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Predatory Journals FEATURE

Predatory publishers represent the extreme of these weaknesses in the gold open-access model. They exploit the model for their own profit and aim to earn as much money from authors as they can, with readers almost completely left out of the equation. I also think that – over the long term – many of the predatory publishers will prove to be ephemeral. Many are one-man operations, seeking only immediate income. They are not sustainable and will cease to exist sooner or later.

What effect does the changing geography of scholarship have on predatory practices? The geographical location of a publisher’s headquarters is not a criterion for determining whether the publisher is predatory. Deceit and lack of transparency, however, are indeed predatory criteria. I think we have more ‘British’ journals published outside of the UK than we do within it. If publishers lie about their true locations or they don’t reveal them, I think it’s likely that they are lying about other things and withholding other important information.

What are your thoughts on the trends towards open access more generally? I love free food, free beer, and free scholarly articles. Who doesn’t? However, I do get emails from scholars around the world complaining about the article processing charges. They bemoan the fact they have no grant funding and can’t afford the fees, and no waivers are available to them. Yes, there are platinum journals that are open access and charge no fees to publish, but these free-to-publish OA journals have become rather competitive. Recently I’ve observed that there are

many emerging businesses aimed at scholarly authors. There are editing and proofreading services,

illustration services, offers a cover-letter peer-review

services, and I have even found a company that

writing service

(for the letter that accompanies an article submission). Authors who use these services will have a competitive advantage over those who don’t. Money on the author side will increasingly play a role in determining what science gets published in the top journals and what is relegated to the others. The role of merit is decreasing.

What are your predictions for the future of predatory publishers and journals? At this point, I see no end to predatory publishers. They are growing in number and here to stay. In addition, more scholarly publishing-related scams are emerging. In my blog, I’ve documented what I call misleading metrics, companies that formulate and sell bogus impact factors to predatory publishers.

These publishers then use the numbers to fool potential authors into thinking their journals have legitimate impact factors, a strategy that increases article submissions and therefore revenue.

I’ve also documented journal hijackings, in which unknown perpetrators create a bogus website for a legitimate journal, send out massive amounts of spam, and accept all papers submitted, pocketing the APCs. OA-enabled corruption, apparently, has

no end. FURTHER INFORMATION Scholarly Open Access blog

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