Predatory publishers’ latest scam: bootlegged and rebranded papers

Predatory publishers’ latest scam: bootlegged and rebranded papers

To thwart publishing rackets that undermine scholars and scholarly publishing, legitimate journals should show their workings.

These articles describe how predatory journals go to great lengths to try and appear legitimate. Interestingly, two open-access practices, open (or at least) auditable peer review and for universities to require journals to adhere to FAIR OA principles before paying APCs, are suggested as strategies to combat predator publishing.

Mandating some form of open peer review dovetails with other initiatives to improve science by sharing data. Breaking open the ‘black box’ would demystify the process and provide new insights5. Sharing blinded peer reviews online — or at least confidentially with stakeholders — would allow funders, researchers, librarians and institutions to identify scams and encourage good practices in legitimate journals.

BModern universities have systems to vet vendors. They could expand those systems to include payments to journals (both subscription-based and those with article-processing charges). Requirements could include open peer review, as well as adherence to the Fair Open Access Principles, which stipulate explanations of how publishing fees are spent. … This would require journals to change practices, but digitization means that publishers can collect and archive peer-review data more readily than before. Scientific funders and taxpayers deserve accountability for the billions of dollars invested annually in scholarly publishing. Scholars deciding where to submit work deserve greater transparency about peer review (for example, content, rejection rates and average time to decision). This transparency will both starve the Hydra and improve standards for all journals.

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