Field of Science

Think Check Submit - can't we do better than this?

The Scholarly Kitchen blog has a post about a new initiative from a large consortium of scholarly publishing societies and individual publishers, intended to help inexperienced researchers avoid journals from 'predatory publishers'.  This is a very worthwhile goal, but the actual advice provided so far isn't going to exclude most of the bad guys.   

The first step just explains why researchers need to be careful where we publish:

The third step is just reassurance:

The second step is the one that matters; it tells researchers what they should look for:

There's nothing wrong with this advice, but it's certainly not treading on any publishers' toes.

Most importantly, there's no mention of the most valuable resource we have, Beale's List.  This is a frighteningly long list of open-access scholarly publishers whose tactics are potentially, possibly or probably predatory.  It's maintained by Jeffrey Beale, a librarian at the University of Colorado, at his Scholarly Open Access blog.  The last time I checked, a couple of years ago, there were about 300 publishers on this list, but today there are 882!  And this is just the publishers - most of these have multiple journals.

Beale's list isn't just a list.  Beale also provides explicit sets of criteria for evaluating individual publishers and journals.  The absence of Beale's List from the THINK CHECK SUBMIT campaign isn't really surprising, but it reinforces my concern that we can't rely on the publishers to look out for researchers' interests.

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