Predatory publishing has been the subject of much heated debate and conjecture. Panagiotis Tsigaris and Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, argue that predatory publishing still remains under-scrutinized, enigmatic and in need of effective collective solutions. Without clearer and stronger ethical standards in scholarly publishing, they argue that responses to predatory publishing will continue to be uncoordinated and ultimately unsuccessful.
This great LSE Impact Blog piece provides a great discussion about questionable publishers, how it is we find our selves in this situation and why it is that we have a solid definition of the type of publishers we want to urge researchers away from. Some researchers have felt that a publication that is slow to respond to alleged misconduct as being a useful indicator that they are predatory. While we agree, such a delay is not a good look, there can be quite reasonable explanations for a delay. We have included links to 18 related items.
The academic publishing industry exists to help find a home for valid research, but it also finds itself dealing with the massive market of millions of rejected papers. As a consequence, many academics turn to a pay-to-publish scheme, or publish their work in weak scholarly venues. Awareness of the issue of “predatory” journals or publishers, which evolved in a rapidly expanding publishing market of research activity and disruptive technology, was raised by Jeffrey Beall, via his blog and two blacklists, one for stand-alone open access (OA) journals and another for OA publishers. However, opacity related to listing criteria, false entries, apparent discrimination, lack of information literacy, the exclusive targeting of the OA movement, as well as legal threats, all eventually led to the demise of that blog by Beall himself.
Blacklists and whitelists are fallible and risky because they carry false positives, i.e., for blacklists some entries might have been correctly judged as “predatory”, but others might not have. Possibly unaware of the risks of error in such lists, risk-averse scholars may have avoided valid small start-up OA publishers due to the blacklisting stigma. Some perfectly legitimate OA publishers may have closed as a result. Despite these false entries, hundreds of papers have appeared in academic journals warning academics of the threats of “predatory” publishing. However, scholars are still unable to clearly define what “predatory” is. This uncertainty has produced unintended consequences: unsubstantiated accusations, mass profiling, hype and spin, wild estimates of the “predatory” publishing market, or using questionable research in order to make questionable claims of rewards for publishing in “predatory” journals. Risks of the “predatory” label have thus not been efficiently assessed and proposed responses have, as a result, been limited. Meanwhile, the public loses trust in science.