Page 7 - IDEA Study 2 2017 Predatory journals in Scopus
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The business model of so-called “predatory” scholarly journals is based on a paid open-
access publication model: the publisher does not charge for subscription, but receives
money directly from the authors. As a result, the content is accessible for free to anyone.
However, this model entails a conflict of interests that undermines the credibility
of scholarly publishing. Authors are motivated to pay to have their work published for
the sake of career progression or obtaining points in research evaluation systems that
count the number of research outputs but not consider their quality. In return,
fraudulent publishers turn a blind eye to limitations of the submitted papers during peer
review. Predators' primary goal is to generate income from authors' fees. The worst
of them simply fake peer review and print anything for money, without scruples.

The open-access publication model is not at fault per se, however. Many scholars are
in favour of this model, because they are frustrated by the fact that a handful
of publishing houses control the majority of top journals and make excessive profits by
charging subscription fees from those who wish to read their work. Libraries often pay
these subscriptions using public funds, academic research is almost entirely financed by
governments, and peer review is usually performed by scholars for free. In addition,
expensive subscriptions hinder access of some researchers, as well as the wider public, to
the research results. New journals based on open-access could be a solution. Problems
occur when organizations that publish the open-access journals do not care about
upholding the principles of peer review, but are driven solely by financial profits.

Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, has done pioneering work
in identifying fraudulent practices in scholarly open access publishing. On his blog he
maintains two regularly updated lists of “potential, possible, or probable” predators:
i) a “list of standalone journals”, which contains individual journals suspected
of predatory practices that are likely to exist independently of any publishing house; and
ii) a “list of publishers”, which highlights questionable publishers, most of which print
multiple journals. Beall adds journals and publishing houses to these lists on the basis
of elaborated criteria, which take into account among other aspects the journals'
editorial procedures, their management and their compliance with ethical standards.3

3 Beall’s blog went off-line reportedly due to legal reasons on January 15th, 2017. It is not clear whether and
when the blog is coming back. In our view, this makes it even more pertinent to bring new evidence
on predatory publishing.

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