I recently received a very nice and official looking email from a journal calling itself Sociology Study, published by David Publishing Company, USA, telling me that they had noticed that I had given a named paper at a named conference and that they would be interested in publishing this paper as an article if I had not already done so. Very nice. Just what a young scholar like myself needs – the more articles published the better, right?
A couple of wordings in the email caught my attention, though. Such as: “we hope to keep in touch by email and can publish some papers or books for you and your friends in USA, wishing to become your friends if necessary.” – really, you want to become friends? That an unusual request from a journal; and we hardly even know each other… And “please send electronic version of your papers or books to us through email attachment in MS word format.” – why in MS word, which is open to editing or easy stealing…?! And there was the odd phrasing or two that suggested that this was maybe a translated text or at least not “a professional journal” as they claimed it to be.
So I did what any thorough-minded historian would do. I googled the name of the journal that had sent me the email.
And oh my, one of the first hits was a warning from the International Sociology Association (ISA) about this particular kind of mail from this particular journal. In short: They are after your money. Following a link from ISA’s website I discovered a more in depth article about this particular kind of scam. It is called ‘bait-and-switch publishing’ and is all about drawing in the hopeful academic with sweet talk and then in the end demanding a fee for publishing your article. Which, according to the mentioned article, is why it rarely works on European and North American academics who know that they should not pay for having papers published (if anything it should be the other way around!). You can read it yourself here.
This left me with a bit of outrage, but even though I would love to send an angry and shaming reply to the now-revealed scam mail/journal, I thought (in my growing, but not too serious paranoia about these things) that this might just give whoever was on the receiving end a confirmation of my email address. So I have done the second best thing. I have ignored them and put out this blog-post instead as a warning to my fellow academics. So, take heed of too easy pickings – you know in your heart that nothing in academia is supposed to be easy.