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I regularly receive emails from Open Access predatory journals or conferences asking me to publish an article or attend some kind of conference somewhere. Usually, those emails are easy to identify.

Recently, I received an email from a Journal called Research Features, inviting me to publish an article in their journal which focuses more on outreach if I understand them correctly.

Does anybody have any experience with this (or a similar) journal, is this a serious thing?

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    A general rule of thumb based on my experience: if you are not sure if a journal/conference is predatory, then it is almost certainly predatory.
    – Bitwise
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 8:40
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    I ignore all unsolicited requests for contributions that are not (i) from people in my personal network or (ii) from very well known scientists in my field and personalized (a phone call makes the decision even easier).
    – user9482
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 9:27
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    Be super careful when tapping on these links. These could be phising links taking you to a phising site that looks legit. Your device could get compromised before you even know it. If you can, copy the link, log out of your email, open a new private window, paste the link and view them there.
    – atheros
    Commented Sep 18, 2020 at 20:16
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    Another rule of thumb: If they ask you without any prior contact, it is probably a scam. Usually you need to contact the journal and not vice versa.
    – allo
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 16:32
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    For anyone reading this question, they seem to have a launched a twin site called Research Outreach. Same model (you have to pay them to publish), same scam.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 14:18

8 Answers 8

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Research Features is a UK-based magazine intended for a broad audience (outreach), it is not a peer-reviewed academic journal.

So in one sense it is legitimate: it's a real magazine with real contributors that some people genuinely read. You can contribute a piece if you so wish to.

I do not think it claims to be a journal.

"We are not a scholarly publisher. We sit somewhere in the middle and feel very comfortable in our unique space. We will never engage in ‘click-bait’ or ‘tabloid’ pop-science; but we do not offer complex peer-reviewed content. Our publication offers detailed insight using clear language and a visual format which translates complex science, whilst remaining respectful."

Source: https://researchfeatures.com/about/

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    The link is to Research Features and as far as I can tell there is no such journal as Research Futures. I think this is clearly just a typo in this answer. Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 14:00
  • @scaaahu that must have been a typo (which I did not recognized), thank you Peter K. for correcting it
    – Alf
    Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 9:33
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I have some experience with writing to outreach magazines (which I would label this). It can be quite rewarding to present research to a broader audience, but also demanding. Two pieces of advise:

1) Ask if you will have an editorial assistant associated. They can do wonders for your writing, and offer good journalistic insight.

2) Require appropriate monetary compensation.

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    Research Outreach asks the writer for paiement, not the reverse! Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 21:02
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    I think there are two clearly distinct models - nabla is thinking of magazines where the author writes the article and gets paid, while Xi'an (and OP) talk about magazines where the author pays a science journalist to write the article about the scientists work. Both can in my opinion be valid, and appeal to different scientists. If you have the time and skills to write a great public piece about your work there is little reason to pay somebody else to do it, but this will simply not be true for most scientists.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 10:41
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I got contacted by Research Features twice. Yes it's true they want you to pay for using your research. If that's enough to call them "predatory", they are. However, this is not about just publishing your work. It's not an academic journal. This is about making more visible work that you have already published, something that you probably can't easily do yourself just sending to another journal. They do some service, i.e., rewriting with a broad audience in mind, advertising, etc. They are upfront about payments, and for the money they promise to do some proper work. They also asked me for a personal discussion. I have instead asked them to tell me in written form what they offer. They ask for between 1500 and 2000 GBP and have sent a detailed list of their services.

I have not taken up their offer, however I don't have an issue with it. If they indeed do what they promise to do (which I haven't checked), I have seen worse things to spend my money on. Offering a service of this kind and asking to be paid for it is legitimate in my view. Whether the service is good and will be worthwhile for you is another question of course.

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They share the same street address and web styling as another similar magazine, Research Outreach: https://researchoutreach.org/our-company/

Same people, same idea, similar content (though I have not checked for overlaps).

I might give this one a miss.

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    They also charge you for the content you create and give them for free.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 14:15
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Okay, so adding an updated answer based on their recent contact with me.

They sent me multiple emails (5-6) at different times, after reading the answers I thought about giving it a try and replying to them ("my initial assumption was if it's free, then why not just give my less academic style articles to them [the contact person tried to convince me initially it would be free and will take very low amount of time]")

After I replied, he insisted on a call, but eventually, I tried to get the catch. It turns out, they will charge you £1950 per article, which was not mentioned initially.

They also include "The content of this email is confidential and intended for the recipient specified in message only. It is strictly forbidden to share any part of this message with any third party, without the written consent of the sender. If you received this message by mistake, please reply to this message and follow with its deletion, so that we can ensure such a mistake does not occur in the future.

To ensure we do not email you again, please reply to this email with the word ‘remove’ in the subject title and we shall erase all your details from our system. Thank you." in their emails so that no one can share the email content I guess. They sound kind of professional.

But, yeah, it's a full-on scam to me. With that fee, you can probably submit to a good-quality peer-reviewed journal.

Don't reply to avoid wasting your time.

Their service page with pricing: https://researchfeatures.com/services/

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It's predatory for me. You can browse their latest issues, for example this one, all are from Asian academics. I am Asian and the article they mentioned and invited me for was published years ago and they said

we understand your work is still going..

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Looks like one has to pay; at least invitiation mail says "the cost for taking part" so: rather scammy

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I just received an email from them and I found this rather appalling and fishy:

Rather than writing any further detail, could we find a few moments to discuss over the phone or Zoom?

Before we take an introductory call, could you please take a few moments to look over our website and gain an understanding of how we work.

I can then answer all your questions regarding our process, the cost for taking part, methods, and the different solutions we offer.

So, I decided not to contact them at all.

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