If you’ve received an invitation to publish in or to join the “editorial board” of some open access journal you’ve never heard of, you need to know about the Scholarly Open Access blog. Run by Jeffrey Beall of Denver, Colorado, it is a wonderful source for outing the crooks who would corrupt our publishing industry.
The scams seem to pop up every day: A publisher introducing 40 new “International” or “American” journals of whatever. Flattering spam goes out to the universe. Addresses, purporting to be in prestigious US locations, actually forward to parts unknown. To create the illusion of stability with back issues, some even copy (i.e., steal) articles from real journals to pad their websites! Names of Editorial Board members are made up or used without permission; one journal listed an editor from Michigan as “Dr. Ann Arbor.” Peer review? Coincidence, maybe, but their acceptance rates approach 100 percent. Some even let you purchase an optional “best paper” award.
Beall continues to compile his lists despite occasional letters from publisher’s “lawyers” threatening zillion dollar lawsuits. The legal gobbledegook, which no real lawyer would use, sometimes is hilarious. The whole thing is entertaining, but also chilling in that too many people seem to be falling into the traps.
Unless your tenure committee is a bunch of complete fools or congressmen (same thing?), publishing in these pseudo journals might be seen as a negative, a sign of desperation or naivety. So, next time you get one of these invitations, go to Beall’s blog and check first.