Would You Submit a Paper to This Publisher?

Smith & Franklin

Smith who? Franklin who?

 

I am interested in hearing others’ opinions about the publisher Smith & Franklin.

Publisher Description

The publisher is based in the UK and currently publishes these four journals:

There is / was  also a fifth journal called System Theory, but this title was removed from this list after I pointed out some weaknesses to the publisher and one of the other journal’s editors. However it may still be accessible.

The weaknesses I pointed out included literary criticism (History and Identity in V. Sackville-West’s Pepita and Virginia Woolf’s Orlando) being published in the journal, plus the first issue has the same person (Lehel Simon) as co-author or sole author on the other four articles published so far.

Here are some other problems I noted with this publisher:

1. The name Smith & Franklin is contrived. There is no Smith or Franklin involved as far as I can tell; the owner is Muhammad Munir. They are trying to sound like Taylor & Francis. I understand that companies can use any names they choose, but is this name an attempt to mislead?

2. They use a virtual office company as their headquarters address, and it appears the publisher really operates from a dwelling. The virtual office address is:

Waterside Court Business Centre
1st Floor
Waterside Court Newerne St
Lydney Glos, GL155RF
United Kingdom

Despite this address, the publisher’s domain name was registered in Sweden.

3. I question the business model of this publisher. They don’t levy article processing charges and hope to get income from donations, requests to funding agencies of published authors, profits from publishing online books (good luck with that!), and by licensing their journal management software, a product called e-submit. I personally would worry about the long-term access and preservation of my work published using such a tenuous business model, especially since there are open-source journal management systems out there.

4. On some pages the publisher uses logos of legitimate companies, perhaps to make itself look more legitimate. The logos (In this case, Google and Amazon) don’t link to anything (that is, there’s nothing to download). These logos used to appear on many of the pages but most have disappeared after I asked about them.

ddd

For show only.

5. Like many questionable publishers, this one has social media icons on its pages, but when you click on most of them, you’re just taken to the main pages of the various sites. For example, the publisher links to Facebook and Google+ but has no accounts there.

One of this publisher’s journals, Science, Religion and Culture, has a hardworking, honest, and conscientious editor-in-chief. He has assembled a strong— albeit small — editorial board and appears off to a good start. But the journal appears as an outlier among the other journals, all life sciences journals.

I’d be happy to hear your thoughts and opinions on this publisher. Would you submit your work there? Would you recommend that others publish here?

45 Responses to Would You Submit a Paper to This Publisher?

  1. Given the grammar usage errors on the publisher’s Web site, I would not submit a ms.

  2. Joro Paveto says:

    “and by licensing their journal management software, a product called e-submit”
    My initial impression is that the journal management software looks very good (and also the typesetting) .
    I cannot say anything about the life science journals but for now the buisness model looks interesting.
    Maybe is good to give them time to grow.
    About the name of the publisher- Smith and Franklin sounds not so suspicios to the typical european promotion reviewer …
    Name like Muhammad and someone_else_with_arab_name will imediately lead to “special atttention” even if a journal is with impact factor.
    Especialy in eastern Europe even publisher’s name like hindawi causes such feelings. Islamophobia and eurocentrism is alive and kicking here- wellcome to the real world!!! No publisher has a chance with a name without franklin’s and smith’s or at least something german or latin

  3. Jeff Shrager says:

    My guess is that they are a software startup for the e-submit , and possibly related products. In order to test drive their software they need to run their own journals bcs no one else will use it until it’s proven. It is very common for such startups to (a) operate out of people’s bedrooms, (b) have first products that limp, but perhaps shine in one novel way (e.g., completely free publishing), and (c) have insane business models (e.g., books). Will this fly in the end? Hard to know. Who thought that either Yet Another Web Search Engine (now Google), or, later, broadcasting 140 character messages would take off? (Although entering the fray in journals seems much harder than something like Twitter, which at least started up in a tech tailwind as opposed to against a journal headwind!)

    • Jeff Shrager says:

      Also, (d) have stupid a la mode names, like Twitter, Google, Fkme, and so on (so S&F seems not only apt but quite well chosen!), and (e) have all sorts of mistakes when they first roll out.

      So, all in all, these guys seem to have hit all marks for a startup.

      Would I publish with them? Prob not, but if it was the only game in town in my field, which I assume is at least a but more the case for Science and Religion…maybe.

      Actuallly, Science and Religion seems like a perfectly fine thing to have a new journal about, so, sure, why not.

      • Moose says:

        Mr. Shrager, You should spend less time looking at the superficial issues and focus on the details. It is the blind support of such bad publishers like this one (see my criticisms below) that is causing the publishing world to be corrupted. The scientific community believes that valid, academically sound start-ups and more honest journals and publishers are required, and we encourage the start of new OA journals with valid objectives and transparent operations, not this type of publisher with lack of transparency and clearly some pseudo-academic and neo-religious objective. The journals do not appear to have ISSN numbers…

      • Dear Jeff, thanks for your understanding and these points are encouraging for us.

        Dear Moose, I think you should spend a little more time searching us before making any solid comments, we would appreciate that. You said about ISSN, so far, we only have published one issue (under Current Issue heading) for Science, Religion and Culture and it has got ISSN, mentioned on its home page.

        You probably don’t know, to have ISSN for a journal in UK, you have to successfully publish one Issue. Therefore as we proceed with the publications process we will certainly keep every journal assigning ISSN. Thanks

  4. Allison Jack says:

    I especially like the LinkedIn profile associated with their website…http://www.linkedin.com/pub/smith-and-franklin/78/724/94a Talk about non-information, information!

  5. Lae says:

    Yes. Sure. I will submit a paper. I always welcome new Journals.

  6. Sarah Ward says:

    The Editor-in-Chief of the “Life Sciences International Journal” is an assistant professor in a Pakistani agricultural extension department, and the editorial board consists predominantly of Pakistani agricultural scientists. All six of the articles published online in the first issue of this journal are crop science papers, three from the same first author, the other three all from another first author at a different institution, all Pakistani. Crop science is my field: the couple of papers I read were not plagiarized as far as I could ascertain, but are poorly written accounts of low grade research that would not be publishable in established international crop science journals. The “Life Sciences International Journal” website also claims this is the “official journal” of Agrihunt, which appears to be an online portal for agricultural research information almost entirely focused on Pakistan.

    Nothing wrong with Pakistani agricultural scientists launching their own journal, but based on this first issue the claim to be an international journal covering all life sciences is overblown to say the least. The attempt to establish legitimacy with a spurious British-sounding publisher name and fake U.K. address is also dubious. I’d like to think this is a well-intentioned attempt to launch a new OA journal and not just another scam, but it looks amateurish and does not appear to have an much of an audience beyond Pakistan.

    • Moose says:

      There are some extremely serious problems that merit immediate listing on the Beall list. In fact, the papers that Sarah points to are only “in press”, and are listed as provisional papers subject to publication, but are not published. In fact, only ONE paper has been published in the latest issue:

      http://smithandfranklin.com/journal-details/Volume-8/11/current-issue

      However, it is listed as pages 2345-3456. If so, then where is the listing of all the other papers from page 1 to 2344?
      In addition, if you click on the “Archive” button, a blank page appears, with the following message “Invalid request. The page you requested not found”. in other words, there is absolutely no way of seeing the thousands of pages likely published in the first 6 volumes. Which could also suggest that 6 previous volumes actually do not exist, and that the “publisher” started with volume 7 in 2014 to feign a long history…
      In summary, the public can only observe, from an apparent 7 year history, only ONE paper. Not even the titles, authors’ names or abstracts are available. This is scandalous.
      Setting aside the cultural issues, but which simply sounds like more foreigners taking advantage of the British system to launch businesses that are scammy to prop up a flailing economy, there is no information about publication costs, but because this does not seem like an open access publisher, there only appear to be subscription costs for the print copy.
      The PDF of the only available paper does not open:

      http://smithandfranklin.com/journal-details/Volume-8/11/current-issue

      The XTML page is really messy and the text is squashed, making it barely legible.
      The thanks to reviewers is pathetic (because actual reviewers are not credited, making the thanks useless):

      http://smithandfranklin.com/journal-details/Volume-8/11/thanks-to-reviewers

      The editor board reveals an Islamic coalition:

      http://smithandfranklin.com/journal-details/Volume-8/11/editorial-board

      To answer Beall’s question, I would only submit a false paper to this journal, and invite Bohannon to contribute.

      • Jeff Shrager says:

        Speaking of details, while you’re worrying about where pages 1-2344 are, I’d be interested in how a single paper gets to be 1,111 pages long and happen to fall on pages 2345-3456. Seems like either made up, or more likely, placeholder page numbers – sort of numerical versions of “ipsum lorem”. Very often place holder numbers are inserted in incomplete records so as not to have nulls in the database. Given the general sloppiness of this implementation, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was just an oversight. So far nothing I’ve seen seems criminal, just clumsy.

      • Dear Moose: This is first ever comments from S&F to this post. Please note that one article in Current Issue was just placed to see how it looks on public domain. Same is the case for HTML and other ugly text, we apologise for this. There is no Issue published from this journal via S&F so far. The journal has been running since 2007 as independent journal and is currently in transit to SandF platform. Once completed all the text and appearance will be fine. We clear mentioned that there is not article processing charges: http://smithandfranklin.com/contents/about-us

        Your comment “The editor board reveals an Islamic coalition” is not really fair, I think.

  7. AlexH says:

    The article in “System Theory” by the author Szőke Dávid Sándor is actually a student work presented at the National Scientific Students’ Associations Conference (Hungary). So basicly, written by someone who is still a BA or a MA student. He must be a brilliant one if the ms passed proper peer review.

  8. Albert Noel says:

    Here are few things I would consider:

    I will check quality of the peer review by reading the articles and contacting the authors to know their experiences.

    Will check quality of copy and layout editing as this editing is the most expensive in overall publication process.

    Things everyone should know:

    There is no restriction on choosing the company name. Everyone is free as far as name is available for registration.

    The use of virtual office is allowed by laws of US, EU, AP and Africa. After all, there is no issue to setup your company office and branch in the global village. Many giant corporations have now added virtual offices in their portfolio. In fact this law is good, because, online environment has no limits, if a business can be established virtually than the business office can also be linked virtually. Virtual office is perfectly legal (US corporate law) even one can register a corporation and issue stock by using virtual office address as company’s headquarter.

    The place of publication does not matter, what matters is the quality of publication.

    I will give the publishers a chance to prove themselves good for science.

    One think more I would like to share, our old friends have now included journal ranking system in the portfolio and offering Journal Classification Index, please see the link http://www.cabells.com/rankings.aspx

    Best of luck with your index and standard distribution (z) is a good measure.

    I highly appreciate that now the monopolistic journal ranking market is shifting to perfect competition market.

  9. Shavonne Rueben says:

    Soon, I am going to publish a research Journal with a good name (available) and with virtual offices in the UK and will also charge a small amount as the processing charge for publication of the paper because I am not receiving any grant from any financial institution. My aim is to encourage the research scholars who are unable to publish their papers in so called reputed research journals.I don’t care if this creates pain in the stomach of so called scientist.

  10. Louella Mccarthy says:

    Dear Dr Beall

    I greatly appreciate your work exposing dodgy publishing. I’ve just received this “invitation” and wondered if you had come across them

    All the best

    Louella McCarthy

    ________________________________

  11. Nwaehujor Chinaka says:

    Thank you sir for your updates. please can you give me information on the following journals? journal of applied phrmacological science(JAPS); pharmacologia

    regards

    Chinaka

  12. Ken Lanfear says:

    This is a good discussion, and brings out a number of issues in the evolving publishing marketplace. Besides the predators, we are likely to see a lot of new arrangements pop up. Some will be well thought out and others will be amateurish. Who will succeed? Anybody’s guess!

    Regarding the name, would you watch a movie starring Marion Mitchell Morrison? I’d rather watch John Wayne. Also, I secretly love Betty Crocker and would like to meet her sometime. Names matter. They define an image. As Joro Paveto points out above, the wrong name can subject a company to discrimination.

    An address in a lovely village on the Severn River with a domain registered in Sweden is unusual but not necessarily sinister. This site has all the hallmarks of a startup with a somewhat nebulous business plan. Let’s not laugh yet, because we may find ourselves using their new software!

    I don’t see why an author would publish here, though. No track record, but at least they’re honest about it.

  13. Dear all,

    Thanks for your time and comments. We really appreciate and respect this forum, kindly led by Jeffrey, because it’s worth considering. Certainly, we are not very happy with this post; however, we take this as an opportunity to underpin our weaknesses and to improve our services to the scientific community. Therefore, we request you to please take a look of our responses and give us your honest feedback. Please note that we are just 7 months old and can’t be compared directly with Nature or Oxford Journals. However, we are committed to scientific excellence and can assure you that we are legit.

    Below are our 5 responses to these 5 questions raised here. You are welcome to ask any question in this matter because we believe in Openness in Open Access and we follow it.

    1-As Jeffrey himself said, “I understand that companies can use any names they choose”, so as do we, like any other. Can you criticize on the choice of names? For example if we ask “Adrian Smith” why are you not Mikael Gill or other way around.

    2- We have previously mentioned Jeffrey that we took a third party service for handling our post which reduces our cost significantly. Anyone in the world is welcome to confirm our existence using official British Company House website with following information and if have any doubt, please let us know.

    Link: http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk//wcframe?name=accessCompanyInfo

    Company Name: SMITH AND FRANKLIN ACADEMIC PUBLISHING CORPORATION LTD

    Or

    Company number: 08492932

    (After filling this information, click on Search and then SandF page)

    When the company website and online submission system (eSubmit) was initiated, the founder was based in Sweden, therefore the domain was registered in Sweden. Anyone who know abc of website engineering knows that domain and hosting can be registered anywhere in the world where you get best services. We are missing the point of “Predatory” publishers here; does anyone think it matters for the authors where the publisher’s domain is registered when we know the domain is usually registered with third party?

    Anyways for your clarification, our domain was registered with founder name that is now based in UK so as the domain. Our domain, hosting and cloud backup (every day backup) is provided by HostGator, which is one of the responsible and reputable hosting services in the market. All our articles, in all formats, are backed up offline, beside cloud backup, at two different places. If anyone need more information, you are welcome to ask.

    3-Regarding comment about Business Model, we do believe that we will stain it and sustain it way better than charging Article Processing Charges.

    IMPORTANTLY: We are just 7 months old and we already have 5 eSubmit customers. Funds from these so far have been enough to handle all expenses. I personally think, we should admire Smith and Franklin for this.

    We are continuously been contacted by several publishers to use our economical and well-maintained eSubmit system. We charge very nominal fee, by the way, with full and 24 hours support. If any publishers reading this post and require this service, please do contact us at journals@smithandfranklin.com and write eSubmit in subject line. We will give you full training and 1-month free trial for one journal. (NB: we got the chance to advertise us here, thought not well reputed place to advertise, sorry for that).

    SECONDLY: One should only object our business model if we leave any ambiguities. Can anyone in the world say that we charged APC despite claiming we will not? It is more important to note this fact than to where the charges come from. By saying this, we don’t criticise OA publishers who charge APC because it is down to them and that APCs are gold standards for OA. It is just that we have our own model.

    4-We have previously mentioned that GooglePlay and other logos are placed because our developer continuously checking the application by placing links. We think, instead of using such logo for legitimate purposes, as was portrait, it is opposite that when author will click on these icons and will not find any application, this will certainly damage our reputation and we are aware of this. But it is required by developers. Anyways, we will be making these services available within a week by speeding up our process.

    5-Most of the social media links are active and the one which are not such as link to YouTube can only be placed once we are stable enough to be framed. We continuously change our website/tabs to have better presentation. We apologise for any inconvenient this may cause and we will try our best to make them all active soon. But again, do you think not having proper few social media links will make a publisher “predator” forgetting and not realising the efforts those are putting to make the things running?

  14. Katrin says:

    The first thing I saw on the website is this:

    “Good Viruses Will Fight Acne as 1915 Discovery Revived”

    What the heck does that even mean?!

  15. Anthony Chau says:

    Having explored the website and current (and only) issue of Science, Religion and Culture, I would definitely publish in this journal (if I had anything special to say that is). It’s quite an interesting read, actually, and I might follow this journal now! Not sure about the other journals. I only hope that SRC does not get held back by the publisher, if it turns out to be dodgy.

    • AlexH says:

      I think that “Science, Religion and Culture” has taken a very good start (in terms of published article quality), but i just discovered something that would made me extremely unwilling to submit anything to this journal. I will explain why in the followings.

      This journal uses a soltware called “Viper – The Anit-Plagiarism Scanner” for measuring text similarity index. It is common, and good practice for a journal to scan the submitted manuscript for plagiarism and/or duplication, but it is a big mistake to use Viper for this purpuse. In the Terms & Conditions, available at http://www.scanmyessay.com/terms.php , you can read:

      “Comparison

      When you scan a document using the Viper software, All Answers Limited will automatically add a copy of that document to our documents database for comparison purposes only. This improves the accuracy of future scans for you and other users. All scans made by you and other users of the Viper software will be compared to the document you have scanned. If a match is detected in your document, you and other users of the Viper software will see the percentage of the match and will not see the document itself – your document is kept confidential.

      When you scan a document, you agree that 9 months after completion of your scan, we will automatically upload your essay to our student essays database which will appear on one of our network of websites so that other students may use it to help them write their own essays. You agree that any right you may have to remuneration for such use of documents is waived. You may not use the Viper Software to scan documents for which you do not hold sufficient intellectual property to be able to authorise us to use the documents in accordance with the terms of this licence.”

      I do not think that the editors “hold sufficient intellectual property” for other author’s manuscripts in order to be able to grant such rights to the company behind Viper. In addition, they do not know anything about this “network of websites” where the company want to upload the scanned documents after 9 months. This whole soltware coud easily be a joint venture for an essay mill/paper mill gathering manuscripts with legal gimmicks.

      I do not advise for anyone to submit manuscripts to this journal as long as the editors are using this software for checking the manuscripts. They should be notified that they may even do not have the right for doing so, and i strongly advise to immediately cease the use of this software.

  16. Bill White says:

    It is pathetic to see to which extent it is misleading to chose western names such as Smith & Franklin while the the so-called publishers are Pakistani or Indian!

    Shame!

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