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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorvoloch
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2013
    This journal "Conference Papers is Mathematics"
    http://www.hindawi.com/cpis/mathematics/
    is sending out emails to people listed as participants in upcoming conferences inviting them to submit to the journal the paper that they are presenting at the conference. This is being done without consulting the conference organizers (who may be planning to publish proceedings, for example) and the email itself is very ambiguous. Just happened to me and I confirmed with the organizers that what I thought was happening is indeed happening. Worse still, it's an author pays journal.
    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeJul 20th 2013

    I am a little confused about why this is “predatory”. Proceedings of mathematics conferences are far from routine. It may be annoying and unsubtle, evencrass, but “predatory” is far too strong, surely. Since you don’t show the email, we can’t decide whether there is any intent to deceive anyone.

    At the moment, there are no author fees, although I am sure they will be instituted soon. I run a “diamond” journal with no author or reader fees. However I don’t think that “author-pays” is an intrinsically bad model. It all depends on how much, how much real added value there is, and how transparent the pricing is.

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorvoloch
    • CommentTimeJul 20th 2013
    I dislike author pays and think it is intrinsically bad, but that's a conversation for another thread.

    Back to this case. I thought the tone of the email was misleading. I know that most conferences don't publish proceedings but to preempt proceedings in this fashion is predatory. They should have first contacted the organizers and got confirmation that there were no plans for proceedings.

    Here is the email:

    Dear Dr. Voloch,

    My name is Doaa El-Sabbagh and I am an Editorial Developer for Hindawi Publishing Corporation. I am writing to you as a participant in "Fundamental Groups in Arithmetic and Algebraic Geometry," and I would like to invite you to submit your conference paper to Conference Papers in Mathematics, which is a part of the Conference Papers in Science series.

    Conference Papers in Mathematics publishes manuscripts in all areas of mathematics that are based on work that has been recently presented at a scientific conference or workshop, but not yet published in any traditional journal or conference proceedings.

    The journal is published using an open access publication model, meaning that all interested readers are able to freely access the journal online at http://www.hindawi.com/cpis/mathematics/ without the need for a subscription, and authors retain the copyright of their work.

    The journal has a distinguished Editorial Board with extensive academic qualifications, ensuring that the journal maintains high scientific standards and has a broad international coverage. A current list of the journal's editors can be found at http://www.hindawi.com/cpis/mathematics/editors/.

    If you would be interested in publishing your conference paper in our journal, we would be happy to publish it without requiring any article processing charges. Manuscripts should be submitted to the journal online at http://mts.hindawi.com/submit/cpis/mathematics/. Once a manuscript has been accepted for publication, it will undergo language copyediting, typesetting, and reference validation in order to provide the highest publication quality possible.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the journal.

    Best regards,

    Doaa El-Sabbagh

    ------------------------------
    Doaa El-Sabbagh
    Editorial Developer
    Hindawi Publishing Corporation
    http://www.hindawi.com/
    ------------------------------
    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorHenry Cohn
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2013

    The web site for Conference Papers in Mathematics is horrifying in other ways as well. In the editorial workflow section it says this:

    The Guest Editors will have around two weeks to provide either a recommendation for the publication of the manuscript, along with a written commentary detailing any changes that the authors can make to improve their manuscript before final publication, or a written critique of why the manuscript should not be published.

    This reflects a fundamental problem with Hindawi’s approach to mathematics journals. They promise extraordinarily quick decisions, which they try to achieve by requiring editors to reach a decision within two weeks. A few years ago I complained to them about this while replying to one of their spam editorial invitations. The “journal developer” I corresponded with asserted that a two-week deadline was not problematic because this journal (ISRN Geometry) was not going to use any external peer reviewers. Instead, all review would be done by editors.

    I don’t know if this is what they actually do in practice, but nowadays it’s impossible to run an intellectually respectable journal with no external referees, so I certainly hope they aren’t actually trying that. The fact that Hindawi still includes the two week time limit in descriptions of new journals reflects poorly on their approach to mathematics publishing.

    Hindawi recycles text nearly verbatim in some of their spam for different journals, which is perhaps an indication of how much effort they are putting into this.

    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2013

    I have been on the enormous board of editors (= referee panel) of ISRN Discrete Mathematics for a couple of years. It had no publication fee when it started, and this has since changed, so I am thinking of dropping out.

    There are certainly some features of Hindawi’s approach that are strange. I can confirm that we get a very short time to referee a paper. However many papers I have seen so far have been out of scope or too weak to publish and it doesn’t take long to decide that. As I understand it a negative decision by any one of the referees can veto the paper. If a paper is accepted, the "editors" accepting are listed, so there is a strong reputational incentive for editors not to accept. I asked once and found that the acceptance rate is well under 50%. I have rejected almost every paper I have looked at so far (over 10 papers). So concerns about lowering of standards because of greed for author fees seem unfounded.

    Of course, concerns about lowering of standards because of innovative, and maybe too innovative, editorial policy may still persist - probably they should tweak their model. Basically, multiple revisions are not allowed and the paper is accepted subject to minor changes or just rejected, so authors would have to resubmit a better version from scratch. Overall I don’t see Hindawi as a predatory publisher, although clearly I wouldn’t be sending my papers to this journal. The transparency of their operation stacks up well against traditional journals, and they do provide an outlet for papers from developing countries that wouldn’t stand much chance in the older big-name journals.

    I sense an undercurrent in many blog posts on this general topic that there are too many papers being published. That may be, but artificially restricting supply based on opaque and highly variable refereeing is not a good idea either. I have waited 22 months for a useless rejection from Random Structures and Algorithms, which I think is considerably worse than anything I have seen from Hindawi. There is a huge number of traditional mathematics journals that none of the people writing in this thread would ever submit to, but they still have a defensible purpose for existence.

    I don’t want to spend any more time defending a profit-making company, so perhaps this interview with the founder will be useful: http://poynder.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-oa-interviews-ahmed-hindawi-founder.html

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2013
    • (edited Jul 22nd 2013)

    2: of course it is predatory, if it takes advantage of others’ achievement without presenting its identity, using mimicry. It is like coo-coo bird which puts its eggs into the nest of another bird and mimics its color. Exactly this.