Another dodgy publisher’s email

I have just received the following email. You may have seen somethiing similar – and it is possible that less experienced colleagues might think it is authentic.

We are contacting you because you are the corresponding author on a paper that was published in 2009. We are conducting a survey about the perceptions scientists have of information providers in scientific, technical and medical research fields.  As only a carefully selected sample of scientists and practitioners have been chosen for the study, your feedback is very valuable to us.
 
The survey is being conducted by a scientific, technical and medical publisher who will be revealed at the end of the survey. Under the terms of the Market Research Society Code of Conduct, it will not lead to any sales follow up and no individual (or organization) will be identified. Your results will be kept confidential and used only for research purposes.
 
The email was unsigned but came from the following address: scholarlyresearch@us.confirmit.com. It isn’t the first time that this bunch asked me to take part in their surveys. Last time, I asked the British Market Research Society whether they knew anything about them, and they said that they did not. I’ve heard rumours that Elsevier are behind this initiative, which might not be surprising given the publisher’s reputation among researchers, but if so it seems a clumsy way of responding.
 
The email closes with the saccharine line:

Thank you very much for your time, we really value your input.
Sincere or what?
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9 thoughts on “Another dodgy publisher’s email

  1. I received the same e-mail and reminder.
    I answered through the form for “trouble and technical problems” (small link at the end of the e-mail) that:
    1) I generally don’t participate to survey or fill questionnaire when I don’t know the “Sponsor”. There are a lot of reasons to this general recommendation that I will not explain here. In this particular case of a survey conducted by a “scientific publisher”, I also don’t want to spend time and provide information to some publishers (in particular publishers of “Open access” journals with no quality control).
    2) No notice about data-privacy-policy is provided for this survey, which is clearly not an anonymous survey (they sent me a reminder and my e-mail address is specified in the link to the survey).

  2. I just got a similar email today (May 27, 2014). I believe this is some sort of scam, as there are multiple inconsistencies in their email:
    1- They call me “Dr.” and I am not (yet?);
    2- They say: “You were recently invited to complete a survey about the perceptions scientists have of information providers in scientific, technical and medical research fields.” I have never been invited to complete that survey;
    3- They say: “We are contacting you because you are the corresponding author on a paper that was published in 2010.” I was not the corresponding author on the one article I co-authored in 2010.

    My advice would be to delete this email and not follow any of the links embedded in it.

  3. I’ve just received a very similar message from “Scholarly Research Survey “. These two facts strongly suggest that those people who are conducting this “survey” are either extremely unskillful or insincere: 1) They don’t indicate who are behind the survey; 2) They don’t provide any contact information other than a link for technical support. If they are sincere, they don’t have enough social skills to know that these traits make the recipients of the message very cautious.

  4. Here’s a version received today, addressed to me:

    We are conducting a short survey to understand the opinions of researchers in the scientific and medical fields on online services currently available to you. As only a carefully selected sample of researchers have been chosen for the study, your feedback is very valuable to us.

    The sponsor of this study will be revealed at the end of the survey as we do not wish to bias responses at the opening part of the survey. The research is being carried out under the terms of the Market Research Society Code of Conduct; it will not lead to any sales follow up, and no individual (or organization) will be identified in our reporting unless they give their explicit consent. Otherwise your results will be kept strictly confidential.

    We would be grateful if you could spare approximately 15 minutes to complete this survey.

    As a token of our gratitude, for each completed interview we will make a charitable donation of US$2. You will be able select from a list of charities (UNICEF, Save the Children, Médecins Sans Frontières, Debra UK and Alex’s Lemonade Stand) at the end of the survey.

    To start the survey please click ONCE on the link below:
    http://survey.us.confirmit.com/wix/ (and more stuff I assume is a “personalized” link
    Please do not reply to this e-mail as the inbox is not monitored. If you are having trouble with this survey you can let us know here and we will address any technical problems as quickly as we can.
    Thank you very much for your time. We really value your input.

  5. Today I received a similar email. Since I had an odd feeling about it I did some research on google an found this site. Bingo!
    My advice, don’t answer it and don’t klick on any embedded link.
    Cheers

  6. got one today:

    Dear Dr. Snowden,

    We are conducting a short survey to understand the opinions of researchers in the scientific and medical fields on online services currently available to you. As only a carefully selected sample of researchers have been chosen for the study, your feedback is very valuable to us.

    The sponsor of this study will be revealed at the end of the survey as we do not wish to bias responses at the opening part of the survey. The research is being carried out under the terms of the Market Research Society Code of Conduct; it will not lead to any sales follow up, and no individual (or organization) will be identified in our reporting unless they give their explicit consent. Otherwise your results will be kept strictly confidential.

    We would be grateful if you could spare approximately 15 minutes to complete this survey.

    As a token of our gratitude, for each completed interview we will make a charitable donation of US$2. You will be able select from a list of charities (UNICEF, Save the Children, Médecins Sans Frontières, Debra UK and Alex’s Lemonade Stand) at the end of the survey.

    To start the survey please click ONCE on the link below:
    http://survey.us.confirmit.com/wix/p2732676672.aspx?__sid__=s5aXRfosphqFMoL20Ojk61E-fgO3KK6K1vinXQ7Spd1FOO8ILKzqVKh0MMNYhrdz_kwHm2okVQFJtvX2K4vZxg2

    Please do not reply to this e-mail as the inbox is not monitored. If you are having trouble with this survey you can let us know here and we will address any technical problems as quickly as we can.

    Thank you very much for your time. We really value your input.

    any update on who this is?

    Thanks

    Prof Austyn Snowden

  7. I just got the same one, but without the offer of a donation. Then got a follow up asking why I had not replied to the first request. I don’t participate in studies that don’t at least provide enough information to cross the informed consent threshold. So no, I will not be clicking on those links. I deleted both emails.

    Dr. Cynthia DeVita-Cochrane

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