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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.

For discussions of predatory open access, see here and here.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I couldn’t agree more that these scams are among the worst developments accompanying the rise of OA. For the same reason, it’s important to name and shame the offenders, drive them out of business, and keep them from damaging the reputation of OA itself and its honest providers. Can you name the publisher offering one-click appointments to reviewer, editorial board member, or editor-in-chief?

    August 13, 2011
  2. Hello to anyone who passes this way. Re. Peter’s comment and query, he and I talked about it via email and agreed that there is enough uncertainty in the specific case that I was thinking about that it did not make sense to name them. That said, there are plenty of unambiguously bad actors out there and it certainly does make sense to name them (as several chroniclers of the phenomena have been doing). Folks who care about these issues are directed to the many resources that Peter maintains, including the SPARC Open Access Newsletter and and materials available from his Open Access Overview .

    August 19, 2011

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