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I am grateful not to be subject to this form of institutional pressure. As Aristotle said, “Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.” I am a lawyer, not an academic. While I have been privileged to have some of my articles published in respected law journals and law association newsletters, I do not suffer from the deceit, or conceit, that I am a legal academic. Nevertheless, peer review is peer review. Whether I am writing a case comment or traditional legal journal article, I am mindful that the purpose of legal writing is more than mere pedagogy. There is a method to one’s madness in devoting valuable time and concentrated effort into legal writing; applying intellectual rigour to a legal problem and trying to provide a new or different way towards a solution. It sharpens the mind and reinvigorates the psyche.
It is for these reasons that I urge fellow legal writers of all persuasions to think twice before accepting an invitation to publish with the Journal of US-China Law Review, one of a number of academic journals published by David Publishing Company a Chinese-based online publisher with offices in Libertyville, Illinois and Queen’s, New York.
“David Publishing strives to provide the best platform for researchers and scholars worldwide to exchange their latest findings and results. We admire your achievements, and we understand how important your research impact to other peers in the same interest field and other disciplines, and how delighted you would be when communicating with global professional peers. Your contribution to our journals would be very much welcome!
1. Paper must be empirical or theoretical contributions without being published previously;
2. All other scholars’ words or remarks as well as their origins must be indicated if quoted
3. Abstract and key words should be prerequisite;
4. Paper would contain at least 3000 words (including abstract, keywords and footnotes.
5. The sample of the journal is in attachment, you can consult it.”
After a purported “double-blind” peer review process, my article was approved for publication, subject to some very minor edits:
“Dear Antonin I. Pribetic,
We are pleased to inform you that your paper… submitted for consideration for US-China Law Review, has been processed utilizing a two person referee process and upon their recommendation your paper has been accepted for publication.But there are some modification you should do.We have indicated in text,you can find it in attachment.And please send back the revision in one week.
Journal of US-China Law Review
David publishing Company”
After some to-ing and fro-ing during the editorial process, I received a confirmatory email which began innocuously enough:
“Dear Antonin I. Pribetic,
We have received your revision. Please tell us your research field.” [emphasis added]
Well, someone must not have read the paper after all. Note to Journal Editors: read the abstract and keywords and you’ll probably surmise what the research field is.
The Journal editor’s email then continues with terms and conditions for publication:
According to the policy of the journal, if you agree to publish your paper, you need to confirm several things below and offer us definite answers:
1. All articles must normally be empirical or theoretical contributions not previously published; all other scholars’ words or remarks and their origins must be indicated if quoted;2. Confirm to authorize us to publish your paper in US journal;3. Confirm to authorize us to add your paper to Hein Online, EBSCO,CEPS, VIP, etc, after it is published;4. Confirm to authorize us to add your paper to CSA Social Science Collection of databases，PAISl database…”
So far, so good.
Until…this curve ball is served up:
“5. When your paper is accepted for publishing, you need to pay a service charge on reviewing, editing and printing your paper. The flat price is $50 per page. Your paper has 14 pages, and the total service fee is $720 (including $20 postage for hard copies of the journal after your paper is published).
Attached pls find out the payment methods.After we receive your confirmation on payment arrange, we will typeset and print your paper and inform you our process details later.
When your paper is published, the journal within your paper and invoice will be mailed to you.
Should you have any questions, feel free to contact us!Best Regards,
SincerelyJournal of US-China Law ReviewISSN1548-6605，USA” [emphasis added]
Um. Yeah, I’ve got a question. Here’s my reply email:
“Are you seriously asking me to pay a service charge to your journal to have my paper published? I thought the Journal of US-China Law Review was a legitimate academic journal. The answer is a flat NO. Please do not waste my time.”
Not surprisingly, I have yet to receive a response.
It appears that David Publishing has no interest in disclosing its publishing fee policy to prospective authors. There is still no disclosure of a publishing fee on the current version of its website. Instead, the following is a vague reference to some form of “discount”, written in amusingly stilted English:
What’s the discount policy?
Nornally there is no discount for each paper. Only if your achievement too excellence, you could get some discount.
Here is a screenshot of the FAQ:
This form of material omission is unethical. As far as whether it is legal under U.S. law, perhaps there are American lawyers specializing in consumer protection law that are willing to comment on the applicability of the Federal Trade Commission Act and the FTC’s Deception Policy Statement.