Predatory Publishers: Why I'll Miss Jeffrey Beall


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Final week, we discovered that Scholarly Open Access, Jeffrey Beall’s web site and weblog, had gone down. Beall, an educational librarian on the College of Denver, has earned fame, and notoriety, for his record of what he calls ‘predatory’ open access publishers and journals.


It’s nonetheless not clear what led to the demise of Beall’s weblog. There have been rumors of possible legal threats. The College of Denver ultimately launched a statement saying that Beall “has determined to not keep or publish his analysis or weblog on open entry journals and ‘predatory publishers.'” Beall himself has but to remark, past a gnomic remark to Nature Information that “my weblog is now unpublished”. This post by Emil Karlsson is the perfect overview of the story.

For my part the demise of Beall’s undertaking is a tragic day for science. Whereas his work was typically controversial, he was nearly the one one that appeared to take predatory publishing critically and who tried to do one thing about it.

beall_listPredatory publishers are an enormous drawback. They degrade the standards of science by publishing as “peer reviewed” materials that's both poorly reviewed or not peer reviewed at all. They con unsuspecting researchers (typically from low-income nations) into paying excessive charges for an abysmal service, whereas for unscrupulous authors they provide a solution to get doubtful materials into ‘print’. They blight teachers with inane spam. There are lots of of those outfits, and extra seem every single day.

So I’m satisfied that Jeffrey Beall was preventing the great battle in making an attempt to maintain a highlight on these predators.

However, I don’t assume he ought to have been doing this job alone. And now that Beall has, apparently, retired from the sector, I don’t assume anybody particular person ought to exchange him. Predatory publishing is just too massive of a subject for one individual to cope with.

The one-man nature of Beall’s operation left him open to expenses of being arbitrary and opaque in how he determined the place to attract the road between authentic and predatory publishing. I feel he made the best calls the overwhelming majority of the time, however then once more, he has not been clear about why he shut down the location.

Subsequently, I’d wish to see a collective try to hold on Beall’s venture. I’d like to see a public Wiki devoted to predatory publishers. Such a Wiki would wish moderators, as a result of it might certainly be the goal of malicious edits by aggreived predators, however there ought to be a staff of moderators fairly than only one particular person. To keep away from conflicts of curiosity, moderators should not have any hyperlinks to both open entry or conventional publishing corporations.

Such a useful resource would serve the identical function as Beall’s record, in that it will permit researchers to verify whether or not a given writer was thought-about predatory. However it will additionally function a discussion board for the fascinating area of ‘predatorology’ – the research of how these predators function, and the usually curious characters behind them.