Thursday, April 11, 2013
On Tuesday, the New York Times published an article that all academics--particularly new ones--probably should read. The article discusses the increasing presence of so-called "predatory" academic journals and conferences. According to the Times, these journals and conferences generally adopt names that sound respectable and legitimate, but their peer review processes are minimal, and they often hound authors for exorbitant and undisclosed fees once they've agreed to publish. They also solicit articles aggressively, which may explain the odd-sounding conference and publication invitations I routinely receive.
Among other reactions, the article made me appreciate some things about the much-maligned system of publication through law reviews. The placement process may be the polar opposite of double-blind review, and the absence of peer review sometimes allows shoddy work to appear in prominent places (of course, I doubt peer review fully prevents that from occurring). But at least when we are asked to participate in a law review's symposium, we don't have to wonder what sort of institution the invitation is coming from. And when we get publication offers, we can be pretty confident that the people working on our article will be striving to make it better and learning something from the experience, not attempting to gouge money from us or our institutions.