Q: Is it common for a non-researcher to work as an editor?

Detailed Question -

I recently submitted a manuscript to an open access (OA) journal that was earlier considered a predatory journal but was later removed from the predatory journals’ list. In the journal, it takes only one hour after submission till the editor is assigned. And when I search the publication work[flow] with the name of the editor (Assistant Editor, actually), no work is found. This has been the case on two recent occasions. Is this normal?

1 Answer to this question

Hello. Firstly, we have made some edits to your query for enhanced clarity. Even then, there seemed to be a gap in the connection between the header question and the detailed question. I guess what you mean is that you think non-researchers are working at questionable journals, and whether this is common.

However, before this, we are curious as to why you would wish to submit to a journal that was earlier believed to be predatory but has now been removed from the predatory journals’ list. Yes, this does happen, as you can read in this recent blog post from one of our partners, Cabells (which does significant work in creating awareness about bogus publishing). However, even when these journals are removed from the list, some doubt remains. It would be better not to submit to these journals in the first place.

Which should also answer your query. These journals obviously do not hire the necessary number or quality of editors for reviews, even if they do reviews in the first place. Of course, in present times, because journals have been facing some challenges with workflows due to the COVID-19 crisis, some journals have been reaching out to student researchers for help with reviews. Here, though, we believe that with the Editor-in-Chief (EiC) making the final decision, the final manuscript would have the expected quality. Which would probably not be the case with a questionable journal. Again, it would be best to avoid such journals.

As we spoke about predatory publishing and Cabells, it may be worthwhile to go through this recent blog post we co-authored with them. It talks about predatory author services, a new kind of predatory publishing, and how you can safeguard yourself against them. Read the post here: The scientific predator has evolved - here's how you can fight back

It may also help to keep this checklist handy: 10 Point checklist to identify predatory publishers

Finally, for help with identifying an appropriate journal for your needs, you may also use our Journal Selection service.

Hope all that helps. All the best for the future!