Abstract: Here we present our view on the current Open Access debate, predatory journals and the on-going publication and promotion strategy of some countries and research institutions. We urge the world’s researchers, journals and grant holders in collaboration to carefully consider how best to ensure continuous high-quality scientific publications in the future in a way so that limited funding results in important data and information being unpublished.
“First and foremost, I want to be very clear: Elsevier fully supports open access….
In fact, my professional background is in applying technology to content to help professionals make better decisions. For example, working in the part of RELX that serves legal professionals, I’ve seen the powerful benefits of analytical services that are built on top of freely available content, such as case law. This is why I’m excited by the potential to create value for researchers by applying text-mining and artificial intelligence technologies to the entire corpus of peer-reviewed content. I understand and appreciate the role that open access can play in delivering that vision.
The question is not whether open access is desirable or beneficial — the question is how we get there. My takeaway from my discussions on the topic is that there are many points of view. Publishers are often blamed for not making enough progress, which I think is fair. But it would also be unfair not to recognize the lack of alignment within our communities about the best way forward, which is understandable as this is a multi-dimensional issue that requires substantial problem-solving and action to make progress.
I am a pragmatist, and I commit to working pragmatically with libraries and other stakeholders to achieve shared open access goals. Part of this means acknowledging obstacles where they exist and discussing them openly and objectively so that we can find solutions to overcome them. If we don’t, progress will continue to be slow. I feel optimistic given the extent of commitment to make progress. In that spirit, please allow me to share t some of the obstacles that I have learned about in the last nine months….”
Abstract: In this article we discuss the five yearly screenings for publications in questionable journals which have been carried out in the context of the performance-based research funding model in Flanders, Belgium. The Flemish funding model expanded from 2010 onwards, with a comprehensive bibliographic database for research output in the social sciences and humanities. Along with an overview of the procedures followed during the screenings for articles in questionable journals submitted for inclusion in this database, we present a bibliographic analysis of the publications identified. First, we show how the yearly number of publications in questionable journals has evolved over the period 2003–2016. Second, we present a disciplinary classification of the identified journals. In the third part of the results section, three authorship characteristics are discussed: multi-authorship, the seniority–or experience level–of authors in general and of the first author in particular, and the relation of the disciplinary scope of the journal (cognitive classification) with the departmental affiliation of the authors (organizational classification). Our results regarding yearly rates of publications in questionable journals indicate that awareness of the risks of questionable journals does not lead to a turn away from open access in general. The number of publications in open access journals rises every year, while the number of publications in questionable journals decreases from 2012 onwards. We find further that both early career and more senior researchers publish in questionable journals. We show that the average proportion of senior authors contributing to publications in questionable journals is somewhat higher than that for publications in open access journals. In addition, this paper yields insight into the extent to which publications in questionable journals pose a threat to the public and political legitimacy of a performance-based research funding system of a western European region. We include concrete suggestions for those tasked with maintaining bibliographic databases and screening for publications in questionable journals.
Abstract: Open Access is often considered as particularly beneficial to researchers in the Global South. However, research into awareness of and attitudes to Open Access has been largely dominated by voices from the Global North. A survey was conducted of 507 researchers from the developing world and connected to INASP’s AuthorAID project to ascertain experiences and attitudes to Open Access publishing. The survey revealed problems for the researchers in gaining access to research literature in the first place. There was a very positive attitude to Open Access research and Open Access journals, but when selecting a journal in which to publish, Open Access was seen as a much less important criterion than factors relating to international reputation. Overall, a majority of respondents had published in an Open Access journal and most of these had paid an article processing charge. Knowledge and use of self-archiving via repositories varied, and only around 20% had deposited their research in an institutional repository. The study also examined attitudes to copyright, revealing most respondents had heard of Creative Commons licences and were positive about the sharing of research for educational use and dissemination, but there was unease about research being used for commercial purposes. Respondents revealed a surprisingly positive stance towards openly sharing research data, although many revealed that they would need further guidance on how to do so. The survey also revealed that the majority had received emails from so called ‘predatory’ publishers and that a small minority had published in them.
“With more open-access journals making research articles free for people to view, some journals are charging authors publication fees to help cover costs. While some journals that do this are still peer-reviewed and credible, others are not and will publish lower quality work strictly for profit. The difference can be hard to tell, even to the most seasoned author….”
Abstract: Background: Predatory journals fail to fulfill the tenets of biomedical publication: peer review, circulation, and access in perpetuity. Despite increasing attention in the lay and scientific press, no studies have directly assessed the perceptions of the authors or editors involved.
Objective: Our objective was to understand the motivation of authors in sending their work to potentially predatory journals. Moreover, we aimed to understand the perspective of journal editors at journals cited as potentially predatory.
Methods: Potential online predatory journals were randomly selected among 350 publishers and their 2204 biomedical journals. Author and editor email information was valid for 2227 total potential participants. A survey for authors and editors was created in an iterative fashion and distributed. Surveys assessed attitudes and knowledge about predatory publishing. Narrative comments were invited.
Results: A total of 249 complete survey responses were analyzed. A total of 40% of editors (17/43) surveyed were not aware that they were listed as an editor for the particular journal in question. A total of 21.8% of authors (45/206) confirmed a lack of peer review. Whereas 77% (33/43) of all surveyed editors were at least somewhat familiar with predatory journals, only 33.0% of authors (68/206) were somewhat familiar with them (P<.001). Only 26.2% of authors (54/206) were aware of Beall’s list of predatory journals versus 49% (21/43) of editors (P<.001). A total of 30.1% of authors (62/206) believed their publication was published in a predatory journal. After defining predatory publishing, 87.9% of authors (181/206) surveyed would not publish in the same journal in the future.
Conclusions: Authors publishing in suspected predatory journals are alarmingly uninformed in terms of predatory journal quality and practices. Editors’ increased familiarity with predatory publishing did little to prevent their unwitting listing as editors. Some suspected predatory journals did provide services akin to open access publication. Education, research mentorship, and a realignment of research incentives may decrease the impact of predatory publishing.
“We set out to examine whether there is a definitive, curated list of journals that researchers can use when deciding on their publication venue. While some offer very good coverage, the short answer appears to be that no one index offers a definitive list.
Across all journals, there seems to be overlap of significant proportions of the mainstream indexes. However, fully OA journals present a more varied landscape. You need to combine multiple lists to round up a comprehensive list of curated fully OA journals.
Our analysis has combined over 100,000 ISSNs across over 65,000 titles and, we think it represents one of the most comprehensive round ups of the coverage of curated lists available….”
“Multiple studies indicate that open access research is significantly more likely to be cited than research published in non-open-access journals. There are two major open access models – those that charge authors to publish, and those funded under any of multiple other business models. Those charging authors are known as “gold open access”, and this article investigates the ethics of paying to publish. The primary concern is that objectivity in the peer-review process is compromised by profit motives. …”
The 2017 Sci?Hub judgement has, to date, proven unenforceable, and it appears that enforcing the 2019 OMICS judgement will similarly prove challenging.
Business developments and changing expectations over sharing digital content may also undermine the impact of the ongoing cases against ResearchGate and Georgia State University.
Stakeholders should consider these limitations when deciding how to resolve scholarly publishing disputes….”
“I’ve already complained about the slowness of progress. So I can’t pretend to be patient. Nevertheless, we need patience to avoid mistaking slow progress for lack of progress, and I’m sorry to see some friends and allies make this mistake. We need impatience to accelerate progress, and patience to put slow progress in perspective. The rate of OA growth is fast relative to the obstacles, and slow relative to the opportunities.”