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.”

What is open-access publishing and what it means for the forensic enterprise – ScienceDirect

“Currently, two journals in the forensic science realm publish as Open Access, Forensic Science International: Synergy and Forensic Science International: Reports. Forensic Science International: Synergy welcomes significant, insightful, and innovative original research with the aim of advancing and supporting forensic science while exceeding its expectations for excellence. By being freely available to anyone, we seek to promote and support open discourse across diverse areas of interest, avocation, and geography. Papers are invited from all forensic sciences and influencing disciplines, including but not limited to the humanities, life sciences, social sciences, and the law….”

New resource for books added to Think. Check. Submit. | Think. Check. Submit.

“Further to our announcement in October, the Steering Committee of Think. Check. Submit. is delighted to announce a new addition to its resources: a checklist for authors wishing to verify the reliability and trustworthiness of a book or monograph publisher.

Drawing on existing expertise from within the group and from experiences of our newest partner, OAPEN, the checklist for books offers sound advice along the lines of the recommendations already offered by the journal checklist….”

Faculty knowledge and attitudes regarding predatory open access journals: a needs assessment study | Swanberg | Journal of the Medical Library Association

Abstract:  Objective: The purpose of predatory open access (OA) journals is primarily to make a profit rather than to disseminate quality, peer-reviewed research. Publishing in these journals could negatively impact faculty reputation, promotion, and tenure, yet many still choose to do so. Therefore, the authors investigated faculty knowledge and attitudes regarding predatory OA journals.

Methods: A twenty-item questionnaire containing both quantitative and qualitative items was developed and piloted. All university and medical school faculty were invited to participate. The survey included knowledge questions that assessed respondents’ ability to identify predatory OA journals and attitudinal questions about such journals. Chi-square tests were used to detect differences between university and medical faculty.

Results: A total of 183 faculty completed the survey: 63% were university and 37% were medical faculty. Nearly one-quarter (23%) had not previously heard of the term “predatory OA journal.” Most (87%) reported feeling very confident or confident in their ability to assess journal quality, but only 60% correctly identified a journal as predatory, when given a journal in their field to assess. Chi-square tests revealed that university faculty were more likely to correctly identify a predatory OA journal (p=0.0006) and have higher self-reported confidence in assessing journal quality, compared with medical faculty (p=0.0391).

Conclusions: Survey results show that faculty recognize predatory OA journals as a problem. These attitudes plus the knowledge gaps identified in this study will be used to develop targeted educational interventions for faculty in all disciplines at our university.

Conflict between Open Access and Open Science: APCs are a key part of the problem, preprints are a key part of the solution

“Subscription-based publishing business models inhibit open scholarly communication by making consumers of scientific outputs pay to access findings. Open access business models promote open communication, but the popular Article Processing Charge (APC) model is not perfect. APC’s can be a burden for under-resourced authors and, most critically, the model creates incentives for journals to publish as many outputs as possible. This open access business model conflicts with another theme of the broader open science movement—to improve rigor and credibility of research. Preprints solve this dilemma. Preprinting makes almost all papers freely available at very low cost. 


Wait a second.   

The problem with APCs is that it incentivizes journals to publish as much as possible, whatever the quality; so the solution is to publish everything, whatever the quality?    

Yes, exactly.    

With preprinting, publishing is a relatively trivial act. Authors need only meet modest moderation criteria for their preferred preprint service. When most anything can be published, publication recedes as the key incentive. What takes its place? Evaluation. Journals have historically confounded publication with evaluation. If the paper meets the evaluation criteria, then it is published. Therefore, publication is the act that signals credibility for authors’ work and evaluation—peer review—is an impediment to achieving that reward. …”

Predatory-journal papers have little scientific impact

“Predatory journals are those that charge authors high article-processing fees but don’t provide expected publishing services, such as peer review or other quality checks. Researchers and publishers have long voiced fears that these practices could be harming research by flooding the literature with poor-quality studies.

But the authors of the analysis, posted to the preprint server arXiv on 21 December1, say their findings suggest papers in predatory journals have “very limited readership among academics”, and therefore have little effect on science….”

Comments on “Factors affecting global flow of scientific knowledge in environmental sciences” by Sonne et al. (2020) – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  There are major challenges that need to be addressed in the world of scholarly communication, especially in the field of environmental studies and in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Recently, Sonne et al. (2020) published an article in Science of the Total Environment discussing some of these challenges. However, we feel that many of the arguments misrepresent critical elements of Open Access (OA), Plan S, and broader issues in scholarly publishing. In our response, we focus on addressing key elements of their discussion on (i) OA and Plan S, as well as (ii) Open Access Predatory Journals (OAPJ). The authors describe OA and Plan S as restricting author choice, especially through the payment of article-processing charges. The reality is that ‘green OA’ self-archiving options alleviate virtually all of the risks they mention, and are even the preferred ‘routes’ to OA as stated by both institutional and national policies in Denmark. In alignment with this, Plan S is also taking a progressive stance on reforming research evaluation. The assumptions these authors make about OA in the “global south” also largely fail to acknowledge some of the progressive work being done in regions like Indonesia and Latin America. Finally, Sonne et al. (2020) highlight the threat that OAPJs face to our scholarly knowledge production system. While we agree generally that OAPJs are problematic, the authors simultaneously fail to mention many of the excellent initiatives helping to combat this threat (e.g., the Directory of Open Access Journals). We call for researchers to more effectively equip themselves with sufficient knowledge of relevant systems before making public statements about them, in order to prevent misinformation from polluting the debate about the future of scholarly communication.


Articles in ‘predatory’ journals receive few or no citations | Science | AAAS

“Six of every 10 articles published in a sample of “predatory” journals attracted not one single citation over a 5-year period, according to a new study. Like many open-access journals, predatory journals charge authors to publish, but they offer little or no peer review or other quality controls and often use aggressive marketing tactics. The new study found that the few articles in predatory journals that received citations did so at a rate much lower than papers in conventional, peer-reviewed journals.

The authors say the finding allays concerns that low-quality or misleading studies published in these journals are getting undue attention. “There is little harm done if nobody reads and, in particular, makes use of such results,” write Bo-Christer Björk of the Hanken School of Economics in Finland and colleagues in a preprint posted 21 December 2019 on arXiv.

But Rick Anderson, an associate dean at the University of Utah who oversees collections in the university’s main library, says the finding that 40% of the predatory journal articles drew at least one citation “strikes me as pretty alarming.” …”

The naïveté of Academia: How Plan S could let pseudoscientific and predatory publishers take advantage of researchers

“We are, in general, supporters of Creative Commons – in many ways it is the basis of all scientific work. Within science itself the right to quote is mostly sufficient to be able to see further, standing on the shoulders of giants.

The ideals behind CC publishing are thus great, but we believe they are a bit naive in regard to the society we live in, and many of the actors in this society – including anti-science actors. We believe that the current models of CC publishing promoted by Plan S make it possible for scientists to become useful idiots for for instance pseudoscientific and predatory publishers….”