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.”

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.