Predatory Journals: Proposed Solutions

predatoryIn the last week two thoughtful pieces were published on the topics of greedy publishers and predatory publishing. In “Opinion: Pay-to-Play Publishing” in the current issue of The Scientist Kailash Gupta argues that a growing number of online scientific journals are more interested in making money than in publishing quality research articles. His proposed solution, though not original, is very sensible.

To improve the situation and increase the trust in scientific community, the pressure to publish must be reduced. The value that both funders and tenure committees put on publication record drives scientists to publish marginal advances, which predatory publishers are all too happy to post online. Funding and promotion decisions should not be based on the number of publications, but on the quality of those publications and a researcher’s long-term productivity and mentorship.

PoynderIn a blog posting (8 September, 2015) “Predatory Publishing: A Modest Proposal” Richard Poynder makes a very interesting suggestion about combating predatory journals. He acknowledges the utility of Jeffrey Beall’s well-known list of questionable publications but argues that the publishers of such journals, though often predatory, are not always the only ones to be blamed. He contends “that if a journal is predatory then all those researchers sitting on its editorial and advisory boards are to some extent also predatory, or at least they are conspiring in the publisher’s predatory behaviour.” Poynder’s proposal:

Why does the OA movement not create a database containing all the names of researchers who sit on the editorial and/or advisory boards of the publishers on Beall’s list, along with the names of the journals with which they are associated?

Poynder goes on to discuss a number of purposes such a database could serve.