When a Journal Goes Bad: the Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering

Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering

Journal of easy acceptance.

First published in 1996, the Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering is one of the oldest open-access journals, but I think it has gone bad. The journal is indexed in Ei Compendex, an Engineering abstracting and indexing service (or database), it has easy acceptance, and the author fee is only $250. Significantly, however, over 95% of the published papers come from one country.

389 articles

389 articles so far in 2015.

The journal really seems to be a one-man operation, and that man is the editor-in-chief, Mete Öner. He’s a professor at Oklahoma State University, a place I used to know.

His journal is publishing two issues a month, and each issue includes around 30 articles. At $250 per article, (250 x 60), that’s $15,000 per month in revenue. The journal also requires that authors surrender their copyright.

To pay the author fees, authors can send checks to what appears to be Öner’s house in Stillwater, or they can wire the money to a bank there.

We happily accept checks ...

We happily accept checks …

As of this writing (July 9, 2015) the journal has published 389 articles in 2015. It is currently up to page 6,023 for volume 20, which corresponds to 2015. The issues come out about twice a month; the current issue is number 14 of 2015.

Let’s see, 389 articles x $250 author fee = $97,250. Not bad, and the year’s only half over.

Most all the authors (over 95%) are from China, with a few from Brazil and other countries. When there is little geographical diversity among a journal’s authors, something is wrong. Why have western authors essentially abandoned this journal? For many in China, publishing an article in a Compendex-indexed journal is the “gold” standard and translates into monetary rewards from the government and academic advancement.

The Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering has the magical combination (cheap + fast + easy acceptance) and news of this has clearly spread in China. Here, a scholarly author can quickly, easily and cheaply get a publication in an Ei Compendex-indexed journal.

I am wondering if a paper mill in China is brokering the papers.

This journal has apparently gone bad, gone to the dark side of scholarly publishing. It is at risk of being removed from the prestigious indexes that now include it. If or when that happens, all the authors who paid to publish here will not be getting what they paid for.

Publishing in indexed, easy-acceptance journals can be risky.

22 Responses to When a Journal Goes Bad: the Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering

  1. Ken Lanfear says:

    Jeff, while this journal may indeed be suspicious, your summary is not up to your usual standards. “fast + easy acceptance”? What is the promised time to first decision? What is the rejection rate? Do any of the published papers indicate plagiarism or weak science? Do we see any evidence of false/nonexistent reviews? Peer reviewers would go hard on you!

    • This is a blog post, Ken, not a peer-reviewed article.

      • Ken Lanfear says:

        Certainly, but accurate reporting still is important. You’ve reached a position where a lot of people trust your lists in recommending, or not recommending, journals to colleagues.

      • Ken, only a fool would ask a predatory journal its acceptance rate and then take the data at face value. Same for the submitted / accepted dates. I stand by my analysis of this journal.

    • tekija says:

      The first advisory board member

      Nilmar C. O. Janbu
      Legendary Professor Emeritus, Department of Geotechnical Engineering
      Norwegian Institute of Technology, Trondheim, Norway

      Is indeed a legend now as he died in 2013.

  2. From Morocco says:

    This case amount to misconduct and both authors and EiC Mete Öner are responsible. A quick look at the table of contents, e.g. http://www.ejge.com/2015/JourTOC20.12.htm some authors with full name other not and in some they add Dr. ?!

    For sure there is no peer review at all (2 issues/month …)

    The corruption in this case is clear and obvious.

  3. Nadia says:

    The journal Mathematical Problems in Engineering published by Hindawi succeeded to publish well over 2000 papers in just one year most of them from China. Just because a journal publishes thousands of papers from one country does not mean it is low quality.

    • But it means something is wrong. Strong journals show diversity in the geographic locations of their published authors. If researchers from entire continents are essentially avoiding a journal, it’s fair to ask why.

    • From Morocco says:

      Thanks Nadia for this useful information which confirm Hindawi as a professional predatory publisher. Just in one journal > 2000 clients from China. Mr. Ahmed Hindawi (Boss) is a successful businessman; clever when he launch a seductive operation (retraction of +/- 30 papers) the equivalent of a corporation launching charitable campaign!
      To get rid of 30 “poor” clients in order to gain “trust” and others thousands clients …

      Preventing this corruption in the golden OA, the bill should be paid directly by the research grant agency to the publisher. Imagine if Hindawi present the bill of >2000 articles to Chinese funding agencies, no doubt the agencies will ask for review process and hire reviewers for more scrutiny!

      Here’s interesting article:
      “Publish or Perish” – Why Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research:
      “…databases listing the retractions and lists of PREDATORY JOURNALS will promote awareness against fraud and will be a reminder of what is the basic purpose of our research: to discover new and exciting things that will improve our quality of life.…”

      • J.J. says:

        “Preventing this corruption in the golden OA, the bill should be paid directly by the research grant agency to the publisher.” That won’t change anything. If you want to prevent that corruption, stay away from a business model that provide monetary incentive for publishers to accept papers.

  4. raju says:

    Sir, I have two papers in this journal and without any cost. They sent me invoice for both papers but I requested them to publish our paper without fee. They accepted our request. They took approximately 3 months to publish my papers. I sent my paper in this journal as this is an old journal in this area and most of editorial board member are well recognized in geotechnical engineering. They have their papers in this journal as well.

    • Right, and I see your affiliation is listed as “former undergraduate student.”

      • Raju says:

        Yes sir you are right that work was conducted in my undergraduate project work. Second one was a small portion of my post graduate work. I don’t know their review policy. I submitted my work in this journal as it is indexed in scopus and many big people have their paper in this journal. Initially, I thought to publish my work in a good conference as my supervisor was not correcting my manuscript. latter I submitted my work in this journal. Without their support it was impossible for me submit my work in any good journal due to my poor English. A major portion of my postgraduate work is still unpublished as my supervisor is not correcting my manuscript. but now I am looking for some average journal to publish my work. Your work is great sir. It helps us to avoid our work to be published in some fake and predatory journal. Now i will inform all my friend to avoid this journal. Thank you sir!
        I do not have any option to get corrected my manuscript. I have been left with one option to publish my work in any average or low standard journal as supervisor is not correcting my paper. I had sent my manuscript on 20 January, 2013. Do you any solution for my problem??

      • Keep working, and don’t give up.

  5. Monica says:

    What you guys are doing here when more sophisticated scientific quantitative tools are available. Try the following mix to find out a quality journal:
    -Check Survival Index of a journal here (enter ISSN):
    Survival Index (ICDS) should me more than 3.
    -Check third parties (valid companies) recommendations for that journal. Companies must be non-indexing/abstracting ones.
    -Check archiving arrangements by a journal.
    -Check whether editorial board members/editors published their articles/editorials in that journal.
    -Pick a published article and discuss it with at least 3 professors/research professionals of your university/institution. Get their opinion about the quality of published article.

    If you find these criteria satisfactory, then go ahead and publish with the journal.

    • J.J. says:

      Or, save yourself all that hassle and submit to established, subscription-based journals that everyone in your field know and read.

    • MC says:

      Or save yourself all that hassle and check Beall’s list. No need for a so-called “sophisticated scientific quantitative tool” to protect 99% of potentially gullible and easily had researchers. Not even sure what you mean by that weird phrasing.

  6. Shaharyar Ahmad says:

    There is a new predatory publisher who has sent me multiple spam mails. The Research & Reviews- International Journals (www.rroij.com)

  7. Ph.D Student says:

    Hello sir,

    After the completion of my M.Tech, I had published my research work in OA Journals. I also published my B.Tech project work in one of these journals. You can call it my ignorance or innocence, but I was not aware of these academic predators at that time. I immediately removed these papers from my academic profiles as well as resume, When I came to know about this from your posts. And I am deeply thankful to your articles that before applying for any kind of upgradation in salary, I came to know about this removed these articles. However, publishing in these predatory journals have cost me around Rs.25000 in total, which is a big amount for a student in India. I have removed all such publications except those published by SPRINGER, ELSEVIER, T&F and WILEY.

    Sir all those journals are listed in your posts except this


    Kindly check wheteher it is predatory or not.

    • I think Ascent Journals is out of scope for my work at this time. It appears to be a subscription publisher. I can access the articles’ abstracts, but not the full text. I generally limit my work to open-access journals and publishers. I think that very few libraries subscribe to this publisher’s journals, so if you publish you work in their journals, it will be essentially hidden. I would recommend that you find a better publisher for your papers. Good luck.

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