Debasing the currency of science: the growing menace of predatory open access journals

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Debasing the currency of science: the growing menace of predatory open access journals
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Beninger, Peter G., Beall, Jeffrey, and Shumway, Sandra E. (2016). Debasing the currency of science: the growing menace of predatory open access journals. Journal of Shellfish Research 35(1), 1-5.
Beall, Jeffrey
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In recent years, the scientific publishing world has seen the creation and rapid growth of online journals, which do not respect the long-standing gentleman's agreement that has functioned as the primary quality-control mechanism for science: bona fide peer review and editorial oversight. Such predatory journals take advantage of the low cost and ease of online "publishing," the open access movement, and use feigned associations with international standards and misleading claims of impact factors, aimed at deceiving researchers (especially inexperienced scientists) into believing they are legitimate. We present the history, evolution, and tactics of such journals, as well as recommendations for dealing with this threat to science itself.
Collected for Auraria Institutional Repository by the Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Jeffrey Beall.
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Journal olSiw/1/t lh Research. Vol. 35. 1 o. I. I 5. 2016. EDIT ORI A L D E B AS I NG THE CURRENC Y OF SCIENCE: T H E GROWING M ENACE OF PRE DATORY OPEN A C CESS JOU RNAL S PETER G. B E N INGER JEFFRE Y B EALL2 AN D SANDR A E. 1 Lahoratoire de Biologie Marine. Faculte des Sciences. Unilersite de Nantes. 2. rue de Ia floussiniere. 44322 France; '1 rluraria Lihrary. l ) nirersity (?l Colorado Denrer. 1100 Lawrence Street. De111w CO 80204:-' Department ol Marine Sciences. Uni1ersity ()( Connectimt. 1080 Shelmecossett Road. Groton, CT 06340 ABSTRACT I n recent years. I he sl:ientific publishing world lw> >CCn the l:rcation and rapid growth of on line jour nab. which do not respect the longstanding gcrHiemans agreement that ha' functioned as the primary qual itycon t ro l mechanism for science: l11nw fide peer review and ediwr i a l oversight. Such predatory journals take advantage of the low cost and case of online .. pub l ishing: the open access movement. and usc feigned association-. with international swndard, and misleading c laims of impact factors. aimed at decci\ ing researchers (especially incwcrienccd scientists) into believing the} arc legitimate. We present the evolution. and tactil:s of \Ul:h journals. as well as recommendations for dealing with this lhrcat to science itself. K > W ORDS : predator} journal. hibliomctr). stratcg}. impact 1:-IT RODUCfiO N Ca/l.fiw papers and editors 0 A .!oumal of Desperalely Seeking Your Money-(Cold OA) I SO 9001:1008-Certified ISSN 2177 Scopus I S T/wn lpso/1 Re111ers lnde.nd-High Visihilily l111pacl Factor 3. 7. Such "announcements"' arc part of our daily E mail land scape. even when we have efficient spam fil ters. The correspond ing wcbsitcs claim to have "rapid publication." "top inno\'ation: "thirst for excellence. accompanied b) an assort ment of official-sounding labels. and abbreviations. Most -of us recognize such an organization for what it is: a pop-up website whose purpose is to l ure us into sending ma n uscripts. whi ch w ill be accep t ed, on cond i tion of payment of page dutrges. They are pr eda t ory journals. Beyond th e w r y smile o r an n oyed "dele te" they may elici t these "journals .. have created prob l ems so serious t hat we believe they t h reaten the very ex i ste n ce of science. more so than at any time since it began to emerge in 17'" century Europe and thi' peril has nothing to do with lack of funding. Rather.the \er) currency of science is being rapid I) debased by thousands of predatory journals that have e\ploited a heretofore un perceived weakness in the scientific publishing system: the long-standing and multifaceted "gentleman's agreement," whi ch consti t utes its q u ality con t rol backbone. Scie n ce cannot exist w i tho u t the communicatio n of sc i ent ific information. Scie n tific co mm unicatio n can o nly be c r edi b l e i f it has an effic i ent system of quali t y con l rol. T h ere a r c n o i n ternat ional conventions or l aws governing th i s quality control. which has evolved informally within the scientific community to become the present -day peer rcvic" and editorial processes. The miracle of the scientific enterprise is that it has advanced so well with nothing more than the gentleman's agreement. .. "hich moral!) binds authors. editors. and re\ icwers to producing good qua l ity. honest work. *Corresponding author. E-mail: pctcr.bcningcr ( a univ-nant 1)01 : 10.29831035.035.010 1 The foundation of the review process is to reduce "Type .. error aecepling a manuscript that is fatally flawed. "Type 2" e r ror rejecting a good manuscrip t is conside r ed potent i ally less har mful t o science. A l t h o ugh we may qu ibb l e abo ut this las t point, we m ust recogn ize th a t t h e only way to e n sure tha t no good manuscript is rejected. is to accept all submissions. and I his would be fatal to science! J ust as in statistics, it is impossible to reduce the probability of Type I errors without increasing the probability of Type 2 error.,, so a rigorous approach to Ty pc I publishing errors will im ariabl) produce more T) pc 2 errors. but this is by far the of the two evils. Although there have been cases or malfeasance. and most scientists have experienced wha t they consider to be unfair quality assessmen t s. i t is t ru l y a testament t o the power or good will. a n d the scientific i dea l of st rivi ng for tr u th tha t u n til r ecent ly, scie n ce has n ot been so h indered by co r r u pl i on t h at i t has been t hr ea t ened with exti nction. The progressive decline in the number of "ge n tlemen." howevcr.togelher with t h e intrusion of considerable numbers oft he exact opposite in the scientific publication sphere. have combined to nO\\ threaten the very existence of science. Predatory open access (0A) journals. which by thcincry nature lune no regard forTy pc 2 errors. have thrown the prc, cntion of Ty pc I errors to the "inds. and we believe that science, the cornerstone of modern human civilitation. now faces an existential threat. T I l E PRE L U D E The advent of th e I nterne t h as made it possib l e to d emate rialize sci entific journals. reducing the costs of publication to the initial outlay of a computer, a few programs. and an annual fcc for prO\ ision of a website. Online versions of established print journals, as well as the first onlineonly journals. began to appear in the early 1990s. These were "well-intentioned .. journals that adhered to the \alm:s. and gentlemen s agreement. of the traditional journals. Given the near universal to Internet. the printing and mailing cost savi n gs. and the growing expectation of "free" content on I n t ernet. the "OA .. publishing mode l emerged. in whi ch t he use r ( r eade r ) would h ave free access to all a rti cles. a n d


") B ENINGER ET AL. the administrati\C costs would be ofT.<;et by page charges in effect. would pa} to have their work published. The embryo of this model ;dread)' exil>ted in the traditional journals of scienti fie (such SA). which provided their journals to \\hoI) pica II) paid small annual member ship fees. ergo the necessity for page charges. to CO\'Cr the much greater costs of paper publication. On Febnlitry 1-t 2002. the ease of desktop publishing and the OA business model intersected with a clearlv social and quasi-political message. in the form of the Budapest Open Access I nitia tivc (BOA I http: \\'\\ w.budapestopenaccessin i ). open access came to embody the democratiza t ion of acces; t o knowledge. pre\iously restricted to a perceived wealth y and exclusive scientific e lite (http: u www.buda pestopenaccess i n i tiat ivc. o r g / boa i-1 0-rccommcnda t ions: hllp: www.p l / ope n acccss / ; h ttp: tj o p c n acccss. m pg.dc t B crl i n D e cia ratio n : h ttp:// b l og.scic n ccopc n .co m '). Like mos t m anifestos. the BOA I state m ent i s a cleverly desi g ned document tha t subs t itu tes '"moth erhoo d a n d apple pie" dogma for critical thought. I t can be s ummed up in the .. Visi o n statemen t"' of t h e .. Open Access Academy" webs ite: .. Freely availab l e research results for everyone (http: \\Ww.oaacademy. org vision-and-mission.html) apparently accus t omed to gratu itous luncheons. The BOA I statement exploits human cognitive and moral weaknesses and provides a platfonn for members of a vocal social mo\ ement. Those \\ ishine to announce their adhesion to the OA mo\ ement simp!; repeat the ideas and concepts presented in the original Budapest statement or the ensuing copycat stmcmenh. The continual and collective repetition of the OA as:.umed the status of a consensual truth. The fact that OA re,tricted access to publishing scientific information (Frank 2013. Burchard! 201 4) therefore further disad\antagcd legitimate scientists with small research funding. both in deve l oped and developing coun tries. seemed to be lost i n the "free access eup h oria. It was p r oposed t hat these sc i entists need only send a l cllcr t o t h e OA jo ur na l declaring their i mpoverished sta te. and all wou l d be fine. Intenti o n ally o7n ot. i t apparently occu rred to nobo d y tha t this was a de m e an i n g process. which would co n stitute a ver y r eal barri e r t o publi shing for n utny scientists. not least o r the m fro m E ur opea n co u ntries with g r eat pride and small resou rces. Selli n g aside t h ese serious reservations about access i t must be said thill the origina l OA i ntentions were honorable on the fundamental quality control issue. The B OA r eads .. Open access to peer reviewed is the goal." ln the years following the BOA I. we were to realize that this was a P angloss ian statement. formulated as the OA proponents watched unicorns peacefully gra1e on the grass outside. W hile thus distracted. a sinister and pre\ ioush unknown menace began to -appear: predator) journab. These are the scientific journals cquinllcnt to counterfeit coinage: like the Iauer. they appear to represent a gtmrantecd aluc. \\ hereas containin!! at best a rev duced ntluc. and often virtually none at all. The reason is abandonment oft he "gentleman's agreement: P redatory journals have no quality control. They have accepted and or published by the family. by computer-generated n o n sense p r ograms. and by sting operations (http: www.scicn ceale r / I wo-scicn 1 i fic-jo u rna Is-h a ve-acccptcd-a-stud yby-maggiesimpso n and -edn a-kmbappcl. B o h annon 2013). T h eir publishe r s have u p pcarcd virtu ally over n ight. l ike Scientific Online Publishing, whic h a ppeared i n 2013. a n d b y 201 4 was "pu b lishing" 42j ourna ls, nominally cmering a vast S IX'Cirum of scientific domains. P ub lic Science Framework outdid them. opening i nstantaneously in 201 5 \\ ith 42 journals \\ ith such sorely needed titles as .. Chemistrr Joumar and Phr.1in Joumar (hllp: \\ W\\ Cl RRf:I\T S TATL: S AND TRE:'\0 H ow man) predatory journals exist today and how does this compare \\ ith recent years'> With sufficient time and desire to devote to a question. it be possible to ascertain a reasonab l ) accu r ate number. Lacking both of t h ese pre we instead randomly sampled 65 of the 693 pub lishers o n B eall's 201 6 list of preda t ory p u blishers ( h ttp: sc h o I a r l yoa .com 20 1 4 / 0 I 02tl ist-ofpreda to r y p u b l ishe r s2014 /). co mputed the mea n n u m ber o f journa l s p er p u blis h e r ( II). and m ultiplied this by t h e nu mber o f p ublish e r s o n the lis t t o o b t a i n a ver y conse r vative es t i m a t e o f the to t a l number o f pre d a t o r y jou rna l s i n 2015: I 0 .. 153. Ap p l ying the p r oce d u r e above to each year since 20 10 .. the p r og r ess i on of pr e d a t ory jou rnab is shown in Figure I Our m easureme nt tec hniqu e achieves result!> quite close to those recent l y publis hed (She n & Bjork 20 15) Ul>ing a more complex multistage stratified sam p l ing design (7.6D versus approx i ma t ely 8 000 preda t ory journals in 2014 .. with an estimated 420 000 pub l ished artic les!). The estimates arc conservative because (I) the list i ncludes only publisher:. ofmultiplejournals .. and not stand alone .. journals. \\hich number 882 to date (https: 2016 01 05 bcalls-list-of-predator) -publishcrs-20 16 ). and (2) the list is undermanned. and rclicl> on Yoluntccrs to report predatory journals. \\ hich arc then examined individually. To date. the Director) of Open Access J ournals lists 11.31 5 OA journals (https: ). Before 201 6 the o nly require ment for inclusion in the DOA J list was that the journa l be OA .. which obviously qualified many predatory journa l s M inimum qmtlity criteria were int rod u ced in 2015 .. s uch tha t the deg ree of overlap between the journals in the D OA J da t abase a n d B ea ll' s list i s curre ntly not know n altho u g h i f a r eade r h as a p p r ox i ma t ely I y of f ree time. this could b e asce r taine d No t w ith s t a n ding, the co nservative estima t e of th e n u mb e r o f pr e d a t o r y jo urn ;ils in 20 1 5 was 7 .. 623 .. o r 75% o f t h e number o f DOAJ liste d journ a l s in 201 5 (Fig. 1). The 2014 Insti tute for Scie ntific I n form ation J ourna l C it a tion R epor t s ( l S I J C R ) lists app roxim ate l y 14 .. 000 journ a ls. which arc considered genu ine .. (due to restructuring of the 16 X 14i---------------------4r "' (ij 12 c ... ::l 10 0 -..... 8 0 ... Q) 8 D E 4 ::l z 2 2010 201 1 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Year Fig ure I. Progression and proj e ction of con scrvath ely estimated n umber o f predatory OA journals, 20 I 0 to 20 I 5. = approximate curren t number of journals in l S I Thoms on n euter s Journal citation reports.


JC'R website. we are unable to ascertain the current number). After less than 5 } there were thus already ha l f as man) predatory jou rnals as there were genui n e journals. which h<1vc built thei r r eputat io n s ove r the pas t two cen turies ( Fig. I). A lth oug h the numbe r o f d ata po i nts is n ecessa r i l y limit ed by the novelty ol" the pre d a t o r y O A phen ome n o n (years), and thu s far too small to co n str u ct a ser i ous model. a ver y s h o rt t erm projection sugges t s t h at if the curren t condi ti ons per sist. hr appro x inwtel.r 111id-l0/6. there ui/1 h e as manr predaton OA immwl. \ a \ g e nuine joumal\ Just as the I nternet has prO\ ided the condition!> for predatOr') journab to flourish, it amplilics the dilution of science b) gi' ing predatory journals a visibilit) indistinguishable from norma l journals. simp l y bccm 1 se search engines cannot eva lucile quality. on l y recognize words. A n ana l ysis of the geog raphic o r igins of preda t o r y jou rn a l aut h ors. however, reveals that f ull y H01Yc, a n ; f r o m d eve l o pin g co untries (Shc n & Bjork 2015) normally the ones w h o s h ould h ave the least amou nt of mo n ey to pay for page c h arges! S u ch a situation raises eve n furt her question:. of credibilit)'. and in a perverted manner. vindicates the utopian belief that OA will increase the de, eloping world\ accc" to "publication!" I n the dc\'eloped world. scicntish can. at best. rccogni7c most of the genuine journals in their fiel ds. but are unable to do so consistently in other fiel ds: Llllth:rstandably. the i r students at the u ndergrad u ate level canno t cvcn do that. I n the process of searc hin g for refe r ees for submitte d m anusc ripts so mewh a t ou t of o u r ow n f ie l ds ( PG B a n d SS). we now brin g up a s m a n y r ece nt articles !'rom pred a t ory as f ro m gen u ine j ourna ls. St ude nt repo rts now i n c l ude pre datory journals i n t h eir reference 'cc.:tions. As the n u mber of predato r y publications rises. science facin!! a "dilution crisis ... in \\ hich science itself will soon be -rcduc.:ed to homeopathic level,. P SEL'OO-JOl R:-.A U.; An C\' C n mo r e i n sidio u s type o r prcda t ory jou rna l is the pse u do-journal. i n whic h perfunc.:t o ry. s h a m pee r r eviews a r c p crl'o rmcd T h ese journal s arc muc.:h m o r e d ifllcu l t t o ex p ose. because they ac t u ally d o send m an usc ript s t o r ev i ewe rs. but p ublish v irt ually all submissions r egardless of' the r ev i ews, i n return for page c h arges. These pse udojournals therefore cla i m a minimum legitimacy t hat the more dear!) predatory journab lad, altogether. P R E D ATORY O A JOt R'\, \1. T ,\CTI C S P redator} OA jou rna l s comb ine a Yarict y of d i sho n es t and unethical t act i cs t o lure resea r c h ers pa't their pay ga t es. The most com m o n o f th ese a r c s h am credi b i l i t y devices a n d sup p or tin g s tru c tures, cxaggc r ;ltcd qu a l i t y clai ms. and pro f ess i ons of a l truis m Shum C r emllility D e ices tmd Suppm tiu g S ttu c ttll'f!\' To date. the last and onl) bulwark again!>t the complete interpenetration of predator). pseudo-. and genuine science journals is the Thomson R euter, l S I JCR. ''hich does not list predator'} journ als and a tl cmpts to screen out t h e pseu do journals. The res p o n se of the p r cdatory and pse ud o pub lish ers ha s bee n t o c r ea t e p a r allel. s h a m c r ed i b ilit y devices an d s upp o rtin g s tru c tur es Th ese arc Ostentatious use of abbrc, iations such as I S O" ( I nternational OrganiLation for Standardization) and .. ISSN" (In t ernationa l -S t andard Serial Number). Neither o f these desi g n ations is r elated to a n y aspec t o f scientific o r journ a l q u a l i ty. Br aze n imi t atio n s of well-known qu a l i t y indi cato r s Since a t i t s foundin g i n 1 960 th e l S I d i d n o t e n v i s age a world in w h i c h s u ch preda t o r y p r act i ces could exis t i t unfortun a t e l y did n o t paten t the wo rds I mpac t Fac tor ... or eve n t h e a bbr ev i ations l S I or IF." Pr eda t ory journals now adve rtise attractive I F ... bu t do not mention that t hey arc calculated" using \'ague and subjecti\ e criteria. b) pop-up (Beall\ list references 27) l-or example. the .. I nternational Society for R esearch Acti\'ity" index awards points simply for having an edi t oria l board. or for p u b lishin g i n E n glis h (no t withsta nd i n g tha t the website is r eple t e w ith it s ow n cmbarrass i ng l y eg r eg i o u s lan g u age pr oble ms). O t h e r j ou r nal s usc the t erm I mpa c t Fac t o r." yet it i s ca l c u l a t e d accordi n g to their own i n comp r e h ens ible. a nd eve n a b s urd formulae. for examp l e (origina l grammar co n se r ved): Joumal of' Aquacu/11/re R earch & Dere/op111ell/ l111pact Factor : 1 .3 * Cnofficial 1013 l111pact Faclllr I I'll. \ eswhlished hy dil idin!{ the 1111111her of articles published in 10 II and 10 /]were cited in 10 IJ hased on a search of' the Coogle Scholar Citmion I ndex dat abase I ( )( i 1 the 10111/ nwnber o( articles . puhlished in 10 II a n d 1011, and > is the nwn be r of 1 i111es t h ese art i cles uer e cited i n i ndexed j oumal s during 1013 than. i111pac1 factor = Xfl' As is often the case. t h e usc of these "alt ernative" IF is cunning l y couched i n quasi political terms. w hich cas t iga t e the l S I JCR for being published b) a for-profit organization: Ther e is on/_r one oj]icial. unirermll_r recognised illl pa c t Jicctor that is genewted hr Tho111son R euters; it is a propriewry 111easwe ru11 h_r a prc!fit 111aking organisa tion. I t mns against the ethics and princ i ples of open access. ( Scie 1 11 iji c R esea r c h : II 11 p : //11'11'11 .scirp o r gfjouma l / .Jm m wlci ta t i ondewilv.a.''f'-":'.1 m m1all D = 164&1111 11_ca111pa i g n = I F & ut lll_so ur ce = e _cp& utlll _llle diulll = a h h _2 0 / 5 011 6 yuan/ i n g_::x#. V M Oj P Udi\1:: As) Fal se or m islea di ng i n dexing clai m s so m e p r e d a tory O A journals do not bal k at falsely claimi n g t o be i nd exed in J CR. for example ... Annual R esearch & Reriew in Biology I A FU?B) : I S / ThoiiiS0/1 Reuter \ imlexed jouma/ ... Establi:.hmcnt of an OA umbrella organization tha t to promote the OA model that spawned preda t o r y journals (DOA J). Usc o r the words "Britis h a n d .. America n in the pr e dat ory journal title althou g h m os t o riginat e in n eithe r coun t r y and man y may h a v e only o n e o r n o B ritis h o r Ame rican m e mber s o n thcir edit oria l boards. A goo d exa m p l e is the British .lo umal of' Applied Science & Technology. Th i s journal is n o t l is t ed by J C R and only o n e ed i tor in a t ota l of 100 is "Bri tish.' In a small disclaimer on the journal home page. howe, er. we read This international joumal has no connection with any scholarly socict) or association or any specific geographic location o r any count f) .. (http: www.sci e n cedomai n .org about-journal p hp?i d=5)! Exclusive reliance o n p os t -p u b licati o n peer r ev i ew." p rac tice, oriJ:,rinally used t o collcgially impr ove draft ver s i o n s or manuscr ipts. f o r ex ample i n p a rl iclc p hysi cs and co smology, C

easily be subverted to any review at all. whereas the journal pockets the money from the page charges. E w;:;:eratetl Quulity Cluim 1 Predator) and uni1 crsall) profess high qualit) standards Pr edatory and pl>cudo-journals. howc1er. appear to either mi:-.tmdcrstand the meaning of the ierm .. high quality: or t hey intentionally mis l ead read ers with exaggerated quality claims. For examp le, the BJAST web s i te (orig i nal spelling and g rammar conserved): Science r IF : 31) rc 1wrt cm!firmetlthe high \landard ofS D I joumal. A 1 per a rece/11 report ( Link ) o{ Science joumal ( prese/11 Impact factor 31 J one of our jmmwl f /Jriti.1h Joumal o[ Pharmacelllim/ Re.\l'ardt ) passed a stringent test t?{qualitr of' Peer rel'ieu hr rejtt ting aji1ke article ( Link2. Link] ) Obviously. rejecting a .. Iitke article .. cannot be considered the same as demonstrating the .. high stand arc no\\' being cited to shore up dubious .. science .. in predatory journals. Bct:ausc modern civilization on l y exi sts and can only con tinu e to exist beca u se o f science. the danger posed by predatory OA journals exte n ds to our civilization as a whole. A recent example ma) be found in the discovery that both Canada and C\\ l.:caland's D epartments of Health unknow ing]) partnered 11 llh a predator) OA journal to publish food safet) research (http: news.nationalpo; news canada he a It h-ca nada-kept JHCda tory-pu bl ishcr-dcspi te-wa rn i ng a bout-s h odd y-sc i encc-from-govcrnmcn t -ex pert). For science to remain c r edible. it is dear that t h e sc ientific community adapt. t:Onfront. and defeat the threat p osed by predator) and pseudojournals. T o thi!> end. we propose the f ollowin!! recommend a 1 ions: For the Sciemijic Puhli .1hiug Commu11ity: I Deal ll'i!lt tlte morwl threat .first: th e weaknesses and perver s ion s ol' the .IC R I F have been explored in man y publication!> (http: news 201J / 05 / scientists joi n-jo u rna l-ed i 1 ors-to-figh t-im pactfactor -abuse. h tml. http: \\ '\\\\ insights \\ hy-you-should-not-use the-journal-impact-factor-to-cvalua tc-rcsca rch. A min & Mabe 2000. Garfield 2006. Simmons 2008, Casadcvall & Fang 20 15). This d i scontent culmina t ed in the 20 1 2 San Francisco Declaration on R esea r ch Assessment (DO R A). Since the time or the original meet in December 2012. 700 -new predator) OA publishers have appeared. representing approximate]) 7.700 new predator) journals along 1\ith the 11C\\ sham supporting structures. I t ha!> become clear that of the two perils: misuse of I F and predatory journals. the former is a well-known nuisance whereas th e l atter i s a n ew and mortal threat t o sc i ence. Alt h ough I F is a very b lun t ins trument for th e inappropriate tasks which most admin istrators seck to accomplish. it is the best (by virtue of being the sole} blunt instrument available to stop the spread of the predator) OA journals. We must therefore rethink our position on IF: scientists must choose between living with a nui sance. which we could eliminate with some effort (IF abuse). or allowing science t o become debased to the point of exti n ctio n (predatory OA journals). ., Clean house: We must deal with the nuisance threat that led us to unwiscl) open the door to the mortal threat. that is. set IF back to what it \\'aS originally created to do: indicate which journals are most trusted and used b) scientists. Although far from perfect. Iris curren tly the .. least bad .. way of doing 1 his. and the DORA s hould be revised to rellect this. Reaffirmin g the l egitima t e IF for its original purpose the evaluation of t h e impact or scientific journa l s in their fields -will not on l y eliminate the predatory OA journals in one easy stroke. but it 11ill also relegate the more .. pseudo-journals .. to their well-dcscn cd positions of obscurity. 3. Trusl tlte of our elders: In the end. no t ota lly object ivc criterion will ever unambiguously encompass and measure all oft he dimensions of sc i entific journal q u ality co ntr ol. All


M ENAC'E oF PREDi\ roRY JouRf\i\LS 5 of these objective criteria have attempted to quantify an intangible yet irreplaceable qua lit y evaluator: reputation. The best of journal quality will be that of seasoned scientisb \\ith a di,tinguished publication record spanning at least I 0). The) "ill not be able to make fine distinctions between journab of equal quality. but this is neither useful nor desirable anywa). They will. however. succeed in many wa)s that bibliometric indices cannot: for example. b) taking into account journal niche breadth (the best papers invoh ing a particular taxon or group of organisms might be found in a journal devoted to that group (e.g .. JSR). rather than in a more widely cited general ecology journal. 4 Recogni:c 1/ta/ 1/te OA //lode/ en/ails 1110re 111(111 1/te idealislic "Fee scienceji1r all" coiJcepr. but acts both as an impediment t o genuin e science publis h ing for resea rchers with few reso urces. an d as an o p en noodgatc t o the uncontrolled pub l i catio n o f information bereft of any quality co n trol. Predat o r y and pseudo-journals arc the unexpected side effects of the OA mode l which itself i s a remedy far worse than the perceived original disease. 5. nco11rage 1/te ./ir q11alir_r OA jo11mals 10 reconsider the cOIIIfUIII_I' riley keep. and progressively disengage well established. high-qualit) publishers from the OA model. rather than sponsor it. as currently do Wiley. Taylor & Francis. and Springer aturc although most of their journab arc. in fact. non-OA. Although not all OA journals arc predator). all predatory journals arc OA. Open access is not the cause of predator) journals. but it is the uncondi tional prerequisite. There arc currently very few high-quality OA journals. so it not too late to stem the tide of pred for -.cholar-. without a paying institution. SAG Open -1:1 II. Casadcvall. A. & 1-. C. l-ang. 2015. I mpacted science: impact is not import:um:. J \l"CC,,ed ovembcr6. 2015. Available at: Frank. M. 2013. Open hut not free: puhlishing in the 21st century .\'. Engl. J . lied. 36!!:7X7 7t!IJ. Garfield 1::. 2006 Th.: hi,tory and meaning oft he journal impact factor. JA 11 1 2\15: 90 91. A Y .. l\'1. Ye"irkepov. S.l'\. Diyanova & G. D. Kitas. 2015. Puhli,hing eth1c' and pr<:datory a dilemma for all ,takc holder,of-.cicncccommunication. J. Korean Med. Sci. 30:1010 1016. KrithanO\\k). L. V & L. K. Choong. 2014. Study of the influence of 'uhtle energetic changes in em ironment on the producti\ ity of the proce'>\ of ,Jeep. Open J. Ceo/ -1:693 702. Shen. C. & B. C. Bjiirl... 2015. Predatory open access: a longitudinal study of \Oiume:-. and market characteristics. BMC Met!. 13:230 Simmons. K. 200X. The 1111pact factor. Science 322: 165.