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Medical Publishing and the Threat of Predatory Journals

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Title:
Medical Publishing and the Threat of Predatory Journals
Series Title:
Beall, Jeffrey. (2017). Medical Publishing and the Threat of Predatory Journals. International Journal of Women's Dermatology 2, 115-116. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijwd.2016.08.002
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Beall, Jeffrey
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Elsevier
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Journal Article

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Abstract:
You have probably received spam e-mail solicitations from previously unknown publishers inviting you to submit a manuscript to one of their journals, join an editorial board, or, perhaps, complete an ad hoc peer review of a scholarly manuscript. In fact, if you are like most researchers in the biomedical sciences, you have probably received such e-mails on a daily basis. Most of these spam e-mails come from what I have termed predatory publishers: low-quality publishers that want to exploit your expertise and your need to publish. Along with other academic librarians, I have been tracking predatory publishers and monitoring their evolution. The aim of my work has been to help researchers avoid becoming victims of these exploitative and dishonest publishers and to show how they are threatening research. In this article, I will describe predatory publishers, identify how they operate and hurt researchers and science, and show dermatology researchers how best to avoid them.
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Collected for Auraria Institutional Repository by the Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Jeffrey Beall.
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Published

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Auraria Institutional Repository
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Auraria Library
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Copyright [name of copyright holder or Creator or Publisher as appropriate]. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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PieceofMyMind MedicalpublishingandthethreatofpredatoryjournalsIntroduction Youhaveprobablyreceivedspame-mailsolicitationsfrompreviouslyunknownpublishersinvitingyoutosubmitamanuscripttoone oftheirjournals,joinaneditorialboard,or,perhaps,completeanad hocpeerreviewofascholarlymanuscript.Infact,ifyouarelike mostresearchersinthebiomedicalsciences,youhaveprobablyreceivedsuche-mailsonadailybasis.Mostofthesespame-mails comefromwhatIhavetermed predatorypublishers :low-qualitypublishersthatwanttoexploityourexpertiseandyourneedtopublish. Alongwithotheracademiclibrarians,Ihavebeentrackingpredatory publishersandmonitoringtheirevolution.Theaimofmyworkhas beentohelpresearchersavoidbecomingvictimsoftheseexploitative anddishonestpublishersandtoshowhowtheyarethreateningresearch.Inthisarticle,Iwilldescribepredatorypublishers,identify howtheyoperateandhurtresearchersandscience,andshowdermatologyresearchershowbesttoavoidthem. Theearly2000ssawtheemergenceoftheopen-accessmovement,asocialmovementthatarguedforandpromotedthetransition toopen-accesspublishingforacademicjournals.Underthesuccessful,subscriptionjournalpublishingmodel,librarysubscriptions werethechiefmethodto nancethepublicationofscholarlyresearch.Open-accessintroducedanewmethodof nancingjournals intheformofauthorfees.Inmostcases,withtheuseofthispublishingmethod,journalsarefreelyaccessible,andthepublishingcosts arecoveredbyfeeschargedtoauthorsuponacceptanceoftheirarticlesforpublication. Intheory,theideaisgreat:no-costaccessfreesacademicandmedicallibrariesfromhavingtopaysubscriptioncharges,andpublished articlesareaccessibletoanyone,anywhere,withinternetaccess.Indeed,therearemanyopen-accessjournalsusingtheauthor-pays modelthatareethicalandsuccessful.Althoughitdoeshaveweaknesses,themodelitselfisnottheproblem.Theproblemistheabuse oftheauthor-paysmodelforpro t,leadingtotheprofusionofpredatorypublishers.Thus,whiletheopen-accesspublishingmodelwas bornwithnobleintentions,manysuchinitiativeshaveunintended, negativeconsequences,andopen-accesspublishingisnoexception. Inthiscase,thedownsideisthebuilt-incon ictofinterestinherentintheopen-accesspublishingmodel.Publisherswhoemploythe modelgenerateincreasedrevenueiftheypublishmorepapers.This isgreatforthepublisherbutbadforscience.Thecon ictofinterest isinstarkcontrasttothedemandsofpeerreview,which,ifperformedhonestly,oftenresultsinpapersbeingrejectedforpublication.Marginalpublishersrealizedthispro tableweaknesssoon aftertheopen-accessmovementstartedandbegantoseekasmany manuscriptsaspossibleforpublicationtomaximizetheirincome.Realizingthis,Icoinedtheterm predatorypublisher ( Beall,2010 ). Predatorymedicalpublishers Frequently,whennewpredatory,open-accessmedicalpublishers appear,theylaunchwithalargenumberofjournals.Typically,they useatemplatetocreateahomepageforeachjournalandtryto haveonejournalforeachmajormedicalspecialty.Asaresult,many low-qualityandpredatoryopen-accesspublishersincludeadermatologyjournalamongtheirtitles. Thepredatorypublishersknowthatmedicalresearchersoften haveresearchgrantsandthattheyfrequentlyusethisfundingto payauthorfees.Thatiswhymedicalresearchersaretargetedbyso manyspame-mails:predatorypublisherswantashareoftheir grantmoney. Predatorypublishersoperatelikecounterfeitscholarlypublishers. Manypretendtobescholarlysocieties,associations,orinstitutes wheninreality,theyaremerelyaprivatelyheldmicrobusiness, oftenoperatedfromadwelling.Manyhidetheirbusinesslocations, orusevirtualof cecompaniestomakeitappearasiftheyare basedinanAnglophonecountry.Theypromiseafastpublishingprocess,andsomeevenoptionallychargeaseparatefeeforanexpedited reviewprocessofaweekortwo.Someaddresearchers'namesand universityaf liationstotheireditorialboardswithoutthepermission orknowledgeoftheseresearchers.Theytrytoexploitthenames andaf liationstoattractarticlesubmissions,whichistheirbread andbutter. Formuchofitshistory,sciencehasreliedonagentleman'sagreement( Beningeretal.,2016 )togovernthequalitycontrolofthecommunicationofscience.Aspartofthistacitbond,authorsagreedto carryoutonlyhonestandethicalresearch,andjournalsagreedto managepeerreviewfairlyandhonestly. Bothagreedtoemploypeerreviewandthescienti cconsensustodemarcateauthenticsciencefrompseudo-sciencetomaintaintheacademicrecord'sintegrity.Thus,therehavebeenscienti cjournalsfocusingonastronomybutnoneonastrology.Nohumanactivityworks perfectlyallthetime,andpeerreviewisnoexception.However,the gentleman ’ sagreementhascompletelybrokendownwiththeadventofpredatoryjournals,whichcanbeusedtopromulgateanyscienti cthesisallwhilebearingthewindowdressingofscience.This breakdownisharmingscience. Thedamagetheycause Predatoryandlow-qualityjournalsenablethepublicationof pseudo-,activist,andconspiracy-theoryscience.Medicalsciencehas beenparticularlyhithard,withjournalsnowdevotedtounscienti c medicinesuchasAyurvedaandhomeopathy.Activistscienceseeks topromoteapoliticalorsocialcau se,suchasdenyinganthropogenic InternationalJournalofWomen'sDermatology2(2016)115 – 116 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijwd.2016.08.002 2352-6475/2016TheAuthors.PublishedbyElsevierInc.onbehalfofWomen'sDermatologicSociety.ThisisanopenaccessarticleundertheCCBY-NCNDlicense( http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ ). Contentslistsavailableat ScienceDirectInternationalJournalofWomen'sDermatology

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globalwarming.Conspiracytheoristshaveusedopen-accessjournals topromotethechemtrailconspiracytheory,namelythatgovernmentsuseairplanestospraychemicalsintotheatmosphere. Somehaveusedpay-to-publishjournalstofalselyprovetheef cacyofmedicinestheyhavedeveloped.Forexample,severalarticles havebeenpublishedinpredatoryjournalspromotinganunapproved drugcalledGcMAF.Itisclearthattheauthorsofthosearticles exploitedtheeasyorautomaticarticleacceptanceinthejournals wherethearticleswerepublished.TheBelgianAnticancerFundhas doneworktoinformthepublicaboutGcMAF( AnticancerFund,2015 ). Publishinginapredatoryjournalorvoluntarilyservingontheeditorialboardofonecanhurtresearchers'careers.Whensucharticles oreditorialboardservicesarerecordedonone ’ scurriculumvitae,it canactuallyhurtaresearcher ’ schancesofearningpromotionand tenure.Externalreviewersmaytakenoteofone'spublicationin easy-acceptancejournals,penningevaluationsthathurtacareer ratherthanhelpit( Glick,2016 ). Authorfeesmaypreventsomeresearcherswithoutgrantsfrom publishinginpredatoryjournals( TzarnasandTzarnas,2015 ),especiallyemeritusfacultyandresearchersinmiddle-incomecountries wherebothgrantsandfeewaiversarerare.Arecentstudypegged theaveragearticleprocessingchargeforanopen-accessjournalin NorthAmericaatslightlybelow$2,000( SolomonandBjrk,2016 ). Itisapparentthatinsomecases,moreprestigiousopen-access journalswillchargehigherfeesbecausethedemandtopublishin thesejournalsisgreater. Easyacceptance,open-accessjournalsalsohurtacademicevaluations.Someresearchersexploitthequick,easy,andcheappublishing processthatsomanypredatoryopen-accessjournalsnowoffer.Too manyacademicevaluationsystemshavenotkeptupwiththechangesinscholarlypublishingandrelytoomuchonacademicevaluation bymeansofcountingone'snumberofpublications.Suchsystemsenabledishonestresearcherstoeasilyoutperformtheirhonestcounterparts,whosubmittheirworktojournalswherethebona depeer reviewprocesstakeslongerandtheriskofeventualrejectionis higher.Thismiscarriageofacademicevaluationsresultsinadeepresentmentamonghonestresearcherstowardthosewhopublishwith easy-acceptancejournals. Avoidingpredatoryjournals Intheirarticle,"Caughtinthetrap:Theallureofdeceptivepublishers,"nursingresearchers NicollandChinn(2015) describeseveral waysthatscholarsrationalizepublishinginpredatoryjournals.One situationinvolvesauthorswhoexperiencemultiplerejectionsfor anarticlesubmittedtoseveraljournals.Suchauthorsaresometimes successfullyluredintosubmittingthemanuscripttoalow-qualityor predatoryjournal,justtoseeitpublished. Conclusion Researchersshouldavoidthetemptationtosubmittheir worktoeasy-acceptancejournals.Thelong-termdamageofsucha decisioncanhurtone'scareerandstigmatizeresearchcarriedout later.Sticktoknownpublishersandjournals,andbeskepticalof anypublishing-relatedsolicitationyoureceivethroughe-mail ( Beall,2016 ). Noresearchismoreimportanttohumansthanmedicalresearch, anditdeservestobepublishedintop-qualityjournalsthatprofessionallymanagepeerreviewandaddvaluethroughcopyediting andpromotionofpublishedarticles.Aimforthetop.Dothebestpossibleresearchandshareitwithcolleaguesbypublishingitinthetop journalsinyour eld. ReferencesAnticancerFund.GcMAF[Internet].2015[cited2016August12].Availablefrom: http://www.anticancerfund.org/therapies/gcmaf BeallJ.Predatoryopen-accessscholarlypublishers.CharlestAdvis2010;11(4):10 – 7. BeallJ.Bestpracticesforscholarlyauthorsintheageofpredatoryjournals.AnnRColl SurgEngl2016;98(2):77 – 9. BeningerPG,BeallJ,ShumwaySE.Debasingthecurrencyofscience:Thegrowing menaceofpredatoryopenaccessjournals.JShell shRes2016;35(1):1 – 5. GlickM.Publishandperish!JAmDentAssoc2016;147(6):385-7. NicollLH,ChinnPL.Caughtinthetrap:Theallureofdeceptivepublishers.Nurse AuthorEd2015;25(4):4. SolomonD,BjrkBC.Articleprocessingchargesforopenaccesspublication — thesituationforresearchintensiveuniversitiesintheUSAandCanada.PeerJ2016;4: e2264. TzarnasS,TzarnasCD.Publishorperish,andpay — Thenewparadigmofopen-access journals.JSurgEduc2015;72(2):283 – 5.JeffreyBeall UniversityofColoradoDenver CorrespondingAuthor E-mailaddress: jeffrey.beall@ucdenver.edu 2August2016116 PieceofMyMind