Has anyone heard of someone getting their work published by a journal, or some other form of publication, because their unpublished draft was discovered on Academia.edu?

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    Why academia.edu specifically? Surely there are other (and probably better) places for them to look, like arxiv or other preprint services.
    – Thomas
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 8:53

1 Answer 1


There's a role in publishing called acquisition editor, sometimes also called commissioning editor (the roles of these two are, strictly speaking, different, but they're almost synonymous). The job of these people is to find things to publish. This could, for example, be an otherwise unpublished paper suited to the publisher's [journal], or perhaps commissioning an author to write a review on [topic].

How does one go about doing these things? Different acquisition editors will do things differently. Searching academia.edu is definitely a reasonable way. If one finds an unpublished article on academia.edu that's 1) a good paper and 2) suited to one's journal, one could certainly write to the authors asking them if they want to submit. So although I don't know any paper that went through the process you describe, it's possible.

Caveat: these papers still have to be peer reviewed. I'd be skeptical any paper went directly from being discovered to being published.

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    Do you know of any reputable publisher having an acquisition editor? I would probably discard any such cold call, and think less of the journal for asking..
    – Arno
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 9:31
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    @Arno yes, have you never encountered one before? I'd have thought they're quite common, e.g. they write invitations to submit, they write to conferences, etc.
    – Allure
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 10:23
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    @Allure Such spams are quite common, yes. The question would be if there is anything among that spam that is not fake or predatory.
    – Dirk
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 10:42
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    @DirkLiebhold It happens, the sender identifies himself or herself as a representative of [big name publisher]. Have you seriously not seen these emails before? That's surprising to me.
    – Allure
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 11:34
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    @Allure in my field at least all respectable publication venues have way more submissions than they could ever publish. So if a journal would need to go around begging for submissions that's a huge red flag.
    – Maeher
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 17:12

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