© KXPC, 2011
I was woken up at 6.00 am by a call from Scotland last week. (I’m not a morning person so wasn’t pleased). It was a call from a company called Public Service UK, requiring an article urgently on excellence in distance learning for their free ‘open access’ online magazine on Science and Technology. After 20 minutes of shivering in my pyjamas while I followed the phone call through their web site to have an article placed next to Michael Gove, the UK’s Education Secreatry, I was then told that I would be expected to pay £6,000 to have the article ‘placed’. (“Think of what this exposure to the market will do for your reputation’ was the reason given for throwing away $10,000. They then suggested, when I politely deferred, that “as you work for a public organization, wouldn’t they pay for the publicity?”)
Subsequent Google follow-up shows that this company has more or less exhausted the UK market with this ‘business model’, and are now calling overseas. If you get a call, hang up immediately. If they call again, complain to the UK Advertising Standards Authority.
This of course is partly the result of the UK privatizing many formerly government services.