png> <333(07-20-16-14-(01-22-17-25-55)(1).png>

    Hope to keep in touch by email and publish some papers or books from you and your friends. As an American academic publishing group, we wish to become your friends if we may.

    Best regards,
    Editorial Office
    Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering,
    David Publishing Company
    616 Corporate Way, Suite 2-4876 Valley Cottage, NY 10989, USA
    E-mail: traffic@davidpublishing.com, JTTE_davidpublishing@yahoo.com

  20. Oh boy...I'm so, so glad I stumbled upon this post. I'm and undergrad who did a semester doing phonology research and presented at a small conference with other undergrads. Imagine my elated reaction when I get an email from a journal wanting to publish my paper!

    First suspicion was the fact they addressed me as "Dr.", which set off some warning bells, but apparently not enough to do some investigating. Same thing as other people mentioned: Faulty return address on email, weird wording, pushy repetitive emails. The real kicker is the line they drop about how "you'll get a discount if your reviews are good". I guess if it sucked, I could throw enough money at them for them to put in in their journal. Next step was to google search HOW much these "fee's" were and here we are now...

    Speaking of their "journals" Holy Heck of COURSE its a scam, they have enough to cover nearly every academic subject. They also emailed me multiple times regarding submission after I had already sent in my paper. They have my phone number now, which was stupid of me :(

    I just don't know how they got my contact info from such a small conference...The bright side is that I only told a few people about the publishing offer just in case is was faulty, and here we have it. I feel pretty sick.

  21. I have read the comments above about the US-China Law Review, and there are some serious inconsistencies.... First, did these individuals actually do any research? Probably not.... Why do I say this? Because, I personally checked out the US-China Law Review after reading these critical remarks about the company....What did I discover?.....
    First, I easily found (through Google) the list of "Editorial Board Members" for the journal....As for the North American editors, every one of them checked out...No phony names or institutions....And, I checked the European and African members as well....Same results....
    Second, I checked the past issues of the US-China Law Review....All the articles I reviewed over the past three years checked out....Names, Title of Articles, Institutions, etc...ALL the articles were professionally type-set like any other professional journal....
    In other words, there were no 'secrets' or 'mystery' about the David Publishing Company.. I did this research because of the outraged and skeptical "comments" about this company....
    So, I did my own research....
    As I said, I easily found the past issues of the US-China Law Review, ALL the articles were listed as "open access" to readers or researchers....I opened many of them -- no problem...
    Perhaps, all these critics are right....Perhaps, David Publishing Company is just one damn scam.....Nothing new in that for many scholars....But, I ask just one thing....Do your own research....
    For me, I called their company phone number in New York -- it works.... Their fax number -- it works..... Their past US-China Law Review journals (since 2004) are easily accessible, and you can copy the articles..... The "Editorial Board Members" are real people with law degrees and they work in professions representing various fields of law......
    So, maybe they are a fly-by-night operation....Maybe they are a damn scam.....But, please explain this to me....How come I could quickly find ALL this information about the company that others claim doesn't exit??....Fourteens years of journals and articles (2004-2017) are available, how can you dismiss that fact?!?.....If I could find all this information -- that I mentioned about -- how come these "critics" of this publishing company could not?!?....
    I find their comments bizarre and strange -- and, not based upon fact.....

    Do your own research!!

    1. Forgive me if I misunderstand you, but I do not believe that either myself or any of the other commentators have claimed that the journals published by David Publishing do not exist.

      The journals certainly exist. Individuals sitting on their editorial boards may well also exist. I am not aware of the company engaging in outright deception. What makes the company appear predatory is the fact that it charges large sums of money for anyone wishing to publish with it. That is not something that established (or even new), reputable academic journals do. If your work is good enough for academic publication, then you really should never find yourself in a situation where you have to fork out from your own pocket to publish it (although there may be instances where you can pay for it to be published 'open access', but that is another kettle of fish).

      Another issue with the company is that it sends out mass emails asking for people to contribute articles to its journals. Again, reputable established journals should not have to do that (unless they wish to contact specialists in a certain field for a 'special issue' on a particular topic). The company literally sends out emails to anyone who happens to have presented a conference paper, stating that they are "very interested" in publishing said article. Some of those who have gone along with them have said that the peer-review process was a joke. Hardly a sign of quality control, is it.

      If the journals published by this company do not display any concern for quality control then (in my opinion) they are of no service whatsoever for scholarship or academia. They may even be detrimental to the public perception of the academy by putting out poor quality work under the guise of 'scholarship'. If they are sending emails out to eager but perhaps gullible young graduates or those who have difficulty with the English language (the latter being concentrated largely in developing countries) offering to publish their work for a fee then they are being exploitative. It is this combination of exploitative practices and poor quality output which make this operation look a lot like a scam created to rake in money.

    2. Mr. White, I completely understand your position(s)....And, you make some very valid points....For instance, the money part also bothers me as well.....But, there are thousands and thousands of scholars and only a few dozen journals....Perhaps, a few more than that, but not much.....

      So, when the music stops, a lot of scholars don't get published....And, I am sure you also know that academic politics is quite toxic on such matters - who gets published and who does not....Prime example, how many great writers throughout history have been turned down many, many times, before, finally, one publisher accepts their work and publishes it....The line is long, long and long.....

      Yet, Mr. White, I hear you. Perhaps, Davis Publishing is not the cream of the crop.

      But, I have had friends who had their ideas stolen through the 'peer review' process....I am sure you know friends who have been ripped off too!?!....Academia can be a dirty business, indeed....

      So, Mr. White, I agree with you on many of your points, but I am still glad the David Publishing Company exists.....But, the money part makes me uneasy.....Though, I looked through their past issues of the US-China Law Review, and I found the articles' overall production to be very professional....

      Hell, Mr. White, I guess what I am trying to say is, like many aspects of our academic profession, the David Publishing Company is just another mixed-bag element within it....

    3. "But, there are thousands and thousands of scholars and only a few dozen journals....Perhaps, a few more than that, but not much....." On that I would have to disagree. There are quite literally thousands of reputable, academic journals out there, covering almost every subject imaginable. This page from the Canadian Science Publishing website (http://www.cdnsciencepub.com/blog/21st-century-science-overload.aspx) notes the existence of 28,100 peer-review journals as of 2014, and more are being established all the time. A case could perhaps be made that there are now too many such journals, rather than too few. In a market already saturated with so many reputable and respected outlets for the publication of scholarship, what useful purpose do these more predatory journals provide?

      If Davis Publishing's only purpose is to publish material than the more respected publishers won't touch, then that is not (in my opinion) a good thing. If a scholar finds that their work is not accepted for publication by one reputable journal, then they can always try other journals in the same field or sub-field. Alternately, they can pay serious attention to why their article was not accepted. Is the argument presented not intellectually vigorous enough? Is the article poorly written or formatted? Does it fail to make a novel contribution to scholarship? Having an article turned down by a journal is always going to be disheartening, but the best thing to do is to learn from the experience and use it to go back, rewrite, and improve the original article. In doing so, the scholar can hone their craft and, after sufficient effort and thought, produce a better work that hopefully will be accepted for publication and help them to build up a good reputation within their given field of enquiry. Generally speaking, hard work pays off.