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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review Scam Spam

Be wary of emails like the ones described here. Someone I know recently asked me about a solicitation she had received from a new journal asking her to be a reviewer and/or editor. It was obvious that is was not a legitimate outfit, so I told her not to respond. If a journal wants you to review a paper, they will send you a personal (not mass) email and ask you to review an article on a subject you are half-way familiar with. The particular solicitation my acquaintance received was full of unidiomatic and ungrammatical phrases--not the kind of message you'd get from a legit journal in a humanities field.

There are also scam conferences. You get an email inviting you to a conference in a field you have nothing to do with. It might not even sound like a real field, usually it's something vague-sounding in order to attract more papers. There might really be a conference, but the point is to charge people a hefty registration fee to attend. The conference organizers basically just rent out some meeting rooms in a hotel and make a huge profit.

This journal charges a $550 "handling fee." Obviously, they pay their reviewers nothing, so most of that fee is going to be pure profit. You should never pay a handling fee to submit an article to any journal. I've never done this in my life. The editorial board has people I've never heard of from obscure places.

You shouldn't submit to journals, either, where you have to be a subscriber to submit. The only exception is when subcription comes along with membership in a professional organization. You have to be in the MLA to publish in PMLA. I wouldn't subscribe to Hispanic Journal just to submit an article there, though. It's a second-line journal at best, so I don't really need to publish there, and it's not something I would subscribe to except to publish there. Old issues of a journal that my library gets anyway would just clutter up my office. That's true even of great journals, unfortunately.

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