Chief Admin


Blogs: 170
Pages: 4
Memos: 113
Invitations: 1
Location: Kyoto and Auckland
Work interests: research, editing, science communication
Affiliation/website: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka
Preferred contact method: Any
Preferred contact language(s): English, German
Contact: email = researchcooperative-at-gmail-dot-com
Favourite publications: Various, and especially the open access versions of older journals with effective review systems

Founding Member

Work: ethnobotany, prehistory, museum curation
Affiliations: 1996-present: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka. 1995: Freelance editor, Kyoto. 1994: JSPS Research Visitor, Kyoto University, Kyoto. 1993: Research Visitor, Australian National University, Canberra. 1991: Visiting Researcher, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka.1990: STA Fellow, National Institute for Ornamental Plants, Vegetables, and Tea (NIVOT), Ano, Japan
Contact: National Museum of Ethnology, Senri Expo Park, Suita City, Osaka, Japan 565-8511
Biographical: Established the Research Cooperative in 2001
Favourite Publications: Various

Category: Publishing

The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) is briefly introduced in a Wikipedia entry here . The STM website and member list is here:

STM was first formally registered as a "foundation" in 1994. The members list is an interesting mix of big name publishers and obscure (though not necessarily minor) digital-era companies that support online publishing in various ways. Among the more than 100 members listed, only two can be identified by reference to the term "nonprofit": The American Chemical Society, and Knowledge Futures Group. Of course, there are many non-profit academic societies that are also publishers, but few are listed as STM members.

The Knowledge Futures Group ( ) builds open source technology and collaborates with academic/scientific communities to build public digital infrastructure for "effective, equitable, and sustainable knowledge futures".

The Knowledge Futures website is a treasure trove of articles on scientific publishing.

Here's a statement I like:

"It is the generation of scholarship that results from sustaining more people that will in turn further sustain scholarly publishing. We must reject the impulse for efficiency in favor of a desire to flourish ."


Rudmann, D., Holbourne, K., & Gerakopoulou, E. (2021). Hire Everyone: Scholarly Publishing and Cooperative Sustainability. Commonplace , 1 (1).

There is a lot more to explore and learn at the STM website, and also at the Knowledge Futures Group!

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Exploring the world of Academic Publishing with ChatGPT

By Research Cooperative, 2022-12-22

Exploring the world of Academic Publishing with ChatGPT

Peter J. Matthews, National Museum of Ethnology, Japan, & The Research Cooperative

This is an informal report of an Interview with ChatGPT (Open AI) on 22nd December 2022. Questions were posed by Dr Matthews of the Research Cooperative, and all answers were generated in a single online text-based conversation, in English. The Q&A is reproduced here without any editing. The interview concludes with a diversion into the anthropology of science, and a startling end.

PJM: Which countries in the world publish good academic journals in languages other than English? If possible, please note the titles of some of the best non-English journals in those countries.

ChatGPT: There are many countries around the world that publish academic journals in languages other than English. Here are a few examples:

  • Germany: Zeitschrift für Psychologie, Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft
  • France: Revue Francophone de Linguistique Appliquée, Revue Française de Sociologie
  • Italy: Giornale Italiano di Psicologia, Rivista di Linguistica
  • Spain: Anuario de Psicología, Revista Española de Lingüística Aplicada
  • China: Acta Psychologica Sinica, Language and Linguistics
  • Japan: Japanese Psychological Research, Journal of the Phonetic Society of Japan
  • Korea: Korean Journal of Psychology, Journal of the Korean Linguistic Society
  • Brazil: Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica, Linguística e Filologia

These are just a few examples, and there are many other non-English language academic journals published in other countries as well. It is worth noting that many of these journals are published in multiple languages, including English, and may be of interest to researchers and academics working in a variety of fields.

PJM: Thanks. Can you give some more examples for those countries for journals on other topics?

ChatGPT: Certainly! Here are some additional examples of academic journals in languages other than English published in various countries:


  • Zeitschrift für Ökologie und Naturschutz
  • Zeitschrift für Sozialreform
  • Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie


  • Revue de l'histoire de l'art
  • Revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine
  • Revue française de science politique


  • Giornale di storia della filosofia
  • Rivista di storia della filosofia
  • Rivista di storia delle scienze mediche e naturali


  • Anuario de Historia de la Iglesia
  • Revista de Historia Moderna
  • Revista de Historia de la Psicología


  • Acta Geologica Sinica
  • Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology
  • Chinese Journal of Polymer Science


  • Japanese Journal of Religious Studies
  • Japanese Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition
  • Japanese Journal of Veterinary Research


  • Korean Journal of Chemical Engineering
  • Korean Journal of Environmental Biology
  • Korean Journal of Medical History


  • Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
  • Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia
  • Revista Brasileira de Geociências

Again, these are just a few examples, and there are many other non-English language academic journals published in these countries and around the world. The specific topics covered by these journals may vary, but they all represent important contributions to the global academic community.

PJM: Among all those journals you listed so far, which have the most readers, or are best known, or have a good reputation or impact?

ChatGPT: It is difficult to say which specific academic journals have the most readers or are the best known, as this can vary depending on the field of study and the specific research interests of individual readers. Additionally, the reputation and impact of an academic journal can be evaluated in a variety of ways, such as through the number of citations it receives, the quality of the research it publishes, and the prestige of the editorial board.

That being said, some academic journals that are well-known and highly regarded in their respective fields include:

  • Zeitschrift für Psychologie (Germany)
  • Revue Francophone de Linguistique Appliquée (France)
  • Giornale Italiano di Psicologia (Italy)
  • Anuario de Psicología (Spain)
  • Acta Psychologica Sinica (China)
  • Japanese Psychological Research (Japan)
  • Korean Journal of Psychology (Korea)
  • Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica (Brazil)

These journals are all published in languages other than English and are highly respected in their respective fields. However, it is worth noting that there are many other non-English language academic journals that are also well-known and highly regarded in their respective fields.

PJM: Most of those journals in your last answer represent the field of psychology. That's OK. Now I wonder if you can tell me about journals on academic writing and science history, in the world generally, in any language?

ChatGPT: Certainly! Here are some examples of academic journals that focus on academic writing and science history in various languages:

  • Writing and Pedagogy (international, published in English)
  • Written Communication (international, published in English)
  • Writing in Education (international, published in English)
  • Journal of Writing Research (international, published in English)
  • Écritures (France, published in French)
  • Escritos de Filosofía (Spain, published in Spanish)
  • Escritos de História (Brazil, published in Portuguese)
  • Science & Education (international, published in English)
  • History of Science (international, published in English)
  • Annals of Science (international, published in English)
  • Isis (international, published in English)

These are just a few examples, and there are many other academic journals that focus on academic writing and science history in various languages. The specific topics covered by these journals may vary, but they all represent important contributions to the global academic community.

PJM: Can you find journals that focus on problems and solutions for science communication, or that cover science communication broadly, and that are published in English or other languages?

ChatGPT: Certainly! Here are some examples of academic journals that focus on science communication, either by addressing problems and solutions for science communication or by covering the field of science communication more broadly:

  • Public Understanding of Science (international, published in English)
  • Science Communication (international, published in English)
  • Science, Technology, & Human Values (international, published in English)
  • Science as Culture (international, published in English)
  • Communication Research (international, published in English)
  • Communication & Medicine (international, published in English)
  • Health Communication (international, published in English)
  • Environmental Communication (international, published in English)
  • Science Communication in China (China, published in English)
  • Comunicar (Spain, published in Spanish)
  • Acta Comunicacional (Spain, published in Spanish)
  • Science in Context (international, published in English)
  • Science Communication in Japan (Japan, published in Japanese and English)
  • Science Communication in Korea (Korea, published in Korean and English)
  • Comunicación y Sociedad (Spain, published in Spanish)
  • Comunicación y Ambiente (Spain, published in Spanish)

These are just a few examples, and there are many other academic journals that focus on science communication in various languages. The specific topics covered by these journals may vary, but they all represent important contributions to the global academic community.

PJM: That's a good list. From those titles I can see a set of important keywords: public understanding, science communication, technology, society, culture, human values, context. Medicine and environment may be especially important themes for science communication. Perhaps the common theme linking all of these is "science and society". Can you identify or recommend journals, publishers, or organisations that focus on "science and society"?

ChatGPT: Yes, "science and society" is a common theme that connects many of the academic journals that focus on science communication. Here are some examples of academic journals, publishers, and organizations that focus on the relationship between science and society:

  • Science and Public Policy (international, published in English)
  • Science, Technology, & Human Values (international, published in English)
  • Social Studies of Science (international, published in English)
  • Public Understanding of Science (international, published in English)
  • Science, Technology, & Society (international, published in English)
  • Science Communication (international, published in English)
  • Science as Culture (international, published in English)
  • Science in Context (international, published in English)
  • Science, Technology, and Society (international, published in English)
  • Science, Technology and Society (international, published in English)
  • Science, Technology, Society and Development (international, published in English)
  • Science and Technology Studies (international, published in English)
  • Science, Technology, & Medicine (international, published in English)

In addition to these academic journals, there are also several publishers and organizations that focus on the relationship between science and society. Some examples include:

  • MIT Press (international, publishes books and journals in English)
  • Sage Publications (international, publishes books and journals in English)
  • Springer Nature (international, publishes books and journals in English)
  • Taylor & Francis (international, publishes books and journals in English)
  • The Science and Technology Studies Section of the American Sociological Association (international, focuses on the relationship between science and society)
  • The Society for Social Studies of Science (international, focuses on the relationship between science and society)
  • The European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (international, focuses on the relationship between science and society)

These are just a few examples, and there are many other academic journals, publishers, and organizations that focus on the relationship between science and society. These resources can be valuable for researchers, academics, and others interested in exploring the intersections between science and society.

PJM: OK. I've heard that S…[ends!]

ChatGPT: I'm sorry, but it looks like your question was cut off. Could you please provide the full question so that I can better understand what you are asking?

PJM: OK. I've heard that "Science and Technology Studies" is a field of sociology that is connected to science history and to anthropology. Please tell me something about the anthropology of science and the history of this area of research, within 1000 words or so.

ChatGPT: The anthropology of science is a subfield of anthropology that studies the relationships between science, technology, and society from an anthropological perspective. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including the ways in which scientific knowledge is produced, disseminated, and used; the social and cultural dimensions of scientific practices and institutions; and the impacts of science and technology on various aspects of human life.

The history of the anthropology of science is closely connected to the development of science and technology studies (STS), which is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses sociology, history, philosophy, anthropology, and other disciplines. STS emerged in the 1960s and 1970s as a response to the growing recognition that science and technology are not neutral or objective, but are deeply embedded in social, cultural, and political contexts.

One of the key figures in the early development of the anthropology of science was Bruno Latour, a French sociologist and anthropologist who is known for his work on the sociology of scientific knowledge. Latour argued that scientific knowledge is a social construct and that scientific practices and institutions are shaped by social, cultural, and political factors.

Other influential figures in the anthropology of science include Donna Haraway, a feminist science studies scholar who is known for her work on the social and cultural dimensions of science and technology; Andrew Pickering, a British sociologist who has written extensively on the history and philosophy of science; and Steve Woolgar, a sociologist who has written extensively on the sociology of scientific knowledge and the anthropology of science and technology.

In addition to these scholars, there are many others who have contributed to the development of the anthropology of science, including anthropologists, sociologists, historians, philosophers, and scientists. The field is highly interdisciplinary and draws on a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches, including cultural anthropology, social anthropology, science and technology studies, and the sociology of scientific knowledge.

The anthropology of science is a vibrant and rapidly growing field that is concerned with a wide range of issues related to the relationships between science, technology, and society. It is an important area of research that has the potential to shed light on a wide range of important issues, including the ways in which scientific knowledge is produced and used, the social and cultural dimensions of scientific practices and institutions, and the impacts of science and technology on various aspects of human life.

PJM: Thank you. Of course, now I wonder if any anthropologists or sociologists have published papers on the uses and impact of ChatGPT? Can you suggest a reading list?

ChatGPT: An error occurred. If this issue persists please contact us through our help center at

Matthews: This concludes the interview!





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Stephen Buryani, writing in The Guardian (full report) (Tue 27 Jun 2017 06.00 BST), asks: " Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?"

His report is an extended expose of profiteering by the private corporations that control scientific publishing, yet the answer is ambiguous. The silent question raised is: "What would have happened if private companies had not led expansion and innovation in scientific publishing, over the last 100 years?"

The following quotations are from near the beginning of this brilliant, surprising, and enlightening report. I strongly urge all members of our network to read the original if they can.

Quotes, courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd:

"In 2010, Elsevier’s scientific publishing arm reported profits of £724m on just over £2bn in revenue. It was a 36% margin – higher than Apple, Google, or Amazon posted that year."

"...scientific publishers manage to duck most of the actual costs. Scientists create work under their own direction – funded largely by governments – and give it to publishers for free; the publisher pays scientific editors who judge whether the work is worth publishing and check its grammar, but the bulk of the editorial burden – checking the scientific validity and evaluating the experiments, a process known as peer review – is done by working scientists on a volunteer basis. The publishers then sell the product back to government-funded institutional and university libraries, to be read by scientists – who, in a collective sense, created the product in the first place."

"A 2005 Deutsche Bank report referred to it as a “bizarre” “triple-pay” system, in which “the state funds most research, pays the salaries of most of those checking the quality of research, and then buys most of the published product”."

"Even scientists who are fighting for reform are often not aware of the roots of the system: how, in the boom years after the second world war, entrepreneurs built fortunes by taking publishing out of the hands of scientists and expanding the business on a previously unimaginable scale."

[Note: 223 words are quoted here. Under the terms of an Open License , the Guardian permits up to 500 words to be quoted with attribution, in blogs such as this. Sincere thanks to Guardian News & Media for these generous terms! (PJM)]

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Today, after reviewing the "Centennial Memorial Issue" of The Journal of Japanese Botany , I've set myself a challenge: locating 100 journals that have published centennial issues, at any time, and through them: 

10,000+ years of scientific learning

Here is the start of my list (IJf=International Journal for, Jo=Journal of, JoT=Journal of The, Pot=Proceedings of the, T=The, TJo=The Journal of, QJo=Quarterly Journal of).

Using "centennial issue" and "journal" as key words, I could reach 4,000 years in one night ( 10th March 2017). So far, there is a clear American (and English-language) bias in the results obtained.

I will add more titles as opportunity permits. Please comment with any additions you can suggest for this!

  1. Accountancy, Jo
  2. Advanced Materials
  3. American Bar Association Journal
  4. American Educational Research Journal
  5. American Journal of Epidemiology
  6. American Journal of Medicine
  7. American Political Science Review
  8. Applied Psychology, Jo
  9. Audio Engineering Society, JoT
  10. Audiology
  11. Astrophysical Journal, T
  12. California Fish and Game
  13. Catholic Historical Review, T
  14. Dairy Science, Jo
  15. Economic Journal
  16. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal
  17. FASEB Journal (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology)
  18. Harvard Public Health Magazine
  19. Indian Institute of Science, Jot

  20. Institute of Radio Engineers, Pot (now IEEE, Pot )
  21. Japanese Botany, TJo
  22. Mathematical Sciences of the University of Tokyo, Jo ( Kodaira )
  23. Melanie Klein and Object Relations, Jo
  24. Micromechanics and Molecular Physics, Jo
  25. Parasitology, IJf
  26. Phoenix Business Journal, T
  27. Physical Chemistry, TJo
  28. Philippine Law Journal, T
  29. Political Economy, TJo
  30. Psychological Review
  31. Quadrant
  32. Radiology
  33. Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Jo
  34. Review of Research in Education Journal
  35. Rhode Island Medical Journal
  36. Speculative Philosophy, Jo
  37. Speech, QJo
  38. Tennessee State University, TJo
  39. Tohoku Mathematical Journal
  40. Tribology, Jo
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Student Journals

By Research Cooperative, 2017-01-04

One of the aims of the Research Cooperative is to promote interest in research writing and publishing among university students from the moment they begin university.

At some universities, in some countries, student journals and newspapers are published by students or university departments. They vary in style and aims, but they all provide students opportunities to start writing for an audience, and a publisher, and to work with editors.

Even a student newspaper with broad topic coverage might publish early efforts at science writing by students. Some student journals, like the late TANE journal of the late University of Auckland Field Club, New Zealand, can be nurturing grounds for professional scientific writing.

What is happening now in the Internet era?

Some time ago I created a blog site to start looking at student journals, but have not had have time to develop the idea further.

Members of the Research Cooperative might eventually like to develop this as a project inside our network. If you are interested, please visit the blog, and discuss the idea here.


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Publishers I like

By Research Cooperative, 2016-12-12

Greenleaf - a specialist publisher in Sustainability, Governance, Environmental Management and Corporate Social Responsibility.

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A new PeerJ editorial board - for "Ethnosciences"?

By Research Cooperative, 2013-06-15

The newly-emergent PeerJ publishing platform is currently seeking qualified editors for editorial boards, in all possible subject areas.

Many subjects are already covered, but not those concerned with ethnobiology, ethnobotany and other ethnosciences.


Today I offered to be a founding editor for an "Ethnosciences" editorial board.

Does anyone here think that it might be good to establish such a Board at PeerJ?

Here is the main text of the note I sent:

Dear Peerj,

Currently in the world there are a small number of journals that specialise in ethnobiology and ethnobotany, but few that deal with how humans interact with other aspects of the natural world.

It might be good, at this stage in PeerJ development, to build an editorial board for any contributions in the 'ethnosciences' (ethnozoology, ethnobotany, ethnomycology, ethnomedicine, ethnogeology, etc.). These are all areas that overlap.

[They] have in common a focus on people in particular places or cultures, and their interactions with the natural world.



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Recently I learned that the Science and Technology Select Committee, House of Lords (London, UK) was accepting submissions on a report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings the Finch Group. The group was chaired by Dame Janet Finch, and the report, Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications , was published on 18 June 2012 (See Research Information Network , Internet, 18th Jan. 2013).

Today, at the last minute literally, I submitted the statement below. To summarise, I want to urge attention to the process of getting research published, and the people involved, and the value of the relationships that develop among people involved.

What happens before research is published may be of just as much importance to the scientific and social process as what happens afterwards. Scientific communication, as social product, does not emerge from a social vacuum. Without attention to the full communication ecosystem, attempts to develop open access science will fall on their feet.

Creating and developing the Research Cooperative is an attempt to give attention to the full communication ecosystem, in a practical and socially integrated manner.

My submission (below) was accepted, and w e can track the progress of the inquiry on the open access inquiry page of the Committees website:


House of Lords,
Science and Technology Committee,
London, UK

Dear Committee,

re Research Councils UK (RCUK) Open Access policy

I am a New Zealand citizen resident in Japan, and working here as a full-time researcher at a national research institution (see full address below). I am currently collaborating in research projects with Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Warwick University.

I am also creator and administrator of The Research Cooperative ( ), an NPO social network for researchers, editors, translators, publishers and others involved in research communication. This network currently has almost 6,000 members globally, including many in the UK.

I write as someone with practical interests in open access publishing.

First I should state my strong support for the following statement in the Executive Summary of the Finch Group report: Our view is that the UK should embrace the transition to open access, and accelerate the process in a measured way which promotes innovation but also what is most valuable in the research communications ecosystem . (my underlining)

This submission also relates to the following issue:

* Engagement with publishers, universities learned societies and other stakeholders in developing the new open access policies.

I strongly urge the Committee to take a broad view of who the "other stakeholders" are, and also of what is most valuable in the research communications ecosystem. Regarding the latter, please understand that the ecosystem includes all the people involved in the production of scientific communications, before publication and distribution, and that these people include, in addition to researchers and students, the editors, proofreaders, copyeditors, illustrators, photograpers, IT specialists, website designers, reviewers, printing companies, language service companies, academic writing teachers, and so on. When we consider the costs and value, please understand that the needed involvement of all these also has costs, and also has value in terms of the social interactions that allow scientists to learn how to write and communicate effectively. Collaboration, and mutual support, and relationships of trust are part of the value embedded in the research communications ecosytem, but are fragile and not universally available.

I will summarise my further concerns as follows:

1. In the world of academic publishing, UK-based publishers and journals have been historically important, and remain important, for many research communities outside the UK, especially in the Commonwealth countries. Such communities can also be regarded as stakeholders, since they are often also contributors. The fate of historically important research journals published in the UK is of international interest.

2. The Open Access movement has addressed various important questions concerning the costs of publishing and distribution, but has not - to my knowledge - addressed important questions concerning the costs of preparing papers for publication. I will expand in three parts below (a-c)

a) To reduce publication costs, many Open Access publishers push the process of copyediting back onto the author, rather than taking full responsibility for the final presentation standards of the research they publish.

This may be done explicitly, in the instructions for authors, or it may done covertly, by simply accepting poorly-edited manuscripts for journals that the publisher has little interest in. I have attended a meeting where a representative of a major English-language publisher admitted that for journals with limited specialist audiences, the publisher takes a relaxed attitude to the standard of English, while hoping to maintain the standard of content. This is a difficult compromise to make. Poor content and poor presentation are closely correlated. For reviewers, badly prepared papers are difficult to read closely, and review standards may fall when journals ask reviewers to be lenient about the presentation.

b) Within the UK itself, and across different countries, there exist wealth gaps that limit how much institutions and individuals can spend on editing, illustration, and translation. Such costs are already mainly pushed onto individual researchers or their employers. These pre-submission costs should be given consideration as well the costs for submission, review, copyediting, distribution, and archiving. When discussion turns to the question of transparency in publishing costs, this should also include the existing costs (in time and money) to prepare papers for publication.

c) In various countries, including the UK, when graduate students have to prepare a 'thesis' in English as a second language (ESL writing), there is a tendency for supervisors and institutions to recommend preparing a 'thesis by papers'; in other words, the student may be given the option of putting most effort into the publication of short papers (that require less writing, in quantitative terms) rather than preparing a longer but unpublished thesis.

Many graduate students are thus under pressure to publish early, before they have had much opportunity to develop their thinking and writing skills through the process of writing a longer thesis. The students (and their departments) must determine how much to spend in order to publish each paper. As a result, students in wealthy departments may have chances to publish in high impact journals that charge high author fees and offer open access for readers, while students in less wealthy departments may have to pay fees themselves, and thus be limited to journals that continue to accept papers at no cost (traditional subscription journals).

For foreign students in the UK, who must necessarily spend more for editing costs (on average), the early pressure to publish creates a further economic barrier to academic success.

A journal may be 'Open Access' for readers, but the road to that journal may be far from open. 'Gold-Standard' open access journals are too rare to have much impact on this problem. If a Gold-Standard journal is also maintaining a high standard of presentation (as it should), then economic barriers (at the preparation stage) may still exist for many researchers and graduate students.

I am sorry that I cannot offer any easy solutions to these problems. My aim is merely to recommend these problems for consideration by the Committee.


Dr Peter J. Matthews
Field Sciences Laboratory &
Department of Social Research
National Museum of Ethnology, Senri Expo Park, Suita City, Osaka 565-8511, Japan.

Tel. +81-6-6878-8344 (office).
Tel. +81-6-6876-2151 (exchange, J. only)

Posted in: publishing | 2 comments

Oxford University Press

By Research Cooperative, 2012-10-15

I arrived in Oxford last night for a short visit, after a long journey from Japan.

Today I will give a talk to some archaeologists. If I have time, I'll go for a walk and try to photograph the front entrance of Oxford University Press. We passed by last night, and it looks very grand.

I'd like to make our network famous by association! :-)

Perhaps I can stuff our brochure through the front door, and hope that the cleaner does not throw it away.

Postscript: The next day the morning sun was brilliant; I could photograph the imposing entrance, and then tried to enter.

"No sir, you may not enter here" a watchful door guard announced, stepping forward with authority and a brisk step.

This was the staff entrance. A morning rush of staff was arriving on foot and by bicycle. Behind the gates, a courtyard led on to a huge complex of buildings. Another day of serious work was starting at this giant of world academic publishing. It is a giant physcially and in academic terms.

Feeling dwarfed, I walked on to enjoy other destinations.

On a fine day, Oxford is a great place for walking, and I would rather be out than in.

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Journals of no repute, and journal traps

By Research Cooperative, 2012-05-21

Here at the Research Cooperative we wish to support new journals and publishers that are genuinely able to support research communication by authors, research institutions, and academic associations .

This must include journals of no repute, since new journals by definition have not had time to develop a reputation, good or bad.

We therefore need ways to weed out scam or near-scam journals that have been created in order to trap authors and collect author fees.... another term for this is 'predatory publishing' (see the Scholarly Open Access blog on this subject).

Even if a journal is being produced in good faith, authors have a right to know exactly who is publishing their work, and how, and why .

Every author should seek such information before choosing a publisher and publication. It is naturally difficult for new journals to build their reputation, and to gain sufficient support to gain long term stability.

Whenever a new journal is started, there is always a risk that it will fail soon (within months or a few years), and the authors' work will be lost or no longer easy to find.

Accepting such risk is reasonable if:

- we want to support the journal with our contributions,

- the journal or publisher is making sincere efforts for good reasons, and

- a secure repository exists for the issues published, so that they can be found even if the journal ceases to be published and the journal website is closed.

We do not support publishers and journals that are managed anonymously. We may choose to delete anonymous or suspicious requests for the attention of our members and authors, without notification.

The owners of such journals are clearly unwilling to take responsibility for long term management of the journals. There is no reason for authors to trust them, even if the owners have a sincere wish to help others.

Full or substantial transparency in the operation of a publisher or journal is the primary requirement for support from our network.

We do have further criteria for acceptance or rejection. Each case will be judged according to a range of criteria. Further criteria are indicated below.

Negative attributes of a publisher or journal

1. The journal claims an international or high reputation despite being no more than, say one or two or three years old.

2. The journal description uses a template text that can be easily found on many other new journals, is not original in any way, and is not cogent.

3. No specific historical background is given, indicating why the journal was created, by the particular people or organisations involved in creating it.

4. The chief editor or secretary are not identified by name and address, or details cannot be verified by more than one means, or consist only of links to profiles set up on free social networks.

5. Contact details are similarly insufficient for editorial board members.

6. Supporting organisations or institutions are not identified with details that can be verified by more than one means, or the details consist only of links to profiles set up on free social networks or directory sites.

7. All important email addresses (editors, board members, info, journal contact address, fee recipients etc.) end in non-institutional suffixes (e.g. and, or end in suffixes belonging to the domain of the publisher or journal.

8. Journal details cannot be found in reputable journal databases and monitoring services such as Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) , ScienceDirect , FirstSearch at , , or SCImago Journal & Country Rank . (NB In the WorldCat search system, the 8 digit ISSN number must be entered with a hyphen in the middle).

9. Journal and publisher details are mainly or only found in databases or directories that have no good reputation, accept all submissions, or are not focused on academic or educational publications.

If a journal cannot be found using an ISSN number reported on the journal website, then this is immediately a cause for concern, since the cost to register a journal is not high, and the process is quick (from my own experience with a museum serial based in Japan). Journals can help themselves by linking their website to the search field of a reliable ISSN search service.

10. Authors are asked to submit and commit an accepted paper (e.g. by signing a copyright statement) to the journal before knowing who or what will be receiving any payment needed for processing or distribution.

11. The copyright statement is effective immediately, from the date of signing, rather than being effective only if and after the article has been published. Authors should be able to withdraw a publication at any time before an actual publication deadline, if they have a good reason to, without the publisher being able to claim ownership of copyright of the unpublished paper.

12. The copyright policy of the publication or publisher is not explained in a public statement, or will not be explained to the author until after the paper has been accepted or published.

13. The journal or publisher asks authors to transfer all possible copyrights and use-rights to the journal or publisher, including for example: copying for educational purposes, translation rights, archiving rights, and other rights and uses that authors might like to keep or at least negotiate; a journal can benefit from favourable (and free!) publicity if authors and readers are free to copy and transmit articles for research and educational purposes, so a tight copyright policy also suggests a short-sight journal management.

14. The journal title is badly designed and does not correspond to the journal aims described elsewhere in the journal description or website. For example, the title may contain redundant terms, or indicate a theme that is either much more narrow or much broader than that described in a full explication of the journal aims.

15. Journal operating costs or funding sources or supporting organisation(s) are not explained in any concrete terms, and there is no way to access a public record of the accounts of the journal or the publisher

Note: for truly global academic publishers that are listed public companies, and for many public research organisations, we can at least expect to see some public record in the form of annual reports, even if these do not refer to specific journals (privately held companies are usually not legally required to reveal a public record, though it may be to their advantage to do so).

16. Although the journal is evidently based in a country with low income levels (e.g. as indicated by the composition of the editorial board), author fees are high relative to income levels in that country, and are not expressed in the currency of that country.

17. The journal, journal editor, or journal publisher have no discoverable reputation. Of course, this is unfair for new journals and new publishers, but newcomers to academic publishing must accept that it takes time to build up a publication from nothing. Reputation is where much of the value of any publication resides, especially in the academic world. It can be established with personal and local networks, a small-scale publication well-made, and then gradually expand.

18. The website of the publisher or journal has no 'Terms of Service' (TOC) statement, or similar statement, or the TOC link does not work.

19. The website of the publisher or journal has no 'Support' page or link, or the 'Support' link does not work.

20. The website of the publisher or journal has no 'Privacy' statement or link, or the 'Privacy' link does not work.

Suggestions for other criteria are welcome (please comment below, or contact me with a private message)

I, for one, would like to see journals offer forums where readers, authors, and journal editors can all meet and discuss any aspect of a journal's operation - i.e. an open feedback loop, with appropriate moderation.

These are serious matters. We do need help from Co-op members in order to avoid introducing false or misleading information into our network. (Contact the author of this message if you can help).

See also this comment: Know a good journal when you see it!

Further resources:

Scholarly Open Access (Critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishing)

Update (3rd April 2017): the above privately maintained site became an established go-to reference but ceased operation abruptly in 2016. Please see the Internet Archive and other sources for information about the site and the efforts of Jeffrey Beall, the site author.

Bikas blog (comments on computer science journals, and criteria for verifying them)

Brian Martin (scientific fraud and the power structure of science)

Fake Journals Team (no updates since 2011; link deactivated here 3rd April 2017)

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