Beall's List

Beall's List was a list of predatory open-access publishers that was maintained by University of Colorado librarian Jeffrey Beall on his blog Scholarly Open Access. The list aimed to document open-access publishers who did not perform real peer review, effectively publishing any article as long as the authors pay the open access fee. Originally started as a personal endeavor in 2008, Beall's List became a widely followed piece of work by the mid 2010s. Its influence led some publishers on the list to threaten defamation lawsuits against Beall, as well as lodge official complaints against Beall's work to the University of Colorado. As a result, Beall deactivated his blog and the list in January 2017.

The closure of Beall's List was cited by some as a tragedy,[1] and successors have set out to continue Beall's work.

History

Beall first became interested in so-called predatory open-access journals (a term he coined) in 2008, when he started to receive numerous requests from dubious journals to serve on their editorial boards. He said that he "immediately became fascinated because most of the e-mails contained numerous grammatical errors."[2] Starting in 2008, he maintained a well-known and regularly updated list of what he stated were "potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers".[3][4][5] In 2011, Beall's list had 18 publishers on it; by December 29, 2016, this number had grown to 923.[6]

Legal threats

In February 2013, the open-access publisher Canadian Center for Science and Education sent a letter to Beall stating that Beall's inclusion of their company on his list of questionable open-access publishers amounted to defamation. The letter also stated that if Beall did not remove this company from his list, they would subject him to "civil action".[7]

In 2013, the OMICS Publishing Group threatened to sue Beall for $1 billion for his "ridiculous, baseless, [and] impertinent" inclusion of them on his list, which "smacks of literal unprofessionalism and arrogance".[8] An unedited sentence from the letter read: "Let us at the outset warn you that this is a very perilous journey for you and you will be completely exposing yourself to serious legal implications including criminal cases lunched against you in INDIA and USA."[9] Beall responded that the letter was "poorly written and personally threatening" and expressed his opinion that the letter "is an attempt to detract from the enormity of OMICS's editorial practices".[10] OMICS' lawyers stated that damages were being pursued under section 66A of India's Information Technology Act, 2000, which makes it illegal to use a computer to publish "any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character" or to publish false information.[11] The letter stated that three years in prison was a possible penalty, although a U.S. lawyer said that the threats seemed to be a "publicity stunt" that was meant to "intimidate".[8]

Who's Afraid of Peer Review?

In 2013, Science correspondent John Bohannon submitted 304 fake scientific articles to various open access journals, many of which were published by publishers on Beall's List. Among these publishers that completed the review process, 82% accepted the paper. Bohannon stated "the results show that Beall is good at spotting publishers with poor quality control". Beall stated that the results support his claim to be identifying "predatory" publishers.[12] However, the remaining 18% of publishers identified by Beall as predatory rejected the fake paper, leading science communicator Phil Davis to state "That means that Beall is falsely accusing nearly one in five".[13]

Removal

On January 15, 2017, the entire content of Beall's Scholarly Open Access website was removed, along with Beall's faculty page on the University of Colorado's website.[14] The removal was first noticed on social media, with speculation on whether the removal was due to migration of the list to the stewardship of Cabell's International.[15] The company later denied any relationship, and its vice president of business development declared that Beall "was forced to shut down blog due to threats and politics".[15] The University of Colorado also declared that the decision to take down the list was a personal decision from Beall.[16] Beall later wrote that he had taken down his blog because of pressure from the University of Colorado, which threatened his job security.[17] Beall's supervisor, Shea Swauger, wrote that the university had supported Beall's work and had not threatened his academic freedom.[18] A demand by Frontiers Media to open a research misconduct case against Beall, to which the University of Colorado acquiesced, is reported as the immediate reason for Beall to take down the list. The university's investigation was closed with no findings.[19][20] Beall has not reactivated the list.

Successors

Since "Beall's List" closed, similar lists have been started by others,[21] including CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre, and an anonymous group at Stop Predatory Journals.[21][22] Cabell's International, a company that offers scholarly publishing analytics and other scholarly services, has also offered both a black list and a white list for subscription on their website.[23][24]

Criteria for inclusion

Beall applied a diverse set of criteria before including a publisher or journal on his lists. Examples included:[25]

  • Two or more journals have duplicate editorial boards (i.e., same editorial board for more than one journal).
  • There is little or no geographical diversity among the editorial board members, especially for journals that claim to be international in scope or coverage.
  • The publisher has no policies or practices for digital preservation, meaning that if the journal ceases operations, all of the content disappears from the internet.
  • The publisher copy-proofs (locks) their PDFs, thus making it harder to check for plagiarism.
  • The name of a journal is incongruent with the journal's mission.
  • The publisher falsely claims to have its content indexed in legitimate abstracting and indexing services or claims that its content is indexed in resources that are not abstracting and indexing services.

Criticism

The list's 82% accuracy rate in the Who's Afraid of Peer Review? sting operation led Phil Davis to state that "Beall is falsely accusing nearly one in five as being a 'potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open access publisher' on appearances alone."[13] He wrote that Beall "should reconsider listing publishers on his 'predatory' list until he has evidence of wrongdoing. Being mislabeled as a 'potential, possible, or probable predatory publisher' by circumstantial evidence alone is like the sheriff of a Wild West town throwing a cowboy into jail just 'cuz he's a little funny lookin.' Civility requires due process."[13]

Joseph Esposito wrote in The Scholarly Kitchen that he had been following some of Beall's work with "growing unease",[26] and that Beall's "broader critique (really an assault) of Gold OA and those who advocate it" had "crossed the line".[26]

City University of New York librarians Monica Berger and Jill Cirasella wrote that his views were biased against open-access journals from less economically developed countries.[27] Berger and Cirasella argued that "imperfect English or a predominantly non-Western editorial board does not make a journal predatory".[27] They stated that "the criteria he uses for his list are an excellent starting point for thinking about the hallmarks of predatory publishers and journals,"[27] and suggested that "given the fuzziness between low-quality and predatory publishers, whitelisting, or listing publishers and journals that have been vetted and verified as satisfying certain standards, may be a better solution than blacklisting."[27]

Rick Anderson, associate dean in the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, challenged the term "predatory open access publishing" itself: "what do we mean when we say 'predatory,' and is that term even still useful?... This question has become relevant because of that common refrain heard among Beall's critics: that he only examines one kind of predation—the kind that naturally crops up in the context of author-pays OA."[28] Anderson suggested that the term "predatory" be retired in the context of scholarly publishing: "It's a nice, attention-grabbing word, but I'm not sure it's helpfully descriptive... it generates more heat than light."[28] In its place, he proposed the term "deceptive publishing".[28]

References

  1. ^ Spears, Tom (January 17, 2017). "World's main list of 'predatory' science publishers vanishes with no warning". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  2. ^ Butler, D. (2013). "Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing". Nature. 495 (7442): 433–435. Bibcode:2013Natur.495..433B. doi:10.1038/495433a. PMID 23538810.
  3. ^ Beall, Jeffrey. "Beall's List: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers". Scholarly Open Access (last archived ed.). Archived from the original on 2017-01-12.
  4. ^ Kolata, Gina (April 7, 2013). "Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too)". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
  5. ^ Jump, Paul (August 2, 2012). "Research Intelligence – 'Predators' who lurk in plain cite". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 2015-08-29.
  6. ^ Carey, Kevin (December 29, 2016). "A Peek Inside the Strange World of Fake Academia". Upshot. The New York Times.
  7. ^ Flaherty, Colleen (February 15, 2013). "Librarians and Lawyers". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2014-12-08.
  8. ^ a b New, Jake (May 15, 2013). "Publisher Threatens to Sue Blogger for $1-Billion". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2016-10-22.
  9. ^ Anderson, Rick (May 20, 2013). "High Noon – A Publisher Threatens to 'Lunch' a Criminal Case Against Librarian Critic". Scholarly Kitchen. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  10. ^ Chappell, Bill (May 15, 2013). "Publisher Threatens Librarian With $1 Billion Lawsuit". NPR. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  11. ^ Venkataramakrishnan, Rohan (May 19, 2013). "Send Section 66A bullies home". India Today. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  12. ^ Beall, Jeffrey. "Science Magazine Conducts Sting Operation on OA Publishers". Scholarly Open Access. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  13. ^ a b c Davis, Phil (October 4, 2013). "Open Access "Sting" Reveals Deception, Missed Opportunities". The Scholarly Kitchen.
  14. ^ "Why did Beall's List of potential predatory publishers go dark?". Retraction Watch. January 17, 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  15. ^ a b "Librarian's list of 'predatory' journals reportedly removed due to 'threats and politics'". Inside Higher Ed. January 18, 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
  16. ^ Singh Chawla, Dalmeet (January 17, 2017). "Mystery as controversial list of predatory publishers disappears". Science. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  17. ^ Beall, Jeffrey (2017). "What I learned from predatory publishers". Biochemia Medica. 27 (2): 273–279. doi:10.11613/BM.2017.029. PMC 5493177. PMID 28694718.
  18. ^ Swauger, Shea (December 1, 2017). "Open access, power, and privilege: A response to 'What I learned from predatory publishing'". College & Research Libraries News. 78 (11): 603–606. doi:10.5860/crln.78.11.603.
  19. ^ Basken, Paul (September 12, 2017). "Why Beall's List Died — and What It Left Unresolved About Open Access". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  20. ^ Basken, Paul (September 22, 2017). "Why Beall's blacklist of predatory journals died". University World News.
  21. ^ a b "The precarious prevalence of predatory journals". Research Matters. January 28, 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  22. ^ Siegfried, Elaine (June 16, 2017). "Fake Medical News". Dermatology Times.
  23. ^ "Cabell's New Predatory Journal Blacklist: A Review". The Scholarly Kitchen. July 25, 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-09-21. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  24. ^ "Cabell's International". Archived from the original on 2017-12-08. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  25. ^ Beall, Jeffrey (January 1, 2015). "Criteria for Determining Predatory Open-Access Publishers" (PDF). Scholarly Open Access. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-11-30.
  26. ^ a b Esposito, Joseph (December 16, 2013). "Parting Company with Jeffrey Beall". The Scholarly Kitchen.
  27. ^ a b c d Berger, Monica; Cirasella, Jill (2015). "Beyond Beall's List: Better Understanding Predatory Publishers". College & Research Libraries News. 76 (3): 132–135. doi:10.5860/crln.76.3.9277. Retrieved 2015-08-01.
  28. ^ a b c Anderson, Rick (May 11, 2015). "Should We Retire the Term 'Predatory Publishing'?". The Scholarly Kitchen. Retrieved 2015-09-20.

External links

Archival versions

Updated versions

African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines

The African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines is a peer-reviewed open access medical journal covering research on medicinal plants, traditional medicine, complementary alternative medicine, and food and agricultural technologies. It is included on Jeffrey Beall's list of "Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access journals".

Auraria Library

Auraria Library is an academic library in downtown Denver, Colorado. It provides academic resources and research experiences to students, staff, and faculty at the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver), the Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver), and the Community College of Denver (CCD) on the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC) campus, also called the Auraria Campus. The Library is administratively operated by CU Denver and occupies a building owned by the State of Colorado.

About one in five students in college in Colorado attend classes on the Auraria Campus. The combined tri-institutional census for fall 2012 reports 45,062 students attending the three institutions. The three institutions have combined populations of 15,903 minor students from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, which represents thirty-five percent of the total student population. Seventy-six percent of the graduates remain in the Denver Metropolitan area, contributing to its economic and civic vitality.

Jeffrey Beall, a former associate professor at the Auraria Library, is known for founding Beall's list.

Biomedical Research

Biomedical Research is a quarterly peer-reviewed medical journal covering research on biomedical sciences and experimental medicine. The editors-in-chief are Jin Ding (Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, Shanghai, China) and Ken Ichiro Inoue (University of Shizuoka). The journal was established in 1990 and is now published by Allied Academies, which is included on Jeffrey Beall's list of "potential, possible, or probable predatory publishers". Before being acquired by Allied Academies, the journal was published by Andrew John Publishing.

Cabell's International

Cabell's International is a scholarly services company based in Beaumont, Texas. Established in 1978 by management professor David W. E. Cabell, it originally maintained only a directory of whitelisted academic journals. Since then, it has grown to include a blacklist of predatory journals, journal metrics, and a set of tools to help academics prepare their manuscripts. Its whitelist has also been expanded to include many types of information about the included journals, such as article acceptance rates and average review times. As of 2017, the company's whitelist contains over 11,000 journals.

Cabell's blacklist

On June 15, 2017, the Beaumont, Texas–based company Cabell's International launched a blacklist of what it claims are predatory scholarly journals. Unlike Beall's List (which went offline permanently in early 2017), Cabell's blacklist is available on a subscription basis. Specifically, Cabells Blacklist is available either as a standalone product or as an 'add-on' at a discounted rate to subscribers to at least one discipline on Cabell's whitelist. The company originally considered offering its blacklist for free, but found that the cost of building and maintaining their Blacklist was too expensive not to charge a fee to use it. The decision to include journals on the list is based on 65 criteria, which the company reviews quarterly. The list includes specific mentions of the reasons a given journal is on the list, in an attempt to limit libel lawsuits. Cabell's describes the blacklist as "the only blacklist of deceptive and predatory academic journals."

Clinical Practice

Clinical Practice is a bimonthly peer-reviewed open access medical journal. It covers good clinical practice and health care. The journal was established in 2004 as Therapy, obtaining its current name in 2012. It is published by Open Access Journals, an imprint of the Pulsus Group, which is on Jeffrey Beall's list of "Potential, possible, or probable" predatory open-access publishers.

Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences

The Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences is a bimonthly peer-reviewed open-access medical journal covering pharmaceutics, biopharmaceutics, pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacognosy, pharmacology, pharmaceutical analysis, pharmacy practice, and clinical and hospital pharmacy. Since March 2016, it is published on behalf of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association by OMICS International, which is included in Jeffrey Beall's list of "potential, possible, or probable predatory publishers". OMICS International replaced Medknow Publications, which had published the journal for 10 years. It was established in 1939 as the Indian Journal of Pharmacy, with M.L. Schroff as founding editor-in-chief.

International Archives of Medicine

The International Archives of Medicine is an open access medical journal covering all aspects of medicine. It was established in 2008 and published by BioMed Central until the end of 2014. Starting in 2015, the journal is being published by iMed.pub, the official publisher of the Internet Medical Society, and restructured as a megajournal on all areas of medicine. The journal is abstracted and indexed in Embase and Scopus. The editor-in-chief is Ricardo Correa.

In 2015, as part of a sting operation, science journalist John Bohannon submitted an intentionally flawed study that claimed that eating chocolate aided weight-loss to the International Archives of Medicine. The article was accepted without peer review by the journal's CEO, Carlos Vasquez, who called the manuscript "outstanding" and published it without any change for a fee of €600. The journal editors later said that the article hadn't been accepted and was posted on the journal website only "for some hours", while Bohannon produced previous correspondence from the editors that said otherwise.The journal's publishers, Internet Medical Publishing (and now iMed.pub), are both listed as potentially predatory publishers on "Beall's list" compiled by librarian Jeffrey Beall.

Jeffrey Beall

Jeffrey Beall is an American librarian, best known for drawing attention to "predatory open access publishing", a term he coined, and for creating what is now widely known as Beall's list, a list of potentially predatory open-access publishers.

He is a critic of the open access publishing movement and is especially known for his blog, Scholarly Open Access.

He has also written on this topic in The Charleston Advisor, in Nature, in Learned Publishing, and elsewhere.When Beall created his list, he was employed at the University of Colorado, Denver. More recently, he was a librarian at Auraria Library in Denver until March 2018.

MDPI

MDPI is an organisational acronym used by two related organisations, Molecular Diversity Preservation International and Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, which were both co-founded by Shu-Kun Lin. The first organisation, Molecular Diversity Preservation International, founded in 1996, is primarily a chemical sample archive, with some scholarly publishing and conference activities. The second organisation, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, was founded in 2010, primarily as a publisher. As of 2018 MDPI publishes 213 academic journals, including 37 that have received an impact factor. However, the quality of MDPI's peer review is disputed.MDPI was included on Jeffrey Beall's list of predatory open access publishing companies in 2014 and was removed in 2015. Beall's list was shut down in 2017; Beall later wrote that he had been pressured to shut down the list by various publishers, specifically mentioning MDPI. The publisher was downgraded to level 0, the lowest level, in the Norwegian Scientific Index for the year 2019.

Medknow Publications

Medknow Publications also known as Wolters Kluwer Medknow or simply Medknow, is a publisher of academic journals on behalf of learned societies and associations. Previously an independent Indian publisher, Medknow is now part of within Wolters Kluwer's Health Division, and is part of Wolters Kluwer India.

Medknow is not a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. Some, but not all of its journals are listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. The publisher briefly appeared on Beall's list in 2011, but was taken down, being described as "[a] publisher for many well-respected Indian professional societies and is disseminating abundant, high-quality research."

Pharmacognosy Communications

Pharmacognosy Communications is a peer-reviewed open-access pharmacy journal published by EManuscript Services on behalf of the Pharmacognosy Network Worldwide. It is a quarterly publication edited by pharmacognosist Ian Edwin Cock, Griffith University, Australia. It publishes articles on the subjects of pharmacognosy, natural products, phytochemistry, and phytomedicine.

The journal is indexed with CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts, EBSCO, Google Scholar, Index Copernicus, OpenJGate, ProQuest, and Ulrich's Periodicals Directory.

Phcog.net (Pharmacognosy Network Worldwide) appeared on Beall's list from October 2012 through September 12, 2015.

Pharmacognosy Magazine

Pharmacognosy Magazine is a peer-reviewed open-access medical journal published on behalf of the Pharmacognosy Network Worldwide. It publishes articles on the subjects of pharmacognosy, natural products, phytochemistry, phytopharmacology. The journal is indexed with CAB Abstracts, Caspur, Chemical Abstracts, CSA databases, DOAJ, EBSCO, Excerpta Medica/EMBASE, Google Scholar, Hinari, Index Copernicus, Indian Science Abstracts, Journal Citation Reports, OpenJGate, ProQuest, PubMed, Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, and Ulrich's Periodicals Directory.

Phcog.net (Pharmacognosy Network Worldwide) appeared on Beall's list from October 2012 through September 12, 2015.

Pharmacognosy Reviews

Pharmacognosy Reviews is a peer-reviewed open-access medical journal published on behalf of the Phcog.net. The journal publishes articles on the subject of pharmacognosy, natural products, and phytochemistry. It is indexed with Caspur, EBSCO, ProQuest, and Scopus.

Phcog.net (Pharmacognosy Network Worldwide) appeared on Beall's list from October 2012 through September 12, 2015.

Plastic Surgery (journal)

Plastic Surgery (formerly Canadian Journal of Plastic Surgery) is a peer-reviewed medical journal dealing with plastic surgery. It is the official journal of several national Canadian societies: the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Canadian Society for Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Plastic Surgery, the Groupe pour l'Avancement de la Microchirurgie Canada, and the Canadian Society for Surgery of the Hand (Manus Canada). The journal covers both research and material dealing with continuing medical education and society guidelines. It was published by the Pulsus Group, which was placed on Jeffrey Beall's list of "Potential, possible, or probable" predatory open-access publishers following its sale to OMICS Publishing Group. The journal subsequently switched publishers and is now published by SAGE Publications.

Predatory open-access publishing

Predatory open-access publishing, or sometimes write-only publishing, is an exploitative open-access academic publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals (open access or not). The idea that they are "predatory" is based on the view that academics are tricked into publishing with them, though some authors may be aware that the journal is poor quality or even fraudulent. New scholars from developing countries are said to be especially at risk of being misled by predatory practices."Beall's List", a report that was regularly updated by Jeffrey Beall of the University of Colorado until January 2017, set forth criteria for categorizing publications as predatory. The list was taken offline by the author in January 2017. A demand by Frontiers Media to open a misconduct case against Beall was reported as the reason Beall closed the list, but an investigation by the university was closed with no findings. After the closure, other efforts to identify predatory publishing have sprouted, such as the paywalled Cabell's blacklist, as well as other lists (some based on the original listing by Beall).

Who's Afraid of Peer Review?

"Who's Afraid of Peer Review?" is an article written by Science correspondent John Bohannon that describes his investigation of peer review among fee-charging open-access journals. Between January and August 2013, Bohannon submitted fake scientific papers to 304 journals owned by as many fee-charging open access publishers. The papers, writes Bohannon, "were designed with such grave and obvious scientific flaws that they should have been rejected immediately by editors and peer reviewers", but 60% of the journals accepted them. The article and associated data were published in the 4 October 2013 issue of Science as open access.

World Journal of Gastroenterology

World Journal of Gastroenterology is a weekly peer-reviewed open access medical journal that covers research in gastroenterology. It was established in 1995 and is published by Baishideng Publishing Group, which was included on Beall's list of predatory publishers. The editor-in-chief is Andrzej S. Tarnawski (California State University, Long Beach).

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