“1. This paper is not comparing the right journals (part 1). PNAS/MS/PLOS ONE is not the right comparison. Need to evaluate Elsevier’s PLOS ONE-like journals, Scientific Reports (Nature), G3 (GSA), PeerJ – other mega journals. Is it a PLOS ONE signal or something common to these journals?
2. This paper is not comparing the right journals (part 2). PNAS and MS are not general biology journals. PNAS publishes physics. PNAS has a massive rejection rate. Different world. I have no idea what the journal of Management Science is, but I would be highly surprised if they were getting the same DNA analysis papers as PLOS ONE. It may very well be that if you compare to other journals, subscription and open access, which take similar papers, the activity of the editors might be the same as at PLOS ONE.
3. Out of 7,000 PLOS ONE editors, this paper flagged issues with very few, focusing on 10 unusual ones. What if you look at 7,000 academic editors of subscription journals? Would you find problems with 10, 20, 100?
4. This paper is looking at editor activity. It is not looking at quality and soundness of typical papers in PLOS ONE. PLOS requires sharing of data, unlike others. PLOS requires sharing of raw Western blots, unlike others. PLOS requires and ensures many things while handling submissions in a way that all journals should but often do not. It is possible that an average paper in PLOS ONE is more reliable than an average paper at many other subscription non-mega-journals .
6. This paper’s abstract starts with “PLOS ONE has relied on a single-tier editorial board comprised of ?7000 active academics, who thereby face conflicts of interest relating to their dual roles as both producers and gatekeepers of peer-reviewed literature.” Excuse me. That has nothing to do with PLOS ONE or open access: every society journal with academic editors is precisely this.
7. Speaking of conflict of interest – this paper accuses the Public Library of Science of mismanagement with its title “Megajournal mismanagement: Manuscript decision bias and anomalous editor activity at PLOS ONE”; it is a flawed attack on PLOS ONE, published in an Elsevier journal. How is that okay?
8. The person that sent it to you wrote, “For those of you who have submitted articles to PLOS, or are thinking of it. Interesting but unfortunate editorial practices…” That is a statement against PLOS Biology, PLOS Genetics, etc – none of which are subject to this study. This study focuses on PLOS ONE, but even there, I am not sure if there is a signal of anything specific to the journal, as I highlight above….”