Academic journals are becoming big business leading to the rise of the ‘predatory’ publisher.
One of the unfortunate side effects of the open access journal drive is that it has opened the market up to profit-seeking publishers that lack academic rigour.
These publishers are legitimate and do publish material but it comes at a cost both financial and professional. Although these journals appear to follow the peer review process it is often a very superficial one and they expect a large ‘administration’ fee for doing little more than uploading your article with a few grammatical changes, to their website.
I was almost caught out by one of these publishers following a high profile international conference and although they often target greener early career researchers I know professors who have also fallen foul of their flattery.
Here are some tips on how to spot (and steer clear of) a predatory publisher.
-They will often email you out of the blue following a conference you have presented a paper at, quoting the paper title and saying they would love to publish it
-The peer review process will be very quick (i.e a matter of days) when for most robust journals it is a painstakingly slow process that takes months
-The peer review comments are very minor such as spelling and grammar changes rather than thematic, methodological or theoretical ones
-Once you send a final version to them post peer review they will suddenly announce an ‘administation’ fee which could up to £500 which they often work out on some nonsense word count formula
-They are very persistent in emailing you and even when you say no thank you they will keep badgering you – best advice is don’t engage with them in the first place
-Although they often have professional looking websites with genuine articles posted on them the contact details are often missing and there is no clear editorial board (although this is not always the case)
–Genuine academic journals tend to put a generic call out for papers rather than spam the inbox of academics asking about a particular paper
–Journals must follow ethical practices and be up front about any costs and can be checked out via the Directory of Open Access Journals
-If in doubt stick with journals you are aware of, speak to colleagues or ask the library to check them out
-For more advice visit http://www.openaccess.manchester.ac.uk/checkjournal/predatoryjournals/