Scholarly Open Access
they just discriminate against libraries.
Gold open access devalues the role of
the consumer in scholarly research… Open access is making readers
secondary players in the scholarly communication process.
is just laughable. Yes, we should feel sorry for all those readers who can
freely access all the peer-reviewed research that their tax dollars likely
the next section of his article, “Questioning Peer Review and Impact
Factors” Beall mostly critiques the doings of predatory publishers,
which no one really disputes. But in criticizing predatory publishers
(again unfairly extending his critique to all open access publishing) he
gives subscription publishing a free pass. If you don’t think bad
information has appeared in prestigious peer-reviewed subscription
journals, try searching “autism and immunization” or “arsenic
life.” Beall’s reverence for the journal impact factor isn’t
supported by any facts (see my post Removing the Journal Impact Factor from Faculty Evaluation).
So predatory publishers using fake journal impact factors shouldn’t be a
concern- it’s a bogus metric to start with. Moreover, Beall fails to
acknowledge that open peer review, in whatever form, would largely solve
the problem of predatory publishing. If a journal claims to do peer
review, then let’s see it!
If you’re an author from a Western
country, the novelty and significance of your research findings are
secondary to your ability to pay an article-processing charge and get your
article in print.
waivers are available and the majority of OA journals don’t have fees.
It’s interesting that Beall uses words like “novelty” and
“significance” here, as if unaware of real problems in peer review
caused by these assessments (which are not attributable to predatory
Open-access advocates like to invoke
the supposed lack of access to research in underdeveloped countries. But
these same advocates fail to mention that numerous programs exist that
provide free access to research, such as Research4Life and the World
Health Organization’s Health Internetwork Access to Research Initiative.
Open access actually silences researchers in developing and middle-income
countries, who often cannot afford the author fees required to publish in
gold open-access journals.
again, OA is not all about fees. It’s also odd that so many people from
the developing world are huge open access advocates. Beall fails to
mention that the large publishing companies have a lot of control over
which countries get access and which do not. If they decide that India,
for example, can afford to pay, then they don’t provide access. Wider
open access would make these programs unnecessary. The main thing
silencing researchers in developing countries is basic access to research,
which inhibits their own research efforts.
…the top open-access journals will
be the ones that are able to command the highest article-processing
charges from authors. The more prestigious the journal, the more you’ll
have to pay.
may be some truth to this, and it’s a concern I share. However, APCs may
be subject to price competition (an odd omission from someone who is so
market-oriented). Beall has identified the biggest problem to my mind,
which is journal prestige. Prestige means that mostly we are paying for
lots of articles to be rejected, which are then published elsewhere.
Academia needs to determine whether continuing to do this is very smart,
and whether other sources of research quality or impact might be
The era of merit in scholarly
publishing is ending; the era of money has begun.
laugher. Beall must be unaware of his own library’s collections budget,
or the 30-40% annual profit made by Elsevier, Wiley, Informa, etc. If he
is concerned about merit (and especially predatory publishing), he ought
to be advocating for some form of open peer review.
article initially published on