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I recently received an invitation to review two papers from a journal(!) through EDAS, which I have an account with, only because many years ago and while I was studying my Bachelor degree, I submitted two papers through their portal. I had some free time and reviewed the papers right away.

After submitting my reviews, I received other review invitations from the journal's editor. I wrote back to him and explained why I cannot review any more papers, also posted a short response on EDAS portal. However, he kept sending papers! Not only that, he is sending multiple emails reminding me that the review deadlines are approaching fast!

This does not bother me! What bothers me is that one of the papers I reviewed was a very poor paper and its authors withdrew it. After their withdrawal, EDAS sent me and other reviewers an automated message. The surprising thing was that the paper had 9 reviewers!! In other words, the editor had spammed all of us in a way, and EDAS had no mechanism of stopping him from doing this!

Is there anyone else with similar experiences? Should I do something about it or just let it pass?

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    Why do you think this is predatory, or even unusual practice? – Anonymous Physicist Sep 22 '20 at 14:06
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    @AnonymousPhysicist It's certainly questionable to keep getting reminders about a deadline having declined to review. – Azor Ahai -him- Sep 22 '20 at 18:09
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    You will get them for years. Even after you retire. Just ignore them. The "editor" didn't send this personally. It was sent by an automated system in which reviewers are always needed. Yes, it may be a kind of spam, but at least they aren't trying to sell you anything or steal your money. – Buffy Sep 22 '20 at 18:56
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    @AnonymousPhysicist Don't you think it is unusual for them to keep sending me reminders when I've already reviewed two of their papers and explained that I am stuck in another country due to COVID19, without the access to a laptop and cannot review any more papers?! This tells me they haven't bothered even reading my email or my response on the portal! Also, I did not review many papers, but have never reviewed or seen a paper with more than 3 reviewers! That's why I asked the question to see if it is common practice or not. – RFNO Sep 23 '20 at 0:59
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    @BenBarden I don't know how many reviewers it should have! What I know is that you should be more careful if you are a researcher, because based on your comment, you are prone to jump to conclusions! Where did you get the idea that I was trying to become 'even'?!! – RFNO Sep 23 '20 at 1:05
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If you are in the EU or the service provider operates from the EU, send them another email in which you remind them very kindly of their legal obligations. Sending you spam after you opted out of their mailing lists is illegal under the GDPR. Even not providing easy ways to opt out is an offense.

You can get in touch with the journals Data Protection Officer (DPO), if the editor fails to respond, or directly file a complaint at your national Data Protection Authority (DPA).

You can take also take legal steps, they are outlined here: What should I do if I think that my personal data protection rights haven’t been respected? (European Commission)

An email to the DPO with "GDPR violation" in the title will most likely prompt immediate response and apologies though. Fines are substantial if the company doesn't comply.

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  • Thanks for the information! – RFNO Sep 29 '20 at 12:36
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I'm not familiar with this portal, but if they're standard emails they would start with "do you accept or decline", and only let you submit a review if you accept. If this is the case just decline everything. You will usually be asked for a reason for declining, in which case you can say you can't review any more papers. You shouldn't receive emails about upcoming deadlines then, because you never agreed to review the paper.

If the emails automatically assign you, that would be pretty unethical and I would have no qualms about ignoring them (after letting the editor know you never agreed to review the paper). If you don't want to receive any more invitations, this is also the way to start: tell the editor you don't want to receive any more invitations and you will mark the invites as spam if you keep receiving them.

About there being 9 reviewers: did all of them submit a review? If so that would be overboard. On the other hand if you can't actually see their reviews, it's possible the system is also messaging reviewers who declined to review and/or never responded to the invitation.

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    Well, not so much "unethical" as just rude... :) – paul garrett Sep 22 '20 at 22:48
  • @Allure All 8 other reviewers had submitted reviews, and I was able to see what they said. Fortunately, the deadline has passed and there are no more emails for now! :) – RFNO Sep 29 '20 at 12:35

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