Beware of the International Journal of Education

I receive so many emails from dubious journals that I usually just mark them as spam. Occasionally, though, one comes along from a journal that sounds reasonable enough to take in less experienced or less cynical colleagues. Then I blog about it.


The latest email comes from someone called Amy Li on behalf of the plausibly-named International Journal of Education, addressed to me by name and asking me to submit my own research, encourage my colleagues to do likewise, serve as a reviewer, and join their editorial board. This sort of scatter-gun aproach is enough to start my alarm bells ringing.

The International Journal of Education publishes on an open access basis, as Ms Li’s email says. What she does not mention is that it charges its authors fees, at a rate of $200 an article. And it is part of a stable of journals published by an organisation calling itself the Macrothink Institute, one of whose journals accepted for publication a spoof paper concocted as part of a sting by the journal Science. You won’t be surprised to learn that Macrothink was listed by Jeffrey Beall as a ‘predatory publisher’.

Interestingly, and for me surprisingly, their editorial team seems to include some genuine academics. Among those listed from the UK are a principal lecturer at Leeds Trinity University, two lecturers at Ulster University, a senior lecturer at Glasgow, and a Reader at Northumbria (listed under her previous university). Some of these academics don’t list any publications on their departmental web pages, which prompts a couple of obvious questions, but others – including two whom I know personally – seem to be decent scholars.


An extract from Amy Li’s email

Assuming that these colleagues are aware that they are listed as members of an unusually large editorial advisory board, I wonder what they think their purpose is? Are they genuinely contributing to scholarship in this way, or are they providing an academic fig-leaf for a less than ethical activity, which may well succeed in relieving some less experienced researchers of their money? And why would you allow your name and your institution’s to be associated with such a dubious enterprise?

I’m starting to think that there may be a role here for the learned societies. After all, societies like the British Educational Research Association are fond of proclaiming their concern for early careers researchers. So in the case of the UK academics mentioned above, shouldn’t BERA take an interest?

I wouldn’t publish with InTech



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.


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.

New Picture

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.


New Picture (1)

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’.