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.
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.
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.