One of the tactics that predatory open-access publishers use is to solicit and accept manuscripts from authors, publish the manuscripts, and then invoice the authors for the author fee.
The solicitation is done without informing the authors that an author fee will be charged. This information is generally stated in the publishers’ websites, but it is buried and most prospective authors don’t know about it.
Below are four cases of this bait-and-switch practice that I am aware from. The first is taken from an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The second, third, and fourth are taken from unsolicited emails I received through my website.
I have edited the emails for length and grammar, and I have removed the names
I am publishing this blog entry in order to document this unethical practice.
“That’s a decision Ms. Reynolds says she now regrets. Several weeks later, she was shocked to learn that one of her doctoral students had submitted research to the journal and received an $1,800 invoice in return. Even though the student refused to pay the fee and withdrew the paper, the journal published it. To make matters worse, the version that was posted online contained several mistakes, including a formatting error that made it appear the student had plagiarized someone else’s work.”
“I have just received a copy of your list of predatory publishers and I realize that I may have become an unwitting victim of the publishing scams you describe in your newsletter. Last year I received an invitation from a trusted colleague at the University of Sydney in Australia inviting me to submit a paper to a special issue of a new journal “The Journal of Applied Veterinary Science”. As a result I sent off a manuscript and it was reviewed, and accepted for publication. The review seemed genuine and a number of sensible suggestions and recommendations were made. The paper is now available from the web site of the Journal. It is still listed as “In Press” some 6 months later. I suspect the reason for this is that out of the blue I received a bill for a considerable sum (I think it was for USD 1900) as an “Open Access” fee and which I have refused to pay.”
“During last semester, I was approached in an email by the journal to submit a paper for consideration in their upcoming issue. The journal is called the Journal of Defense Management, run by the OMICS Publishing Group -they’re based out of Los Angeles [Blogger’s note: They’re actually based in India.]. Given that I have an inherent interest in security as a future specialization, I agreed to send a paper. So, I wrote a draft and sent it in. They took a few weeks to edit it and came back to me with the verdict that the premise of the paper has been accepted, but it required some major edits. I completed those, thorough essentially re-writing and expanding the paper. I sent in the second draft in the middle of December and was told that I would hear back within a few weeks. New Year’s passed and they did get back to me in January with an invoice for $1800 that I owe so that the paper can be published. I was not aware at all that I would have to pay for the “privilege” of publishing the most expensive paper I’ve ever written. Attached to the invoice was a DOI number, which essentially forfeits any chance of withdrawing from the arrangement. I was complicit in silently agreeing to publish the paper when the draft was accepted and I sent in the second draft; however, that was before I was aware that I would be paying $1800. I’ve published essays before, and never have been required to pay anything when submitting a paper, let alone this outrageous amount. And being a student, that amount is frankly above my ability at the moment. I wrote in protest, and they were nice enough to reduce it to $1600…”
“Thank you for all this warning about open access journals asking authors to pay. Unfortunately it has been too late in my case. I got an email from David publishing company USA after a conference and since I did not have any publications, I made some search about them and it looked authentic so I proceeded. I submitted a paper and got the review comments back then I signed the copyright agreement and sent back and was told it has been accepted to be published. Only at this point they now mentioned that I have to pay a service fee of $1090 so that it could be published. What do you advise? Can I resubmit my paper elsewhere, considering that I already signed the copyright agreement form and sent to them? I am confused? Also If I do not wish to go ahead with them, can they legally compel me to pay that service fee, since they never told me about service fee?”