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….”

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….”

Research published in pay-and-publish journals won’t count: UGC panel | India News,The Indian Express

“Suggesting sweeping reforms to promote the quality of research in India, a UGC panel has recommended that publication of research material in “predatory” journals or presentations in conferences organised by their publishers should not be considered for academic credit in any form.

They include selection, confirmation, promotion, appraisal, and award of scholarships and degrees, the panel has suggested. The committee, which submitted its 14-page report to the UGC recently, has also recommended changes in PhD and MPhil programmes, including a new board for social sciences research….

Last week, the UGC launched the Consortium of Academic and Research Ethics (CARE) to approve a new official list of academic publications….”

International observatory targets predatory publishers | Times Higher Education (THE)

“A coalition of scientists, funders, publishing societies and librarians believes that the formation of an international observatory to study predatory journals will lead to improved advice on how to tackle them.

The initiative aims to fill the void left by the closure three years ago of Jeffrey Beall’s blacklist of predatory publishers. Since then, many others have set up their own blacklists and checklists, but there is “a lack of unity across the community about what predatory journals are”, said Agnes Grudniewicz, assistant professor at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.

The coalition’s biggest achievement so far is to create a consensus definition of predatory journals. It defines predatory journals and publishers as “entities that prioritise self-interest at the expense of scholarship” and “are characterised by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggregate and indiscriminate solicitation practices”….

Creating an international observatory – potentially funded by research funders, charities, publishers and research institutions – was a less contentious solution than relying on blacklists or “whitelists” of approved providers, said Dr Grudniewicz. Research led by Michaela Strinzel, from the Swiss National Science Foundation, found that 34 journals listed as predatory by Professor Beall appeared on an approved list of titles run by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), while 31 DOAJ titles were deemed predatory by subscription service Cabells….”

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

Abstract:  In a recent publication in the journal Science of the Total Environment, Sonne et al. (2020) highlight how Open Access journals and associated fees may limit the production and flow of knowledge. Sonne et al. (2020) also illustrate how the pressure to publish has accelerated the proliferation of predatory journals and has, in some cases, led to the use of fictious data which may increase the public’s distrust of science. The paper also discusses how researchers in poor countries may be left behind by the Open Access initiative of publishing houses due to a lack of funding to cover publication fees. Thus, Sonne et al. (2020) make a valuable contribution to the debate on Open access versus Paywall publishing practices, but several inconsistences and omissions are highlighted by this paper.

 

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

Abstract:  In a recent publication in the journal Science of the Total Environment, Sonne et al. (2020) highlight how Open Access journals and associated fees may limit the production and flow of knowledge. Sonne et al. (2020) also illustrate how the pressure to publish has accelerated the proliferation of predatory journals and has, in some cases, led to the use of fictious data which may increase the public’s distrust of science. The paper also discusses how researchers in poor countries may be left behind by the Open Access initiative of publishing houses due to a lack of funding to cover publication fees. Thus, Sonne et al. (2020) make a valuable contribution to the debate on Open access versus Paywall publishing practices, but several inconsistences and omissions are highlighted by this paper.