How is open access accused of being predatory? The impact of Beall’s lists of predatory journals on academic publishing – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  The aim of this paper is to investigate how predatory journals are characterized by authors who write about such journals. We emphasize the ways in which predatory journals have been conflated with—or distinguished from—open access journals. We created a list of relevant publications on predatory publishing using four databases: Web of Science, Scopus, Dimensions, and Microsoft Academic. We included 280 English-language publications in the review according to their contributions to the discussions on predatory publishing. Then, we coded and qualitatively analyzed these publications. The findings show the profound influence of Jeffrey Beall, who composed and maintained himself lists of predatory publishers and journals, on the whole discussion on predatory publishing. The major themes by which Beall has characterized predatory journals are widely present in non-Beall publications. Moreover, 122 papers we reviewed combined predatory publishing with open access using similar strategies as Beall. The overgeneralization of the flaws of some open access journals to the entire open access movement has led to unjustified prejudices among the academic community toward open access. This is the first large-scale study that systematically examines how predatory publishing is defined in the literature.


Citations and metrics of journals discontinued… | F1000Research

Abstract:  Background: Scopus is a leading bibliometric database. It contains a large part of the articles cited in peer-reviewed publications. The journals included in Scopus are periodically re-evaluated to ensure they meet indexing criteria and some journals might be discontinued for ‘publication concerns’. Previously published articles may remain indexed and can be cited. Their metrics have yet to be studied. This study aimed to evaluate the main features and metrics of journals discontinued from Scopus for publication concerns, before and after their discontinuation, and to determine the extent of predatory journals among the discontinued journals.

Methods: We surveyed the list of discontinued journals from Scopus (July 2019). Data regarding metrics, citations and indexing were extracted from Scopus or other scientific databases, for the journals discontinued for publication concerns. 
Results: A total of 317 journals were evaluated. Ninety-three percent of the journals (294/317) declared they published using an Open Access model. The subject areas with the greatest number of discontinued journals were Medicine (52/317; 16%), Agriculture and Biological Science (34/317; 11%), and Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (31/317; 10%). The mean number of citations per year after discontinuation was significantly higher than before (median of difference 16.89 citations, p<0.0001), and so was the number of citations per document (median of difference 0.42 citations, p<0.0001). Twenty-two percent (72/317) were included in the Cabell’s blacklist. The DOAJ currently included only 9 journals while 61 were previously included and discontinued, most for ‘suspected editorial misconduct by the publisher’.
Conclusions: Journals discontinued for ‘publication concerns’ continue to be cited despite discontinuation and predatory behaviour seemed common. These citations may influence scholars’ metrics prompting artificial career advancements, bonus systems and promotion. Countermeasures should be taken urgently to ensure the reliability of Scopus metrics for the purpose of scientific assessment of scholarly publishing at both journal- and author-level.

Practical Advice for South Korean Medical Researchers Regarding Open-Access and Predatory Journals

Abstract: In recent decades, the volume of scholarly literature worldwide has increased significantly, and open-access publishing has become commonplace. These changes are even more dominant in South Korea. Comparing the periods of 1981-2000 and 2001-2020, the number of medical articles produced in Korea increased by 16.8 times on the Web of Science platform (13,223 to 222,771 papers). Before 1990, almost no open-access articles were produced in South Korea, but in the last 10 years open-access publications came to account for almost 40% of all South Korean publications on Web of Science. Along with the expansion of literature and the development of open-access publishing, predatory journals that seek profit without conducting quality assurance have appeared and undermined the academic corpus. In this rapidly changing environment, medical researchers have begun contemplating publication standards. In this article, recent trends in academic publishing are examined from international and South Korean perspectives, and the significance of open-access publishing and recent changes are discussed. Practical methods that can be used to select legitimate publishers, including open-access journals, and identify predatory journals are also discussed.

Comment on “Open is not forever: a study of vanished open access journals”

Abstract:  We comment on a recent article by Laakso et al. (arXiv:2008.11933 [cs.DL]), in which the disappearance of 176 open access journals from the Internet is noted. We argue that one reason these journals may have vanished is that they were predatory journals. The de-listing of predators from the Directory of Open Access Journals in 2014 and the abundance of predatory journals and awareness thereof in North America parsimoniously explain the temporal and geographic patterns Laakso et al. observed.


How reliable and useful is Cabell’s Blacklist ? A data-driven analysis

“In scholarly publishing, blacklists aim to register fraudulent or deceptive journals and publishers, also known as “predatory”, to minimise the spread of unreliable research and the growing of fake publishing outlets. However, blacklisting remains a very controversial activity for several reasons: there is no consensus regarding the criteria used to determine fraudulent journals, the criteria used may not always be transparent or relevant, and blacklists are rarely updated regularly. Cabell’s paywalled blacklist service attempts to overcome some of these issues in reviewing fraudulent journals on the basis of transparent criteria and in providing allegedly up-to-date information at the journal entry level. We tested Cabell’s blacklist to analyse whether or not it could be adopted as a reliable tool by stakeholders in scholarly communication, including our own academic library. To do so, we used a copy of Walt Crawford’s Gray Open Access dataset (2012-2016) to assess the coverage of Cabell’s blacklist and get insights on their methodology. Out of the 10,123 journals that we tested, 4,681 are included in Cabell’s blacklist. Out of this number of journals included in the blacklist, 3,229 are empty journals, i.e. journals in which no single article has ever been published. Other collected data points to questionable weighing and reviewing methods and shows a lack of rigour in how Cabell applies its own procedures: some journals are blacklisted on the basis of 1 to 3 criteria – some of which are very questionable, identical criteria are recorded multiple times in individual journal entries, discrepancies exist between reviewing dates and the criteria version used and recorded by Cabell, reviewing dates are missing, and we observed two journals blacklisted twice with a different number of violations. Based on these observations, we conclude with recommendations and suggestions that could help improve Cabell’s blacklist service.”

Problems With Open Access Publishing in Radiology : American Journal of Roentgenology : Ahead of Print (AJR)

Abstract:  OBJECTIVE. Open access publishing has grown exponentially and can be a means of increasing availability of scientific knowledge to readers who cannot afford to pay for access. This article discusses problems that can occur with open access and offers suggestions for ameliorating the problems facing radiology research because of poor-quality journals.

CONCLUSION. Open access literature has loosed an avalanche of information into the radiology world, much of which has not been validated by careful peer review. To maintain academic integrity and serve our colleagues and patients, radiologists need to guard against shoddy science published in deceptive journals.

Problematizing ‘predatory publishing’: A systematic review of factors shaping publishing motives, decisions, and experiences – Mills – – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  This article systematically reviews recent empirical research on the factors shaping academics’ knowledge about, and motivations to publish work in, so?called ‘predatory’ journals. Growing scholarly evidence suggests that the concept of ‘predatory’ publishing’ – used to describe deceptive journals exploiting vulnerable researchers – is inadequate for understanding the complex range of institutional and contextual factors that shape the publication decisions of individual academics. This review identifies relevant empirical studies on academics who have published in ‘predatory’ journals, and carries out a detailed comparison of 16 papers that meet the inclusion criteria. While most start from Beall’s framing of ‘predatory’ publishing, their empirical findings move the debate beyond normative assumptions about academic vulnerability. They offer particular insights into the academic pressures on scholars at the periphery of a global research economy. This systematic review shows the value of a holistic approach to studying individual publishing decisions within specific institutional, economic and political contexts. Rather than assume that scholars publishing in ‘questionable’ journals are naïve, gullible or lacking in understanding, fine?grained empirical research provides a more nuanced conceptualization of the pressures and incentives shaping their decisions. The review suggests areas for further research, especially in emerging research systems in the global South.


‘At-risk articles’: the imperative to recover lost science

“As it stands currently, there is no way for authors to retract an article, acknowledge its prior ‘publication’ and submit it for open peer review on a preprint server. However, the limitation is social and political, not technical, and so I urge disciplinary communities and publication stakeholders to think about the question of what to do with the at-risk research in their field. Rather than dismissing it or ignoring it, researchers must reframe how they think of this potentially valuable and at-risk research and consider it as an issue the disciplinary community must try to solve.”

Guest Post – Streaming Live – Oral Arguments in FTC v. OMICS – The Scholarly Kitchen

“At 9 a.m. (PST, GMT-8) on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is scheduled to stream live video of the oral arguments in Federal Trade Commission v. OMICS Group Inc., et al., from its website and YouTube channel. Members of the scholarly publishing community may enjoy watching judges and lawyers argue over the finer points of predatory journals, peer review, the impact factor, journal indexing, and article processing charges. Sessions generally last between 30 minutes and an hour. This blog post provides a preview of some of the arguments that will be presented….”

At-Risk Articles: Leveraging open infrastructure to recover and preserve the scholarly record

“It seems to me that there is a problem in scholarly publishing that it seems no one is really talking about. Consider that Articles that appear in questionable outlets are not indexed, they are not archived, they are not discoverable. And, should that publisher cease operations or neglect to maintain their servers? They are At Risk of being lost to the scholarly record. And moreover, this is potentially valuable research is at risk of being lost.”