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I’ve received several invitations to be listed in a “Who’s Who”, over the years. As far as academic spam goes, it’s been slightly more common than the invitations to attend fraudulent conferences or to publish in fee-gouging, unrefereed vanity journals. (Memo to academic vanity publishers: I know LaTeX. I’ve wrangled two volumes of conference proceedings into shape. I’ve done six books through three different print-on-demand services. I handled the production editing and the typesetting for two editions of The Open Laboratory. I can do your job myself, and I can do it better than you.) I’ve gotten several e-mails with basically identically repeated verbiage in recent weeks. Take a look:

Hello Candidate,

As the school year opens, the Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals begin a global search for accomplished individuals in both faculty and administrative roles at post-secondary institutions of learning.

These individuals will be offered a position our 2011 Academic Directory, The Academic Who’s Who.

You are one such individual, and we salute your accomplishments.

At this point, we ask you to verify your contact information so that we can properly publish your updated credentials alongside 30,000 of your prestigious peers. Such a listing can only bring you increased visibility and networking opportunities within the scholastic community.

Because we are trying to build a comprehensive directory of international academics, we would not want there to be any barriers to participation in the directory. Because of this, there is neither cost nor obligation to register a listing.

Simply click this link and fill out the attached form. We will send you materials confirming your submission at that time.

Sincerely Yours,

[redacted]

The Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals
General Manager

The Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals
400 West 19th St., New York City, NY 10001

It’s like being in high school and offered a place in an annual poetry anthology! all over again.

Yeah, no.

UPDATE (3 January 2012): I’ve received the same e-mail again, but this time headed by the subject line “Distinguished Women of The Year”.