Responding to academic spam: Part I

9 June 2016

On a daily basis, I receive literally dozens of emails from 'academic' publishers and conferences inviting me to submit a paper or speak at their event.  For the most part, these invitations are laughably dodgy - to the extent that I have previously felt compelled to provide some advice on how they might attempt to look more credible.  However, I do believe that the email I received this morning from Insight Conferences might win the prize for the dodgiest invitation ever.  I have therefore decided that such heights of glorious dodginess should be rewarded with a response.  Here is the invitation I received and my response, which I sent after setting up a Google account specifically for the purpose of responding to such emails.


From: <>
Subject: ICOMB2016: Forge your admirers through your gracious presence
Date: 9 June, 2016 7:53:06 AM PDT
To: <>

Dear Dr. Kirsten Bell,
Greetings for the Day!!

It’s the instance to forge your admirers that your passionate results can show up the difference for a concealed Ocean and Marine zones as a future formation…
We take pleasure in inviting you to participate in the 4th International conference on Oceanography & Marine Biology which is going to be held during July 18-19, 2016 at Brisbane, Australia. Being an expert and an experienced person, we would be kind to receive your Speaker /Delegate participation at our event. It will add more value to our conference proceedings at the scientific and practical sessions.
Theme: Discovering the Advances in Ocean Science and Marine Life
Oceanography-2016 mainly comprises the  Marine & Ocean studies involved with: Physical Oceanography
Ocean Energy resources, Marine Pollution, Marine Biology, Remote Sensing & GIS, Marine Tourism, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Marine & Maritime Engineering, Marine Law and Policy, Ocean Biogeochemistry
Geology & Geophysics, Air-sea Interactions, Coral and Barrier reefs, Ecology & Biodiversity, Climatic changes.
For more information about the conference Please visit
Based on your interest, I will send you further details which will be helpful for the confirming the mutual work support between us.  We are glad to inform you that we will provide registration discounts for groups (3 or more members). Kindly let us know your opinion.
With Regards,


Loraine Regina.


From: Ariel Mermaid <>


Date: Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 9:40 AM

Subject: Re: ICOMB2016: Forge your admirers through your gracious presence


Dear Loraine Vagina,


Greetings in return!!!!!!


I certainly do want to forge admirers through my gracious presence with passionate results - that’s why I signed up for - but your ‘conference’ invitation really caught my eye!!!  You’re right, my ocean zone has been concealed for far too long!  In fact, it’s been so long since I caught my last fish, the well is starting to dry up, if you know what I mean!!!!!


I’m a heterosexual woman, so I assume that means I should sign up for the ‘Coral and Barrier Reefs’ session rather than the ‘Aquaculture and Fisheries’ one (although I’m open to new experiences). Given that it’s been over three years since a fish last swam in my pond (so to speak), should I be attending the ‘Physical Oceanography’ and ‘Marine Biology’ sessions as well, just to reacquaint myself with the general mechanics?  Finally, is there a session with a Fifty Shades of Gray vibe?  (‘Ocean Biogeochemistry’ maybe?) 


Also, I’m not part of a group, but I’m willing to consider the idea.  I mean, I think my friends Anna and Elsa might be interested in attending (Elsa’s the pretty one – that pale blonde hair! – but Anna’s the daring one), but we'd rather be placed in different groups because it would be weird mingling at Disney functions otherwise.  Have you got a message board or something where we can search out other ‘experts’ with similar proclivities? 


Yours sincerely,




PS – I have attached my picture in case you need it for my profile.