Yellow tape reading "Danger" outside a construction site

A journal to avoid

A few days ago, I was sent an unsolicited Facebook message inviting me to contribute to an India-based journal called LangLit. As I assume that similar messages are being sent far and wide, I would like to caution readers against sending manuscripts to them.

First things first; here’s the message:

Call for Research Papers, Interviews, Book Reviews, Poems n Short Stories for LANGLIT: An International Peer Reviewed Open Access Journal ISSN 2349 – 5189.. (Vol.2 Issue 1) Deadline for Paper Submission: 10th Aug 2015  Date of Publication : 30th Aug 2015 [redacted] Sincerely hope that you will contribute..

Author beware

In my opinion, the journal is an example of what might be called bad faith academic publishing. A clear sign is that the journal attempts to deceive prospective authors and readers by claiming to be a peer-reviewed journal. However, as far as one can tell from the message above, the time-frame from submission to publication is merely 20 days, which is too short for meaningful peer review and corrections.

Secondly, the journal misrepresents its content, when stating that they publish “high-quality written works presenting original research with profound ideas and insightful thoughts”. A cursory glance through their latest issue (vol. 1, issue 4) shows that it contains approximately 150 (!) main submissions, plus a few dozens of interviews, short stories (e.g., A Cyborg Shipwrecked on our Shore) and poems (including Bliss of Love, Eternal Love, Love’s Sake and Proud Sacred Love). Of the papers in the issue, only one was empirical, in the sense that I understand the word, and -at the risk of sounding snobbish- it failed to impress me.

To their credit, the publishers are reasonably upfront about their Article Processing Charges. The privilege of placing your work in their journal will only set you back 500 Indian Rupees, which is about 7€ (£5, $8, or a few thousand Greek Drachmas should things go south). This sets them apart from the worst of predatory journals, but does little to improve their academic standing. From the looks of it, the charges do not include a proofreading service.

Sample Author Bio

I have discussed this journal with Jeffrey Beall, who curates an authoritative index of predatory publishers, and he concurs with my assessment. You can now find LangLit in his list of standalone potential, possible or probable predatory journals. (update: Sadly, Beall’s list is currently defunct).

Not convinced?

You may think that there’s little harm done by submitting a unambitious paper you may have written to a journal that has a credible-sounding title and only charges a modest fee. If that is the case, I would encourage you to think twice.

First, such a publication would harm your reputation, and the merits of the paper would be lost because of its association with bad research and mediocre poetry. Moreover, once published in a bogus journal, a paper is unpublishable elsewhere, and that includes future revisions. Not to put too fine a point to it, research published in a bogus journal is wasted. Finally, there are better ways to gainfully spend even a small amount of money. Willy Renandya suggests buying reference materials, or donating to charity that supports teacher development in under-resourced settings.

As for your article, you might consider sending it out to one of many excellent open-access journals that do not charge publication fees. Alternatively, if your work doesn’t fit their publication needs, you can always share it in a blog post!

Featured image: “Danger” by Shawn Carpenter @ Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

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