Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Questions about a new Open Access Archaeology Journal

I recently came across a new archaeology journal that I hadn't heard of.

The Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology is one of a slew of new journals started by the American Research Institute for Policy Development, which, according to the website, was founded in 2011. With the explosive proliferation of journals, some apparently being published in back alleys in remote corners of the world by organizations with obscure motives and few policies, it pays to be careful before submitting manuscripts. I'm not sure how to determine if a journal or its publisher is bona fide, especially if it's too young to have a reputation or an impact factor. The organization has a slick, professional-looking web site, but my suspicions were raised when I couldn't find any concrete information on the website about who actually owns or runs the organization. Who is the CEO or Executive Director? Who is on the Board of Directors? Where is the money coming from? It's address is listed (in one place) as 40 Monticello St., Monticello, NY 12701. I've been in Monticello, and it's a one-horse town in upstate New York. In fact, that would be complimenting it. It was a one-horse town before the Borscht Belt died of indigestion. I doubt there are any international research institutes or consortia there.

At least one blogger has raised questions about this publisher, and authors seem to be having problems with them. The discussion at the latter link indicates that some researchers have had their papers peer-reviewed and accepted without revisions in a week, which is almost impossible and not credible. Another researcher says his article was accepted but was not published by the promised date. The blogger at the first link, Jeffrey Beall, curates a list of sham or predatory publishers, and he concludes "In my opinion, the American Research Institute for Policy Development is a sham, and I strongly recommend against submitting papers to it or having any association with it." It may be relevant that one of the members of the Editorial Board of the archaeology journal has allegedly had an article retracted for plagiarism. Several other members are apparently not anthropologists or archaeologists--they seem to be affiliated with education, English, or sociology faculties.

Have a care. Not all seems right with the publisher.

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