I have just been invited to contribute to a scholarly encyclopedia that advertises itself as "open access," and they want me to pay about $1,000 for the privilege of publishing with them. Normally, scholarly encyclopedias pay authors for the hassle of writing articles that are not peer reviewed and not very valuable (for scholarship or for career building). A typical deal gets the author X amount of dollars (I've seen between $50 and $2,000 for encyclopedia entries), or twice that amount in books published by the press.
This encyclopedia is called "Urban Planning," published by "Intech," a Croatian company. They claim to have an editorial board of experts, but their listing of editorial boards includes fields like biology, engineering, and medicine, nothing in urban studies or social sciences. Their website gives these reasons to publish with them:
- High quality publications
- High impact and visibility
- Worldwide readership
- No copyright transfer
- Efficient publishing process
- Free access to research
* NOTE - I did this for once for an "anti-Wikipedia" article. The Wikipedia entry on the Aztecs was quite bad, almost beyond redemption, and the people who worked on it were defensive and hostile to my involvement. So I wrote a summary of Aztec culture and posted it from my home page. Later a Wikipedia editor contacted me and praised my summary. He claimed he was prevented from using it, however, since it did not have an official affiliation or citation! I guess wrong information from amateurs is fine for Wikipedia, but not correct information from scholars.