How progressive is Progressive Academic Publishing?

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I recently read a paper by two academics on the governance of lifelong learning – an important topic, that has been widely debated in western nations but not nearly so widely studied in the very different African context. The authors are academics from Botswana, and their paper examines the challenges and potential of promoting a complex field like lifelong learning in their own country.

I enjoyed the paper, and tweeted a link to it. I was, though, concerned about the journal in which it appeared, and about the pricing practices of its publisher, Progressive Academic Publishing. The journal is called the European Journal of Research and Reflection in Educational Sciences, and a glance at its content suggests that the papers appear in a very basic format. It is hard to see what value is added, other than giving the papers a volume and issue number for the journal.

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All journals published by Progressive Academic Publishing are open access, meaning that the contents can be read for free online. And the website claims that they are peer reviewed, though I’m not sure what that actually means. You won’t be surprised to learn that EJRRES, like all other journals from the same publisher, charges an author processing fee of $90 or over per paper, which for African academics is a hefty sum.

I wouldn’t mind knowing more about this journal and the high quality standards it claims to maintain. The editor-in-chief is said to be a Dr. Elizabeth Kilbride from the UK; I’ve tried a Google search, and found no academics with that name in the UK, though there is one lab technician at a Scottish university. One other UK person, from Coventry University, is said to be on the editorial board, but finding him on Coventry’s website proved beyond my abilities. The company’s postal address is on a business park just off the M42. It was included by Jeffrey Beall in his list of predatory publishers.

Of course, none of this necessarily tells us anything about the quality of individual papers appearing in Progressive Academic Publishing’s journals. But it does help me answer one of my own questions about this type of journal: who writes for them? And if it is academics from Africa who choose this way of reaching an audience, what does this tell us about the opportunities they have for publishing in more established and – frankly – reputable journals?


4 thoughts on “How progressive is Progressive Academic Publishing?

  1. as an African interested in adult and lifelong learning, and having published a fair amount, i have never heard of this journal and would be interested to know more about the article and the authors. This would help to answer the questions you pose, John.

  2. I’m wondering if these journals are really an advance over self publishing?
    Paying a publishing fee essentially makes it an advertisement (I think that’s the definition of an advertisement, that the author pays to have it published).
    Prices are pretty hefty for a lot of journals, several hundred or up to a thousand or more dollars.
    Likely a lot of the publishers are primarily business people, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
    Most of the large academic publishers are for profit, competitive publishers who must make a profit to stay in business and pay professionals a reasonable salary to manage the publication..
    Probably print journals will eventually become rarities, not extinct, but likely to become rare.
    More papers with embedded videos, perhaps surgical techniques, pathology, examination findings, a lot of things are managed better on a digital format.
    Now, most academic journals with traditional publisher names offer open access, so there’s probably not that much advantage of an open access journal to a regular journal which offers open access as an option, but with quite a bit higher price.
    There are still journals sponsored by academic societies with dues in part directed toward academic publishing.
    If academic journals can bring their prices down, then there would be more competition and the get rich quick schemes of some of the open access publishers would diminish.
    There is likely to be some advantage for niche journals, meaning smaller readership and more specific interest.
    That is happening with the larger publishers which traditionally published medical or surgical journals but now offer many niche journals such as respiratory, GI, Genetics, involving specialities and subspecialies.

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