Publication Charges Associated with Quality Open Access (OA) Publishing and Its Impact on Low Middle Income Countries (LMICs), Time to Reframe Research Policies

Abstract:  Dissemination of the scientific literature is as paramount as scientific studies. Scientific publishing has come a long way from localized distribution of few physical copies of journal to widespread and rapid distribution via internet in the 21st century. The evolution of open excess (OA) publishing which has rapidly evolved in last two decades has its heart at the right place with the ultimate goal being timely, and rapid distribution of published scientific work to a wider scientific community around the world and thus ultimately promoting scientific knowledge in global sense. However, quality OA publishing of cancer research involve an average publishing fee of around 1,500 USD which poses a challenge for Low middle income countries (LMICs), where per capita income is low. This has led to deterioration of science in LMICs in the form of publication in Cheap OA predatory journals for sake of securing academic promotions as well as authors ending up paying exorbitant publishing charges out of pocket to get their quality scientific work published. In countries like India and other LMICs, the funding agencies and institution have so far not addressed this problem. Here we assess the framework of open access publishing in LMICs like India and what are the steps which can be taken to facilitate open access publishing in LMICs. 

 

View of The UGC-CARE initiative: Indian academia’s quest for research and publishing integrity | First Monday

Abstract:  This paper discusses the reasons for emergence of predatory publications in India, engendered by mandates of higher educational institutions: that require stipulated number of research publications for employment and promotions. Predatory journals have eclipsed the merits of open access publishing, compromised ethical practices, and left the research community groping for benchmarks of research integrity and publication ethics. To fight back the menace of predatory publications, University Grants Commission, India has established “Consortium for Academic Research and Ethics” (UGC-CARE) in 2018 to promote and benchmark research integrity and publication ethics among the Indian academia. The present paper discusses the UGC-CARE initiative, its structure, objectives and specifically, “UGC-CARE Reference List of Quality Journals” (UGC-CARE list) and finally, the challenges it faces.

 

Journal citation reports and the definition of a predatory journal: The case of the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) | Research Evaluation | Oxford Academic

The extent to which predatory journals can harm scientific practice increases as the numbers of such journals expand, in so far as they undermine scientific integrity, quality, and credibility, especially if those journals leak into prestigious databases. Journal Citation Reports (JCRs), a reference for the assessment of researchers and for grant-making decisions, is used as a standard whitelist, in so far as the selectivity of a JCR-indexed journal adds a legitimacy of sorts to the articles that the journal publishes. The Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) once included on Beall’s list of potential, possible or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers, had 53 journals ranked in the 2018 JCRs annual report. These journals are analysed, not only to contrast the formal criteria for the identification of predatory journals, but taking a step further, their background is also analysed with regard to self-citations and the source of those self-citations in 2018 and 2019. The results showed that the self-citation rates increased and was very much higher than those of the leading journals in the JCR category. Besides, an increasingly high rate of citations from other MDPI-journals was observed. The formal criteria together with the analysis of the citation patterns of the 53 journals under analysis all singled them out as predatory journals. Hence, specific recommendations are given to researchers, educational institutions and prestigious databases advising them to review their working relations with those sorts of journals

Efficiency of “Publish or Perish” Policy—Some Considerations Based on the Uzbekistan Experience

Abstract:  Researchers from Uzbekistan are leading the global list of publications in predatory journals. The current paper reviews the principles of implementation of the “publish or perish policy” in Uzbekistan with an overarching aim of detecting the factors that are pushing more and more scholars to publish the results of their studies in predatory journals. Scientific publications have historically been a cornerstone in the development of science. For the past five decades, the quantity of publications has become a common indicator for determining academic capacity. Governments and institutions are increasingly employing this indicator as an important criterion for promotion and recruitment; simultaneously, researchers are being awarded Ph.D. and D.Sc. degrees for the number of articles they publish in scholarly journals. Many talented academics have had a pay rise or promotion declined due to a short or nonexistent bibliography, which leads to significant pressure on academics to publish. The “publish or perish” principle has become a trend in academia and the key performance indicator for habilitation in Uzbekistan. The present study makes a case for re-examining the criteria set by the Supreme Attestation Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for candidates applying for Ph.D. and D.Sc. as well as faculty promotion requirements in the light of current evidence for the deteriorating academic performance of scholars. View Full-Text

 

Under pressure, Uzbek researchers flood academia with nonsense | Eurasianet

“Anyone tracking scholarship on Central Asia is sure to be swamped by Uzbek research in unreputable publications

A new paper has found why: Under pressure from Uzbekistan’s government, academics are succumbing to predatory journals – publishers that, for a fee, overlook best practices like peer review or editing. Many of the researchers are forced to publish far more often than feasible if the bar were higher, and the quality shows: Uzbek academics are global leaders in spreading research that some scholars would explicitly call “bullshit.”

“Publish or perish”: It’s a global problem among academics, with eye-opening salience in Uzbekistan, find Bahtiyor Eshchanov of the Center for Economic Research and Reforms in Tashkent and his three Uzbek co-authors in a new paper in Publications, a peer-reviewed journal about scholarly publishing….”

Characteristics of scholars who review for predatory and legitimate journals: linkage study of Cabells Scholarly Analytics and Publons data | BMJ Open

Abstract

Objectives To describe and compare the characteristics of scholars who reviewed for predatory or legitimate journals in terms of their sociodemographic characteristics and reviewing and publishing behaviour.

Design Linkage of random samples of predatory journals and legitimate journals of the Cabells Scholarly Analytics’ journal lists with the Publons database, employing the Jaro-Winkler string metric. Descriptive analysis of sociodemographic characteristics and reviewing and publishing behaviour of scholars for whom reviews were found in the Publons database.

Setting Peer review of journal articles.

Participants Reviewers who submitted peer review reports to Publons.

Measurements Numbers of reviews for predatory journals and legitimate journals per reviewer. Academic age of reviewers, the total number of reviews, number of publications and number of reviews and publications per year.

Results Analyses included 183 743 unique reviews submitted to Publons by 19 598 reviewers. Six thousand and seventy-seven reviews were for 1160 predatory journals (3.31% of all reviews) and 177 666 reviews for 6403 legitimate journals (96.69%). Most scholars never submitted reviews for predatory journals (90.0% of all scholars); few scholars (7.6%) reviewed occasionally or rarely (1.9%) for predatory journals. Very few scholars submitted reviews predominantly or exclusively for predatory journals (0.26% and 0.35%, respectively). The latter groups of scholars were of younger academic age and had fewer publications and reviews than the first groups. Regions with the highest shares of predatory reviews were sub-Saharan Africa (21.8% reviews for predatory journals), Middle East and North Africa (13.9%) and South Asia (7.0%), followed by North America (2.1%), Latin America and the Caribbean (2.1%), Europe and Central Asia (1.9%) and East Asia and the Pacific (1.5%).

Conclusion To tackle predatory journals, universities, funders and publishers need to consider the entire research workflow and educate reviewers on concepts of quality and legitimacy in scholarly publishing.

Dudley | The Changing Landscape of Open Access Publishing: Can Open Access Publishing Make the Scholarly World More Equitable and Productive? | Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

Abstract:  Almost 50% of scholarly articles are now open access in some form. This greatly benefits scholars at most institutions and is especially helpful to independent scholars and those without access to libraries. It also furthers the long-standing idea of knowledge as a public good. The changing dynamics of open access (OA) threaten this positive development by solidifying the pay-to-publish OA model which further marginalizes peripheral scholars and incentivizes the development of  sub-standard and predatory journals. Causal loop diagrams (CLDs) are used to illustrate these interactions.

 

Jourchain: using blockchain to avoid questionable journals | SpringerLink

Abstract:  Scholarly publishing currently is faced by an upsurge in low-quality, questionable “predatory/hijacked” journals published by those whose only goal is profit. Although there are discussions in the literature warning about them, most provide only a few suggestions on how to avoid these journals. Most solutions are not generalizable or have other weaknesses. Here, we use a novel information technology, i.e., blockchains, to expose and prevent the problems produced by questionable journals. Thus, this work presented here sheds light on the advantages of blockchain for producing safe, fraud-free scholarly publishing.

 

Signs of divisiveness, discrimination and stigmatization caused by Jeffrey Beall’s “predatory” open access publishing blacklists and philosophy – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  Jeffrey Beall, a US librarian, coined the term “predatory publishing” specifically to describe a movement or phenomenon of open access (OA) journals and publishers that he and others believed displayed exploitative and unscholarly principles. Using a blog to transmit those ideas, and profiling specific cases using blacklists, one of the most polemic aspects of Beall’s blog was its tendency to attract and incite academic radicalism. Beall targeted both publishers and standalone journals, but how he precisely determined that an OA journal or a publisher was predatory was in many cases an ambiguity. Beall’s deficient and highly subjective criteria, as well as those blacklists’ incapacity to clearly distinguish low quality OA publishers from predatory ones, may have negatively impacted the operations of several Beall-blacklisted OA journals and publishers. Freedom of speech that embraces prejudice, via Beall’s blog, and the establishment of “predatory” blacklists, are enhanced discriminatory ideologies that continue to be carried downstream from Beall to and by other like-minded individuals and groups who proliferate academic divisiveness and may also be formalizing and institutionalizing a culture of discriminative philosophies by cloning Beall’s blacklists and encouraging their continued use.

Commentary: The publication pandemic

“The rise of OA and the megajournals has turned out to be a lucrative model for publishing houses.1,2 But is it good for the scientific community as a whole? Opinions on this differ from field to field, with the more translational fields, like biology and medicine, taking a more enthusiastic stance and more fundamental fields, like mathematics and physics, a more skeptical one. (See the commentary by Jason Wright in Physics Today, February 2020, page 10, and reference 3.)

There is also a noticeable generational difference of opinion. Some younger scientists view the trend toward OA scientific journals more favorably than their older colleagues do. …”

EVALUATION OF OPEN-ACCESS JOURNALS IN OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY – Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada

Abstract:  A retrospective observational study was conducted to evaluate open-access journals in obstetrics and gynaecology, published between 2011 and 2019. Journals were classified based on their registration in open-access journal directories. Of 176 journals, 47 were not registered. Journals registered in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) demonstrated good overall quality, and their journal metrics were significantly higher than those of non-registered journals or journals registered in other directories. The lack of editor names and indexing information on a journal’s website are the most distinctive features of non-registered journals. Non-registration in an open-access journal directory indicates a lack of transparency and may ultimately indicate that a journal is predatory.

 

 

The Quality of Statistical Reporting and Data Presentation in Predatory Dental Journals Was Lower Than in Non-Predatory Journals

Abstract:  Proper peer review and quality of published articles are often regarded as signs of reliable scientific journals. The aim of this study was to compare whether the quality of statistical reporting and data presentation differs among articles published in ‘predatory dental journals’ and in other dental journals. We evaluated 50 articles published in ‘predatory open access (OA) journals’ and 100 clinical trials published in legitimate dental journals between 2019 and 2020. The quality of statistical reporting and data presentation of each paper was assessed on a scale from 0 (poor) to 10 (high). The mean (SD) quality score of the statistical reporting and data presentation was 2.5 (1.4) for the predatory OA journals, 4.8 (1.8) for the legitimate OA journals, and 5.6 (1.8) for the more visible dental journals. The mean values differed significantly (p < 0.001). The quality of statistical reporting of clinical studies published in predatory journals was found to be lower than in open access and highly cited journals. This difference in quality is a wake-up call to consume study results critically. Poor statistical reporting indicates wider general lower quality in publications where the authors and journals are less likely to be critiqued by peer review. 

 

Awareness of predatory journals and open access publishing among orthopaedic and trauma surgeons – results from an online survey in Germany | BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

Along with emerging open access journals (OAJ) predatory journals increasingly appear. As they harm accurate and good scientific research, we aimed to examine the awareness of predatory journals and open access publishing among orthopaedic and trauma surgeons.

Methods

In an online survey between August and December 2019 the knowledge on predatory journals and OAJ was tested with a hyperlink made available to the participants via the German Society for Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery (DGOU) email distributor.

Results

Three hundred fifty orthopaedic and trauma surgeons participated, of which 291 complete responses (231 males (79.4%), 54 females (18.6%) and 5?N/A (2.0%)) were obtained. 39.9% were aware of predatory journals. However, 21.0% knew about the “Directory of Open Access Journals” (DOAJ) as a register for non-predatory open access journals. The level of profession (e.g. clinic director, consultant) (p =?0.018) influenced the awareness of predatory journals. Interestingly, participants aware of predatory journals had more often been listed as corresponding authors (p <?0.001) and were well published as first or last author (p <?0.001). Awareness of OAJ was masked when journal selection options did not to provide any information on the editorial board, the peer review process or the publication costs.

Conclusion

The impending hazard of predatory journals is unknown to many orthopaedic and trauma surgeons. Early stage clinical researchers must be trained to differentiate between predatory and scientifically accurate journals.

“No Publication Favelas! Latin America’s Vision for Open Access” by Monica Berger | ACRL 2021 presentation

by Monica Berger, CUNY New York City College of Technology

Abstract: Open access was intended to be the great equalizer but its promise has not come to fruition in many lower-income countries of the Global South. Under-resourcing is only one of the many reasons why these scholars and publishers are marginalized. In order to examine inequality in our global scholarly communications system, we can compare a negative and a positive outgrowth of this imbalance. Predatory publishing represents a a weak imitation of traditional, commercial journal publishing. In contrast, Latin America’s community-based, quality scholarly infrastructure is anti-colonial. It can be argued that Latin America’s publishing infrastructure represents one solution to predatory publishing. As the future of open access is debated, it is critical that we look to Latin America as we support new models that reject legacy commercial journal publishing and support bibliodiversity.

Jeffrey Beall infamously called Brazil’s SciELO a “publishing favela” or slum. Yet Latin America represents an important exception to the problem of underdevelopment of scholarly communications in the Global South. In order to begin to better understand the marginalization of the Global South and Latin America’s success, we need to unpack the history of open access, its overemphasis on the reader as opposed to the author, and how notions of development influenced its discourse. This focus on the reader is neo-Colonialist, positioning scholars from the Global South as “downloaders” and not “uploaders,” whose scholarship is peripheral.

Lacking alternative publishing options, predatory publishing, or amateurish, low quality publishing, exploited this gap. In its pathetic imitation of international, corporate publishing, predatory publishing is neo-Colonial and a form of “faux” open access where subaltern authors, editors, and publishers poorly imitate Global North corporate publishing. Predatory publishing is a sad simulacra with real world damage. Since predatory publishing is overwhelming based in the Global South and many of its authors based in the Global South, it tarnishes the reputation of all scholarship from less developed countries. In contrast, predatory authorship and publishing are rare in Latin America.

Latin America is an exemplar of sustainable and humane open access. Heather Morrison deemed Latin American as a “long-time peerless leader in open access.” The advent of Plan S, a rapid flip to open access, is accelerating the co-option of open access by large, commercial publishers predicating a variety of negative outcomes. In contrast, the Latin American concept of bibliodiversity represents an important alternative model. No one size fits all and a local vision governs. Bibliodiversity interrogates the presumption that all scholarship must be English-language. It also values indigenous and local knowledge as well as lay readers. Redalyc and SciELO include measures for research collaboration. Various regional scholarly organizations cooperate, sharing expertise, providing training in editorial and technical best practices. This cooperation has expanded to a global scale. The Confederation of Open Access Repositories and SPARC are partnering with LA Referencia and others, expanding Latin America’s vision globally, generating a meaningful alternative model for open access.

Comments

Slides with talk transcript and sources as presented at the Association of College and Research Libraries conference, ACRL 2021: Ascending into an Open Future, held virtually, April 16, 2021.

Indonesia should stop pushing its academics to chase empty indicators – Nikkei Asia

“An assessment system that predominantly evaluates research performance based on journal output and citations is steering academics from developing countries like mine to chasing quantity over quality. And being exploited while doing so.

Researchers in Indonesia are the second most likely in the world to publish in dubious journals that print articles for a fee without proper scientific peer review, a process where several experts in the field review the merit of the research, according to a new study by economists Vit Machacek and Martin Srholec.

 

These predatory journals prey on academics whose career progressions, and therefore salary increase, are determined by credit points. They exploit the processing fees that authors pay to make articles open to the public. They pocket the payment, an average of $178, an amount close to the basic salary of an entry-level lecturer in a state university in Indonesia, without facilitating proper peer review. The papers published by predatory journals are often low-quality, with typographical and grammatical errors….

In addition to the predatory journal problem, the metric also discourages science collaboration. As the metric values article count, academics who want to turn out several journal articles from a data set has an incentive to hold on to them rather than sharing them for other scientists to analyze….”