Another week, another unsolicited invitation from an author-pays journal

I receive so many unsolicited emails from unconvincing open access journals that I usually send them straight to the spam folder and forget about them. Today, though, I heard from the Journal of Education and Training Studies, whose title sounds plausible.

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Someone calling themselves “Robert Smith” addressed me by name, and told me that after reading one of my recent papers he believed that “your expertise fits within the scope of our journal quite well. Therefore, I would like to personally invite you to submit manuscripts to our journal”.

A quick dig on their website revealed a hefty authors’ fee of $400. For some reason, the publisher charges rather more for academics submitting to JETS than for any of its other journals.

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The website lists two editors in chief. One is given as a Professor John Cowan, of Edinburgh Napier University; a quick search on the university website produced no one of that name, though Research Gate lists a visiting academic of that name at Queen Margaret University, with a background in higher education scholarship.

The second is named as Dr. Richard Penny of the University of Washington Bothell. The university website mentions a former senior official of that name, who trained in neurobiology but made his career as a fund-raiser. Since 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile, he has been an ‘executive educator’ and leadership coach in the University’s Business School, but I was unable to find him on their website.

On the basis of this information, I am not inclined to recommend publishing in this journal. The website makes the standard claims about impact, based on such indexing services as Google Scholar and ERIC, which are unlikely to impress university appointment panels. RedFame, the publisher, is reportedly associated with the Canadian Center of Science and Education, which has featured in an earlier post on this blog.

And if you are interested in the paper on adult learning/active citizenship which provoked the original email, you can access it here. Neither of the authors paid a fee for it to be published!

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I wouldn’t publish with InTech

 

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Another day, another crop of emails from dodgy publishers. Today I learned that “InTech invites you to participate in Unemployment, an upcoming open access book”. I have indeed written about unemployment, mainly in the context of my research into British work camp systems in the years between 1880 and 1940, so I might feel flattered that my work is judged worth sharing.

But I don’t. Intech approaches authors unsolicited, and in my case the book editor played no part in the process. The firm is listed by Jeremy Beall as a predatory publisher. They impose steep author processing charges. Even though the book editor appears to be a genuine researcher, I cannot think of a single good reason for publishing with them.

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Be cautious of the European Journal(s) of Education Studies

Another day, another crop of emails inviting me to submit papers to conferences and journals. Most are obviously dodgy but occasionally one appears that might – just might – tempt the unwary researcher. The latest to hit my inbox comes from the European Journal of Educational Studies – which at first hand sounds like a potentially decent journal, and claims an extremely impressive Impact Factor of 3.719.

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A quick look at the journal’s website reveals that it is one of seven education journals belonging to the Open Access Publishing Group, a Romanian outfit included in Jeffrey Beall’s “list of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers” (link). The email purports to come from a “Dr Monica Ilva”, but a search on Google produces no results for that name. The impact factor comes from something called Research Bible, which I’d never heard of before; their website claims that ‘Journal Impact Factor is from Journal Citation Report (JCR), a product of Thomson ISI (Institute for Scientific Information)’ (link).

The journal charges a publication fee of 30 US dollars. According to the website,

The submission, as well as the review process, are not subject of any charge. When a paper is accepted for publication, the author(s) is issued with an invoice for payment of a publication fee. . . . The payment of this charge allows Open Access Publishing Group to recover its editorial and publishing expenses and generates a pool of funds that will consent free access to the published research in the future.

Rather unusually, the journal also offers authors the opportunity of receiving a certificate of acceptance, and even a certificate of publication. I can only wonder what kind of bureaucratic requirement this is supposed to meet.

After the article is successfully published, a certificate is issued as a proof of its publication. The certificate of publication contains the name of the author, the article’s title, the name of the journal and its identification (ISSN) and the date and the place where it is issued.

As in any journal which sends ‘cold calling’ emails inviting you to submit papers, it is most unlikely to be widely read and respected by peers. But the European Journal of Educational Studies and its stable mates are far from the top of my mental league table of dodgy academic publishers.

Like many researchers outside the comfortably affluent west, Romanian academics are working in tough circumstances. I have no solid reason to suppose that they are merely predatory publishers. At $30 the charge is comparatively low. And the papers themselves have to be understood and judged on their merits. All that said, I  would of course advise any colleague to treat this journal and its stable mates with caution.

 

Unattractive journal author services from “International Research Promotion”

Another day, and another crop of emails inviting me to give someone money to help me publish.This latest one is signed by a Dr P. Saha of International Research Promotion. As you can see, Dr Saha is offering to check my papers for plagiarism (thanks for that!), arrange peer review reports (authored by whom exactly?), format my papers to journal requirements, and translate my papers.

 

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You won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve tried to check International Research Promotion out. They say that they have a head office in London, in premises that are also apparently used by 53 other companies, and which are said to be run as a commercial mail-drop service. They also claim offices in Toronto (again, in premises advertised as a mail-drop address) and in “Hooghly, West Bengal, India”, which is an administrative district and not an address.

I won’t be calling on their services, and I wouldn’t advise any other academic to do so either. They are offering nothing that you cannot organise for yourself, and probably a lot more effectively – just ask colleagues, or your university research office, if in doubt. And although I do not know whether or not the two bodies are connected, they share most of their name with the International Research Promotion Council, which Jeffrey Beall thinks is a ‘scam’.