In the past year, on a regular basis, an email would pop up in my (Clare) inbox about a new journal and invite submissions. I would scan the email and wonder – is this legit or is it a boondoggle? I usually deleted the email because I was not sure if it was spam but I have often thought that I might be missing a great publishing opportunity. Am I being old-fashioned and not using social media? Mark Kingwell, Professor at the University of Toronto, wrote a GREAT column about “predatory journals” which answered my question. So new scholars, do not get fooled. Press the delete button! And all academics will find his stats about acceptance rates at top journals a bit disheartening. Here is an excerpt from his column and at this bottom of this blog is a link to the entire article.
Predatory journals take a bite out of scholarship by Mark Kingwell
The academic imperative “publish or perish” is so well known that people with no intention of entering scholarly life are familiar with it – no tenure for you, my friend, without at least a handful of citations. The journals should be reputable and selective, as all the best ones are, but in the crunch quantity might just trump quality. Alas, now comes this new storm on the horizon of university careerists: predatory journals.
Nobody inside academic life will consider it news that the number of journals, in almost every field, has risen in the post-print era. The good ones remain, and sometimes even retain a print version, but they are now flanked by opportunistic newcomers who prey on the desires of tenure-seeking scholars.
That, in itself, is no big deal. A new journal can publish work as accomplished as an established one, assuming the usual practices of double-blind peer review: The reviewers, assumed to be experts in the field, don’t know the identity of the author, and the author doesn’t know who the reviewers are. In my field, philosophy, acceptance rates at good journals run to about 5 per cent, or one in 20 of submitted pieces, and rare is the article that goes into print without extensive revisions suggested by the reviewers.
Predatory journals are a whole different beast. Instead of you seeking their grudging approval, they come after you. And then they demand money.