All-too-open invitations

May 23, 2013

I cannot be the only academic whose in-box is suddenly full of a new kind of invitation. I am urged to join the editorial board of an engineering journal in view of my “outstanding contributions in this area”. I am similarly invited to sit on the editorial boards of journals dealing in subjects from intellectual property rights to branches of the sciences and philosophy. It is gratifying to know that one’s reputation is so extensive.

Other journals want me to send them an article now or, at the latest, by the end of this week. Those tend to come with tempting offers of waivers of the submission or article processing fee. Today I am urged to write (urgently) for a special issue on “How quantification can enhance life quality”. (Over the past week it was pharmacological and biomedical analysis, disease diagnosis, and chemical imaging.) My article may be “peer-reviewed” by a member of a new-style editorial board.

I am also getting “exclusive” offers from a “journal” promising to record citations of my publications.

This was surely all foreseeable in the rush to implement open access. Here is a new marketplace, and market forces are operating to create a racket. How can plain old-fashioned scholarship hope to protect its position?

G.R. Evans
Oxford

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