On the problem of “predatory open-access publishers”

September 17, 2012

Jarosław Stolarski drew my attention to an article on the Nature News blog by Jeffrey Beall: Predatory publishers are corrupting open access. I’d not seen that specific article, but the issue of “predatory open access publishers” is well known — in fact, Beall himself maintains an excellent list of such publishers and a helpful set of criteria for recognising them.

For me, the key part of the article is this: “Scientific literacy must include the ability to recognize publishing fraud”. I absolutely agree. This applies as much to avoiding predatory OA publishers like Benthan Open as it does to avoiding valueless subscription journals like Chaos, Solitons and Fractals or the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine. In other words, this issue is nothing to do with OA: there always have been and always will be fraudulent journals and publishers alongside the good ones; and it always has been and always will be authors’ responsibility to avoid them and go to the good places instead.

Actually, I don’t have a huge amount of sympathy with authors who get scammed by these outfits. An article worth publishing already represents at least two to three months of solid work, often much more. What kind of author hands that much work over to a publisher or journal that he knows nothing about?


6 Responses to “On the problem of “predatory open-access publishers””

  1. Matt BK Says:

    Does it count as getting scammed if the article gets peer-reviewed and published, but you never paid anything to the journal?

  2. Mike Taylor Says:

    I don’t see how someone who’s not paid can have been scammed, unless it’s that he or she was duped into putting the work into a less than optimal venue.

  3. Sarah Says:

    Bell’s list is not accurate and is spreading false information about some reputable journals listed with DOAJ.

  4. Mike Taylor Says:

    Sarah, do you know of an alternative to Beall’s list? Could one be crowdsourced? I wonder if some kind of voting mechanism would give us a better list. Note, though, that merely being listed with DOAJ doesn’t guarantee anything.

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