The Journal of Archaeology has 71 academics on its editorial board. And a strangely generic name. What it doesn't have is any published papers yet, after months on-line, or an editor-in-chief. So I wrote to some board members at European universities, and they replied that they thought the journal was probably legit, though they weren't exactly sure. "The lack of published papers and low manuscript turnover has concerned me, yet they appear very professional in approach", says one scholar, and "I personally know a good handful of the other Editors including a senior member of staff in my department. They are very well respected and knowledgeable so I would be surprised if we have all fallen for a scam, but I will look into it further", says another.
Anyway, Dear Reader, if out of the blue you get an offer to do something with an on-line scientific journal you aren't absolutely sure about, here's some advice.
1. If they immediately offer you to not only contribute papers, but to also become a member of the editorial board and a peer reviewer, then it's a scam.
2. Search the Wikipedia article about the publishers for the word “predatory”.
3. Look the publishers up on the Scholarly Open Access web site.
4. Does the journal have a named editor-in-chief? If not, then it's a scam. If there is a named editor, google that person. If the person seems legit, email them at their departmental address and ask them to confirm that they stand by the journal.
Note that when I say "scam" here, I mean that the journals in question have no academic standing, no impact factor and no readership. They will almost certainly publish any piece you give them once you've paid their fee. But equally certainly, nobody will ever read or cite that piece.
My name is Paul Peters and I am the Chief Strategy Officer for Hindawi. I have seen your blog post regarding our recently launched "Journal of Archaeology" and I wanted to reply to some of the concerns that you expressed. It is true that this journal has not yet published any content, since it only began to accept submissions about six months ago. However, a number of submitted manuscripts have already been reviewed by the journal's editors, and one manuscript has recently been accepted for publication and will be published in the next couple of weeks.
In regard to the journal's title, we intend for this journal to cover all aspects of archaeology and therefore decided that Journal of Archaeology would be a very appropriate title. Given this broad scope, we needed to form a reasonably large Editorial Board in order to make sure that each submitted manuscript could be handled by an Editor with expertise in the given area of research.
While it is true that the Journal of Archaeology is still at the very early stages of development and does not yet have an established reputation or Impact Factor, as is the case with any new journal, over the coming year we expect that the journal will begin to build momentum once the first couple of dozen articles have been published.
If you have any further questions about this journal, or about Hindawi more generally, you should feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.