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Basically, I have two questions.

First question: Anyone knows EnPress publisher is just a scam/predatory publisher or not? Cause they sent an email to me to invite me to join editorial board of a journal, which is related to my field. But I'm wondering is this a predatory journal, which is called OA-Coating Journal, cause their website looks unprofessional to me besides that there is no any published article in their journal!

Second question: They (EnPress publisher) sent an "Editorial Board Membership Agreement" to me and somewhere in this document they mentioned: "By this agreement, you acknowledge and agree that all ideas and improvements conceived by you in performance of your service shall be the property of the publisher". I don't understand what they're pointing to exactly! Can any describe what's the meaning of this sentence? Which service that would be provided by me will be their property?

Any idea or suggestion is appreciated.

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    Note that we're not lawyers and we are likely not going to be able to help you interpret the proposed contract or its legal consequences. As to whether it would generally be a good idea to become an editor of this journal, see academia.stackexchange.com/questions/101763/…. – Nate Eldredge Oct 8 '18 at 15:49
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This publisher appears on the updated Beall list. John Baez (a famous mathematical physicist) reported that he got what looks like automatic spam from this publisher: an invitation to get on the editorial board of an architecture(!) journal. It's my understanding that it's very rare to be surprised by an invitation to an editorial board. It's also written in your bio that you are a PhD student; don't get me wrong, but PhD students are not qualified to be on an editorial board, and the fact that they invited you is a red flag. These facts combined would not make me want to touch this publisher with a ten-foot pole.

(There are further questions that you can ask yourself: do you know the current editors of the journals? Are they recognized researchers in their field? Do the publisher's other journals look legitimate to you? Etc.)

As for the legalese they have written - it looks terrible to me. It says that "ideas and improvements conceived by you in performance of your service shall be the property of the publisher". But ideas don't belong to anyone! So this text is just meaningless junk. Even if the publisher is legitimate (which I doubt), they should seriously consider hiring actual lawyers.

  • In fact, they are so terrible even to pretend as a legitimate journal. Their website is full of grammatical mistakes and typos. – Alone Programmer Oct 9 '18 at 14:01
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On whether EnPress is predatory: See also How to identify predatory publishers/journals. I looked briefly around the publisher's website and didn't see anything glaring. The website doesn't look terrible to me, and the fact that the journal hasn't published anything isn't necessarily bad either since it just means it's a new journal (which is not the same as predatory journal). The publisher has also published some papers before - see the bottom of its home page - and the ones I looked at seem legitimate. Further, the fact that they reached you in a field you're an expert in is a good sign.

What is somewhat unusual to me is that the publisher is inviting you to join the editorial board. With new journals, more common is for the publisher to find an editor-in-chief, who then invites you to join the editorial board. I would ask for clarification on how the editorial board is going to be structured. Are you going to be the editor-in-chief? If not, who is? If there is no editor-in-chief, how is each submission going to be handled?

PS: If they are asking you to be editor-in-chief, be sure to ask them for an honorarium.

On the membership agreement: I interpret this that any ideas you might have regarding the journal are the property of the publisher. For example if you come up with the idea of having a special issue on ___ topic, that becomes the property of the publisher, and you can't decide that you'll resign from the board, start a competing journal, and host the special issue in the competing journal. Similarly, if you rewrite the aims & scope of the journal, you can't claim copyright on it because it's now the property of the publisher.

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