Nigerian E-Mail Scams Hit Scholarly Publishing

February 11, 2008

An e-mail message that circulated last week sought manuscript submissions for peer-reviewed journals and seemed innocuous enough — at least until you started noticing the oddities.

First, the message claimed to come from Blackwell Publishing, but Blackwell merged with John Wiley & Sons a year ago. Next you saw that it asked for articles “in all fields of human Endeavor,” and that the editors would decide which journal it should appear in. The message came from a address, and requested manuscripts be sent to someone at

And the person whose name appeared at the bottom of the message was one “Richard Canton (Prof.).” Google his name, and you discover a highly skilled martial artist.

The message appears similar to one that was sent a few months ago asking for manuscripts for Elsevier journals. People who responded to the message were asked to send money for a handling fee.

Elsevier conducted an investigation and traced the e-mail to an Internet cafe in Nigeria.

Wiley and Elsevier have both alerted authors to the e-mail spam through their Web sites. The International Association of Science, Technical, and Medical Publishers also placed a warning on its Web site in response to the Elsevier scam. —Lila Guterman