A Note on Predatory Open Access Publishing
One of the worst developments in the emergence of open access as a set of practices and goals for the progressive reform of scholarly communication is the emergence of new commercial firms that are combining the worst traits of open access strategy, vanity publishing, automation of editorial and production tasks, and a predatory approach to meeting the publishing “needs” of foolish and/or desperate-to-be-published scholars and would-be scholars. Typical is the email that I received recently from a firm that included a section where I could click a link through which I could become not just an author with this publisher but could become a reviewer, an editorial board member, and even the Editor-in-Chief of a new journal. Such firms are, or hope to become, cash cows via author fees. One sign of such a firm is the announcement of a large number of not-yet-extant journal titles spanning a wide range of fields almost randomly. These vaporware journals are often announced before the identity of an associated journal editor is established. Another simple sign is the frequency of typos in communications and on websites. Lots of typos. Open access is too important for the scholarly community to become distracted by these marginal cases. Beware.