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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An unsolicited invitation from an open access journal

I’ve just received the following email:

I have had an opportunity to read your paper “An Anti-Urban Education? Work Camps and Ideals of the Land in Interwar Britain” in Rural History and can tell from your work that you are an expert in this field. . . . I am the editorial assistant of Review of European Studies (RES). RES is an open-access, international, double-blind peer-reviewed journal published by the Canadian Center of Science and Education. It aims to promote excellence through dissemination of high-quality research findings, specialist knowledge, and discussion of professional issues that reflect the diversity of this field. The journal publishes a broad range of papers from culture, history, art, sociology, religion, politics, laws, education, psychology and economics. RES takes a broad view of European issues and also encourages submissions which are with international perspective.

I checked this out. According to its website, RES is indexed in SCOPUS, which is a reputable bibliographic database. It is published by a company called the Canadian Center of Science and Education, which lists the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education as a member. So far, so good.

Less encouragingly, it turns out that the Center charges a minimum of $US 200 an article; the email did not mention an author processing charge. Moreover, the Center’s products have featured in Jeffrey Beall’s highly-regarded list of questionable publishers, and some of its journals have featured in prominent plagiarism allegations. So I won’t be submitting a paper to RER.

For some background on the ‘dark side’ of academic publishing, see this report in Nature: http://www.nature.com/news/investigating-journals-the-dark-side-of-publishing-1.12666

And if you want to read my paper on anti-urban work camp movements, you can request a copy here: https://dspace.stir.ac.uk/handle/1893/10027