The genesis of the next bestseller:
Dear Dr. Matthew D Herron,
I am Luis, Editorial assistant from Oasis Publishing Group Ltd. contacting you with the reference from our editorial department. Basing on your outstanding contribution to the scientific community, we would like to write your autobiography.
Researchers like you are adding so much value to the scientific community, yet you are not getting enough exposure. No matter how many papers you publish in famous journals, you will be still unknown to common people. To solve this problem, we came up with this unique solution.
With our autobiography service, we will write your autobiography along with your research contributions in common man’s language. We will also include all your published papers into this book in a way that a common man can understand it. And then, we will publish your book with our publishing group. Before, publication, we will send the draft to you for scientific accuracy, once you approve our draft, we then proceed for publication. You will get all the rights of your book, and all the sales generated from your book, will be credited to you.
Your autobiography will be listed on famous websites like Amazon, ebay, Goodreads and many other popular book websites. As a result, you will get good credibility and people will recognize your hard work and your scientific contributions.
Last but not least, after the publication of your book, it will be published in Google News, Yahoo and other major news channels. What more can you ask for?
All we need is your book writing contract, and you will get all the rights for your book.
Will be waiting to hear from you.
Such a deal! They will write the autobiography (doesn’t that make it a biography?), include lay summaries of all my published papers, publish the book after I have approved the draft, and advertise on ‘famous websites’. What’s more, I get the rights and sales! What more can I ask for, indeed. And all this for…what, exactly? Are they doing all this out of the goodness of their hearts?
I thought about replying to find out the details (as I did with the Wikipedia scammers and the Craigslist scammer before that), but Bill Sullivan over at PLoS Blogs has saved me the trouble. Bottom line, he found out that the charge is $1895 (payable in advance, I assume). No problem; with my “outstanding contribution to the scientific community,” I’m sure I’ll make it up in sales in no time!
I mentioned once before that marketing to scientists’ egos was never a bad bet. Some (hopefully small) percentage of scientists must fall for this. I wonder what happens then. My guess would be that they are simply never heard from again. What they’re promising would be a lot of work. Realistically, it could only be done (well) by someone with a background in the same field. It’s not that easy to summarize scientific papers “in a way that a common man can understand it” (I spend a lot of time trying, not always successfully).
The fact that Oasis Publishing Group Ltd. was unable to provide Bill Sullivan with a single example of their work argues in favor of this interpretation. So does the fact that searching “Oasis Publishing Group” on Amazon and Goodreads returns no relevant hits.