“Notwithstanding the fact that the OA model was well intentioned, it has lately lost credibility, because of a meteoric rise of ill-credentialed publishers, often with mal-intent of amassing money, taking to the OA model of publishing. They either fake or go through a very cursory peer review, and the rigour of a diligent editorial over-sight is conspicuous by its absence. Moreover, there is no transparency even in the constitution of the editorial board, which is quite often populated with individuals with doubtful, and even dubious, credentials. Most of these, to use a rather pejorative term—‘Predatory journals’, solicit articles and authors fall prey to these constant solicitations, even at the cost of paying exorbitant fees, in their quest to be able to meet the requirements, and beat deadlines, for promotions or to justify their application for grants and fellowships. Both, the processing times and the rejection rates in these journals are extremely low, as business economics supersede the quality metrics of the journal. Larger the number of articles accepted, greater is the profit margin, and therefore it requires no great shakes of intelligence to realise that there are very few, if at all any, rejections from these ‘Predatory OA journals’. A lot of editors too want to go OA to improve upon the impact factor (IF) of their journal, which is dependent on the citations that the articles get. OA articles tend to get more citations, not always because of the quality, but more often due to the increased visibility, as compared to those articles which are published in scholarly subscription journals, but are hidden behind a pay wall….
No matter, what new models of publishing evolve, we need a greater transparency and regulation of publication of OA journals. ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’, says an age-old adage. Therefore, even authors should be eternally vigilant of the scope for dubious practices and must check the credibility of the journal before submitting their hard-earned and valuable scientific accomplishments. Though there is a DOAJ, most of us ignore to check the veracity of the journals before submitting our research manuscripts. It would thus behove us to be mindful of unethical practices around and guard against falling in the trap of getting published through money power, of affording prohibitively hefty publishing fees. It not only gets a bad press, but more importantly evokes and propagates a negative feeling of guilt and loss of self-esteem—indeed a heavy price, worth not affording for an ill-gotten publication!
To answer the conundrum we started with, Open access—is it the way forward, the jury is out. What say you?”