“Public Service Review”?

A few months ago, I received a call from someone at the “Public Service Review”, supposedly a glossy magazine distributed to UK policymakers and influencers of various stripes. The gentleman on the line said that he was looking for someone to write an article for his magazine giving an example of what sort of space-related research was going on at a prominent UK institution, to appear opposite an opinion piece written by Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society.

This seemed harmless enough, although it wasn’t completely clear what I (or the Physics Department, or Imperial College) would get out of it. But I figured I could probably knock something out fairly quickly. However, he told me there was a catch: it would cost me £6000 to publish the article. And he had just ducked out of his editorial meeting in order to find someone to agree to writing the article that very afternoon. Needless to say, in this economic climate, I didn’t have an account with an unused £6000 in it, especially for something of dubious benefit. (On the other hand, astrophysicists regularly publish in journals with substantial page charges.) It occurred to me that this could be a scam, although the website itself seems legitimate (although no one I spoke to knew anything about it).

I had completely forgotten about this until this week, when another colleague in our group at Imperial told me had received the same phone call, from the same organization, with the same details: article to appear opposite Lord Rees’; short deadline; large fee.

So, this is beginning to sound fishy. Has anyone else had any similar dealings with this organization?

Update: It has come to my attention that one of the comments below was made under a false name, in particular the name of someone who actually works for the publication in question, so I have removed the name, and will possibly likely the comment unless the original write comes forward with more and truthful information (which I will not publish without permission). I have also been informed of the possibility that some other of the comments below may come from direct competitors of the publication. These, too, may be removed in the absence of further confirming information.

Update II: In the further interest of hearing both sides of the discussion, I would like to point out the two comments from staff at the organization giving further information as well as explicit testimonials in their favor.

147 responses to ““Public Service Review”?”

  1. Hamish Johnston avatar
    Hamish Johnston

    Six grand is probably how much they charge for a page of advertising…I’m guessing your caller was pitching an “advertortial”.

  2. Prash Valluri avatar
    Prash Valluri

    Andrew – I got a the same call some months ago – short deadlines, heart-stopping fee, and an article next to some big-shot’s (in my case it was I think the Science Minister, don’t exactly remember correctly) editorial. £6000 – that’s nearly half an Overseas research student (per annum) on tuition fee basis! The decision then becomes obviously simple!

  3. James Toolidge avatar
    James Toolidge

    I just had a call from Public Service Review – same story as you, but with the added confusion of quite a random conversation covering at least 6 barely related policy areas. As far as I can tell, it’s a magazine that gets you to pay for its content – a good business model if you can make it work. Needless to say, I didn’t take up the offer.

  4. Keith Potter avatar
    Keith Potter

    This is definitely a scam. Stay well clear of these people if they call you. They will probably say they’re from Public Service or publicservice.co.uk. I’ve had at least 3 phone calls from these people during the last 12 months suggesting there were great opportunities at conferences they were organising and that I could speak to 200+ delegates – all key decision makers in the business sector I work within. Usually speakers are paid something or at least have their expenses covered. Not in this case as they wanted me to pay them £14,000 for the privilege! Stay well clear of this scam.

  5. Roger Webb avatar

    Hmm. I git the same call yesterday – only this time the editorial was going to be written by the head of STFC. If these guys plan so badly that they have to suddenly find someone to write an article you wonder how they keep going. I managed to get them down to £3K for the article, but still down down the offer…. I feel it is not so much a scam exactly as just a new way of selling advertising space.

  6. Emma Palmer avatar
    Emma Palmer

    Just had exactly the same experience asking me for a last minute article. Very random conversation about my research and how they could get me ‘in front’ of relevant public sector organisations. Luckily I came across your blog while googling them during the phonecall and asked about the cost – at which point I got an aggressive hard sell and ‘amazement’ I wasn’t able to authorise such a cost from uni budgets! So not a scam as such, but a thinly veiled advertising sell.

  7. Mark Wass avatar

    I have just received a call from these guys – trying to sell me a weblink, two pages of advertising and 5 keywords to promote my scientific magazine for just over £5000. Funnily enough he had just come out of a conference call to break the news to me that they were specifically focusing on the Science sector next year. I took him to task on the lack of details on their ABC certificate which curtailed the conversation a little although he still took a lot of getting rid of. A classic blag house – avoid

  8. Martin Blain avatar

    A bunch of scammers for sure.
    I’m sick to the back teeth of asking this company to take us off their calling list. Still they call.

  9. Philip England avatar

    I had a similar approach. He ([REDEACTED]) had just come out of a meeting, and there was a last-minute repagination resulting from a decision to include an article by the CEO of NERC. They needed 2 pages for my science area, and would I pay £6000 for them.
    Even should you consider that it might be worth trying to get your message in front of opinion-formers, you should consider this: I spoke to someone who did contribute to their first issue; the magazine did a dreadful emasculating editorial job on the text.

  10. [REDACTED] avatar

    I can offer a few useful insights on this thread, having (regrettably) worked at PSCA International for a few months last year.
    Their approach is built around making you feel that there is a sense of urgency about the decision to pay for an article. Of course, there is no meeting going on and in fact they don’t work with all the people they claim to – most of their edit is reproduced from publically available materials. They suggest that you have been recommended by a civil servant or representative body but that is untrue and the truth is that any phone call you receive is made from a call centre full of salespeople who make hundreds of these calls every week. They would call it ‘salesmanship’; I would call it lying.
    The truth is that most folk in government can’t stand PSCA and most senior politicians are wise enough to them to refuse any requests made to them.
    PSCA have started calling themselves ‘Public Service’ because the PSCA name is so toxic. This despite the DTI telling them to change their name years ago (when they launched they called themselves ‘Public Service Communication Agency’) and they are quite happy to allow people to believe that they are affiliated with government, when in actual fact they operate from rented accomodation in Stoke in Trent.
    Zarine Bedford – who posted a comment in their defence – is one of their sales managers.
    Much of their focus is now on targeting universities and research institutes who, unlike privately run companies, haven’t been battered to death by them and are not wise to their modus operandi.
    Hopefully blogs like this one will start to raise awareness within the academic community about PSCA and I would urge people to send information to their colleagues alerting them to this organisation.
    If you google ‘psca complaint’ you will find a lot more, including an admonishment from the Advertising Standards Authority.

  11. Lyndsay McInnes - General Manager Scotland avatar

    please take the time to view our client testimonials online. Note the high level of supporters and credible organisations that work with us, time and time again across our whole portfolio.
    If you wish to verify our ABC certification I have also included the link below.

  12. Matt avatar

    Worth a read if you have time.
    Avoid like the plague.

  13. Caroline avatar

    After being called multiple times by this company I’ve found their sales tactics rude and unprofessional.
    After saying I was not interested I was bombarded with a load of sales blurb, and I was never asked if I was free to speak (I was actually busy and now very distracted). Reluctance to provide any documantation via email rings alarm bells to me when someone is asking for money for something.
    Lyndsay – maybe you would have more supporters if you were courteous and demonstrated some professionalism!

  14. Brett Sinclair avatar
    Brett Sinclair

    Had the same call today. Also a sudden opportunity because of a last minute change in editorial.
    We had to decide on the spot. It was all so fake, so slimey. I checked with another part of our company and they said “steer clear!”, not that I needed much encouragement to do so.

  15. https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnKSE9_1EeSAUR9dDcTbsi-BMfewyL4ydE avatar

    I have just had a call that lasted for nearly an hour. It was only nearing the end of the call that I realised it was a sales call.
    I was offered space next to an article written by Lord Hutton, for £4,000 that owuld be reduced by 30% if I made a decision there and then. Difficult to get off the phone – but wont be if they call back.
    It was only after I googled them that I came across this blog and others all expressing the same concern.

  16. K van der Elst avatar
    K van der Elst

    They just called us, a company in Holland (!), and the lady is pretty persistent and even making up stories to get through to the person she thinks is control of the money to spend on whatever she’s selling. She already harrassed several people in our office, we gonna put out a word to collegue companies to make sure this lady (Melody) and her weird company (who sells his stuff like this!!!) does not get anywhere in her time-consuming but easily seen through phonecalls.

  17. Terje Solvoll avatar
    Terje Solvoll

    yup, same thing happend to me earlier today….. Different names, same journal, but the story is the same.

  18. s. o. avatar
    s. o.

    They’re expanding their target area – now they’re calling Germany, where few have heard of them, acting utterly shocked when you tell them no one is interested. The amount they wanted for publication was somewhere in the range of 9,000 euros.
    This is not how reputable journals do business.

  19. GB avatar

    They are expanding their market area because everyone in the UK is wise to their modus operandi.
    I urge anyone considering availing themselves of the ‘opportunity’ presented to them; and particularly those in academia/research roles, to ask themselves one pertinet question before doing so:
    if the journal is so reputable and high minded how come you haven’t heard of it?
    Please be aware – it is an ad mag and nothing else.

  20. Ron Chrisley avatar
    Ron Chrisley

    Just got this call, but thanks to Google and this page, I was able to suss things out while he was still doing his spiel. Thus, I was able to ask him “When are you going to mention the £6000 fee?”, which certainly seemed to throw him! I then said no, goodbye, and hung up.

  21. Disgruntled CEO of a Start-up avatar
    Disgruntled CEO of a Start-up

    They’ve expanded to Ireland now. Very same story, “I’ve just stepped out of a meeting, you need to approve this now or you’ll miss blah blah blah”. They even tried to convince me that one of our investors had commissioned an article and that our article was to appear next to their’s (and the EU Health Commissioner). When I asked who was their contact in our investor organisation he said that I wouldn’t be able to find out, apparently our investor organisation was too big and complex.
    They asked for the very same amount: £6000 for one page, £9000 for two. I swear I couldn’t get them off the phone. In the end, our CTO put me out of my misery and pulled the plug out of my phone. They weren’t to be deterred though, they tried again later on my mobile. I literally had to hang up on them that time.
    If you get a call from these, if I were you, I’d just hang up.

  22. Akvavitix avatar

    I am so sick of this bunch of scammers contacting us every month (I have even tried being rude) that I am now on the brink of filing a police report. They are bare faced liars and I tired of their ridiculous montly scam calls that I have been receiving for over two years now.

  23. iCreate avatar

    I have been contacted by this company today (and many times in the past) trying to sell exhibition space at an upcoming event. Their sales tactic is to try and make you think you have been specifcally researched and approached because delegates at the event have specifically requested an exhibitor offering your kind of services. This is probably BS. If anyone cold calls you in relation to the website publicservice.co.uk, beware – they will eat up hours of your time if you let them, it is very hard to get them off the line, and it’s just a hard sell for advertising or exhibition space. Just hang up!

  24. mike avatar

    On a related note:
    Does anyone else keep getting invitations to publish on topics far from their field of work in a journal from the “Bentham Publishing Group” ?
    The invitation always starts with how I am such an expert in “insert field of research here”, and how my contribution to “insert journal name here” would be most welcome. I have no idea what their business model is, but as they publish on every topic under the sun I would not be shocked if a page charge was levied.
    BTW You cant delete yourself from their mailing list, so if anyone has a trick to stop them spamming I would be most grateful !!!

  25. H M Evans avatar
    H M Evans

    I see I’m in excellent company as an intended victim of this extraordinary scam (Public Service Review, solicited article for which the writer pays…). Apart from the breathtaking impudence of the approach, it was also bizarrely unprofessional – last minute hitch, sudden gap, ‘cold’ approach to someone the caller had obviously never heard of and couldn’t Google (no internet access as she was out of the office) etc. I summarised the ‘offer’ back to her just to make sure I hadn’t mis-heard, and she not only confirmed it but seemed affronted and hostile that I had the temerity to decline.
    Hang up immediately is my considered advice.

  26. Paul Stoop avatar

    “Public Service” keeps annoying my institute, too (Berlin, Germany). Same tricks, same lies, over and over again.
    Once, there was an approach by electronic mail, even offering article space free of charge. But it came from the same company / gang. This is the letter:
    “By means of introduction my name is Laura Evans and I am the commissioning editor for Public Service Review: The Science & Technology Review, an independent publication looking at issues within the sector.
    For the next edition I would like to invite a relevant expert from WZB to write a short article looking at the importance of social research in the development of scientific knowledge and what we can learn from social research. How important is it to share research knowledge with other countries and organisations to help further develop science? What role does social integration research play within science and society?
    The article could be around 1000 words and the deadline would be 3rd August 2009. I must stress that there is no charge for the article and my email is based purely on my own journalistic endeavour.
    Contributors to this edition include:
    – Michel Jarroud, Secretary General, World Meteorological Organisation
    – Professor Katherine Richardson, Chair of the Copenhagen Summit Scientific Steering Committee
    – Lord Martin Rees, President, Royal Society
    – Lord Paul Drayson, Minister for Science
    – Troels Lund Poulsen, Danish Minister for the Environment
    – Stavros Dimas, European Commissioner for the Environment
    – Iain Mattaj, Director General, EMBL
    – Jane Goodall
    If you could get back to me and let me know your thoughts as soon as possible that would be very much appreciated.
    Best wishes
    Laura Evans
    Commissioning Editor”

  27. Matthew Palmer avatar

    I have just had acall from these people! They must be very organised as they seem to have a lot of meetings! However they also appear very unorganised as they seem to always need urgent last minute editorial.
    I just humoured them for half an hour just to see how low I could get their asking price down. Got it to 4k for one page 6k for two pages.
    We provide First Aid training, and when she mentioned a guy from IOSH I feined genuine interest. Then I just said that Angelina Jolie was on the other line and I had to go.

  28. Sebastian Brandner avatar
    Sebastian Brandner

    Had no idea who these people/ organisation were when they called me last week.
    All the same story as all the others reported, and with the same excuses (“came out of a meeting …”)
    They had only partial knowledge of the type of work that I am doing (Neuro-Oncology) and were very vague regarding the target audience of their “publication”.
    I mentioned that 6k are excessive and I said that i would need approval from my dean or a senior administrator to publish two pages for £6k and that our institution would need some time to do background checks on their company as we have no idea about their credentials. Suddenly the caller became very stroppy and terminated the call very soon.

  29. Wayne Wright avatar
    Wayne Wright

    I’ve just got off the phone to someone who operates in exactly the same way as suggested by others.
    We had received a very similar enquiry from another would be scammer last week so were more circumspect that we would have been normally but nevertheless were not entirely sure it was a scam until I googled the details and came up with this thread!
    The give a way for them however was the fact that the operator quite clearly didn’t know who the chap was who wanted to speak to me ie I refused to take the call originally and chose to ring them back. Also some of you will be pleased to know that Michael Gove was the ‘name’ who were were asked to pitch an article alongside…!

  30. Michael Carley avatar

    I wish I’d heard of them before they called: they have just taken an hour and a half of my life away. The sales technique is quite smart though since they start off by behaving like journalists looking for background on a story. It was only when he mentioned that they had two pages left and they obviously expected me to write it that I thought there might be a demand for money coming, as indeed there was. I got transferred up the line to someone in charge who got quite snotty when it became clear I wasn’t in the market.

  31. Tim Williams avatar
    Tim Williams

    One of their sales people called me some time ago with the same spiel about a short-deadline requirement to get into the magazine and asked for a verbal commitment on the phone.
    One of our professors was called a few moments ago with exactly the same story.
    No high quality professional publisher has deadlines that work that way and in any case, if they did, they would have a list of willing participants to take advantage of their cut price offers.
    My advice is to stay away from any commitment on the phone, if it is a good deal then a proper, written offer is required.

  32. Deborah James avatar
    Deborah James

    I have had the same approach, but had recently had a similar approach from something along the same lines, so was warned off. Take heed…..

  33. Adam Finn avatar
    Adam Finn

    Same story “just stopped my presentation in Edinburgh to speak to you” “need to go back in with a commitment from you to contribute” with lots of assorted name dropping along the way – had to try hard to shut the chap up so I could say no thanks…
    Wish I had had the intelligence to google this blog during the 5 minute monologue so I could have ended it sooner
    Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics, Bristol

  34. Anders Johansen avatar

    I was just called by Public Service Review, with some very unclear introduction about a report that they are writing for the EU commission. I think they simply call everyone up who recently got an EU grant (that information is public – I received an ERC Starting Grant this year).
    It happened to me also a few months ago that they called because they were writing a report for the Swedish science council (right!). We e-mailed forward and back a few times and even had a phone call before the little mention of the enormous fee came up!
    This time I had a long discussion with the lady on the phone about their sales methods, but she insisted that her editor had chosen me out for a reason.
    What a scam! I can’t believe that it is legal. But maybe it is not.
    The worst part is that it will make me more suspicious in the future about interviews, so it may be that next time a reporter calls I will immediately ask “How much will it cost me? Is this a scam?”.

  35. Aaron Quigley avatar
    Aaron Quigley

    I was just called by someone claiming to be from publicservice.co.uk. The same line as all the other posts here mentioned was used, pressure to write an article, name given to them by someone in JIST, opportunity etc. The caller was quite nasty and manipulative with respect to “who do you get your funding from” and don’t you want to influence policy makers.
    I didn’t inquire as to the page charges as the timeline, need to decide NOW and clearly fishy nature of the whole deal was simply wrong.
    I think *any* person who pays to publish at these rates should have their use of funding inspected under FOI as it’s a gross misuse of funds.

  36. kristian.almstrup avatar

    Now also operating in Denmark. Same story as all the others above.
    Keep away from them!

  37. Eleanor van den Heuvel avatar
    Eleanor van den Heuvel

    I’ve had more than one call from this company. They also run Public service Events, where they wanted to charge me £6000 to run a workshop for them.
    For the review, which they told me was a completely different company (it isn’t check compnies house) they wanted to charge me £3995 for 1 page or £5995 for 2 pages. Quite apart from the huge fee who actually reads it? Also if it was SOO good why would they keep you on the phone for an hour with hard sell techniques?
    For the events they are always offering free tickets even just a few weeks efore. If the events are so great why are there any space left?

  38. WP avatar

    [redacted] chancers. We [they? -ed.] are paid to professionally harass people. They give tickets away when they can’t sell enough for a conference. They treat their staff like shit, they are paid weekly what does that tell you? They employ the unemployable and sack them after a few weeks.

  39. https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlBXCNZcLjQANCucYHcLRxQ4N25KlFAkgc avatar

    Our company have had the same call. It’s a pretty standard script they’re following: huge opportunity, not to be missed, your company is a perfect fit for a last minute gap in the issue. This magazine goes out to 30,000 ‘key decision makers’. The conversation was a standard interview with no mention of costs until at the end. £6,000 for the article (read ‘advertorial’). When I said that there was no way I would go ahead on such short notice with so little information she got quite aggressive and I had to cut her off.

  40. SP avatar

    I had the same call on November 30th, 2011. I am in Italy. Same story as described in the other comments. 9,000€ for two pages in the magazine, quickly reduced to 4,500€. They certainly got my name looking at lists of people receiving funding by the EC.

  41. Alexander Egyed avatar

    Hi folks,
    they actually called me the second time in half a year. always the same story. just came out of a meeting, need decision right now. well, calls that start this way are a scam. paying this sum of money to an article that nobody reads is useless. I guess this is a legitimate money making scheme. All it takes is people who are willing to throw away money…

  42. Them Again avatar
    Them Again

    Same call here. I recognised the patter from a group who used to do exactly the same a few years ago in respect of an advertorial magazine sent to MPs. Always urgent, evasive on requests for a rate card, get aggressive and attempt to belittle you when you ask questions.

  43. MD avatar

    We seem to be experiencing a pre-Christmas spike in activity from this lot – probably because many organisations are planning for any underspend ahead of year end. I issued an internal notice warning our scientists and inviting them to forward all enquiries to the comms team.

  44. Marc Abramowicz avatar

    Same story. Mr Thomson from Public Service Review just called me to offer an opportunity to write 2 pages about genetic research in Brussels, Belgium. 9000 euros – but money should absolutely not be the limiting issue, so we can cut a deal like 4500 euros. All that after a fantastic story of lost iphone, failing internet connection and on-going meeting to go back to so not able to contact me earlier and my answer needed now on the spot. Then amazed that as a head of dept I do not have 9000 euros immediately available to allow me reaching decision makers in granting organizations. It cost me 20 minutes and feeling stupid not to realize sooner what kind of personI was dealing with.

  45. Stayne Hoff avatar

    Just adding myself to the got-hit list. Same scam, same guys, though I paid the 6K the first time based on bad advice from someone. Then the daily calls started for more. I had to make a special picture and ring tone for them on my iPhone: a “Mr. Yuck” poison center picture and a special silent ring tone so that I don’t get too bothered by the call. They called every day for 2 months before I answered the phone and blew up at them. No more calls for about 2 years, and then I got another one this week and had forgot who they were. Now I remember.

  46. Anne H avatar
    Anne H

    They’re doing the same thing with a ‘must attend’ conference – but £6,000 is peanuts for this – they start at £15,000 for the conference. I had some time to spare today so I let them string me along for a while but had to put the phone down on the girl in the end, having told her several times that she’d better get to the point, let me know WHAT she was selling and what it would cost … It wasted about half an hour but I needed a break from work! 🙂
    I’m surprised to hear that, judging from the comments above, the events actually run at all! They did let slip that ‘one was cancelled last year because we couldn’t find enough’ or whatever. I thought perhaps they were all mysteriously cancelled at the last minute.

  47. Sam avatar

    We’ve been contacted several times by this organisation over the past few weeks with increasing frequency. I’ve spoken to them three times this morning alone!
    Each time they’ve got some too good to be true opportunity for our directors that pertains some area of the business (and this changes on a call by call basis). If these opportunities are THAT good perhpas & they’re doing us THAT MUCH of a favour could they help us in other areas? Divulging the location of the lost treasure of the Sierra Madre or the whereabouts of one Mr Jimmy Hoffa perhaps?
    We should not entertain or tolerate these charlatans. Certainly don’t connect to them to your Directors least ye be beaten with a p45!

  48. IT Professional avatar
    IT Professional

    Just the same experience from this company – offered that our EU project has been chosen from the EU officials as the only one from Finland to be in their coming publication dealing with the new EU 2020 program.
    She refused to send more information by email – said that they had to get my decision (1 page for 3000 €) just now because the EU officials were in video conferencing with them and need the decision …
    They were also referring to the Finnish funding agency Tekes that they are in this publication too and we have to be with also because we get funding from them and EU…
    I told that we make any decisions concerning project dissemination and publishing in the Media by one agressive phone call.. she was complaining that she don’t understand why I can’t make the decision – said that all others in similar position had said yes…finally my phone battery was empty.
    Took 26 minutes of my working time..
    Advice to others: NEVER make ANY decisions so that you are ordered to act IMMEDIATELLY.

  49. David Macken avatar
    David Macken

    We have asked these people not to call us yet they continue to do so. We now refuse all calls from them. I have to agree with previous comments, they are rude, hide what they offer and rely on making an on the spot pressured sale.
    These tactics went out of fashion a long time ago, but this bunch clearly think that this is acceptable behaviour.
    There are much better ways to spend your precious marketing budget.
    ps. The most they ever asked us for is £25k

  50. Anon avatar

    Be aware that these guys are still at it. Hard selling advertising space which immediately follows high profile articles. Immediate decision required. I was hit this morning.
    They must be so disorganised… sourcing contributions at the last minute… being permanently between offices with no laptop (so could not email me details for consideration slower time)… needing to have a quick chat with the editor-in-chief to give a discount. Not difficult to see through the charade.
    For all I know the magazine might well get the circulation and attention described… but the sales technique is an instant turn-off.
    In the end the guy put the phone down on me. I’ve seen better sales pitches from double glazing salesmen.

  51. Susannah Murphy avatar
    Susannah Murphy

    I had exactly the same phone call this week – same story. It took ages and the guy was really rude at the end of the phone. Unbelievable.

  52. Hugh avatar

    I had the same experience but declined their invitation after reading this webpage. I also contacted one of the people they claimed was writing an opinion piece to discover that he had no knowledge of the journal.

  53. carl avatar

    Same MO as described above – “Have just come out of a meeting to call you….”
    Have been contacted on numerous occassions so was ready for them this time thanks to Google 🙂
    Asked her to remove us from their calling list – she responded saying that they did not call from lists so couldn’t remove us?!
    Advised her that I’d heard the pitch before and read articles about them to which she advised they were taking legal action to remove these blogs as it was all inaccurate nonsense!
    Anyway, as she wouldn’t accept no for an answer, I let her carry on talking to herself for an age whilst I got on and did something more profitable, until another call, from a real client came in, at which point I hung up.

  54. Hugh avatar

    These people are complete scammers. They use high pressure sales techniques to try and get you to buy something. At first there is a lot of guff about vague generalities but when it comes down to it they want you to buy space in magazines etc. Total bullshit. Nasty people. AVOID AVOID AVOID!!!

  55. andy avatar

    These guys are a nightmare bunch, wasting so much of all of our time.
    I blew up at them once after they rang 4 times in 10 minutes. The cheeky bar – steward even emailed in suggesting I should be sacked!
    I have asked them to remove our company name from their database but they always answer they don’t work from a database, another lie of theirs. Must go as I have a propoer job to do…

  56. SY avatar

    They are still continuing. I got the call yesterday, with exact similar procedure. Editorial meeting and immediate decisions required.

  57. Johannes avatar

    I just had the same experience as everyone else. For almost an hour I was under the impression that they called from some EU organisation that was analysing future research needs. Then the 6000 pound offer came.

  58. Michael avatar

    Same drill!
    That’s 45 minutes of my life I wont get back! What a scam, I thought something was fishy when he just wouldn’t get to the point of the call and then suddenly BOOM!
    “you’ve got 15 minutes to pay or you’ll lose it blah blah blah!”
    Crooks, simple as.
    submitted it to watchdog, companies like this give telemarketing a bad name. Heres the link if anyone else wnats to share their views:

  59. Joe avatar

    I can confirm all of the above said, urgent meetings, lots of slimy talking, naming hundreds of important persons who also write in this publication, high time pressure, negotiable fees of initially 9000 € etc.
    Probably useless paper on some deskshelves which may be distributed as promised but certainly thrown away by the adressee – if not, God may help us with these “decisionmakers” who have to rely on what they get from “publicservice”

  60. Sal avatar

    A TIP:
    If you got already yourself into the position of signing the contract, the company actually has a “terms and conditions” section (accessible in their front page), which allows you to cancel the order within 7 days. Point 9 (a) on on this page http://www.publicservice.co.uk/pdf/pubservrev%20client%20pro%20order.pdf
    (They will contact you in 9 days, if you haven’t cancelled it already.. experience talks.)

  61. Will avatar

    I was taken in by this because they phrased the pitch so that I thought I was going to be paid for writing an article. I have been properly commissioned to write articles for hire before, so this approach did not seem out of the ordinary. However, it started looking increasingly fishy, so the next day when I discovered I would have to pay, I emailed the editor and cancelled immediately. I got more calls saying what a difficult position I and they were in, and i could not possibly have misunderstood, but by that time I was not interested in taking any discussion further.

  62. Skandia avatar

    It is not a scam in the sense that they do not deliver. In fact, they make sure that a legal case against them will fail, by building up a file of the interactions and the copies of documents and web sites generated. It is a scam in the sense that it is highly overpriced, even after negotiating half of the initial price. It is also a scam in the sense that they will get back at you for other things such as Will’s story: being asked to produce an editorial article etc. After my asking who would be paying whom for what, the phone was disconnected, quite suddenly. From that kind of money, they obviously can hire many people: three phone voices, three mail people. Notice the ‘our internet connection is down unfortunately but…’ in the first attempt. I did a quick scan on Google at the call but their English is so English that spelling the right key words becomes a problem. Way to go Brits, make yourselves popular in Europe.

  63. Archi avatar

    Just got off the phone with them. Same story all round. Yes, they’re still at it. I wonder how they found my company?

  64. Cecilia avatar

    I have literally been getting a call from someone from publicservice.co.uk every week for the past three years.
    I have asked to be taken off their calling list and called them back to complain to a manager all without effect. It’s my experience that they are without exception into the hard sales approach and do not think twice about using rude or intimidating language when they realize that you are not interested.
    Nowadays I tell them straight off that it’s our company policy to not put through calls from publicservice.co.uk because of their unproffessional approach in the past. It’s the only way I can get them to hang up quickly without wasting too much of my time.

  65. Saul avatar

    I was called by someone called Rebecca from publicservice.co.uk a few weeks back. Her opening line was “I’ve just come out of a meeting in which your company name was mentioned, and I was just calling to find out a bit more about you” I then spent 15 mins talking to her – then she had to go back into her meeting.” Then nothing more until today she called with the same opening line asking to speak to a colleague. When I told her I had spoken to her before and that I thought it was a scam she hung up. I then called Public Service direct to find out if it was a scam. Yes they have a Rebecca who works there and no, it was not a scam – she has been in a meeting this morning! When you tell them you are a charity and have very little money then they tend not to be so interested but I do think it appalling that an organisation like this is targeting third sector organisations with promises that they can raise your profile. Avoid like the plague.

  66. maren avatar

    From Germany. I just recieved a quite aggressive call from “Tanja Franco” from Publicservice.co.uk who was demanding to speak to the rector of our university immediatly, asking for his mobile phone number when I told her he was not available. She said she was finalizing a document for the European Union and urgently needed some informationf from him. After some prodding she said s.th. about research projects in areas (Stem cells? MINT subjects) which we are definitly not involved in (we are a school for art&design). It seems she’s looking (or pretending to look for) partners in EU research projects – probably at a price!

  67. Uwe avatar

    Now they call German universities with their bullshit. Just received a call from the UK under phone number +441315531100 at about 6 pm. Some unstoppable lady speaking for several minutes, same style as described above: last minute editorial meeting, wanting effectively to sell me two pages in a publication, explained that other authors were ministers, EU commissioners, some national lab departmental directors, blablabla. I asked them to detail their request in an email, but that was denied since everything was very urgent, and unfortunately they could not send email. But they could show me their publication online under http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?referral=other&pnum=&refresh=6Ld01k5NF0x8&EID=b617f8a8-9d34-4a6c-a2bc-c3cd4e095d8f&skip=
    However, their business does not seem to be running very well these days, I was offered the useless double page article for the bargain price of 1000 Euros. After 10 minutes, I had enough. I told her, as an ordinary professor with a small group, I was not playing in the same league as the other guys mentioned, so I would definitely not make a good addition to their publication and suggested to contact more important guys at our university. Such lack of vanity stunned her completely and make her end the call.

  68. Simone avatar

    Great to read that I am not the only one waisting 45 minutes on the phone. Same stories like above, lots of names, I was offered a 2 page article following one of Dacian Ciollos, but the girl didn’t even know what DG Agri was. I repeatedly aske her how much it would cost and she did not get there, in the end I hung up!

  69. Rich avatar

    These guys keep calling me. Usually I manage to politely decline quite quickly (I prefer to avoid being rude). However, Paul McBrae from Public Service Review took this to a new level of aggression yesterday – even accusing me of not wanting to be open with my research, and going against RCUK requirements of open access, because I wouldn’t pay him £6k. He then started ranting about me not being important enough, not wanting to get my research out to the key decision-makers, and accused me of lying when I said that our department do not get sent the publication (I since double checked and we do not). It was quite amusing when he got wound up when I suggested it was a magazine: “No! It’s a Review, perfect bound, silk…

  70. An Ex-Employee avatar
    An Ex-Employee

    Afternoon everyone, just though I would add my two pence into this discussion.
    I was employed by there scum bags and drawn in by the massive amounts of money to be earnt and the credibility of the company.
    Bullshit. Basically there is a room with 20-30 people in and phones. There are no computers, there is no database, the staff have to go home at night and basically google the companies that they are going to call the next day. So when you get asked to be removed, there actually is no database. The staff have a pile of numbers/companies/directors and call through them all day.
    It is a joke, I have worked in sales for many years, including double glazing sales, this is by far the worst.
    If your wondering why they are so harsh on the phone, it is because you are told in induction that if you put the phone down or end the call without a sale you will be sacked. You have to get the decision maker to buy or put the phone down on you.
    It is a terrible business, I am not sure how it is still running but it was massively going down hill when I was there.
    I left after a month to much relief, and found sites like this when I left.
    Terrible company, I feel for you all.

  71. Dr G A avatar
    Dr G A

    I don’t know if it’s the same company but I have attended quite a few of their events and they have always been well organised with good speakers.

  72. Andrea avatar

    Strange sales spam, we asked them to stop calling us
    lets hope they follow
    other stories with their “biz” style:

  73. Martin Plenio avatar
    Martin Plenio

    This company has called me today and the lady on the phone made up this story of needing an editorial at very short notice. And of course costs would be involved. When I explained to her that this is nonsense she did become quite unpleasant and cut the conversation.
    Complete waste of time and I hope that nobody falls for their sales ploy.

  74. Melike avatar

    I am a new Group Leader in a Photonics Institute in Barcelona. I am very new to the European system, I have been trained in the US before my independent position. I got the exact same call from PSP claiming they needed to find experts in Fluorescence Imaging at the last minute and my article would appear opposite to some famous European politician. I told them the publication cost was too high and I needed to confirm their information with my Institute before I can proceed. They offered to reduce it to 4800 from 6000. I told them I still needed to confirm the benefits of this for me and my Institute before I could accept and asked for a few hours so I can discuss it with my colleagues and director. They kept me on the phone for almost an hour insisting they don’t have a “few hours” to let me discuss it over before I make a decision. They got super aggressive, I was transferred to someone claiming to be the editor, and they tried to bully me into accepting. I felt extremely uncomfortable by the whole experience.

  75. workman avatar

    Just got one of these call here in Denmark. By giving you accurate information about your funding sources, the caller does well to establish a legitimate premise. But the conversation appears too well rehearsed and the information to support the need for urgency seems too detailed. Some of the details were specious (internet down and no email, conference call pending, etc.) In addition, the name the caller provided was surprisingly similar to my first and middle names. Don’t let them waste your time.

  76. Sarah Hackman avatar
    Sarah Hackman

    I’m glad I read this thread. I was about to attend an interview with this company, but after reading an ex-employees testimony about the working conditions and how the company functions I don’t think I will. I’m pretty desperate for a job but I like to think that I stand by my morals and refuse to harass people for ridiculously priced articles. It seems that this company is as bad as the ‘chuggers’ who stand on the streets!

  77. Peter Haris avatar
    Peter Haris

    Had the same call in Australia yesterday. Exaclty the same scenerio, long discussion (80 mins), imortant decision, $8500 (which was quickly dropped to $5000), yes, for 2 pages. I was actually convinced that it was a good idea – timing seemed right. All I wanted was 1 hour to decide. But, “the editor” was adament that I make a decision “right now”, and the caller could not send an email – aparrantly a virus on her comuputer. Eventually they did send an email with the deal laid out. I quickly searched and got this thread. After replying to her with a NO and link to this site, she sent the following:
    I have followed the link you provided and read the content of the “blog”.
    May I draw your attention to the fact that it is exactly that, a “blog”, headed by the ramblings of an astrophysicist named Andrew Jaffe who has also written a blog on Elvis Costello and “the impact of sex in space”, which are neither interesting or hold any credibility at all.
    I find it very difficult to understand why you would doubt the credibility of our organisation, publicservice.co.uk and our publication, the Public Service Review – Local Government when we have been producing information for the use of Government departments for 13 years and have many many editorial contributions from Government Ministers themselves, that deem the Public Service review range a credible and comprehensive tool in which to disseminate information.
    The likes of Jose Manuel Barroso – President of the European Commission, Janez Potocnik – European Commissioner for Environment, John Dalli – European Commissioner for Health, Gunthe Oettinger – European Commissioner for Energy, Martin Schulz – President of European Parliament, Androulla Vassilou – European Commissioner for Education, Culture & Multi-Linguism, Andreww Stunell – DCLG and Sir Merrick Cockell – Chairman of Local Government Association, who regularly write FOR us, would not do so if our publications were NOT credible and NOT read.
    Our website is abundant with information, editorials, digital publications and testimonials from contributors both public and private sector, dating back many years and to suggest that this enormous amount of content could possibly be a scam is ludicrous.
    The position in the forthcoming Public Service Review – Local Government 21 has now been filled and we will oblige your request for us not to call you again.”

  78. Andrew avatar

    Thank you for sharing this, especially the response from the organization. I can’t comment on their credibility and interest — and I’ll let you judge mine for yourself — but I will just point out that the 80 comments on this page are not “the ramblings of an astrophysicist” but are mostly from other people who claim a similar experience.

  79. Whistleblower avatar

    I worked there for years and regret it enormously. I can also vouch for all of the claims on this thread about the way a sales approach is made. The strategy is to build the enthusiasm of the potential customer by following a well honed sales structure/pitch and to force the customer into making a decision there and then. It is all about ‘urgency’ – a point sales managers will drill in to the sales teams.
    They do have articles from all sorts of interesting people but, and it is a BIG but, most of these articles are reprinted and publicly available – very few are bespoke and unique to PSCA. It is also true that the last two UK governments don’t touch them with a bargepole because their underhand and highly dubious tactics are well known to people in the UK; hence their move towards phoning people in Europe where they are less well known and their change of company name to publicservice.co.uk and scienceomega.com. The stench from their previous name PSCA got so overwhelming they had to change the company name – true story. they also changed their phone numbers to try and dilute the impact of the whocallsme website, which has pages and pages of complaints about them. This is a fact – I know from the best sources that was the motivation behind their company name and phone number changes.
    Some interesting facts from my experience:
    1) The editor is a lady called Lisa Carnwell. She is a nice person. However, she has never closed a deal in her life, she works in a different office. The sales people invent personas and job titles to bolster their credibility and it often works. The truth is they are just young blokes with a love of money and without scruples. One guy in particular, John Warrington, puts on a funny voice and does a whole thing about being the editor and how he knows people you know, and does a thing about an imaginary secretary called Penelope. It’s very funny and charming, but utter bullshit. He is a sales person sitting at a desk in a call centre, just a very very good one. Beware!
    2) They used to be called Public Service Communication Agency, but the UK Government forced them to change their name because it was so misleading.
    3) They send out far fewer books than they claim, and even then no-one requests them. The circulation is non-controlled. It is known within the company that no-one reads them and they get a huge amount of requests from mail rooms to stop sending their magazines, cause they are widely perceived to be junk.
    4) They stooped so low as to take money from Aids charities in Africa by lying to these charities about distribution numbers/links to government etc. When I brought this to the attention of senior management they did nothing to stop it.
    5) There have been many complaints about their management style. When I was told once to go hospital straight away by my GP because he suspected I had pneumonia I rang my manager. Their response was ‘can you not go at 5pm after work?’ In that moment I knew I had to leave, and I stopped caring and my loyalty was shattered.
    6) They only want to speak to Directors – they won’t deal with marketing. For them it is all about pitching someone who can make a unilateral decision on the spot. Their mantra is keep going until the customer says yes or hangs up. It’s pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch deal. A sales person needs a deal a week to be safe.
    7) There are some good decent people who work there. The CE himself is a fundamentally good person, albeit one who is welded to a sales strategy which has delivered him great success and riches but has done nothing to enhance the reputation of his company. He tolerates and encourages his people to lie about meetings and the involvement of senior people – it is all bullshit. They work in an office in Stoke in Trent and no single person from the UK Gov, the EU, the Vatican or whatever nonsense they spout has ever set foot inside the place. It’s sharp practice and they know it – in fact they revel in getting away with it.
    Ask yourself this one question – particularly you academics who are such a major area of bloodthirst for them – if the publication is so well received, and so highly respected, why haven’t you heard of it?
    In short, there are much better ways of spending your money. Put it towards a bursary instead!

  80. Swedish researcher avatar
    Swedish researcher

    Now they are operating in Sweden too. Received a phone call from a woman from Public Service Review today, although I was under the impression that she was calling on behalf of the European Union Commission for the better part of the call. Similar story as previously reported here, £ 6000 in distribution costs for a 2 page article about my ongoing research. When I said that I don’t have that kind of research money, she “had a discussion with the editor” and lowered the fee to £ 2000. Time issue, would not let me have 30 minutes to think and discuss with a colleague, not even when I said that I never make desicions without thinking them through and under the current premises I would have to turn the offer down. My instincts were screaming that there was something fishy, but on the other hand – what if this was a great opportunity to promote the research and my department? I’m a young researcher with a time limited position so I need all opportunities I can get to promote my career. I eventually just told her to stay on the line for a few minutes and talked to my colleague, who instantly said to hang up, it sounds like some sort of scam.
    Even though I turned “the offer” down, I’ve been feeling like a complete idiot the entire afternoon. I let the phone call last for at least an hour and I was actually considering it. Had she not been so pushy for me to make a decision now, now, now, I may have fallen for it. 🙁
    However, now I’m feeling much better. I’m sorry that you all also had to go through this, but I’m glad that I’m not the only one that have considered taking the offer.

  81. Zarina avatar

    I took a call from an Emily who asked to speak to the director of the organisation that I work for. I screen his calls and as I have not heard from the Public Service Review before I ask for the purpose of her call and if she would mind sending either an email or fax with details. Emily then became very rude, aggressive and confrontational. Talking over me and then asked me “are you not listening to what I am saying?” when I asked her to repeat the name of the report she was referring to and then accused me of not listening. She then claimed not to have access to internet, emai or fax and insisted on speaking to the Director and said “don’t we consider yourself to be a leader in your field? I guess not” when I asked if she had contacted anyone else in the same field. What startled me is how professional sounding the name of the company is which only prevented me from hanging up. Avoid at all costs. Emily was a nasty piece of work and if she is indicative of their professional practices I would AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

  82. Finnish researcher avatar
    Finnish researcher

    Well, now they’re calling Finland! I just got a 90 minute call from the same organization. First it sounded interesting, but then… All the same applies what is said above! Short notice, hurry, page charges (down to 2000£ from original 6000£…) VERY good to know that this is bullshit, and I’m going to inform everyone in the University about this ASAP. This is utterly wrong, using researchers’ time, raising false hopes etc.

  83. Researcher at KTH avatar
    Researcher at KTH

    I was just contacted by phone from a busy conference-room in London by a nice woman who started to talk about EU projects, funding and whatnot, and my project had been “highlighted” in their meetings. They knew all about it, including scope, funding and so on (from KTH Project database?). It sounded like the world’s opportunity. It was to be presented to all stakeholders, ministers and research granting organizations. All mentioned by name, and within my area.
    However, after lots of sweet-talking, very convincing, they mentioned what it would cost me. 1 page 4000 pounds…and deadline on sept 7th. They needed answer right away. I hesitated, and they were soon down to 2000 and asked at which level I could accept.
    Instead of looking more at the brochure, I googled around a bit and found this site (yes, the one you read now):
    It seems to be a very elaborate scam, or on the borderline. The call took maybe 20-30 minutes. She reclined to send me an email because of server problems, and said she already sent me an email this morning. I said she could try another address, but then the server problems were on their side…
    In the end I (surprise) turned down her nice offer. But it was very convincing…
    Just to be on your guard!

  84. Mark avatar

    I worked for this company for exactly 30 minutes!! as soon as i realised what they did

  85. Richard avatar

    Sarah Johnson is the latest seller to be plugging this one to us. She refused to talk to anyone other than the MD and went on about how urgent it was. Phone back the next day and I will not return her call after reading the above comments.

  86. Cecilia avatar

    Thanks for your input. It was really interesting to hear an inside point of view.
    I’m still amazed that they can get people to be so rude on the phone. Just goes to show what one will do for money.

  87. Damon avatar

    Just had the same deal offered to me, reduced massively in price may I add from the initial 6K still did not take it which confused the salesman a great deal. This was for promoting our cycle shelters and street furniture. Good sales patter but he would not forward me any details by email at all to back up any of the claims. Shame

  88. Oleg Kolosov avatar

    Same bullshit today for me – £6k – quick decision, should have asked name, telephone, etc. I of course said that I do not pay money, I get paid for the publications like that 🙂 or might do it for free…
    That should be stopped – someone may wish to write to ombudsman.
    Glad I had time to search and to stamble on your blog!

  89. Ajay avatar

    It has been 2 years since you reported this scam. The bad news is that they are still active and I almost got duped.
    More on this here

  90. marc avatar

    just remember that the people working for this company are just trying to do the same as you!!! that is earn a living i can just say this to those of you who want to do the publication down each of the people working there are decent people!!! ruthless yes aggressive sometimes ambitious definately but most of all they are people trying to do their jobs yes i do/have/will/might work for them but do you blame any person for trying to feed their families especially when the country is on a down turn!!!!

  91. jamie avatar

    Look at all the comments. Not one is actually complaining about the publication its self. Just the manner in which they were approached. But! ALL have said they were told the cost and they were told that it is urgent. So where is the dishonesty? everyone is welcome to say no. or i dont like doing things on the phone, or i dont pay to write. It does not mean this is a scam. there are many people write with us and are very happy. just look at the people who do pay to write, they do it because they see the value. Understand urgency and enjoy masterbating.

  92. mark keenan avatar

    We had an article published a few years ago and it produced no contacts or work at all, so when I received a call today, i listened for a few minutes before interrupting and telling them I have no budget, this is a recession I am afraid. He did not listen to me at all.
    He kept going with his pitch saying we need an online legal service and you have been chosen out of many others blah blah. Eventually I said ” Just like the dragons on TV I am out” and put the phone down.
    By the way the new pitch is centred about the relaunch of the website.

  93. Dimitri Konstantas avatar
    Dimitri Konstantas

    I just had the same call … a long description of the excellence of the publication, the big names in it etc etc. (again, he was in a meeting, no access to internet, must take immediate decision..)
    When I finally said that I need to evaluate and will not take any decision before asking some external opinions, he got upset that I spend his time for nothing etc
    I have a tendency to immediately reject this “urgent offers” but I prefer let the person talk, loosing his time (i was replying to emails during his uninteresting speech (it so so clear that he was reading a text that it made me almost laugh))

  94. Ben avatar

    Once again. Nothing to add, convincing at first sight and more and more fishy later on. I told him that this pressure to decide on such an article for 9’000 would be improfessional and fishy. And then he went on and on how impertinent I was to say that such a professional and altruistic service was called fishy… under these circumstances I was not a valid partner for them…
    Very happy to have found this webpage with these comments

  95. fi fi avatar
    fi fi


  96. Sarah Andrew avatar
    Sarah Andrew

    Same as the people above. I have just been called by Esuan Steenkamp saying he had just come out of Board meeting missing the final presentation to get an article from me on Stress Proteins. They obviously look academics up on the internet, findout what your research interest is and ask you to write an article costing you £6,000! They are hoping people are sufficiently flattered by the request that they will opay the money!

  97. Peter Lanbeck avatar
    Peter Lanbeck

    Now, they’ve reached Sweden. The same story presented to me today, urgency, importance, and no E-mail. Three different persons telling me of my importance. There should be some way to get a warning on top of Google search for this fraud!
    Peter Lanbeck
    Lund, Sweden

  98. fi fi avatar
    fi fi

    Believe me there is no board meeting , they have to close the deal in one call…..they name drop, if u look at the publication its articles found on the internet….mmmmm….and they say they have no access to the internet, they are internet guru’s

  99. sp avatar


  100. fi fi avatar
    fi fi


  101. Ola Myklebost avatar
    Ola Myklebost


  102. DAVE avatar


  103. Hari Naidu avatar

    I just got off the call after a harrowing 45 minutes trying to understand her British Accent.
    Thank fully, I rejected her offer and then immediately looked this page up.
    I wonder what would have been her next step? How exactly would she have extracted money out of me?

  104. a.weight avatar

    My company was approached and unfortunately agreed a fee to have an email banner on an event email sent to “400,000” people from doctors to social workers, to PCT members etc. as well as a banner ad on their “events” section of their website, and lastly our brochures distributed at one of their seminars and two free places. The caller had problems telling us the details of the email list in any detail and that should of raised alarm bells, but we proceeded, as I’m sure many others have. We have received not a single call from teh email and suspect it was either never sent or was sent to only a few people who probably deleted it immediately. We have not paid a penny and they are now calling to get our “advert” for their events page, which I suspect nobody visits, and our money, of course. I think we should let them take us to small claims if they wish, and contest the case under the Goods and Services legislation, but it might be hard to prove. Theoretically they have done nothing wrong except lie through their teeth on the phone. Has anybody else refused to pay after finding this to be a scam, subsequent to signing the “contract”

  105. Gus Willis avatar
    Gus Willis

    Sounds like you have all saved me from a lot of headaches. I have had a call this afternoon from our head office, saying there was a call I had to respond to ASAP from Public Sector and call is urgent etc, etc. So before I called them back (silly me) I did a web search and surprise, surprise, you all saved my bacon. Many Thanks

  106. Danny van Hooren avatar
    Danny van Hooren

    This morning I got a call from a man who was nice to talk with. When he started his conversation I already got the feeling that it was some kind of tendering company. It wasn’t. No I would be in a book which would be send to 70000 decision makers in the public sector. Sounds cool but to be hones, such a story was told me 2 weeks earlier in the Netherlands. This is a new kind of money pulling nice sounding companies which offer you projects for 10000s of pounds. Yeah right…
    This guy was talking and talking and I told him about 40 times I am not gonna make a choice by phone. I first want to investigate them. So during the phone call I already found this website and it confirmed my feelings.
    To good to be true.
    So 4 minutes before 12 o’clock I told him I had to go for a business appointment but this does not work. He kept on talking and talking and almost anything I said was ignored by him.
    So 5 minutes past 12 I ended the call with my last word Bye.
    These people sound nice in the beginning but they are very annoying.
    So : public service big business? Well if the want something they can look at ourwebsite and they can drop me an email directly.

  107. Daragh avatar

    Pity I didn’t find this thread earlier in the year. We’re a small start-up consultancy and when cold called this sounded like an interesting marketing opportunity (having an advert in the magazine). What was an offer to write became a proposal to advertise, and they dropped prices dramatically so it looked like a good deal. Total waste of time and money. Then threatening calls when we didn’t pay invoice we hadn’t received because they didn’t have the address right for the company.
    The experience has resulted in a strict policy now of no dead-tree advertising at all, even with reputable organisations.

  108. Klaus W. avatar
    Klaus W.

    From Germany. After numerous attempts, a guy from that company got hold on me today via phone. Fortunately I had found this webpage before. It saved me a lot of time. Thanks. I simply hung up claiming that I have no interest.

  109. Norman avatar

    I was appalled at how much they wanted to charge me for a stand, but the keynote speakers looked good so I booked a delegate place at the academic rate at their Manchester Conference on Dementia in Manchester. Competently run (but no list of delegates handed out which is essential for networking purposes). Keynotes good except for the one on the platform who had paid for the place – and it was obvious. All the breakout workshops were run by paying companies or groups. More than one delegate uneasy at this ‘infomercial’ approach to what was billed as a proper conference to discuss a socially important issue. This week got a call from a company called GovToday with a similar slick and high pressure pitch.

  110. RoBy avatar

    Ireland. Same story. However I understood within 5 seconds that this guy was bullshitting. He said “do you NOT want to speak to me?” when i said, “I’m just finishing up a meeting here, can you call me back?”. Think this guy must be fed up of his job as it was very poorly presented. GOOD WORK ON THIS FORUM!!!

  111. Adrian avatar

    Just had exactly the same cold call this morning and wasted 30 minutes of my life talking – seems like a classic ruse – compliment your company / organisation, ask many questions about events ideas you may not know and so feel a little dis-empowered, then more compliments, offer of writing a article – finally the huge cost of £6000 after 20 minutes of conversation – quick 20 secs chat with the manager for a 50% reduction but you must confirm today!!
    I kept saying to myself this must be a scam but this blog article confirmed my suspicions….

  112. Katie avatar

    I just had a very enjoyable five minutes, sparring with Public Service as they tried to tout a ‘Science Omega’ publication to me!
    Same old story. ‘You’ve been requested as an important, last minute inclusion by an MP’,’I’ve just ducked out of a pagination meeting to call you’, ‘the internet has gone down, so I can’t e-mail you details’…blah, blah, blah!
    When I stated that I hadn’t heard of the publication, but I’d heard his script many times before and I was currently looking at their name on the TAPA website (https://www.tapa.co.uk/ledger-of-support-publishing-firms.php), he was the one getting flustered! Yes!
    I actually look forward to getting these calls, but at least get a new script so it’s more fun for me!

  113. PublicService.co.uk former employee avatar
    PublicService.co.uk former employee

    Hi everyone,
    I’m a former employee of Public Service (apologies to anyone i may have called on this forum) but i thought i would let you all know how they work.
    When i started i was given a 1 weeks training on how to “Pitch n Close”, we were trained to make you want it and trained to make you agree to have it there and then on the phone because they know if they email you or allow you time to actually think about it you would realise its far too expensive.
    We were sat in a room with 20 other people, and a pile of leads printed off the internet and just call all day, nothing else, call after call until you find someone who bites and sell it to them.
    They do have really big name editorials and the magazine does go to some very important people (whether its actually read is questionable though) so its not really a scam, but the price is huge and they know it.
    Also Andrew they HATE this blog and talk about it a lot in meetings, the amount of deals they have done on the phone but then lost because companies have researched this blog costs the company thousands every month. I sold £3500 myself to a company who cancelled a day later after reading this blog, costing me £200 in commission (my invoice to you for loss of earnings is in the post Andrew lol)
    Its a shame because it is a good book, and they do have some really good editorials and if they didnt make their sales staff sell in such a bullying and aggressive manner then it would be a good company, but the pressure on the sales staff is horrendus, i’ve since left because although the pay is great, morally its a very questionable job calling people all day lying about “last 2 pages” and “i’ve got to go back in a meeting in 20 minutes” etc was too much for me.
    My advice is to keep this blog Andrew and hopefully their CEO Gordon will change his companies sales ethos eventually.

  114. Prof Shroder avatar

    I am sick of these clowns but feel sorry for their employees as it must be a very difficult place to work going by the previous entry. I am use to being sold to however after you hear the same story for the hundredth time you start getting bored. The so called document goes nowhere and the price is ridiculous for the small scope it brings seeing as only sales people read it. They now seem to have re branded as “SCIENCE OMEGA” (terrible name). I found this blog – http://thelearningprofessor.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/have-you-heard-of-science-omega-review/

  115. Jan Borg avatar
    Jan Borg

    Update for anyone concerned.. due to the impact of bad press and mainly THIS blog – the company has now re-branded the products to Science Omega Review UK and Science Omega Review Europe http://www.scienceomega.com/review.
    Same shocking Sales approach and same impact = ZERO!! It’s amazing they can ask for such large amounts of money yet never actually distribute to the people they claim they do. It only goes to the people that pay thousands to publish. The only way to stop this sort of disgusting practice is use your Approved Supplier List and only use Peer Review publications – also as scientists you should NEVER do anything AD HOC!

  116. Anonymous avatar

    Just got contacted today. Normal routine of ‘currently giving a presentation in Edinburgh’, need to decide during the call, special topic focus on my research area only for this issue but not for any other issues.
    However, the price was reduced to £3k for 1,200 words with a potential discount to £2,250.
    I didn’t bite but wish I had found this blog earlier: wasted half an hour of my time…

  117. Annon avatar

    Worked at this company recently for 3 days. The most hostile environment I have ever worked in. So much pressure on staff. They get us to lie to people on the phone and do anything to make a sale. Evenutally had an altergation with the manager so decided to leave. Don’t believe anything they say. It’s all a script, they also do have computers in the office. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING

  118. Anon avatar

    Same thing happened to me today (in Canada). The caller was rushing out of a meeting, and was giving me a great opportunity to profile my work. I asked up front whether their company was profit or non-profit; he said for profit. The price was 3,000. Luckily I got of the line in a few minutes.

  119. Anon avatar

    I worked for the company recently for four weeks – the worst month of my life.
    The place you on a training course and tell you how you will earn magnificent amounts of money and entice you in. The training is actually quite fun and they make sure that the days you are in the office watching people, it looks fun and a nice atmosphere.
    So you start in the office. The staff themselves are lovely, the top earners are actually some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. It’s the managers that awful people, they pretend to tell you they are ‘Head of Europe’ when they are just lying through their teeth. The amount of times I got shouted at for letting customers go or not calling them back when they had hung up, was ridiculous. They are nasty bullies with no morals or no aspirations other than the lies they tell.
    You have a script and a specific story you need to sell, the sales people are normally harsh or abrupt on the phone, due to someone telling them word for word what to say to you, or being told to ‘not let them be in control’. There is no meeting, conference, you don’t even have a computer on your desk, there is 4 between 30 people.
    I changed working there, I was not myself, wouldn’t get out of bed, crying constantly and they did not care once. If you have no morals or do not care about robbing people, I recommend taking a job there today. If you have one nice bone in your body please please please don’t work there, it is not good for you mentally and you have no employment rights really in the first year!
    And for anyone on the phone to someone now or received a message, refuse to speak to them, hang up. Lets show this horrendous company they cannot get aware with treating both customers and staff the way they do and get them closed down once and for all.
    I left there and found myself a perfect job, which is the best thing ever and the best thing I ever did was leave that god awful place.

  120. sunfcorp avatar

    Nearly 3 years from your first post and they’re still at it. I had a message from Public Service to call back regarding a project that might be of interest. After 5 mins I stopped the caller and asked what the expected outcome of this call was and she still made out as if there was some potential work for me to pitch for.
    When she finally got to the point and I asked for more info on email she avoided sending it using the same lines as 3 years ago – urgent / meeting / position will go etc. and then transferred me onto someone else who was bullying and rude – getting off the phone without just hanging up was very hard!
    To be polite I did call back and say I wouldn’t be going ahead and now wish I hadn’t bothered plus I have had 3 more calls since.
    They go for an aggressive close, end up being rude (started nicely) and I felt insulted by the way I was spoken to.
    Having read your blog and all these comments I feel much better – thank-you!

  121. ANON avatar

    This should be illegal! Thankfully cold calling is soon to be outlawed in the UK, let’s hope this puts these out of business.
    As the Managing Director I was bombarded by calls, email and voicemails on my business lines, home phone and mobile. They told my daughter who answered the home phone that it was regarding funding and the European Commission and they urgently needed to speak with me.
    After refusing to speak with any of my Management, an onslaught of bombarding and rude, harrassing behaviour commensed for 40 minuites. After assuring me that this was all about gaining me funding and contracts for the European Commission and that my research and technology was directly being requested by the Commissioners themselves they proceeded to ask me for 8000 GBP or 16000 Euro (Not a correct conversion by the way.
    When I stated that the refusal to communicate by email or attend meetings and the fact that I would have to pay to recieve funding and contracts sounded like a scam, and if this was legitimate then it was at best appaulingly offensive and unprofessional conduct and business practice I was rudely shouted at, my business and intellect insulted and the phone slammed down.
    Over the next few days I received numerous emails from suspiciously personal hotmail accounts and phone calls from a UK cell phone +447823330526 at unsociable hours such as 8am and 11pm, demanding that I take part in this “project for the European Commission” by paying her this ammount which was now somehow only 6000 if I signed and returned a contract with in the next 15 minuites.
    If this had been a company in my country this lady would possibly be facing charges for harrasment and corporate misconduct.
    I asked some questions and did some research of my own;
    I would be very weary if I recieved any more calls from:
    Public Service Europe
    Public Servie UK
    Public Servant
    Public Service Events
    Defence Management
    All the same company ‘publicservice.co.uk ltd” a small advertising company in the UK.
    It sounds to me very much like they just buy contact email lists off the internet, which I found out you can buy for as little as $2000 and email an advertisment to poor unsuspecting individuals.
    I doubt very much if the majority of the emails are even read, or make it past the junk filters.
    If you want to give a few tens of thousands to a crook and what appears very much like a dubious scam then by all means go ahead!
    Better still ask them to provide proof that their testimonials are genuine or to provide accurate statistics on the track record of success of other companies who have used their services…no reply.

  122. Edwin Johnson avatar
    Edwin Johnson

    In Sweden, got the same call, wasted about 40 minutes. Identical pattern to notes above. Rushing into a meeting in 30 minutes, oh, I’ll get my production manager, and ‘The Head of Sweden’ on… they all approved discounts etc…
    I had to hang up rudely since this poor woman would not agree to end the call, she absolutely refused!

  123. Eric Singsaas avatar
    Eric Singsaas

    Thanks for posting this blog. I am glad I was able to find this information online in between calls from them so that I had some context to confidently turn them away.
    I got a call from this organization at 4AM local time (in the US on July 4th holiday weekend). They had the same sales schtick as above: last minute editorial change, want to speak to a director, we are widely distributed. After I declined to participate, the sales pitch became more persistent and, frankly, manipulative (“we want innovative researchers such as yourselves”, etc.).
    The man I spoke to was very polite but insistent. It took about forty minutes to get him off the phone.

  124. Sun Tui avatar

    they are still at it – claiming they will publish in a big glossy journal that goes to thousands of people in high governtment departments and really it is only a internet publication that no one is interested in and has absloutly no influence – scam
    They are threatening me with legal action – even though I pulled out – any one any ideas?

  125. Sun Tui avatar

    I am being threatened with legal action and they have made up an invoice contract for 2k- has anyone got any advice!?

  126. Rajeswaran avatar

    Got a call from a chap called Harry Dickinson . Selling a slot on Scottish public health event on 5th September at Glasgow . Charging £8000 for the slot. He was reluctant to put this in writing and could see his sales pitch which was initially credible looked fake at the end . Beware of anything to do with publicservice.co.uk.

  127. Hannah Lowish avatar
    Hannah Lowish

    Same as everyone else’s experience – rude, persistent and completely pointless. I don’t mind hanging up on them anymore, so much easier than listening to the rubbish they come up with.

  128. Lyndsay Williams avatar

    I have read all these comments and they match my experience. I have an update on my blog today, including pictures re the company.

  129. Anon....I escaped yrs ago avatar
    Anon….I escaped yrs ago

    I don’t think you have to try and dodge these people anymore. As a former employee from years ago I still have friends who worked there. As of yesterday, Thursday August 22nd 2013. The company went into liquidation. All the staff were laid off.
    Whilst I completely agree that once you get past the veneer the company uses a very aggressive advertising sales technique, marred with smoke and mirrors, it is obviously not a good time for the 100s of people who lost their jobs.
    You do have to think though, is it the working practices which were the reason for the final failing of the company?

  130. Anon avatar

    Very credible on the event approach, we nearly got sucked in but did some last minute checking and realised it was a scam.
    The proposed event was cancelled at the venue end, but no communication from anyone to say that. Fortunately, we hadn’t paid anything, just wasted a fair bit of time on preparation for something that was probably never going to happen.
    Lesson learnt

  131. john avatar

    They’ve distended to eire currently. exact same story, “I’ve simply stepped out of a gathering, you wish to approve this currently or you will miss fustian fustian blah”. They even tried to convert ME that one in all our investors had commissioned a piece which our article was to look next to their’s (and the EU Health Commissioner). after I asked WHO was their contact in our capitalist organisation he aforesaid that i would not be able to resolve, apparently our capitalist organisation was too huge and sophisticated.They asked for the exact same amount: £6000 for one page, £9000 for 2. I swear i could not get them off the phone. In the end, our CTO place ME out of my misery and force the plug out of my phone. They weren’t to be deterred tho’, they tried once more afterward my mobile. I virtually had to hold au fait them that point

  132. Rory Harrison avatar
    Rory Harrison

    Hi All,
    It looks like they went bust last summer http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/200-jobs-axed-Newcastle-based-publisher-collapses/story-19704837-detail/story.html on 24th August 2013
    Then miraculously they were reborn as Adjacent Government on 28th August 2013 http://www.adjacentgovernment.co.uk
    The common link is the owner / director Mr Peter Gordon WARRENDER and yes they are using exactly the same sales tactics which unfortunately I fell for.

  133. Anon Two avatar
    Anon Two

    Hi It’s Darren, I was working there April to June 2013, How much longer did you last after I left?

  134. Anon Two avatar
    Anon Two

    HaHa…….no more cushy number for you fatty

  135. US Medical Researcher avatar
    US Medical Researcher

    Seems there is a similar company as described and they are focusing on US Universities also.
    Just got a call from a similar sounding company:
    and the representative works for Pan European Networks. Urgent opportunity for 2 page report on european research – $6000 euro cost.
    The person misrepresented that they worked for the European Commission several times.

  136. Another US Medical Researcher avatar
    Another US Medical Researcher

    I received the same call today with sales pitch needing urgent decisions (by 2 o’clock today). Googled a bit and found this blog post. Agree that by all appearances this is a predatory publisher and should be avoided.

  137. Bruce avatar

    Now I am very confused. I found this thread when looking for the Science and Techology web site. I was approached (along with another colleague in the UK) in 2009, and they never mentioned anything about money. They seemed to be happy to work with us for a couple months on a commentary of several pages, including the figures, typesetting, and everything. We published it in Public service review: Science and Technology volume 2. There was a nice link to a large ‘web presence’, and the paper has been cited since. Maybe it was a pyramid scheme where we were being used to add some sort of legitamacy? Really frustrated, as it was a ‘nice’ comment we put together.

  138. Dr Who avatar
    Dr Who

    Was approached in the same way by someone from a company called “www.adjacentgovernment.co.uk” in November 2014. The man said that a cabinet member had asked for a presentation of my research project in their publication. Did not believe this but was persuaded to listen to lots of arguments for a while. Finished the telephone conversation when I was offered two pages for £6000!

  139. Just a Chemist avatar
    Just a Chemist

    Dresden, Germany: I got a very similar call today from
    looks like these guys follow people who got ERC grants. It was 2 pages of text to be written in 2 weeks, for £7500. After I hesitated, it became one page with an exceptional price of £2000 but I was asked to keep it secret 🙂 And she had “meeting in 10 minutes” (although the conversation lasted half an hour or so) and I was to answer immediately. All requests to communicate via e-mail and give me time to think were rejected. I hang up the phone in the end, but she tried to call again.

  140. No Bother avatar
    No Bother

    We have just received call from Govtoday offering exclusive access to hundreds of key decision makers from potential customers in our industry. Trying to push us for a quick answer otherwise he would have to offer it to our competitors instead. When I questioned the legitimacy of the conference he got quite angry and I basically had to tell him to p**s off.

  141. yop avatar

    apparently the horizon2020projects.com thing is in full motion. got contacted today and told the same story as above. also helpfully suggested that the money can come from dissemination funds of existing projects.

  142. Dr Strange avatar
    Dr Strange

    I just got a phone call by someone from ‘Pan European Networks’, with exactly the same modus operandi. She misrepresented working for the EC, as mentioned by US Medical Researcher earlier. It seems they are extending their range to the whole EU.

  143. Hanna avatar

    Still going strong in Sweden, I’m sorry to say. A colleague has been bulldozed into signing up for this. Is there any way to break the contract? Colleague is not an authorized signatory, but could the company claim that they entered into the agreement in good faith?