On 13th August 2013 I received the following email. I have cut and pasted it below. I haven't bothered to insert back any of the links, but can do so if anyone is interested. I would not normally post private email to a public forum, but this is obviously a form letter, one step up from spam.
At the time I dismissed it as one more attempt by a journal to get me to do something for nothing as usual, but then I got a followup from the same person on 12th February 2014. It is in my experience fairly unusual to get a followup to this kind of invitation.
I thought it would do no harm to ask people here what they thought. I haven't changed my mind on it. I don't see any advantage to the proposed work. They aren't offering any money of course. It is not a publication. It isn't an opportunity to get involved in a collaborative project. It looks like a opportunity to become some kind of unpaid new-fangled Web 2.0 type editor for some kind of new-fangled web research platform. It would probably be lots of work. So, I don't see anything in it for me. I'm not sure what is in it for the journal either.
So, to summarize my questions in a convenient fashion.
Is there any reason anyone one can think of that I might want to be involved in something like this? Note - I'm by no stretch of the imagination a senior researcher. Such an invitation might make sense for a senior researcher, but I don't see why such a person could not simply create his own web site to showcase his research.
Why is the journal trying to organize something like this? I don't quite see what is in it for them either. Perhaps just the opportunity to make money off submissions to an ersatz journal?
I came across[LINK][LINK] your “SNPpy--database management for SNP data from genome wide association studies.” published in “PloS one” and thought that it would be an excellent fit for the "Research Topics" initiative in Frontiers. We have recently partnered with the [LINK]Nature Publishing Group [goo.gl] to expand our researcher-driven Open Science platform, and I would like for you to consider suggesting a consolidated topic of the latest research and perspectives from your field in a Frontiers journal.
However please note that our invitation is not restricted to the subject of this work. You are free to propose a Research Topic of your choice.
This [LINK][LINK]short video [goo.gl] gives you a better overview on the potential of Frontiers Research Topics.
You may also want to browse on the [LINK][LINK]Research Topics homepage [goo.gl] and [LINK][LINK]here [goo.gl] to check the final format of a Frontiers Research Topic as an e-book.
Like in the example above, Frontiers will create a dedicated homepage for your Research Topic, where you can manage contributions and maintain an ongoing dialogue with post-publication feedback from the research community.
If you are interested in pursuing this project, all it takes to get started is:
- A title and a short description of your Research Topic;
- A list of contributors you plan to contact.
If you wanted to find detailed information on how to launch a Research Topic, please browse [LINK][LINK]here [goo.gl].
Please let me know if you are interested in organizing a Frontiers Research Topic, and do not hesitate to contact me by phone or email with any questions. I’m looking forward to your reply.