Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Should Academic Journals Charge to Review an Article?

The answer to the question above is: No.  No.  Hell no.

And yet, and yet.  Here I was checking out a potential journal for a manuscript I'm working on -- a damn good journal, it turns out -- and it says you must either be a member of the host organization or pay a $25 "processing fee" for your work to be reviewed.  WTF?  This ranks up there, sleaze-wise, with literary journals who charge authors a "reading fee" to review their fiction for possible publication.  The rule in fiction writing is simple: money flows to the author, not the other way around.  Otherwise it's just a vanity press and not worth reading, and sure as hell not worth publishing in.

Again, this is a damn fine academic journal and, ironically, I used to belong to the group that sponsors it (I gave up membership a few years ago as I cut back expenses, dropping a couple of groups). It's an understandable rule from a financial standpoint, I get that, but in my mind it raises serious questions about the quality of the research when only members -- or those willing to pay for the privilege of consideration -- get published there.  Too damn insular for my taste.  In defense of the journal, it's apparently had this rule for some time.

Maybe it's like this in a number of academic fields outside my own and I just didn't realize it.

So off I go looking for another home...

No comments: