The last month or two, I have started getting solicitations to review articles submitted to journals I’ve never heard of before, published by a crowd called academicjournals.org (the most recent of their journals to solicit my professional and disinterested advice is the International Journal of English and Literature). The journals and articles have absolutely _nothing_ to do with my areas of research, and I get the very strong impression that I’ve been selected by some blunderbussing algorithm working from scraped email addresses of random academics. A quick Google search suggests that I’m not the “only person”:http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=61175.0 who is puzzled about all of this, and suspects that there’s something fishy. What I can’t work out though is, is what they’re trying to do by soliciting me and umpteen non-bcced academics in the same email to review their bollocks for them. Is it some sort of advertising? Means of confirming that the email address is live, if you’re stupid enough to respond and tell them that you know nothing about African literature? Something else entirely?

I presume there’s some underlying business model here – but can’t figure out quite what it is. If it’s the obvious one of getting people to submit crap research and pay to get it ‘published’ in journals that no-one has ever heard of, I can’t see why they would be soliciting people to review aforementioned crap research. Suggested plausible motivations are welcome below …

London

by Kieran Healy on August 9, 2011

So, the city’s on fire, looters roam the high streets, maybe it’s kicking off in Birmingham and Leeds, too. Consider this an open thread to blame Twitter and praise the Big Society.