Thursday, January 9, 2020

Predatory Publishing 2020

It's 2020 and I'm still bogged down, not finished with my notes from half a year ago on the ENAI conference. What can I say? Life and all....

So let's start the new year with a discussion on predatory publishers. Deborah Poff gave a keynote speech at the ENAI conference 2019 on the topic, and as COPE chair she has now published a discussion paper on the topic. There are a number of irritating points, as Elisabeth Bik points out in a Twitter thread, but on the whole this is a good paper to get this very important discussion going in the new year.

How can we tell whether or not a journal is legitimate or not? Legitimate in the sense that rigorous peer-review is not just stated, but actually done? We are in a current world situation in which certain groups attack science because it is informing us of uncomfortable truths. Predatory publishers offer a welcome point of attack, as the weaknesses of the "science" they publish are immediately assumed for all science. The "self-regulation" of science has been shown in recent years to not actually do the work it is supposed to do, despite the efforts of so many to point out issues that need attention.

Researchers need guidance about publication venues. Beall's list was taken down for legal reasons, but there is a web site that publishes an archived copy of the list that was taken on 15 January 2017. That was soon after the 2017 list was published.

There is a checklist available at that is useful, but not a list of problematic publications, probably for legal reasons.

We can't keep putting out heads in the sand about the problems of academic misconduct. If we only look away, we let people get away with bad science, and that then reflects on us all.