[IRTalk] Predatory journals - A threat to academic credibility

Denise Nicholson Denise.Nicholson at wits.ac.za
Mon May 22 12:03:26 SAST 2017

Hi Bruce and Ina,

Beall’s list can still be found on archives up to the end of December 2016.  There is no certainty as to why it closed but it seems he may have been threatened with litigation from one on the publishers he had on his list. Unfortunately there is no credible follow-up at this stage.  There are also journal plublishers that are listed on Beall’s lists but some of their titles are on IBSS for instance.  One publisher KRE which was listed as predatory is now co-publishing with Taylor and Francis who respond to my query on this by saying they did research and found KRE to be a good publisher to co-partner with and that they would certainly not publish with a publisher that is predatory.  This begs the question – were all Beall’s listed publishers really predatory or not?  Remember he was very anti-OA and especially against any non-American publishers.

I notice that a website at https://predatoryjournals.com is trying to continue Beall’s list by asking for contributions, but there is no information as to who the compiler or owner of the web is, nor the criteria, or standards in place to stop anyone from putting any title or publisher on the list. Once on the list, it is difficult to get off.

It would be great to have a comprehensive White List of publications but this is partially possible through the accredited DHET journal lists and the DOAJ, but there are many OA and other journals that are good but not on those lists and that is where the problem comes in.  Serious research is necessary when using a publisher or journal that is not on the accredited lists.

I am doing some research on the topic of predatory publishers but will not venture into compiling a list as this is likely to be biased, flawed or not comprehensive and its value or non-value will be determined by who uses it and for what purpose.

I see on 25 May at UJ there is a workshop on Predatory Publishers by someone from Taylor & Francis SA – contact for information is Ivy Segoe - imsegoe at uj.ac.za<mailto:imsegoe at uj.ac.za>


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From: Bruce Becker [mailto:BBecker at csir.co.za]
Sent: 22 May 2017 11:31 AM
To: Ina Smith <Ina at assaf.org.za>
Cc: irtalk at lists.lib.sun.ac.za; heligliasa at googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: [IRTalk] Predatory journals - A threat to academic credibility

Hi Ina,

This is quite a serious problem, we all know. There used to be a project maintained by someone in the U.S. documenting the list of predatory publishers out there, which, if my memory serves me, was shut down due to pressure from the university where he worked. (if someone can remember better than me, please remind us  !)

My point is that it would be extremely useful to have an authoritative list, perhaps reviewed biennially, published by AOSP, or AUU.  These lists are necessarily biased, and perhaps some people may claim that they perpetuate colonial dominance, by discrediting African journals - so some care has to be taken in publishing a list with thorough and transparent methods and results  (hey, what's more Open Science than that !).

Certainly, each institute can decide how to use  such lists - perhaps augment them, contribute back, or ignore them entirely - but at least we would have a source to refer to.

Are there any efforts underway to conduct such research and publish such lists in an authoritative way  ?

Thanks !

On 21 May 2017 at 19:45, Ina Smith <Ina at assaf.org.za<mailto:Ina at assaf.org.za>> wrote:

[cid:image001.jpg at 01D2D2F1.EB595FE0]<http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20170516082327227>


Predatory journals and their publishers, driven solely by profit motives, are posing an increasing threat to academic credibility and to individual reputations.

“In academia today there is huge pressure to publish, and publish fast,” said Professor Johann Mouton, director of the Centre for Research on Science and Technology, or CREST, and the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

“It’s important for university rankings and research metrics. It is important for academic careers – you don’t get ahead if you don’t publish. So academics are now turning to these predatory journals.”

In a recent study undertaken by CREST it was found that 40 PhD students in Ghana had published papers in predatory journals. “They didn’t know they were predatory. But it comes out later when they are up for promotion,” said Mouton.

Developing countries in Asia and Africa are particularly at risk. In Nigeria and Kenya, where there is political pressure to produce PhDs and academic promotion depends on it, postgraduate students frequently opt to publish three papers rather than do a dissertation.
The largest number of papers – 476 – were published in the Journal of Social Sciences, followed by 413 in the African Journal of Business Management and 279 in the Journal of Human Ecology. All three of these journals are produced by publishers that feature on Beall’s list of potential, possible or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers.

The authors came from a broad spectrum of South African universities including those with high rankings. But the authors are not to blame, according to Mouton, as they published in good faith as some of these predatory journals are on the approved listings provided by the Department of Higher Education and Training or DHET. “You can’t blame individuals; they’ve done due diligence.”

But that means the DHET – though they rejected many claims for publication subsidy – may have paid out more than R100 million (US$7.6 million) over the past 10 years for articles that appeared in predatory journals.

Ina Smith
Project Manager: African Open Science Platform<http://africanopenscience.org.za/>
Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
DOAJ Ambassador, Southern Africa Region
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