Predatory journals: beware

This isn’t a post, so much as a link to a  valuable resource.

The world of open access has many benefits and opportunities, but not everyone is playing the game fairly, or ethically it seems.

Jeffrey Beall  is a librarian at Auraria Library, at the University of Colorado (Denver). The home page of his blog will present you with his latest posts, and a whole range of posts to link through.

He also has a list of what he has determined to be potential, possible or probably predatory publishers and a list of what he determines are potentially, possibly or probably predatory journals which should be read with due caution and respect for the caveats Beall places over the lists, as well as an understanding of the criteria applied in determining whether something is predatory or not.

In reposting this I am not endorsing the inclusions and exclusions in his lists. I am echoing the point that we all need to be careful in selecting the publishers and journals we publish through. And I applaud the open and transparent way in which Beall helps us be more informed in the decisions we make. This is murky, changing territory, and Beall’s web pages make explicit the grounds for their decisions, but also the common sense needed when referring to the information they provide. It is worth noting that Beall’s criteria include: the editor and staff, business management, integrity (spam history, validity of indexing claims etc), standards of practice – all pointers to things that we all need to consider: not just ‘do the aims and scope match my paper?’ and ‘will they accept it?’!

Note in particular the care Beall has taken in referring to ‘potential, possible or probable’ predatory publishers and journals. He is careful, rightly so, in framing what is in those lists.

I hope one day to revisit this issue in a full blog – it is a sign of the times we face in academia, and the complex intersections and tugs between commercialism, idealistic pursuit of knowledge, global inequalities, accountability, neoliberalism, and some of publishing’s perhaps dodgier corners!

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