Nature & predatory publishers

Nature of 26 October has another article (comment) that I found of general interest, namely a long report on one of the most prolific predatory publishers, OMICS, which got sued by the US Federal Trade Commission for “deceptive business practice”. The authors built a database of articles from fringe publishers. Exhibiting a rebranding of OMICS journals.

“The number of [OMICS] journals has grown faster than the number of publications, suggesting that many journals are shells with little content.”

They also found a massive number of re-published “papers from legitimate sources without crediting the original journal, and sometimes not the original author”. With all kinds of very shoddy attempts at hiding the plagiarism. The obvious problem is that such papers get evaluated by committees and reviewers without being ever read, with the name of the journal playing on the easy confusion with a legitimate journal. Except in the glaringly obvious cases. The recommendations from the authors include requesting for open peer reviews, linking funded publication costs to an adherence to some minimal transparency rules, moving to low-cost institutional platforms, and, more importantly, rewind the evaluation rules in academia so that low-quality, plagiarising, or otherwise illegitimate papers get identified as such, rather than betting on the reviewers spotting an already-known predatory journal or conference…

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