Sunday, September 25, 2011

Paid Journals!!!

“Let us shoot to publish this part of our work in ‘abc’ journal”. This is what my professor used to tell me when he thought that we are ready to publish the research work. I start writing that paper following the format of that journal. After I finished the first draft; gave it to my professor for edits and then it comes back with so much correction that I most probably had to rewrite each and every sentence of it. Five to six corrections normally takes place before the professor says “Let us send this”. We send the paper to the journal and then the wait starts. If we were extremely lucky that paper got published within one year of your sending. All through the MS and PhD, this was the procedure I have adopted and also all those working around me did to publish a paper. 
Now move the clock a few years forward. After returning back to India, I have been invited to chair a session in an International Conference where the topic of that session was closely related to my PhD work. A professor was presenting his work and all he was presenting was crap after crap; he was talking something and the figures he showed tells you something else; the tables and the figures contradicted each other. I did not ask him any questions while he was presenting as I thought it was not appropriate to tell him in front of a big audience that his study had no relevance and had a lot of fundamental flaws. 
After that particular session was over, I went to this professor and started a dialogue. I tried to tell him my view point on his research work and asked him some questions to clear my doubts where he contradicted himself in the presentation. He got upset when I started asking him probing questions. He told me that he had been doing research for a long time and had over 100 journal papers and conference proceedings to his credit in international journals and conferences. To my surprise he opened his bag and gave me his list of publications. I knew that he was not happy with me asking questions and so I just took that list of publications from him and stopped that conversation. 
I came home and out of curiosity started looking into the journal papers published by that professor. I could not believe what I saw. Almost all were substandard papers where you don’t need any research or writing skill to complete such papers. With the six year blogging experience I can easily write 365 papers in a year. 
I become more curious. I wanted to know how a so called international journal accepts such lousy papers. I created an account and went to the section that deals with submitting a paper. Now comes the real shocker to me. If your paper is accepted for publication you need to pay the journal Rs 10,000 so that your research paper will be published. In short I realized for the first time it is a “Paid Journal” and there are hundreds of paid journals available. Seven years of MS and PhD and even while publishing six papers I never knew of its existence. Some more research into the “paid journal” concept, I realized that there are lot of paid journals out there in which if you are ready to pay the stipulated amount, most of the time publisher is ready to publish what you send. 
These paid journals have papers from all over the world. Some of the papers were so badly written, with nothing new and it is very clear that such papers are published to enhance the resume of those who write it similar to the professor I met in the conference. 
Had known about the concept of “paid news” long back but the concept of “paid journals” and “paid journal papers” were new to me. But then you learn something new everyday, right?

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Blogger Balu Krishnan said...

When quantity matters more than quality such things happen.

September 25, 2011 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting.. I am assuming, a majority of his papers were in "paid journals"..

Also how come some of the papers of such low-quality manage to sneak-in to the presentation session of this "International Conference".. I guess the least that could be done, is to shoot down such papers at the review stage itself.

I hope you choose to ask questions next time you get an opportunity, so that such folks don't get too confident to sent crap and hope that they can get by thinking he is a winner..

-- GS

September 25, 2011 11:24 PM  
Blogger Prasanna said...

hmmm..this is news to me as well and didnt realize such organizations exist.

September 25, 2011 11:58 PM  
Anonymous Viju said...

Agree with Balu.
But, a few publishers now, in order to make it open source, charge publishing fees from authors. One of the well-known journals in my field actually does that. Hence, a few 'good' papers go unpublished because of these charges.

September 26, 2011 12:12 AM  
Anonymous KPS said...

Some of your statements were contradictory.

You felt that some of the papers in the journal were sub-standard.But for the last many years you were going through the same international journals.Now only you feel that the papers were substandard.

How do you explain this??

September 26, 2011 7:56 AM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Simple...Both are not the same journals.

September 26, 2011 7:42 PM  

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