Friday, September 26, 2008

This message has been sent to you because of your eminence in the field.

More Obsequious Science Spam...


This one's from Bentham Open. Maybe you or one of your friends have gotten a similar pitch. First, the story circa early 2007.



The Open Neuroscience Journal


Dear Scientist.

Bentham Science Publishers have gained a longstanding international reputation for their excellent standards and top quality science publications. Many journals published by Bentham Science Publishers have received high impact factors in their respective fields. For the current list of publications, please visit www.bentham.org . Seven Nobel Laureates have endorsed a number of Bentham Science's journals...

The publishers are now undertaking a new publication venture by launching a number of Open Access journals in 2007, devoted to varied disciplines in the fields of science and technology. [NOTE: The number of "Open" journals has mushroomed to 231 as this writing. These include The Open Area Studies Journal (with a sad total of one article) and The Open Corrosion Journal which has zero articles as of today.]

Open Access Journals are freely accessible via the Internet for immediate worldwide, open access to the full text of research articles for the best interests of the scientific community... [NOTE: But see Black sheep among Open Access Journals and Publishers]

. . .

The journal aims to provide the most complete and reliable source of information on current developments in neuroscience. The emphasis will be on publishing quality articles rapidly and openly available to researchers worldwide. All published articles will be deposited immediately upon publication in at least one widely and internationally recognized open access repository (such as PubMed Central). [NOTE: this is not true, at least for PubMed Central]

The journal will be essential reading for scientists and researchers who wish to keep abreast of the latest developments in the field. The publishers are confident of the journal's rapid success.

Based on your eminent contributions in the field of neuroscience, I would like to invite you to join us as an Editorial Board Member of the journal. As an editorial board member, you may be required to occasionally review research papers, solicit articles from your colleagues/acquaintances and help promote the journal at conferences and meetings that you attend. [NOTE: You have to provide free advertising?] Submissions of manuscripts to the journal from Editorial Board Members will receive a discount of 50% off the total publication charges.
OK... Now it's a year and a half after their first pitch. What has changed since then (other than the appearance of critical blog posts such as A new model for open access: the pyramid scheme) and The Open Access Interviews: Matthew Honan)? Well, for starters, they don't expect you to provide free advertising any more. But now you must publish one article per year in the journal (at no cost, with a discount on subsequent papers) and send them your CV. They're still trying to appeal to your ego, however:
Based on your eminent contributions in the field of psychology, we would like to consider your possible nomination to the Editorial Board Membership of the journal. As an editorial board member, you may be required to occasionally review research papers. To make sure the Editorial Board of the journal consists of potential productive scientists, it is expected that all the board members will publish one article each year in the journal which will be published after the routine reviewing process. The first article received from the EBMs each year will be published free of charge while the subsequent ones will be entitled to a 50% discount off the publication fees for submission of their manuscripts to the journal. Should you be interested in being an Editorial Board Member, then please send us your CV and the list of publications for our consideration...
But here's the funniest part:
The journal aims to provide the most complete and reliable source of information on current developments in the field. The emphasis will be on publishing quality articles rapidly and making them freely available to researchers worldwide. All published articles will be deposited immediately upon publication in at least one widely and internationally recognized open access repository, such as PubMed Central. [NOTE: still not true.] Moreover, all articles are indexed by PubMed [NOTE: false], Google and Google Scholar, therefore providing the maximum exposure to the articles.
Wow, indexed by Google! Sign me up! But the reality is that articles in The Open X Journal are not indexed by PubMed.
The Open Psychology Journal, a peer-reviewed journal, aims to provide the most complete and reliable source of information on current developments in Psychology. The emphasis will be on publishing quality papers rapidly and freely available to researchers worldwide.

Indexed in
Chemical Abstracts, Google, Google Scholar


-----------------------------------------------

[This message has been sent to you because of your eminence in the field. If, however, you do not want to receive any email/offer/invitation in future from Bentham Open, then please click here]

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5 Comments:

At October 02, 2008 12:51 PM, Blogger HumanProject said...

I have been receiving letters from queries from Benthan Science for a while now, and hadn't had time to thoroughly check them out. I was skeptical... but I recalled open access projects like cogprints in the early 1990s, and Steven Harnad's proposals of skywriting which were widely regarded as laudatory achievements (cogprints) and goals (skywriting).

I was actually keeping the possibility in the back of my mind that if I had a paper that just couldn't get published in a reasonable journal, I'd send it to the Open Psychology Journal, with the idea that an online journal is better than nothing. Now I know better.

So, thank you neurocritic, for assembling all this useful information in one place. It is hilarious that they want scholars to join the board and commit to one paper a year (thus, ensuring submissions), and then even start paying to have articles published! OMG! So they've fallen for the stereotype that we ivory tower types no nothing about how finances.

 
At October 02, 2008 2:02 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Well, always the skeptic...

Glad you found this to be useful. Hope others do too. It seems that a number of companies and individuals are trying to profit from the naïveté of scientists. The Open Neuroscience Journal started earlier, and they were able to recruit a number of prominent scientists to their Editorial Board.

 
At October 02, 2008 9:35 PM, Blogger HumanProject said...

Using the link you posted to Bentham Neuroscience, I checked the editorial board of The Open Behavioral Science Journal to see if there were highly respected scientists on their editorial board -- and there were a few, along with many unfamiliar names (although using only first initials decreased my recognition of names).

Bentham makes money by charging authors publication fees. The non-scientist readers of this blog may not realize this, but mainstream academic/scientific journals do not charge fees to authors. So to see the fees so baldly laid out is pretty shocking; e.g., $900 to publish a review article. That's a vanity press!

The manager of Bentham then dreamed up this idea of being a "member" and they write about
The benefits of being a member:

Members of Bentham Open help to support the aims of open access scholarly publishing and receive great discounts off author’s publication fees in Bentham Open journals. Moreover, being a member reduces the administrative burden of the author/institution being invoiced each time a member’s article is published with Bentham Open.

Oh that is funny! I should pay the phone company upfront for a year's service to remove the burden of being charged every month!



Publication fees are deducted from the prepaid membership fee less the discount offered.
There are no hidden costs and no joining fee for Bentham Open.


But there is a membership fee? (See below)


Credit is carried over until it is used up by publication fees from year to year.
Bi-annually each member will receive a statement of their credit remaining with Bentham Open. This will also help authors to plan their publication schedule.
Membership fee is an advance of the publication fees which cannot be refunded and can only be redeemed on publication with Bentham Open.


Now check out these hefty fees:

There is a minimum membership fee of $ 1600, and the more that is prepaid the greater the discount will be off the publication fees. For example, a prepayment of US$ 2400 by a member who publishes two research articles over a ten month period will receive a 10% discount off the per research article publication fee of US$ 800. The total credit remaining to publish additional articles with Bentham Open will be US$ 960.

 
At October 02, 2008 10:42 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Good sleuthing, HumanProject! That membership fee is outrageous. No wonder they were called the Black sheep among Open Access Journals and Publishers.

I checked the editorial board of The Open Behavioral Science Journal as well, and there are 108 names on the list. I find it hard to believe that every last one of them coughed up $1,600 -- that would mean $172,800 for Bentham! Plus, there are a grand total of SIX articles published there in all of 2007 and 2008 (two in Volume 1 and four in Volume 2).

So maybe 102 of those people agreed in principle to serve as an editor at a new open access journal without reading any of the fine print. When they received the follow-up e-mail with the details of the fee structure, they said "forget it!" but their names remained on the board to lend prestige.

 
At October 13, 2008 6:56 AM, Anonymous Matt Hodgkinson said...

HumanProject says that "Bentham makes money by charging authors publication fees. The non-scientist readers of this blog may not realize this, but mainstream academic/scientific journals do not charge fees to authors. So to see the fees so baldly laid out is pretty shocking; e.g., $900 to publish a review article. That's a vanity press!".

I am not going to defend Bentham Open (they can do that for themselves if they are able), but I will defend the concept of charging authors publication fees.

BioMed Central, for whom I work, uses this model of charging article processing charges to the author (or more usually their institution, library, or funding body) for articles accepted after peer review. So do the journals published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS). Both are respectable Open Access publishers, so the adoption by Bentham of this model is not in itself a reason to criticise them.

Charging to publish articles after rigorous peer review in order to fund Open Access publishing (no fee to read, no barriers to reuse) is by no means the same as running a vanity press.

 

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