What is the problem of predatory journals?
Medical writer Ivan Oransky, co-founder of the blog Retraction Watch and Editor-in-Chief of the autism research news website Spectrum, speaks about the difficulties of assessing the quality of peer review and of retraction, the process of publication withdrawal of articles that display flawed or erroneous data. He offers advice for non-specialist readers of scientific literature.
Another terrific interview of Ivan Oransky, this time reflecting on retractions (of dodgy science), questionable publishers and the damage they do to the body of the scientific record. Ivan has great insight into these matters and an important perspective. This is a useful read for researchers (of all experience levels), RIAs and support staff.
People have tried to define what makes a journal ‘predatory’; does it charge too much, does it charge too little, does it look ‘professional’, does it follow certain standards…However, you can check all those boxes and still be a lousy journal.
The key question is: Is the peer review process robust? Does it actually improve manuscripts and lead to the rejection of terrible manuscripts? To me those are the only things that matter. I don’t care how much you charge, I don’t care what your website looks like (as long as it’s accessible), or how long you’ve been in business.