Navigating the ever confusing world of Academic Publishing

This week amongst the many emails I received, two caught my interest perhaps more than they should have.  One was an invitation to publish my work in an “Open Access” journal.

  The other was an invitation to present at a conference.  I had never heard of either the journal or conference before.  My first reaction was “wow, someone is interested in my work, I should submit a paper”.

But wait a minute, how did they hear of me?  Is this just academic spam?  Most of you have probably had similar experiences, I get similar emails weekly.  As Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, I have received requests to fund publication in such journals or travel to similar conferences.  In an academic world of “publish or perish”, it can be very tempting to (in some cases naively) accept such offers.  Often these requests are just a form of spam to try and generate interest in legitimate academic journals or conferences.  However, in other cases there can be much more underhanded motivates.  While the principles of open access – free debate, benefit for society, accountability – are laudable and something with which most academics would not have issue, one does have to be careful.  There is a growing practice known as “predatory publishing” often ignoring peer review.  Just do a quick search in your favourite search engine.  You will be surprised how many publishers are exploiting researchers.  I am reminded of the old adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.

You will be reassured to hear that I ignored both emails.

For more on this topic, I invite you to attend the Research Dialogue on January 18, 2013 from 12:30 – 1:15 in CE265.