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Aaron Swartz, an advocate for open access to academic journals, committed suicide in January after being charged with hacking into MIT computers and illegally downloading nearly 5 million academic journal articles from JSTOR, one of the largest digital archives of scholarly journals in the world. At the time of Swartz's death, the 26-year-old faced 13 federal felony computer fraud charges — and the near certainty of jail time.
In this NPR blog All Tech Considered, MIT denied "targeting" the programmer and claimed no wrongdoing. But the report raises concerns about existing university policies and whether MIT should have been actively involved in supporting Swartz.
Beall’s list, created by University of Colorado metadata librarian Jeffrey Beall, collates the academic journals which he regards as questionable. His hard work on outing journals whose business and academic practices are less than reputable has caught the eye of one of the publishers he named and shamed, and now he’s being sued.
Bogus academic journals are a growing problem. Earlier this year, Gina Kolata in the New York Times called them a “parallel world of pseudo-academia”. Most of these journals are based on an online subscription model and call themselves “open access”. The ease with which people can be published in some of these journals, with only a semblance of legitimate oversight, has been met with concern by academics, who fear that junk research is being given the appearance of a properly accredited paper.
Jeffrey Beall is being sued by India’s The OMICS Group, which, according to Jake New in The Chronicle of Higher Education, has been the subject of scrutiny for bad practices, such as spamming and steep fees for authors after publication, not only by Beall, but also by The Chronicle.
READER'S DIGEST FILES BANKRUPTCY
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Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers 2013
The gold open-access model has given rise to a great many new online publishers. Many of these publishers are corrupt and exist only to make money off the author processing charges that are billed to authors upon acceptance of their scientific manuscripts.
There are two lists below. The first includes questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. Each of these publishers has a portfolio that ranges from just a few to hundreds of individual journal titles.
The second list includes individual journals that do not publish under the platform of any publisher — they are essentially independent, questionable journals
In both cases, we recommend that researchers, scientists, and academics avoid doing business with these publishers and journals. Scholars should avoid sending article submissions to them, serving on their editorial boards or reviewing papers for them, or advertising in them. Also, tenure and promotion committees should give extra scrutiny to articles published in these journals, for many of them include instances of author misconduct.
There are still many high-quality journals available for scholars to publish in, including many that do not charge author processing fees. An additional option is author self-archiving of articles in discipline-specific and institutional repositories.
The author is grateful to the many colleagues who have shared information about potential predatory publishers. Last year’s list included 23 publishers, and this year’s has over 225, evidence of the rapid growth in the number of predatory journals and publishers. This list will be updated throughout the year at the blog Scholarly Open Access, http://scholarlyoa.com.
The criteria for inclusion in the lists can be found here. The author’s email address is: email@example.com.
Landmark publication Weekly Reader to shut down
Weekly Reader, a staple in American classrooms for a century, has some hard news for its young readers: it’s shutting down.
Chief rival Scholastic, which bought the school newspaper earlier this year, is folding it into Scholastic News and axing all but five of Weekly Reader’s 60 employees in White Plains, NY, The Post has learned.
"They are behaving much as one would expect: offering minimal concessions that will look as good as possible while keeping their profits intact. I realize that asking them to deal with the objections to bundling and exposing their journals to genuine competition is making a demand they are most unlikely to accede to, since their huge profits are based on stifling this competition. So instead, we must press on with the more positive step of developing alternative models, something I shall report on in the near future. "
Copyright in Scholarly Publishing is a series of posts from Freedom To Tinker. You might like to read Contract hacking and community organizing: "This is a game of chicken that the publisher cannot win. If the authors feel strongly and get their gumption together, they will prevail. The best course for publishers is to avoid playing this game of chicken, by adjusting their copyright contracts to fit the progress of open-access policies in the 21st century. I believe that the good nonprofits (such as ACM and IEEE) are heading in this direction, and Usenix is already there."
To the Editor:
Like innumerable writers and researchers over the years, I have experienced the joy (many times) of entering the New York Public Library with a near-hopeless citation in hand only to find the very material I was looking for in just minutes. It is a euphoric moment to which many writers can attest, and it has enriched the quality and content of books beyond counting.
That which gets put off to tomorrow rarely gets done, yet the library administration, under its new plan, would move a huge chunk of its research collection off site, ostensibly available some other day, when a researcher makes a request. The splendor of the library is not only the vastness of its collection but also the immediacy of it.
If there remain any wonders of the world, the New York Public Library is one of them. Please don’t change it.
New York, April 16, 2012
The writer is vice president and editor in chief at Tarcher/Penguin.
To the Editor:
There’s a comfort level in keeping the status quo, yet the 21st century offers us so many new ways of doing research. Without looking at possibilities for the future, we deny ourselves those opportunities. -- Read More