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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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?