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I recently received the following invitation to act as a reviewer for an unknown journal. Is it ok to just ignore it?

Subject: Invitation to Review Manuscript for Asian Journal of Current Research

Dear Colleague,

  1. I am approaching you with the peer-review request of the below mentioned manuscript, submitted in Asian Journal of Current Research Title: X I would be grateful if you would kindly find some time to review the above mentioned manuscript and send your valuable comments within 10 calendar days (13 Mar’2017). Abstract of the manuscript is available in this link (http://[]). If you require the file as E-mail attachment kindly let us know. If you accept our invitation, we’ll send you the full paper. Authors’ affiliation will be supplied, if requested by the reviewer.

  2. After completion of timely quality peer review, we’ll be pleased to provide you Official Certificate of peer reviewing from the journal (signed PDF copy). You are requested to submit your full affiliation in review comments forms to facilitate the preparation of the certificate.

  3. Please inform as early as possible if you agree to accept our invitation to review. Would you not be able to find time to act as a reviewer this time, please let me know through an email. We hope as part of academic community you’ll appreciate our efforts to complete quality peer review within stipulated time period. Comments received after stipulated time (as mentioned above) may not be utilized. Here we politely want to mention that, if we do not receive any communication within next 7 calendar days, we’ll be approaching to alternative reviewers to complete this peer review.

  4. Useful Links: Journal scope link: Editorial Policy link: Thanking you

Mr. Sadek Mallick www.ikpress.org EUROPE: International Knowledge Press, S107, 3 Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB, UK, Fax: +44 (0)161 667 4459, Email: contact@ikpress.org ASIA PACIFIC: International Knowledge Press, N. S. Road, Tarakeswar, Hooghly, PIN-712410, West Bengal, India, Email: contact@ikpress.org (Editorial Office)

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The title of the journal is very suspicious. You cannot even tell whether the journal is within your area of expertise.

This is probably one in the sea of many worthless journals. I am the editor of the SCI indexed journal and have trouble finding reviewers, so they are probably essentially spamming everyone.

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I googled for "Asian Journal of Current Research" and got a website. When I tried to go to this website from the computer in my university office, I was redirected to this webpage, which contains the following message:

Website Blocked The website you tried to reach has been blocked by IT security because this website is known to distribute malicious software.

So that's not a good sign. Combined with the name of the journal (which makes it hard to believe it's a reputable journal of X for any reasonable value of X), I would myself certainly not agree to referee papers for it.

Should you respond at all? I don't see the harm in writing a brief reply explaining that you are not interested in refereeing papers for this journal: e.g. it won't take any more time to do that than it did to post the question here. Based on how they respond to this email you could get a better idea of exactly how disreputable/spammy/predatory they are. Also, having responded once I think you can send future emails to the spam folder with a clearer conscience.

  • 2
    That level of access control from IT makes me a little uncomfortable. – Federico Poloni Mar 4 '17 at 17:35
  • @FedericoPoloni - Expect an automated detector of known types of malware actually on the page (sometime during the last few hours). This will filter out journals like Nature or stores like Amazon if their pages get infected or hijacked; and it will not filter out a Journal of Asian if it has been virus-free recently. At least that's the normal intended "level of access control". – Jirka Hanika Mar 4 '17 at 21:53
  • @JirkaHanika I get the idea, but still I'd want a "are you sure you want to browse this page?", not a "you can't browse this page. Because it's evil. Because we say so, no proof needed." – Federico Poloni Mar 5 '17 at 12:09
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    @FedericoPoloni - The choice is available. Whoever prefers to configure their antivirus protection themselves can use their own computer to browse the same web. But on my employer's computer I just accept my employer's rules. – Jirka Hanika Mar 5 '17 at 14:03
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    Do note that many highly reputable websites have been hacked, often without the site owners even knowing that anything has happened. Hosting malware is less a sign of a disreputable site and more a sign that some webmaster is using an outdated piece of software to run the site. – eykanal Mar 5 '17 at 14:37
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I recently received the following invitation to act as a reviewer for an unknown journal. Is it ok to just ignore it?

It's always "ok" (i.e., ethical and socially acceptable) not to respond to unsolicited email from anyone you are not officially required to provide service to as part of your job. So the answer is yes. But a less obvious question is: what are some reasons why it would be good to ignore the request, and what are reasons why it would be good to not ignore it. The ones I can think of are:

Reasons why you should ignore the request:

  1. You will avoid wasting your time responding to what is obviously spam.

  2. Conversely, you incur a cost to the spammer of waiting for an answer from you, making their operations less efficient and reducing their incentives to spam. If everyone ignored reviewing requests from such spammers, they might go out of business.

  3. You will get a good feeling (assuming that's the case) that you are helping fight spammers and in a small way retaliating against people who annoyed you.

Reasons why you should answer the request:

  1. You are a person who really hates making people angry or upset (if that's the case) and can't fathom the thought of ignoring an email from someone. To clarify, I don't think that would be a good reason to answer, but it's a reason.

  2. You are worried that by not replying and annoying the senders, you might hurt your career in some way. Given that these are obvious spammers who have no real connection to academia, that is not a real concern, so you can safely ignore it.

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    " you incur a cost to the spammer of waiting for an answer from you" - since when did spammers bother about concepts like "truth"? They won't tell you if 100 other people were dumb enough to waste their time reviewing the same paper! – alephzero Mar 4 '17 at 2:17
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It is perfectly reasonable not to respond this request. As the email says, if no response is received within seven days, they will approach other potential reviewers.

The journal itself does not seem to have a specific focus area. They seem to accept manuscripts in sciences, arts and technology!!

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In the last few days I have received three invitations to review papers in the physical-computer sciences (3 different journals) (out of my field). When I checked a link to "decline" after the third contact I was returned tinstantly to an old version of Yahoo mail (inbox page with the questioned letter), asked to sign up for the new Yahoo Mail (using my android cell phone). I was not certain that pressing the link did not open access to my Yahoo Mail and quickly changed my password and signed out.

  • Do you imply it was phishing? – Joe_74 Jul 13 '17 at 12:27
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    Not sure if phishing.How did link on letter affect my Yahoo mail layout? I myself though have had good experience with new unknown journal, now has earned impact factor and I am pleased with two journals I published in though they were on suspect list. But there is opportunity for phishing whenever using link in email. I think is good to have reviewer experience though at graduate student level maybe best to have cultivated your pursuits, hands on experience? – Mkirsh Jul 13 '17 at 21:41
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    If I had been using a laptop instead of my cell phone I might never notice someone into my Yahoo mail account. Normally would not suspect journals seeking reviewers as a mechanism for ID fraud, would be something new, but the possibility exists (recently found a whole issue of a journal I published in copied verbatum under a new title) so I thought to alert others just in case. – Mkirsh Jul 13 '17 at 21:56

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