I have added the OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development to my list. Although sustainable development is noble and trendy, there’s nothing noble about this low-quality and highly-questionable journal. OIDA means Ontario International Development Agency.
Here are the reasons I’ve added the journal to the list:
1. The journal does not appear to have an established editorial board; none is listed on the website, nor is any Editor-in-Chief listed.
2. The journal gives authors the option to pay an extra fee ($230) and get a fast track review (15 days) on submitted papers. This fee is in addition to the normal article processing charge. It’s not clear who does the review, as there is no editorial board.
3. All billing is done in US dollars, despite the organization’s location in Ontario. It appears the journal chiefly aims to trade on Ontario’s good name to attract article processing fees from abroad.
4. The organization does not publish the journal itself; all of its published papers are only available on the SSRN website.
Therefore, SSRN is playing the role of journal publisher. I thought SSRN was only a preprint server and disciplinary repository; I didn’t realize it also functioned as a scholarly publisher, its role in this case.
5. Examining recent articles in the journal, one sees that the vast majority are by authors based in India; there are also a few by authors based in Malaysia, South Africa, and Nigeria, but I saw none by Canadian authors.
6. The organization gives this as its contact address:
287 Second Avenue South
Sudbury, Ontario, P3B 4H6
However, looking at this address in Google Maps, one sees a dwelling, not an agency:
7. The organization prominently refers to itself as a “Non Political and Non Religious Foundation,” yet there is no evidence that it is actually a foundation. It does not claim to be non-profit and may in fact be a for-profit entity. Also, the name of this organization seems to steal some legitimacy from the agency that was formerly called the Canadian International Development Agency and from the province itself.
8. The author guidelines contain this poorly-written statement:
Copyright Transfer: One of the authors of the manuscript should sign the copyrights of their manuscripts, and all open access articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited.
However, the published articles all bear this statement:
©Ontario International Development Agency.
The papers do not bear any Creative Commons licenses (but they are all available online through SSRN). The publisher requires that authors transfer copyright to OIDA [see this .doc copyright transfer form], which is non-standard in scholarly open-access publishing. In point of fact, the published articles are not distributed under the CC license, as no CC license is present on them.
Conclusion: The closer I examine this journal and its publisher, the less “sustainable” it appears. For additional income, the agency also organizes conferences, with 2014 meetings booked in South Africa and Canada. I would think long and hard before submitting any papers to this journal or before registering for one of its conferences.