“A colleague was just invited to join the editorial board of an OA journal he hadn’t heard of, and asked my advice on how to evaluate it. Here’s an anonymized version of my reply….”
“I am writing to you about digital preservation, but this is a scholarly communication blog. So, let’s delve into what preservation has to do with open access. SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) defines open access as ‘the free, immediate, online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to uses these articles fully in the digital environment.‘ The simple answer to what digital preservation has to do with access is that we are not only advocating for open access in the here and now but also for continued access in years to come.
In the traditional sense of open access, I will encourage you to pay attention to what open access publishers say about what they intend to do with the work that you submit to them. LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) and CLOCKSS (Controlled LOCKSS) are examples of programs designed to provide publishers with digital preservation tools and networks to ensure the safety of their content. If you are submitting your articles to a publisher who is openly involved with LOCKSS or CLOCKSS, then you can be reasonably assured that they have your best preservation interests at heart. But they’re not the only tools available to publishers, so be a good investigator when you explore your publication possibilities.
This introduction is the first part of two posts about digital preservation and access. Look out for the next post with four simple rules for incorporating digital preservation into your personal research routine.”
In 2014 over 400,000 articles were published in about 8000 journals that many regard as predatory. The term “predatory publishers” was first used by Jeffrey Beall of the University of Colorado, who until recently documented this phenomenon on his blog and in an annual list. Although this term, and variants such as “predatory journals”, are widely used, they have been criticised. One problem is that the term predator may cover a spectrum of organizations, business activities and publications ranging from the amateurish but genuine to the deliberately misleading.
“In January, Egypt is going to launch the Egyptian Knowledge Bank. Anybody with an Egyptian IP-address will be able to get free access to academic journals, ebooks and other publications that normally only would be available to a small circle of individuals that are affiliated with well-funded universities.”
“Pisanski and three colleagues concocted the fake application—supported by a cover letter, a CV boasting phoney degrees, and a list of non-existent book chapters — and sent it to 360 peer-reviewed social science publications.
In the peer-review process, journals ask outside experts to assess the methodology and importance of submissions before accepting then.
The journals were drawn equally from three directories: one listing reputable titles available through subscriptions, with a second devoted to ‘open access’ publications.
The third was a blacklist — compiled by University of Colorado librarian Jeffrey Beall — of known or suspected ‘predatory journals’ that make money by extracting fees from authors.
The number of these highly dubious publications has exploded in recent years, number at least 10,000.
Indeed, 40 of the 48 journals that took the bait and offered a position to the fictitious Anna O. figured on Beall’s list, which has since been taken offline.
The other eight were from the open-access registry. No one made any attempt to contact the university listed on the fake CV, and few probed her obviously spotty experience.
One journal suggested ‘Ms Fraud’ organise a conference after which presenters would be charged for a special issue.
‘Predatory publishing is becoming an organised industry’, said Pisanski, who decided not to name-and-shame the journals caught out by the sting.
Their rise ‘threatens the quality of scholarship’, she added.
Even after the researchers contacted all the journals to inform them that Anna O. Szust did not really exist, her name continued to appear on the editorial board of 11 — including one to which she had not even applied.
None of the journals from the most select directory fell in the trap, and a few sent back tartly worded answers.”
“Open access advocates want universities to be prepared to “pull the plug” on their subscription deals with big publishers, in a sign of an escalation in tactics to open up more research.
As the German academy remains locked in a dispute with Dutch publishing giant Elsevier, those campaigning for open access struck a combative tone at a conference in Berlin, which also heard frustrations that the move away from closed journals was not proceeding fast enough.
Gerard Meijer, director of the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin, who led Dutch universities in their protracted negotiations with Elsevier in 2015, told delegates that in order not to be “held hostage” by publishers during talks, “complete opting-out of the contracts had to be a realistic option. And we are prepared for that.”
The aim was to give publishers two options: “either to go along in the transformation [to open access] or to face cancellation of the contract”, he told delegates at OA2020 on 22 March.