Several of the Loon’s colleagues and friends have received unsolicited article solicitations from a journal called Sociology Mind of late. The Loon thought she had been left out, until lo and behold! there was the solicitation in her inbox, gleaming with… something.
Because the Loon is impish today, and as a sort of sequel to her post about journal-scamminess heuristics, she will examine this solicitation and the journal’s home page a bit more closely, noting first that this style of random solicitation-spamming is a bad sign all by itself. Reputable journals do not do this!
Here is the spammed solicitation, redacted slightly to protect the identity of the Loon’s Boring Alter Ego, otherwise unaltered:
Starting at the top left, the Loon is addressed as “Dr.” Neither she nor the BAE holds a doctorate. In all fairness, individuals of unimpeachable reputation have made this error as well… but error it remains. Not a wholesome start.
Moving to the right sidebar, the Loon sees a decidedly dubious method of claiming importance (size of journal stable not being a particularly useful heuristic for quality), as well as a missing hyphen in “open-access” and a missing comma between “journals” and “and.” The Loon would also appreciate a definition of “important database,” not to mention a list of same. On the whole, she rates this paragraph “obfuscatory.”
The contact information contains a strange typo in the Skype handle, as well as a means for further investigation in the form of the name “Louis figo” [sic]. LinkedIn, however, disclaims knowledge of any such individual. Ordinary search engines turn up nothing as well, even when one eliminates pages about a Portuguese athlete with a similar name. By now we have sunk from “obfuscatory” to “dubious.”
Returning to the solicitation’s opener, we see more missing hyphens (“fast-track” and “open-access” both need them, as they are used adjectivally) and one brightly-flashing danger sign: “many aspects in sociology.” Reputable journals tend to be quite focused, or explain clearly why they are broad (as with PLoS One and PeerJ). Casting a wide, vague net otherwise is not a good sign.
More grammar peccadilloes lurk in the heading “About Open Access Journal,” and the section itself contains a comma splice and missing article (“of traditional publishing model”). It is also poor form to use the initialism “OA” without having previously placed it in parentheses behind the term “open access” (with or without hyphen, depending on adjectival or nominal usage).
By now it is perfectly clear to the Loon that this journal is the approximate quality of an algae-choked puddle, but she will persevere nonetheless, because this is priceless: the solicitation promises “language copyediting.” The Loon dearly hopes said copyediting will be performed by someone other than the author of this solicitation!
Let us posit for the sake of discussion that this solicitation was sent prematurely and in error. (Yes, yes, the Loon already noted that it’s been sent in more than one spam-wave, but let that be for a moment.) Perhaps the journal’s web page will reassure us. Here it is:
The “main purpose and goal” of the journal consists of vague, buzzwordy nonsense, as does everything else on the page. Grammar errors are still in evidence (the description of “Short reports” is a mess). The ISSN does check out, but as best the Loon can tell, the membership claim to CrossRef is fabricated; neither “Scientific Research” nor “SCIRP” appears on any of CrossRef’s member lists.
Enough. With luck, the Loon has amply demonstrated that this journal should not be touched with the proverbial ten-foot pole. With additional luck, she has given librarians, graduate students, and even faculty a few useful heuristics to apply next time.
The editor-in-chief of this journal and signatory to the solicitation is a genuine academic, who does claim the editorship on his CV. The Loon does not know precisely what to think of that, but she strongly suggests to Dr. Jalata (and the other editorial-board members, assuming their names have not been used against their will or without their knowledge) that he dissociate himself from this trainwreck of a pseudo-journal as quickly as may be.
Examining OA-journal solicitations by Library Loon, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.