Update 10 March 2014: Since I published this post, I’ve been made aware of an alternative agenda in Jeffrey Beall’s crusade against predatory publishers. His real crusade is, apparently, against Open Access publishing. This agenda is clearly indicated in his own words in an open access publication entitled, “The Open-Access Movement is Not Really about Open Access.” More information about Beall’s agenda can be found here. I am not removing this post from the site, but I am disavowing its contents as positive coverage of the work of Beall may undermine the long-term goal of allowing all scientists, and the public, to access peer-reviewed publications as easily and inexpensively as possible.
Earlier on, I lamented the annoying – and predatory – practices of pseudojournals. I wished that someone could do something to identify and contain these parasites.
I just learned someone is. Meet Jeffrey Beall. This guy is awesome. He’s an academic librarian at UC Denver. He’s taken on the herculean task of identifying, calling out, and investigating all of these non-journals that try hard to look like real academic outfits.
He calls these pseudoacademic entities “predatory journals” and “predatory publishers,” which is an apt label.
He runs the blog Scholarly Open Access, which I just discovered last week.
A column by him ran in Nature
Magazine about this topic and his blog six months ago. I’m not a guy who regularly peruses Nature (unless EO Wilson goes all group-selectionist and my colleagues go all doctrinarian), so this slipped my attention.
It’s definitely worth a visit to Beall’s site. Not only does he keep an up-to-date list of publishers and journals that are “predatory” in nature, he also shares much of his investigation into particular circumstances, such as this one guy who is the “Editor in Chief” of several “journals.”
These journals have all kinds of fake information and corrupt financial arrangements, often done in a hilariously inept manner. It’s entertaining to spend some time on this blog. I’ll be regularly visiting, for entertainment of the drive-past-an-accident-scene-and-can’t-not-look-while-passing-by kind of variety.
Of course, it’s of practical use too, in the event your institution also has people who use these fake journals as a way to boost their CV, in case they need an external opinion to validate your own. Mr. Beall is doing some spectacular work and we should all express some appreciation for delving into this muck on behalf of the rest of academia.
By the way, right after I prepared this post, the New York Times came out with a profile of Beall’s efforts, focusing on not only pseudojournals but also the pseudoconferences that are hosted by the same or similar organizations.