Open access depredatory journals

7 Dec
Joan MV Pons

As soon as it has been published and identified with an email address, it will not come as a surprise to receive a lot, but I mean a lot, of emails that often invite one to publish in what are apparently scientific journals (by name), to participate in congresses or conferences on subjects that seem of interest or to join as a member of some board of editors. These emails come in constantly and which I always mark as junk mail so as not to waste more time on them.

And it is true that this type of business, which is purely that, has proliferated in recent times largely due to the inherent zeal of the human species for lining one’s pockets, but also perhaps because of the great proliferation of researchers and research institutes. There is a lot of money at stake and it is well-known, that with minimal effort, one ends up publishing anything that one desires. If editors of journals in the past strived for readers and subscribers, now in addition to these open access journals, what they are looking for are columnists, people who publish in their pages …. in exchange for a small (and not so small) fee. There is no need to talk about the advantages of these open access journals and how some of them have attained a pretty high impact factor within a short period of time. Here the impact factor is a correct measure because it gives an approximation of the citations the articles receive which are published in these journals; it is a mistake, we know, to use the impact factor of the journal as an approximate measure or substitute (proxy or surrogate) for the value of an article.

Jeffrey Beal, a librarian, is the person who introduced this term and who elaborates and updates a list of journals periodically that can fit in to this  typology. According Wikipedia’s definition, those considered as predatory journals are those open access publications that stem from a business model based on the exploitation of open access publications by means of charging a publishing fee to the authors without providing the editing and publishing services of journals considered as legitimate (be they open access or not). Beall’s List up to December 2016 – a good sample of how Wikipedia updates itself in some subjects – had some 1,155 journals included.

The same universal cybernetic encyclopaedia provides a series of associated characteristics with this type of predatory journal (also hunters, that hunt to survive).

Post written by Joan MV Pons

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