Abstract: The Harbingers project, which studied the working lives and scholarly communication behaviour of early career researchers (ECRs) over 6 years, found evidence of changing attitudes to questionable (grey) publishing. Thus, whilst predatory publishers have come to be treated with equanimity, as a problem easily dealt with, there was growing concern with the high volume of low-grade research being generated, some of which by ‘grey’ open access publishers for want of a better name (questionable and non-standard have also been used). With the recent announcement (2023) that the government of Malaysia (a Harbinger case country) is not providing Article Processing Charges (APCs) for articles published by MDPI, Frontiers and Hindawi on quality and cost grounds, we set out to see what lay behind this decision and whether other countries exhibited similar concerns. Information was obtained by asking Harbinger country leads, mostly embedded in research universities, from Australia, China, France, Israel, Malaysia, Poland, Spain, UK, and the US to conduct desk research to establish what is happening. It was found that countries, like ECRs, appear to have formed into two different camps, with China, Poland, France, and Spain joining Malaysia in the camp of those who felt concerned about these publishers and the UK, US, Israel, and Australia belonging to the camp of the unconcerned. Explanations for the split are furnished and whether the Malaysian position will prevail elsewhere is considered. Finally, in this paper, we have aired issues/concerns, rather than provided robust, systematic data. For a systematic study we shall have to wait for the fuller study we are hoping to conduct.
“Over the past year, special issues of dozens of Hindawi journals have been exposed as being systematically manipulated, resulting in the delisting of more than 20 Hindawi journals from major journal databases, as well as the retraction of more than 2,700 papers by the publisher. This “unexpected event” at Hindawi also led to a slump in profits for the parent company, John Wiley & Sons. However, in a recent statement, the president, CEO & director of Wiley, Brian Napack, stated that Hindawi was now ready for revitalization and reinstatement of the special issue program. In my opinion, Wiley has not dealt adequately with the integrity issues that led to the problem, but appears focused on growth through the medium of special issues. This raises questions as to whether Hindawi’s operation is sustainable in the long term. …”
“Hindawi will cease publishing four journals that it identified as “heavily compromised by paper mills.”
The open access publisher announced today in a blog post that it will continue to retract articles from the closed titles, which are Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine, Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience, the Journal of Healthcare Engineering, and the Journal of Environmental and Public Health….”
“Nearly two dozen journals from two of the fastest growing open-access publishers, including one of the world’s largest journals by volume, will no longer receive a key scholarly imprimatur. On 20 March, the Web of Science database said it delisted the journals along with dozens of others, stripping them of an impact factor, the citation-based measure of quality that, although controversial, carries weight with authors and institutions. The move highlights continuing debate about a business model marked by high volumes of articles, ostensibly chosen for scientific soundness rather than novelty, and the practice by some open-access publishers of recruiting large numbers of articles for guest-edited special issues.
The Web of Science Master Journal List, run by the analytics company Clarivate, lists journals based on 24 measures of quality, including effective peer review and adherence to ethical publishing practices, and periodically checks that listed journals meet the standards. Clarivate calculates impact factors for a select subset of journals on the list. The company expanded quality checks this year because of “increasing threats to the integrity of the scholarly record,” Web of Science’s Editor-in-Chief Nandita Quaderi says. The company removed 50 journals from the list, an unusually large number for a single year, and Clarivate said it is continuing to review 450 more, assisted by an artificial intelligence (AI) tool….”
“Nineteen journals from the open-access publisher Hindawi were removed from Clarivate’s Web of Science Monday when the indexer refreshed its Master Journal List.
The delistings follow a disclosure by Wiley, which bought Hindawi in 2021, that the company suspended publishing special issues for three months because of “compromised articles.” That lost the company $9 million in revenue….
Delisting 50 journals at once is more than usual for Clarivate, and may be the beginning of a larger culling. Quaderi wrote that the company developed an AI tool “to help us identify outlier characteristics that indicate that a journal may no longer meet our quality criteria.” The tool flagged more than 500 journals at the beginning of this year, according to her blog post, and Web of Science’s editors continue to investigate them….”
“Hindawi, the open access publisher that Wiley acquired in 2021, temporarily suspended publishing special issues because of “compromised articles,” according to a press release announcing the company’s third quarter financial results….
In Wiley’s third quarter that ended Jan. 31, 2023, the suspension cost Hindawi – whose business model is based on charging authors to publish – $9 million in lost revenue compared to the third quarter of 2022. The company cited the pause as the primary reason its revenue from its research segment “was down 4% as reported, or down 2% at constant currency and excluding acquisitions,” the press release stated….
The announcement follows scrutiny from sleuths, and the publisher retracting hundreds of papers for manipulated peer review last September, after Hindawi’s research integrity team began investigating a single special issue.
The notorious paper with capital Ts as error bars was also published in a special issue of a Hindawi journal before it was retracted in December….”
“In 2019, Hindawi took part in the price transparency framework pilot run by Information Power on behalf of cOAlition S. Three years later and the coalition’s new Journal Comparison Service (JCS) is up and running. Hindawi is proud to be one of the publishers that has contributed data to this service. Taking part has helped us focus on the rigour of our own reporting system and has enabled us to give researchers greater choice when choosing a journal by giving more visibility to our services in our new and publicly available journal reports.
Only a few publishers took part in the pilot and the framework remains untested. It’s not yet clear how useful the JCS will be to the institutions who might want to access the service and use the data, or how the JCS will increase transparency about costs as well as pricing across the publishing industry more generally. In part, this is because it’s seen by some to provide an overly simplistic view of publishing. Compartmentalising publishing services into seven or eight different categories (see page 20 of the JCS guidance for publishers) inevitably constrains the many different and often overlapping services that publishers provide. In addition, limiting the price breakdown of these services into the percentage that each contributes to a journal’s APC also means that the real costs aren’t visible. There are also pragmatic reasons that make it very difficult for some publishers to collect data consistently, especially for those with large portfolios that operate on multiple platforms or have journal-specific workflows. Finally, fully open-access publishers who don’t have an APC business model can’t take part, even if they want to be more transparent. However, we believe the upsides are large. Hindawi has more than 200 journals in our portfolio and the following outlines a few of the ways we, and we hope those who contribute to and access our journals, are benefiting. Our focus is on the ‘Information Power’ framework for the JCS and on the ‘Journal Quality’ information specifically (columns P-Z in the template spreadsheet). This information relates to data on the journal workflow, especially peer review (such as timings and the no of reviewers involved). We know that there is a long way to go to make all publishing services transparent, but we are learning from our participation in the JCS and will continue to explore ways to improve transparency….”
After months of investigation that identified networks of reviewers and editors manipulating the peer review process, Hindawi plans to retract 511 papers across 16 journals, Retraction Watch has learned.
The retractions, which the publisher and its parent company, Wiley, will announce tomorrow in a blog post, will be issued in the next month, and more may come as its investigation continues. They are not yet making the list available.
Hindawi’s research integrity team found several signs of manipulated peer reviews for the affected papers, including reviews that contained duplicated text, a few individuals who did a lot of reviews, reviewers who turned in their reviews extremely quickly, and misuse of databases that publishers use to vet potential reviewers.
“We are delighted to launch Hindawi’s journal reports today. These reports, developed with the help of DataSalon, showcase a range of journal metrics about the different publishing services we provide for our journals. By exposing more detailed data on our workflows – from submission through peer review to publication and beyond – we are giving researchers, partners, and funders a clearer view of what’s under the ‘journal hood’. We are also raising greater awareness of less talked-about services, such as how we are helping to make the publication process more equitable and published articles more accessible and discoverable.
This is the first phase of our journal reports and detailed metrics are available by following the “see full report” link from the journal’s main page. In this first phase, our reports give greater insight into acceptance rates and decision times, but also the median time in peer review and the median number of reviews per article. Alongside traditional metrics, such as citations and article views, the reports also display maps of the geographic distribution of authors, editors, and reviewers.
The final section demonstrates how we make articles more accessible and discoverable. It takes advantage of data from Crossref’s participation reports, which we extracted from Crossref’s open API. The section includes the percentage of articles in the journal that are open access (i.e. 100%), and the proportion of corresponding authors with an ORCID ID. It also shows the extent to which abstracts and citations are open. Hindawi supports the initiative for open citations (I4OC) and we are also a founding organisation for the initiative for open abstracts (I4OA). Because our metadata is machine readable and openly available, it makes the articles we publish more discoverable than publishers who don’t make this information openly available. The infrastructure for Open Access is also a key building block of Open Science….”
“The OA Switchboard has developed quickly over the last couple of years and is starting to demonstrate the real value it can provide to our community, and we are excited to announce that Hindawi has now also successfully integrated with the OA Switchboard. Going forward, this will enable the OA Switchboard to send out notifications on our behalf to institutions/consortia and funders when a relevant article is published.
As an independent intermediary, OA Switchboard aims to simplify and streamline publication communications between research funders, institutions/consortia, and publishers by providing shared infrastructure, standards and back-office services that facilitate efficient tracking of publication-level metadata.
In 2018 a group of stakeholders, led by Hindawi’s former CEO Paul Peters, met in London to discuss potential challenges that could hinder the implementation of funder policies supporting open access publication – from these discussions, the OA Switchboard was born. The Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA) oversaw the process of bringing together key stakeholders across the industry, leading the project phase and launch as a stand-alone organization, and now ongoing support through a strategic partnership with OA Switchboard….”
ResearchGate and Hindawi Limited today announced a new agreement that will make all articles published in Hindawi’s open access journals available directly on the ResearchGate platform upon publication.
“Wiley recently announced the acquisition of leading open access publisher Hindawi. But what are the implications for open research, and how does the research community benefit? We talk to Liz Ferguson, Vice President of Open Research here at Wiley….”
“John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE:JWA) (NYSE:JWB) today announced the acquisition of Hindawi Limited, an innovator in open access (OA) publishing and one of the world’s fastest growing scientific research publishers, for a total purchase price of $298 million. The acquisition of Hindawi significantly increases Wiley’s position as a global leader in research by adding quality, scale and growth to the company’s open access publishing program.
Open access is a rapidly growing scholarly publishing model that allows peer-reviewed articles to be read and shared immediately, making important research broadly available. As a leader in open access publishing, Hindawi has played a critical role in advancing gold open access, an OA model in which validated articles are made immediately available for reading and re-use following the payment of a publication fee.
Hindawi, privately held and headquartered in London, has a robust portfolio of over 200 peer-reviewed scientific, technical, and medical journals, a highly efficient publishing platform, and a low-cost infrastructure. Wiley’s acquisition of Hindawi unlocks significant and profitable new growth by tapping deeper into the fast-growing OA market and by delivering innovative publishing services to researchers, societies, and institutions around the world. For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2020, Hindawi is projected to generate approximately $40 million in revenue with year over year growth of 50%….”
“Five Cambridge University Press journals will publish with Hindawi Limited under a collaborative agreement.
Beginning in January 2021 (with submissions open from September), the partnership will see Hindawi carry out editorial and production work on the journals using its open source publishing platform, Phenom. The journals will remain under Cambridge ownership. All five will be fully open access.
The five journals are Global Health, Epidemiology and Genomics, Genetics Research, Journal of Smoking Cessation, Wireless Power Transfer, and Laser and Particle Beams….”