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ResourcesResearch IntegrityThe “problem” of predatory publishing remains a relatively small one and should not be allowed to defame open access – LSE Impact Blog (Tom Olijhoek and Jon Tennant | September 2018)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

The “problem” of predatory publishing remains a relatively small one and should not be allowed to defame open access – LSE Impact Blog (Tom Olijhoek and Jon Tennant | September 2018)

Published/Released on September 25, 2018 | Posted by Admin on October 15, 2018 / , , , , , ,
 


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A recent investigation led by an international group of journalists raised concerns over the scale of the problem of deceptive publishing practices, with many researchers of standing and reputation found to have published in “predatory” journals. However, while the findings of this investigation garnered significant media attention, the robustness of the study itself was not subject to the same scrutiny. To Tom Olijhoek and Jon Tennant, the profile afforded to investigations of this type causes some to overstate the problem of predatory publishing, while often discrediting open access publishing at the same time. The real problem here is one of education around questionable journals, and should not distract from more urgent questions around the shifting scholarly ecosystem.

Writing about the scale of questionable publishing Tom Olijhoekand Jon Tennant suggest the relative scale of the problem isn’t as bad as some science reporters suggest, but that doesn’t mean it’s not having an impact that is concerning. We agree. There are plenty of open access publishers which have high editorial standards and there are some large and supposedly reputable publishers that sometimes feel like they are running an expensive protection racket.

Full disclosure: Tom Olijhoek is Editor-in-Chief of DOAJ and Jon Tennant is the founder of the Open Science MOOC.
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Imagine you want to investigate the quality of restaurants. You know beforehand there are bad restaurants. So you set up your investigation by going to a number of bad restaurants of bad reputation. What do you find? You find that a number of restaurants are really bad, an inevitable conclusion. You even find that people of standing and reputation have visited these restaurants on occasion.
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Would the conclusion here be that all restaurants are bad? Several investigations of this kind have looked into the problem of “predatory” or “questionable” publishers, the most famous being the heavily criticised and deeply flawed “sting operation” by John Bohannon in Science magazine. In science speak, this is called doing an experiment without an appropriate control group, usually sufficient for research to be desk rejected for being fundamentally flawed.

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