Sunday, April 3, 2016

Payment for Journal Citation? Possibly Academic Publishing at its Worst.

Many of you who have read my blog or are following me on Twitter, would be well aware of my thoughts about academic publishing.  I have always done my best to be careful about which journals I would consent to have my name associated with in any way. 

As a general rule, I will be more receptive to invitations to review manuscripts or even invitations to join an Editorial Board if the journal is associated with a bona fide professional organisation or if the journal is indexed on Pubmed (increasingly being referred to as the ‘white list’).  Whether the journal had an impact factor was of lessor importance but if the journal were to quote any of the bogus impact factors such as the Index Copernicus, Journal Impact Factor, Global Impact Factor or Universal Impact Factor, this would also lead to rejection of any approach. There is no purpose of these bogus impact factors other than to mislead and to fool academics into believing that it was something to do with the established Thomson ISI Impact Factor.  Additionally, any journal currently listed on the Beall’s list of predatory journals was also a definite NO. 

About two years ago, I was invited to join the editorial board of a journal that was the official organ of a professional society that was known to me and the journal was indexed in Pubmed.  I was pleased to receive the invitation and gratefully accepted the invitation.  Whilst the journal has been indexed in Pubmed, it was still going through the process of being assessed for journal citation indexing and therefore receiving a Thomson ISI impact factor.  It seems that this journal’s time has come and I received an email asking me to make a special effort to cite papers from the journal, particularly from the years 2014 and 2015.  The Editor in Chief announced that for each cite, I would receive a fee of US$50 with a maximum of US$500 annually.  

I was shocked.  My immediate thought was to send in my resignation straight away.  Given that this journal is associated with a professional society, I wondered if it was better to attempt to make change from within by writing to the editor and expressing my concern.  Should I write to the EIC and give him the opportunity to have a rethink on this strategy?  Should I simply tender my resignation immediately?  I certainly am not dependent on having membership to this journal's editorial board as an indication of my professional standing. Have a look at the attached email.  

I am also absolutely and utterly appalled by the poor spelling in the email.  

What are your thoughts?  

I can reassure readers that I will certainly not accept any fees for citing papers.  I only cite papers if I consider they are relevant to a given manuscript. Nothing more and nothing less.

As a disclosure, I list my current Editorial Board memberships, minus the one in question.  I also make mention that I am an Associate Editor of the Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases journal.

Additional note 2 April 2016

Please take a look at this update to see the response of the EIC to my email of concern

Payment for Citation Offer withdrawn.

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