Predatory Publishing: It’s a Jungle Out There in the Wild West

OK, so I’m mixing metaphors here, but the new landscape of online publications does invite both the image of the predatory jungle (“Nature, red in tooth and claw,” as the poet Tennyson wrote) and the lawless American frontier West. Compliments of Edie Brous, nurse attorney—EdieBrous.com—a compilation of recent reports on predatory open-access journals and scholarly conference scams.

Jeffrey Beall, 9/12/12

“Predatory Publishers Are Corrupting Open Access”

http://www.nature.com/news/predatory-publishers-are-corrupting-open-access-1.11385

Declan Butler, 3/27/13

“Investigating Journals: The Dark Side of Publishing”

http://www.nature.com/news/investigating-journals-the-dark-side-of-publishing-1.12666

Declan Butler, 3/27/14

“Sham Journals Scam Authors: Con Artists Are Stealing the Identities of Real Journals To Cheat Scientists Out of Publishing Fees”

http://www.nature.com/news/sham-journals-scam-authors-1.12681

Kyle Crocco, 3/12/14

“Welcome To The Dark Side Of Academia:  Fake Conferences And Faux Journals”

http://gradpost.ucsb.edu/tools/2014/3/12/welcome-to-the-dark-side-of-academia-fake-conferences-and-fa.html

Carl Elliott, 6/5/12

“On Predatory Publishers: A Q&A With Jeffrey Beall”

http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/on-predatory-publishers-a-qa-with-jeffrey-beall/47667

Martha Harbison, 4/9/13

Bogus Academic Conferences Lure Scientists

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-04/scientists-duped-fake-academic-conferences

Gina Kolata, 4/7/13

“Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too)”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/health/for-scientists-an-exploding-world-of-pseudo-academia.html?_r=1&

Amy Novotney, APA 2014

“Watch Out For Faux Journals and Fake Conferences”

http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/09/faux-journals.aspx

Be careful out there!

Better Posters

Ah, the poster presentation, a genre with almost limitless possibilities, but more often than not a stepchild to the more prestigious podium paper presentation!

Designing an effective poster is an art, and, indeed, may be art.

Read more here: http://betterposters.blogspot.com/

Portable Peer Review

Michael Clarke, writing for the Scholarly Kitchen, discusses the announcement of a new “portable peer review” coalition among eLife, BioMed Central (BMC), the Public Library of Science (PLoS), and the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

Authors who submit to a participating journal in the consortium, and are not accepted by that journal, will be able to redirect their paper, with the referee’s reports, to any other journal in the consortium. Referees will be given the opportunity to opt out of having their reports forwarded, or to forward them anonymously (in all cases, the referee’s identity will be anonymous to the author – referees will choose whether they wish to remain anonymous to the editors of the secondary journal).

Details here: http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2013/07/15/game-of-papers-elife-bmc-plos-and-embo-announce-new-peer-review-consortium/

Open Access Journals: Be Careful

Nurse writers want a readership. Whether you are a scholarly writer disseminating research discoveries or a policy and editorial writer influencing opinion or a personal writer seeking kindred spirits, you want readers. Open access (sometimes called OA) publishing, which turns publishing’s funding model on its head, might seem a good solution. But be careful.

In ordinary publishing, a journal is funded by subscribers (either individual or institutional) and by advertisers. Only subscribers have access to the journal. In contrast, OA  journals require an up-front subvention payment by the author, who is funding the journal’s operation, providing open access to the contents of the journal to all readers.

In the best of all possible worlds, a researcher’s grant funding provides for dissemination costs or the researcher’s home institution funds the dissemination, so the researcher does not have to pay out of pocket.

However, in the brave new world of online publishing, it’s a jungle out there, and there are predators that you need to look out for.

First, as you can imagine, there is an economic incentive for an OA  journal publisher to accept your manuscript. Accepting your manuscript is a funding source for the OA journal. Unscrupulous OA journals might not exercise the same diligence in peer review as subscription-funded journals, which rely on subscribers’ trust in the quality and relevance of the articles published.

Second, some OA journals are parts of huge money-making schemes in which an online company suddenly produces scores or even hundreds of OA journals. In some cases, one editor is identified on the masthead as editor of half a dozen (or more) journals. These journals and their publishers use email marketing (spam) to entice writers, but like other email marketing schemes, unscrupulous or predatory OA journals are just interested in getting you to buy their service: publishing your manuscript. Some even add notable names to their editorial boards without the permission of the researchers named!

Third, how will readers find your article unless it’s indexed by the major indexers? Check to determine who indexes the OA journal you are considering.

So how do you tell the good from the bad? Do due diligence and scrutinize new OA journals carefully. Do you recognize the name of the editor? Do you know members of the editorial board? Do you recognize the names of authors published in the journal? Contact them to find out more about the journal. In addition, consult online sources to assess the legitimacy of the journal.

Start with Jeffrey Beall’s Scholarly Open Access blog http://scholarlyoa.com/ and check his lists of publishers and journals. If a publisher or a journal is on his list, you probably do not want to submit a manuscript to it. Then consult the Directory of Open Access Journals http://www.doaj.org/ and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association http://oaspa.org/ (but keep in mind that the latter is a professional organization — just because a local business belongs to the Better Business Bureau doesn’t make it a better business).

Nurse writers have important, life and health improving observations to make. OA publishing may be a way to reach a wide audience. But exercise care before submitting a manuscript to an OA journal.

CHE: Five Reasons to Think About How You Work

Writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s ProfHacker blog, Jason B. Jones offers “Five Reasons to Think About How You Work.”

Takeaways:

Thinking about your system can help you make decisions about work based on your values. . . . Focusing your productivity system on next actions can help you fight through procrastination-driving despair. . . . Having a goal-focused productivity system can help you recognize when you are done, as well as whether you are successful. . . . Focusing your productivity system on measurable goals is a useful reality check, and can help you identify where you’re getting bogged down. . . . Having clearly-defined actions in your productivity system can help you focus on what you need to do and to get the stuff dependent on others out of your head.

In a crossover collaboration, Inside Higher Education hosted a GradHacker panel discussion on the topic: http://podcast.gradhacker.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Gradhacker6.mp3

Substantive Editing

Academic Medicine‘s editor-in-chief, Steven L. Kanter, MD, interviews Albert Bradford, director of Staff Editing.

 

Assessing Journal Quality

An increasingly important and ever more vexing challenge for the academic writer is determining the quality or ranking of a journal. At some universities or in some schools and departments considerations of tenure and promotion are made not simply on the fact of getting your manuscripts published but also in which journals (and the rank of those journals). The ever more vexing part is that open-access on-line journals have proliferated in recent years, some of which are little more than vanity presses.

Brendan A. Rapple, a librarian at Boston College, cuts through some of this confusion in the article “Assess Carefully: Don’t Be Duped by Bogus Journals,” published in Inside Higher Ed.  Rapple discusses evaluation criteria, publication fees (the funding model for most open-access journals), and the Directory of Open Access Journals.

 

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