14 May 2013
Two of my colleagues on the journal have received a rather odd e-mail from someone claiming to represent the "American Society of Science and Engineering" - an organization of which I have never previously heard. As the e-mail address bore no relationship to those on the Society's Website, but used the domain "163.com", I contacted the Society to advise them that their identity might have been stolen. (The 163.com Website is entirely in Chinese, which made me even more suspicious!). The message stated: "The purpose of this email is to inquiry about the possibility of cooperation with your journal… In the mutual-beneficial cooperative relationship, we can do publicity, promotion and collect papers for your journal, and we can guarantee the quantity and quality of the papers we provide. Moreover, we will also pay the publication fee if any. I wonder if we can sign a publication agreement upon the cooperation." This sounds very much like one of the new, bogus, open access, "scholarly journal" scams and I was therefore rather surprised to get a response from the Society stating: "Thank you for your reminding and cooperation! Actually, ASSE has some cooperation with some Chinese orgnizations, for example, the information below stated, and you could contact with them if possible!" Which now makes me even more suspicious about this Society! Not only is the message grammatically illiterate, it gives me no information about the nature of the relationship it has with the Chinese organization, nor why that organization is contacting my Associate Editors. Is the American Society of Science and Engineering a bona fide organization, or is it, too, bogus?