Why you should avoid publishing/reviewing for Hindawi journals

As an editor for one of the open-access journals for tropical diseases, I’m extremely supportive of the open-access publishing model.  We recently had a very negative experience with one of the newer open-access journals — the Journal of Obesity, published by Hindawi.

Our paper was reviewed, and we were asked to provide a minor revision — REALLY minor —  2 simple clarifications and 1 formatting fix.  Only later, we received an email notifying us that the subject matter wasn’t suitable for their journal.  When I asked whether there was some mix-up, I received a simple apology, but again, that the subject matter wasn’t suitable. Our paper concerns the quantification of food environments.  None of the reviewers questioned the relevance of the paper to the journal. Indeed, I quote from the journal’s website: “Journal of Obesity is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original research articles, review articles, and clinical studies in all areas of obesity.” That’s the only sentence on the website — “all areas of obesity”.  It’s incomprehensible that food is unrelated to obesity.

Avoid Hindawi at all cost.  They’re just a waste of time.

It’s not just an inconvenience, but unprofessional to ask us to provide a revision and then later say that it’s not relevant to the journal.  What if this was time-critical subject matter?  We’ve lost an entire month with this journal.  It’s also a waste of reviewers time to have reviewed the paper if the editor didn’t think it was suitable subject matter.  AVOID.