Today I received an email from the Journal of Journalism and Mass Communication (ISSN 2160-5679), inviting me to submit my conference paper presentation: The Best Tech Tools for Creating Twitter Content, to their journal for publication. At first I was pumped thinking wow an invitation to publish! So after reading the email I proceeded to look them up in Cabell’s (a journal directory), they weren’t listed. I looked in our library’s holdings. We don’t carry the journal. I tried nearby universities’ catalogs. They don’t subscribe. Then I tried Ulrich’s both by title and ISSN. They weren’t there either. What’s even more fishy is that the email they sent me states that they are indexed in Ulrich’s!
After a moment of pique, I was reminded of a conversation with a professor I had last year. They were asking if I had heard of “predatory journals.” Predatory journals are run by “publishers that attempt to exploit the business model of open access by charging large fees to authors.” The professor told me that these journals are really sneaky about how they charge their fees. Here’s the breakdown:
- You get the email asking for your submission (this email does not state that there is a charge)
- You submit, they respond with an acceptance letter asking you to confirm several things (such as authorizing them to publish your paper, etc)
- They also state that there will be a service charge (the Journal of Journalism and Mass Communication charges $50 per page)
- Now here’s the real kicker, because you submitted to this journal (even if you decide you don’t want to go through with publication), you technically can’t submit it to another journal because the copyright was transferred upon submission.
- So now you either have to pay or never publish that manuscript! (Take a look at this list of aspects of predatory journal publishing)
These journals also solicit unsuspecting scholars to be on their editorial boards. These individuals have no idea that they are serving on a journal that is deemed “predatory.” In my case I did some more digging and looked at Jeffrey Beall’s list of predatory journals. This journal wasn’t on there. So I checked the publisher (David Publishing) on his list of predatory publishers, and low and behold there they were. Jeffrey’s lists are awesome and I’d highly recommend that you take a look at them before agreeing to publish with an open access journal that is inviting you to submit. Here is a list of journals that David Publishing prints. Also here some other resources stating that this publisher is a scam: The Trial Warrior Blog, Syracuse Library Blog, Leiter Reports, Notebooks on Language, and College Misery. Had I not had that conversation I probably would have submitted! Be careful out there.
Image credits: Predator Bez Maski, IJLT (journal background)