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Critical Analysis of Jeffrey Beall's Blog - Open Access Publishing

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  Predatory Blogger: Jeffrey Beall

Posted on June 20, 2015


Credibility of Beall’s List : Writes half-truths, errors and downright nonsense

We’ll start with someone I rarely quote: Stevan Harnad, writing on December 9, 2013 at his GOAL/amsciforum mail list. Harnad is all about green OA, as he’s made clear a few thousand times. After a citation, he begins:

This wacky article is going to be fun to review. I still think Jeff Beall is doing something useful with his naming and shaming of junk OA journals, but I now realize that he is driven by some sort of fanciful conspiracy theory! “OA is all an anti-capitalist plot.” (Even on a quick skim it is evident that Jeff’s article is rife with half-truths, errors and downright nonsense. Pity. It will diminish the credibility of his valid exposés, but maybe this is a good thing, if the judgment and motivation behind Beall’s list is as kooky as this article!

But alas it will now also give the genuine “predatory” junk-journals some specious arguments for discrediting Jeff’s work altogether. Of course it will also give the publishing lobby some good soundbites, but they use them at their peril, because of all the other nonsense in which they are nested!)

There were already moves afoot to establish a credible method for identifying what Harnad calls “junkjournals”— something that’s needed, since there have indeed been some profiteers who seem to assume that authors don’t actually investigate the journals they submit to—but I’d say the piece has done more than diminish the credibility of Beall’s efforts. But that’s me. The item linked to here is the start of a thread of other messages from various people on the list. The thread involves quite a few people, including Beall himself, who—in confirming that he wrote the article and stands by it, since someone suggested it might have been a spoof—says “Prof. Harnad and his lackeys are responding just as my article predicts.” Ah, his lackeys! The set of Harnadians pushing Gold OA is one of those special sets of lackeys that fall in the same category as unicorns farting rainbows.

It’s quite a thread. Unfortunately, it’s a little difficult to find Harnad’s promised actual critique of Beall’s rant article, but this post offers some tidbits, at least.

Source: Crawford, W. (2014). Ethics and Access 1: The Sad Case of Jeffrey Beall, Cites & insights, 14(4), 1-22.