Publishing Bots on the Loose: David Publishing

This week I have been at the Southwest Popular American Culture Association Conference, which one of my students has called a “nerd extravaganza.” On Wednesday, I presented some of the X-Files poetry that I have been working on; the manuscript of the collection is called “Glitches in the FBI.” Last night, I received the following e-mail:

from emailThis note (which included some more specific information beneath the scroll), is my first encounter with David Publishing. Because I am human, I like to have my ego stroked, so my first thought was, “Cool.”

When I was younger, I kept a blog, in part to keep in touch with my family across the country, and in part (ok, a really big part), with the hope that I would be “discovered” by some publishing company and land a book deal.  The publishing process was very mysterious to me then (it still is, some days), so I had no idea how writers could be proactive about becoming authors.

Anyway, I saw this e-mail and, I have to admit, it satisfied some part of that “being found” desire I used to have. Even though I presented to a crowd of about seven poetry enthusiasts, in a ballroom staged for 200+ people, I believed my presentation went well. One of my students came, on assignment from the school paper. A poet in a gray suit shook my hand afterward. “Glitches in the FBI” had a lot of good energy around it; of course some one would want to publish some of the poems or a discussion of the process.

The e-mail mentioned my CV, which is one of the emotional trigger words for anyone pre-tenure. “Yes, my CV,” I thought, “needs all the help it can get.” There are publishing requirements, and it’s hard to make time to write. Some of my younger colleagues, other junior faculty, say that the publishing requirements have increased. It’s more demanding now. I don’t know if that’s true–they’re all in different fields; I’m too busy to research it–but it sounds plausible. And I know that certain publishing credits are weighted differently. Writing for Bark does not, for instance, count toward tenure. Poems are less than short prose; short prose is less than long prose. Online is less than bound; certain bound journals are less than other bound journals. I’ve never heard of Philosophy Study, and this is where I begin to turn–if I did publish in this journal, would it count? If I’m going to publish somewhere that doesn’t hold much weight on my CV, I would rather my work be in  a literary magazine or a local arena, or some venue where I care about the audience.

That, and the language is off in this e-mail. It is, I believe, a bot. It is an algorithm crawling the web for conferences and hitting up presenters for their fresh papers. And it’s so easy to snag someone at a conference, especially someone who has the right mixture of fantasy and pressure (see above).

My bother had a weird bot encounter after he finished his Master’s in chemistry from the University of Kentucky. UK publishes their theses and dissertations online, as do many other universities. He had already moved to Japan when a German company wrote him:

ryans-emailI was never sure if he had or had not consented, but he wrote to ask if this was legit. I thought about it. His chemistry research had direct implications for some miraculous biodiesel fuel. I wondered if the company might be taking the rights to the information (intellectual property rights) as well as the copyright. I think that in Germany, copyright extends from one’s death another 70 years, then enters the public domain (similar to our copyright). I had no idea about how the intellectual property rights would be handled there–it’s tricky enough in the U.S.

They had a lot to gain. From their website, it sounded like a vanity press, a pay per print, instead of a typical press, which would have a first run, then as demand grew more runs, a paperback edition, etc. (I have no idea who would want a paperback copy of “NOVEL ELECTROPHILIC RUTHENIUM(II) AND IRIDIUM(III) COMPLEXES” but let’s play along). They make 50 euros a copy, minus some printing and shipping fees. And he would get a free bound copy (which he probably would have from the university anyway) and maybe some royalties (maybe?).
I talked him out of it (“Please oh please, do not give them any bank account information.”), but I wonder how many other fresh graduates, full of fantasy and pressure, fell to their predatory publishing.
As I thought about my brother’s experience, I decided I would google David Publishing. One of the top returns was a blog post detailing one man’s bait and switch with another one of David Publishing’s journals. After reviewing, accepting, asking for changes, and accepting again, they wrote him with a bill:
pay for publishing
The moral of the story? Beware of bots. These companies are the academic scam equivalent of Nigerian princes.




  • Technically, I’m not only a man, I’m also a lawyer.

  • Amaris says:

    Here’s another letter I received from them this morning (after politely declining their first offer):

    Dear Amaris Ketcham,

    This is Cultural and Religious Studies (ISSN 2328-2177), an international, professional and peer reviewed journal published across the United States by David Publishing Company, 240 Nagle Avenue #15C, New York, NY 10034, USA.

    We have learned your paper “Glitches in the FBI” at the 35th Annual Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference. We are very interested in your paper and also would like to publish some unpublished papers from you in our journal. If you have the idea of making our journal a vehicle for your research interests, please send the electronic version of your papers or books to us in MS word format via email attachment. All your original and unpublished papers are welcome. You can find our sample journal in the attachment.

    Currently, we are trying to invite some scholars who are willing to join our editorial board or be our reviewers. If you are interested in our journal, please send your CV to us. Hope to keep in touch by email and can publish some papers or books from you and your friends. As an American academic publishing group, we wish to become your friends if we may.

    Best regards,


  • Lisa Nocks says:

    David Publishing was still on the loose this summer. I received the last email you copied above in July.

    I agree this is likely a bot.

  • John says:

    Had the same problem, except it’s always different people who seem to be responding to this.
    Here’s their latest email:
    Dear [name],

    Glad to tell you that your paper [name of paper] has been accepted by our journal.

    Please sign up the copyright transfer form and return it to us.
    Also please send the detail information of the authors to us as following:

    full name:


    research fields:

    working place:

    post address (which you can receive the hard copies):

    zip code:



    According to the policy of our journal, there are 7 pages of your paper,so you should pay US$380 (including $30 for postage) to us . Your paper number is JCRS20141101-1.

    If you make the payment, please inform me. Following are the payment methods:

    1.Bank Information of Hongkong


    Beneficiary Account Number: 053-086641-838.

    Beneficiary Bank Name: HSBC Hong Kong

    Beneficiary Bank Address : 1 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong

    Swift Code : HSBCHKHHHKH

    Bank Code : 004 (optional)

    2.Bank Information of America

    Name of Bank: BANK OF AMERICA


    Account Number: 1067324707

    Bank Address: 9545 Las Tunas Dr in TEMPLE CITY, CA


    ABA/ROUTING#: 026009593



    How to use Paypal to make your payment to us?

    1) Open the website of Paypal : ,

    2) Select your country;

    3) Create an account with your email adress;

    4) Add your credit card or debit card to your paypal account;

    5) Identify your card (optional)

    6) Login into Paypal and press “send money”,then select

    “personal payments” and select “payment owed” to make your payment to

    our paypal account:


    1) Open the website of Moneybooker:

    2) Register and create an account;

    3) Add your debit card or credit card;

    4) Identify your address and cards;

    5) Login into moneybooker and press “send money” to make your

    payment to our moneybookers

    5.Credit Card

    Card type: (Master, Visa, or others)

    Card number: (also include the 3-digit code on the back)

    Expiration date:

    Card holder name:

    Pay amount:


    Card holder address:

    Best regards,

  • herb miller says:

    Thanks for this post, Amaris. I just received an email virtually identical to the one you posted in the comments on March 3, 2014 at 7:38 am. I’m writing my dissertation, so getting their email was a huge ego-boost. But…it sounded too good to be true. Thanks for checking on this and posting about it.

  • Carrie says:

    I got two such solicitations in a row, from the same presentation but offering to print it in wildly different journals. When I didn’t reply to the first one, someone followed up. When I declined due to the charges, they wrote again, saying they would waive the fee if my paper was ‘good’ enough. No thanks. It is good to know this is a scam. I won’t reply again.

    Here is my question: Why don’t these Chinese companies hire someone who actually speaks English to proof-read for them? Not just spam, but also instructions for their legitimate products. Also, all spammers would benefit from knowing that no American refers to herself as “Miss” (i.e., spam purporting to be from an American signed “Miss Emily Victoria,” etc.)

  • I.G. says:

    I just presented at the Southwest Popular American Culture Association Conference this February, and I got the same e-mail from David Publishing Company. I got really excited, considering that I just got out of undergrad in December, and like you said, my thoughts immediately went to my CV. I’m really disappointed that it was a scam/bot, but this article was really helpful, especially as someone who’s just getting into writing and publishing in academia.

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