Scientificspam.net is a niche DNSBL for listing “scientific” spammers. University people (especially those publishing scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals) find that their addresses are retrieved from the PubMed and similar sources where online copies and summaries of such articles are readily available, and used to build mailing lists for the purpose of spamming.  Conventional DNSBLs have limited visibility into this problem because of its highly targeted nature, and because of the relatively small volumes that ensue, it is not that interesting to them anyway.

There are any number of blog posts out there describing the problem, but to our knowledge, scientificspam.net is the first time anybody has created a DNSBL specifically dedicated to this particular type of unsolicited bulk email.

7 thoughts on “WHAT IS THIS, ANYWAY?

  1. Omitted at the author's request

    Finally! I’ve been collecting and maintaining an IP and domain blacklists, since as you’ve noted, these academic type spammers are not well represented in other DNSRBLs. It would be nice to have a blacklist that is crowd sourced from the academic community

    Some comments/queries:

    1. Can other people submit candidates for blacklisting?
    2. Will you offer a domain based blacklist (like SURBL, etc.)
      • some of these are now employing snowshoe domains tactics (e.g. SCIRP and their numerous *.info domains).
    3. I would like to use your DNSRBL, and our mail load will be well within any reasonable limit, but just for the record, what kind of query caps do you suggest?
  2. RocketScientist Post author

    Thank you for writing in!

    1. We source this data from our own extensive network of academics and spamtraps that used to belong to academics. Thank you for the offer, though.
    2. We are currently only operating an IP address based list, but we’ll take the domain based list idea under advisement.
    3. For now, we don’t have any query caps in mind. The DNS infrastructure is provided by ClouDNS who are well equipped to handle the load.
  3. Pingback: Recent flood of delisting requests | Scientific Spam

  4. shin

    I would like to use a list of predatory journal domains and block them in gmail, how can I do this? Do you have a text list?

    1. RocketScientist Post author

      Sorry to disappoint you, on both counts.

      We don’t list predatory journal domains per se; of course many, perhaps even most, of them are involved in spamming and we list them because of that. If there was a predatory journal that did not spam, we wouldn’t list them. We’re interested in listing Scientific Spammers. We have no specific slant towards predatory journals, we’ll list them if they spam – just as we list anybody trying to sell products or services to you because you’re a scientist.

      There is no text list. There is no file you can load into an email client, and probably no way you could use the data we have in an email client. The information we have is available in the domain name system, in a form usable by email servers directly, or by spam filter software running on such servers.


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