I received a very polite invitation to be an “academic editor” to a scholarly journal.
Sounds good, right? To be sure, I am promised no monetary compensation, indeed, I’d still have to pay (albeit at a discount) to have my papers published in the same journal (not that I have any plans to do so). Still… it’s an honor, right?
Too bad it’s one of the many predatory journals of a predatory publisher. A journal that publishes just about anything so long as the author pays the (often hefty) publication fee. There are now thousands of such journals around the world, maintaining a parasitic existence, leeching off both crackpots and third-world researchers who don’t know any better and try to pad their resumes with a seemingly legitimate publication record.
So why am I ever so slightly hesitant? Well… on two (maybe three?) occasions in recent weeks, I received requests from the same journal to referee papers. I indicated that I was not available, but also that, judging by the abstracts that were shared with me, those papers should have been rejected by the editor and never sent out to referees in the first place.
And now here I am, being asked to work as a volunteer editor for the same journal. Should I accept it, in the hope that I would be given the editorial autonomy to reject papers up front, in the hope of improving the journal’s standards?
Probably a bad idea.