A Guardian investigation, in collaboration with German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk, reveals the open-access publishers who accept any article submitted for a fee
A vast ecosystem of predatory publishers is churning out “fake science” for profit, an investigation by the Guardian in collaboration with German publishers NDR, WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin has found.
While we think the term questionable publishers is more accurate than predatory publishers, and this The Guardian piece doesn’t tell us anything new, it is a useful sumation of the situation and how we got here. It also aludes to the complexity that is often missed when we quickly classify a publisher. A challenge that could be put to all publishers is whether it’s reputable for them to profit from the labours of authors and peer reviewers without the publisher paying them for their work.
But the vast majority of those articles skip almost all of the traditional checks and balances of scientific publishing, from peer review to an editorial board. Instead, most journals run by those companies will publish anything submitted to them – provided the required fee is paid.
To demonstrate the lack of peer review, Svea Eckert, a researcher who worked with NDR on the investigation, successfully submitted an article created by the joke site SCIgen, which automatically generates gibberish computer science papers. The paper was accepted for discussion at a Waset conference, which Eckert attended and filmed for NDR.