March 23, 2017
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Dear Peers, Students, and Academics far and wide,
Beware. I have increasingly received emails inviting me to “submit” my article or books to journals or presses that sound legitimate but are actually scams in clever disguise. Preying on those who don’t yet know, these publishing opportunities come with a price–often asking scholars (or creative writers or others seeking publication) to pay a fee to publish their work. Sometimes this fee can be quite large.
To someone who doesn’t know the difference, the titles of these publications and presses may look and sound legitimate and may indeed appear so on a C.V. to someone who isn’t aware of these types of scams. Below is a thoughtful guide from the anthropology association about how to tell a scam from the real thing.
“Peer review” is rigorous, subjective, and time consuming process that is often done as unrecognized and unremunerated “service” by other faculty in similar fields across the world. I am not against paying reviewers and editors and submissions that bear a cost to compensate what is a process that is often paid for by faculty members in the organization or universities. But paying modest costs for consideration is different from most scams that aim to make a small business out of academic needs to “publish or perish”–who unwittingly submit to a fee-based publication opportunity only later to learn that this publication will reflect poorly on the scholar/author. Below is a link with some guidelines for how to avoid such scams. When in doubt, don’t submit until you’ve had a more experienced academic help you to review the publication or press.
Afternote: My colleague Dr. Trena Paulus adds this helpful addition:
TP: Where this becomes especially confusing is the move towards an open-access model – where the author (or their university) *does* legitimately pay a fee up front, so that they can freely share their work with others, rather than letting publishers charge those same universities ridiculously high subscription fees in order to gain access to that same work.