US open access mandate must not benefit grifters | Times Higher Education (THE)

“I fully endorse the principle that publicly funded research should be freely available to everyone. But my recent experiences with open access “publishers” suggest we should take great care with how the mandate is implemented in practice.

I first became aware of so-called predatory publishers through their incessant email spamming despite oft-repeated requests to unsubscribe me. But after a paper of mine was rejected by several more mainstream journals, I decided to conduct a controlled experiment with the spammers….”

Nigeria tackles publishing in predatory journals

“Higher education institutions in Nigeria need to train academics to spot fraudulent journals, researchers say.

The researchers, members of the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS), noted this in a communique released to the public on 21 July after convening a roundtable discussion on 29 March to discuss fighting predatory academic practices….

Nigeria is one of the largest contributors to predatory journals, according to a 2015 study published in BMC Medicine. This was attributed to tight demands for academics to publish and a lack of resources to publish in high profile journals….”


The Private Side of Public Universities: Third-party providers and platform capitalism | UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education

Hamilton, L., Daniels, H., Smith, C., & Eaton, C. (2022). The Private Side of Public Universities: Third-party providers and platform capitalism. UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education. Retrieved from Abstract: The rapid rise of online enrollments in public universities has been fueled by a reliance on for-profit, third-party providers—especially online program managers. However, scholars know very little about the potential problems with this arrangement. We conduct a mixed methods analysis of 229 contracts between third-party providers and 117 two-year and four-year public universities in the US, data on the financing structure of third-party providers, and university online education webpages. We ask: What are the mechanisms through which third-party relationships with universities may be exploitative of students or the public universities that serve them? To what extent are potentially predatory processes linked to the private equity and venture capital financing structure of third-party providers? We highlight specific mechanisms that lead to five predatory processes: the targeting of marginalized students, extraction of revenue, privatization by obfuscation, for-profit creep, and university captivity. We demonstrate that contracts with private equity and venture capital financed third-party providers are more likely to include potentially problematic contract stipulations. We ground our findings in a growing body of work on “platform capitalism” and include recommendations for state universities, accreditors, and federal policy.  

Keep calm and carry on: moral panic, predatory publishers, peer review, and the emperor’s new clothes | Journal of the Medical Library Association

Abstract:  The moral panic over the impact of so-called predatory publishers continues unabated. It is important, however, to resist the urge to simply join in this crusade without pausing to examine the assumptions upon which such concerns are based. It is often assumed that established journals are almost sacrosanct, and that their quality, secured by peer review, is established. It is also routinely presumed that such journals are immune to the lure of easy money in return for publication. Rather than looking at the deficits that may be apparent in the practices and products of predatory publishers, this commentary invites you to explore the weaknesses that have been exposed in traditional academic journals but are seldom discussed in the context of predatory publishing. The inherent message for health and medical services staff, researchers, academics, and students is, as always, to critically evaluate all sources of information, whatever their provenance.


Implementation of promotion standards to discourage publishing in questionable journals: the role of the library – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  To discourage faculty members from publishing in questionable journals, tenure and promotion standards in which the librarians play an active role can been developed. These standards have been effective in terms of identifying publications in questionable outlets. However, we need to explore how these systems are perceived by the main actors in research, which are the researchers. This study explores the perception of the researchers at a university in Ghana who have been evaluated by a system implemented to discourage publishing in questionable publication outlets. We collected data using an online, largely qualitative questionnaire distributed to all faculty members that had applied for promotion since the implementation of the verification process. The results show that the majority of the faculty members are satisfied or very satisfied with the new tenure and promotion standards. There are differences across faculties, and this seems to be tied to concerns about the choice of publication outlets. Furthermore, the dissatisfied faculty members are concerned with the role of the library in the verification process whereas the satisfied trust the judgement of the librarians. We discuss implications of the results as well as future development of the standards.


The Price of Publishing: An Investigation of the Open Access… : Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Abstract:  Background: 

Open access publishing in plastic surgery has rapidly gained traction in the past decade. This study investigated the digital landscape of plastic surgery open access publishing.


This was a cross-sectional bibliometric investigation of plastic surgery–focused journals. Three publication models were investigated: subscription-only journals, hybrid journals offering both paywalled and open access publishing, and open access–only journals.


Eighty-two journals were investigated. In 2010, open access journals comprised 18 percent of all plastic surgery journals online, subscription journals comprised 79 percent, and hybrid journals comprised 3 percent. Conversely, in 2020, open access journals comprised 55 percent of all journals, hybrid journals comprised 45 percent, and there were no subscription-only journals. Multivariable linear regression adjusting for article type/content demonstrated that open access articles from hybrid journals [beta coefficient, 1.3; F(4, 18) = 790; p = 0.05] and high-quality open access journals [beta coefficient, 0.9; F(4, 19) = 738; p = 0.04] were significantly positively associated with number of full-text views. Although impact factor and article processing charges were positively correlated [Pearson correlation coefficient: r(25) = 0.39, p = 0.04] for open access publishing, some high-quality open access journals were found to offer fee waivers/free publishing. Lastly, level of evidence offered by articles from open access versus hybrid journals differed.


Overall, this study highlighted important distinctions between trustworthy and predatory journals offering open access publishing in plastic surgery. Open access publishing in trustworthy sources offers greater visibility and is not necessarily cost-prohibitive, but some open access journals can be limited in scope (i.e., less coverage of subspecialty topics) and quality of content. Study findings were used to generate recommendations for navigating open access publishing in plastic surgery.

Introducing level X in the Norwegian Publication Indicator | Nordic Perspectives on Open Science

Røeggen, Vidar. 2021. “Introducing Level X in the Norwegian Publication Indicator: Involving the Research Community When Evaluating Journals Operating in the Borderland Between Predatory and Reputable Practice”. Nordic Perspectives on Open Science, December.

By introducing the Norwegian Publication Indicator in 2004 Norway became part of an international development in which the allocation of basic funds to research institutions is increasingly linked to performance indicators (Dansk center for forskningsanalyse, 2014). Denmark and Finland have also implemented what is frequently labeled as “The Norwegian Model”. The model has inspired changes in similar national models in Flanders (Belgium) and Poland, and it is used for local purposes by several universities in Sweden and by University of Dublin, in Ireland (Sivertsen, 2018). The research community has been deeply involved in designing and adopting the model in Norway, and the annual processes evaluating journals depend on involvement by panels in every field of research. The indicator has an interactive webpage where researchers can communicate and discuss publication channels openly, and the final decisions made by panels when nominating journals to the highest level (level 2) are transparent and openly available at the webpage.

The indicator depends on information from a national registry of approved publication channels that is managed by The Directorate of Higher Education and Skills (HK-dir.). As of November 2021, The Norwegian register for scientific journals, series and publishers contains 26 127 journals at the basic level (level 1) and 2 193 journals at the highest level (level 2), and level 2 journals are identified by research panels in 84 different fields of research. Researchers can suggest new publication channels to the registry and these suggestions are examined according to our four criteria:

Journals/series must:

Be identified with a valid ISSN, confirmed by The International ISSN Register (demand from 2014)
Have an academic editorial board (or an equivalent) primarily consisting of researchers from universities, institutes or organizations that do research
Have established procedures for external peer review
Have a national or international authorship, meaning that maximum 2/3 of the authors can belong to the same institution

Publishers must:

Be organized in an editorial way to publish publications in accordance with the definition of a scientific publication
Have a scientific publishing program with external advisors and aiming for distribution to scholars and research institutions
Have a national or international authorship, meaning that maximum 2/3 of the authors can belong to the same institution

New suggestions are prepared by the secretariate at the register, and then finally approved by The National Board of Scholarly Publishing (NPU). So, the research community is deeply involved, both in the operations and further development of the indicator.

The secretariate at HK-dir. processes approximately 1 600 new proposals annually and NPU observe a new tendency in recent years: that an ever-increasing number of the incoming suggestions represents channels where there is uncertainty about approval or rejection. On the one hand, an examination of the available information on these journals’ webpages shows that the journals apparently satisfy our criteria. However, NPU sometimes identify ongoing discussion in the research community as to whether editorial practice is in accordance with how the journals describe their own routines. In addition, researchers often inform both NPU and the secretariate at HK-dir. about their own (bad) experience with a journal and ask us to investigate further.

Researchers often refer to these journals as “predatory journals” or the activity they represent as “predatory publishing”. But what does predatory publishing mean in 2021? The term has been co-opted to describe a range of activities including lack of rigorous peer review to exploitative publishing models (Hanson, 2021). Journals or publishers are not either predatory or representatives of high standards – they are rather on a continuum from predatory to high standards of research integrity and practice. Therefore, NPU discuss where to draw the line on this continuum.

Open Access as a Regulation of Scientific Information in Health – Information Practices and Knowledge in Health – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  This chapter aims to give an account of the regulations generated by Open Access and which today link the field of scientific communication with the field of Health. It addresses the way these regulations affect the publication and dissemination models of digital scientific information. The aim is to provide an account of the nature of these regulations and the issues they raise regarding scientific certification, regulations and issues that are crucial in Health. The evolution of the scientific publishing sector in the field of Health, subject to policy requirements, has therefore encouraged the development of the Gold model, and particularly the Gold Author-Pays model. It is no longer possible to address Gold Open Access journals without the phenomenon of predatory journals being included in the debate. Funding agencies very quickly began paying attention to the rise of Open Access.


Editorial misconduct: the case of online predatory journals


The number of publishers that offer academics, researchers, and postgraduate students the opportunity to publish articles and book chapters quickly and easily has been growing steadily in recent years. This can be ascribed to a variety of factors, e.g., increasing Internet use, the Open Access movement, academic pressure to publish, and the emergence of publishers with questionable interests that cast doubt on the reliability and the scientific rigor of the articles they publish.

All this has transformed the scholarly and scientific publishing scene and has opened the door to the appearance of journals whose editorial procedures differ from those of legitimate journals. These publishers are called predatory, because their manuscript publishing process deviates from the norm (very short publication times, non-existent or low-quality peer-review, surprisingly low rejection rates, etc.).

The object of this article is to spell out the editorial practices of these journals to make them easier to spot and thus to alert researchers who are unfamiliar with them. It therefore reviews and highlights the work of other authors who have for years been calling attention to how these journals operate, to their unique features and behaviors, and to the consequences of publishing in them.

The most relevant conclusions reached include the scant awareness of the existence of such journals (especially by researchers still lacking experience), the enormous harm they cause to authors’ reputations, the harm they cause researchers taking part in promotion or professional accreditation procedures, and the feelings of chagrin and helplessness that come from seeing one’s work printed in low-quality journals. Future comprehensive research on why authors decide to submit valuable articles to these journals is also needed.

This paper therefore discusses the size of this phenomenon and how to distinguish those journals from ethical journals.


Connecting Sustainable Development, Publishing Ethics, and the North-South Divide – The Scholarly Kitchen

“The divide between the North and the South in scholarly publishing is often discussed and studied. We have also made some progress in reducing this gap, for example, in accessing research (e.g., Research4Life brings many global publishers under one umbrella to support the Global South), in publishing research (e.g., open access (OA) journals offer article processing charge (APC) waivers and discounts to researchers of Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)), and in reducing geographical inequity (e.g., by publishing regional OA journals). Although we don’t often talk about the North-South divide in publishing ethics, a recent study shows a large variation in the awareness of academic integrity at the universities in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Developing countries’ organized battles against predatory journals can also be seen on some rare occasions….”

Seminar: Geopolitics of predatory academia: from predatory journals to mislocated centers of scholarly communication, 18 Feb 2022, 3pm (CET) | CWTS Leiden

This talk aims to show that the studies on knowledge production (both in the center and in the peripheries) can profit from discussions on predatory academia when they are reinterpreted in geopolitical terms.

I believe that the ongoing discussion on predatory publishing and organizing predatory conferences needs a fresh theoretical perspective to fully take the geopolitical dimension into account. The geopolitical nature of predatory academia is twofold. On the one hand, the discussions about predatory journals or conferences, are often biased against outlets produced in peripheral countries. On the other hand, many studies show that the negative effects of predatory publishing are significantly more damaging to peripheral areas of knowledge production than to central ones.

The current hierarchy of global science is likely to change, but today the center is still located in the US and some regions of Western Europe, because of large funding of science and historically created cultural hegemony which results in the domination of English in science. Because of this, various theoretical perspectives on predatory academia focus mainly on unethical business practices of journals published in English and conferences organized in English. At the same time, these perspectives have missed that some journals and conferences are labeled as predatory because they are illegitimate or invisible from the perspective of the central actors (institutions, researchers) whereas they are legitimized in the periphery due to its perceived connection to the center, for instance, by publishing in English.

My talk will consist of two parts. In the first part, I will present the results of my empirical research in the field of predatory academia: Dr. Fraud sting operation, the impact of Beall’s lists on investigating predatory journals, citation patterns including content-based analysis between impact-factor and predatory journals, and analysis of presenters from top-ranked universities at predatory conferences. In the other part, I will show how the concept of “mislocated centers of scholarly communication” allows better describe the mechanism of the emergence of predatory outlets and events. Moreover, it allows capturing such journals and conferences that are not classified as predatory (these are often Diamond Open Access journals, so their business model is not based on publishing as many articles as possible), but the quality of articles published there and editorial practices are at a level similar to predatory journals. I will argue that the existence of such journals as mislocated centers of scholarly communication is driven by various evaluation and incentive metrics-based systems.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) for Systematic Reviewers and other Researchers: Benefits, Confusions, and Need-to-Knows | by Farhad | Jan, 2022 | Medium

“DOI enhances the accessibility, discoverability, trustability, and interoperability of digital objects and serves the openness and visibility of professionally published content. While I am not a DOI expert, I know about it because I use it a lot in my profession. I believe DOI will play a significant role in the automation of literature reviews. More than it does now.

It is the responsibility of librarians, information specialists and other information professionals to raise awareness about the benefits of DOI. …”

Open Access Publishing: Issues and Way Forward – Predatory Journals and Conferences

“One of the major challenges the world has faced the past two years has been the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With scientists putting up lot of research on COVID, the World Health Organization (WHO) came up with a WHO: COVID-19 Literature on corona virus disease. This database provides a way for the general public, along with scientists, to check the scientific literature on COVID-19, in one place, and this also results in wider reach/dissemination.

However, we do not have a common database for other important research areas concerning the general public, such as “Cancer Research” or “Climate Change”. When we say open access, the main aim should be open science to all, and we need more such databases by international agencies like the United Nations to collate research articles on important areas such as the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, which should be the need of the hour. Such initiatives will help in the real dissemination of science to the general public, and give authors of important research contributions, the visibility they deserve. This will be unlike publishers asking authors to promote their articles and measuring them with their commercial metrics….”