Are we overestimating the problem of “predatory” publishing?

In order to unravel the unjustified association of open access with bad or even predatory publishing Tom Olijhoek and Jon Tennant wrote this blog post, recently published in the LSE Impact Blog.
Last summer an international association of investigative journalists launched a massive media offensive on the problem of predatory publishing in science. The data shown were taken from the 2015 study by Cenyu Shen and Bo-Christer Björk, but without proper reference to it.
The study launched by the association of investigative journalists suggests a link between predatory publishing and open access publishing, and that the problem is huge.
However, according to Tom Olijhoek, the DOAJ Editor-in-Chief, and Jon Tennant, a leading voice in and advocate of open science, the facts tell a different story: predatory publishing does also exist in toll-access journals, and the total revenue of predatory open access publishers is 0,5 – 1,5 % of the total revenues of open access publishers.
Let us know what you think by leaving a comment here.

Learn about DOAJ and Open Access Best Practices

We are very glad to announce the launch of a series of educational videos. This first playlist is an introductory course created by the DOAJ Team itself to assist publishers, librarians, researchers and authors understand those standards and what an entry in DOAJ means.

Our goal is to continue developing our YouTube channel in order to create a comprehensive educational programme. Stay tuned and let us know your preferred topics!

Silver Sponsor Digital Science Answers Our Questions on Open Access Publishing and the DOAJ

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Jon Treadway, COO at Digital Science answers our questions.

-Your organisation has been supporting DOAJ for a few years now. Why is it important for Digital Science to support DOAJ?

The DOAJ is a crucial piece of infrastructure in the scholarly publishing industry. At Digital Science, since our inception 7 years ago we have looked to support and work in partnership with industry bodies rather than trying to reinvent or control them. Our relationship with DOAJ is one example of that approach, but one could equally point to our work with ORCID or VIVO.  We’ve also tried to set up broader initiatives that support players such as DOAJ, such as our GRID project or our collaboration on Blockchain for Peer Review.

-What is Digital Science doing to support Open Access development? Do you have any exciting projects underway?

The launch of Dimensions earlier this year was exciting, or at least we hope it was! Among many things, it is a research information system that offers researchers free access, without registration, to citation data. It integrates with the DOAJ, and so allows users to limit results only to those journals included in the database. Increased visibility for the DOAJ means increased visibility for Open Access journals and publishers, which can only be good for its development.

-What are your personal views on the future of Open Access publishing?

Open Access has established its credibility, its viability and its ability to achieve the goal of making research more accessible to millions of researchers. The biggest challenge may be the erroneous belief that Open Access makes it unaffordable for researchers in less wealthy institutions or developing nations to publish, that financial barriers to access are being removed only to be replaced by financial barriers to publication. Open Access is a broad church, with a wide variety of publishing options.

-What do you think that the scholarly community could do to better support the continued development of the Open Access movement in the near future?

This is not a new answer, but the more the community can move away from overly simplistic measures of impact, the more researchers will feel able to choose where to publish based on other factors, like price or quality of service or accessibility. I think that there will to be further shifts in library budgets to allow explore a wider range of models. I also think that there is still a basic culture change that needs to take place in the field.  Many academics (especially in arts and humanities) don’t yet see the value of open access and find it challenging.

-Much has been said recently about whether open access is succeeding or failing, particularly in terms of the original vision laid out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002. Do you think that open access has fallen short of this vision, or has it surpassed expectations?

Paradoxically, I think it has fallen short of the vision but has exceeded expectations. Cultural change takes a long time, and even longer time in academia and academic publishing. In that context, the progress of the Open Access movement over the last 15 years has been nothing short of stunning. It is easy to overlook that.

Silver Sponsor Federation of Finnish Learned Societies answers our questions on Open Access publishing and DOAJ.

Janne Pölönen, Head Of Planning at the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies answers our questions.

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– Your organisation has been supporting DOAJ for some years now. Why is it important for the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies to support DOAJ?

Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV) produces a Publication Forum rating of academic/scholarly journals and book publishers that supports the performance-based research funding system (PRFS) for allocating part of block funding annually to universities. Similar model, in which the research community – rather than the Journal Impact Factor – is entrusted the rating of outlets, is used for example in Norway and Denmark. The Nordic countries collaborate with support from Nordforsk to create The Nordic list, a common Nordic registry of publication channels. In 2017, TSV and other partners of the Nordic collaboration group agreed to support DOAJ as a trusted international source of whitelisted Open Access journals. In each country, information from DOAJ is supplied to experts to help them identify reliable peer-reviewed outlets.

– What is the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies doing to support that development? Do you have any exciting projects underway?

Especially in the social sciences and humanities (SSH), large share of research is published in national languages and in books. Therefore, important part of the success of OA depends on national solutions and developments. In Finland, learned societies are major publishers of academic/scholarly journals and books. TSV plays a key role in facilitating the transition of the societies’ publishing activities to OA. This includes operating the Open Journal System (OJS) service for the learned societies and launching, in 2017, the Journal.fi portal to OA journals in Finland. An open access plan is required from learned societies to be eligible for the state subsidies that TSV allocates to journals and books series, and a consortium-based funding-model for those transitioning to OA is being sought in collaboration with the National Library. TSV also provides the Finnish scholarly publishers a Label for peer-reviewed publications to promote high standards and transparency of peer-review practices. The Publication Forum list of journals and book publishers helps to disseminate information about open access status and self-archiving policies based on DOAJ and Sherpa/Romeo. Open Access publishing is part of the Open Science agenda, of which TSV is set to become the national coordination body in Finland.

– Much has been said recently about whether open access is succeeding or failing, particularly in terms of the original vision laid out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002. Do you think that open access has fallen short of this vision, or has it surpassed expectations? What are your personal views on the future of Open Access publishing?

The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) has admirably set out the ideal that we should have both free access and unrestricted use of research publications. The transition to OA requires the continued will and effort, both at international and national level, of policy-makers, leaders, administrators, librarians, and researchers advocating OA. This movement is making it increasingly difficult for publishers not to facilitate open access with reasonable cost and embargo. The transition is perhaps not happening as fast as we hope because there are many stakeholders, interests, and traditions involved in academic/scholarly publishing. For the same reason, open availability of research publications continues to take place in many forms, some of which fall short of the BOAI ideals. We will be getting free access without unrestricted use and free access delayed with embargoes – these are needed to help the transition. The environment for the development of OA has become more and more complex, for example with the emergence of academic social networks that have increased the ambiguity among the research community over what is OA and what is not. Nevertheless, as many studies show, there has been a global growth in the share of research publications that are openly available to everyone on the internet and it is fair to expect this growth to continue.

– What do you think that the scholarly community could do to better support the continued development of the Open Access movement in the near future?

Most attention has been paid to journal publishing but also open access to peer-reviewed monographs and book chapters need to be facilitated. Researchers can increase their awareness of reliable OA publishing options and make the effort to archive their publications to an OA repository whenever the journal or book publisher permits self-archiving. Institutions should facilitate archiving and identification of OA policies. More studies are needed to show and communicate the added value of open access to research and society. Researchers can also be encouraged to choose channels that either are open access or allow self-archiving with reasonable embargo, and scholarly publishers of journals and books can be encouraged to increasingly develop and offer viable OA options. This will require the development of institutional, national and international OA policies, evaluation practices and infrastuctures. European Commission has already set a strong agenda including rewards and Incentives, indicators and next-generation metrics, future of scholarly communication, European Open Science Cloud, FAIR Data, research integrity, skills and education and citizen science. The next challenge is for all the relevant stakeholders in EU countries to work out how this agenda is best adapted to national and local contexts and cultures to advance open access and open science.

 

 

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The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and the Council of New Zealand University Librarians sign up as sustainable funders promoted by SCOSS

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DOAJ is very pleased for the support received from CAUL and the Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL) towards a sustainable funding model promoted by SCOSS. These two new additions enlarge the list of institutions who have committed funds to support DOAJ and Open Access.
The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) is pleased to be a founding member of the Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS). At least thirteen CAUL member university libraries and one Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL) member library have pledged  €42,000 to date in support of the SCOSS crowd-funding program to improve the ongoing sustainability of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). This demonstrates the perception of value provided by DOAJ to Australian and New Zealand universities. I would like to encourage university librarians from around the world to consider contributing to the SCOSS appeal for DOAJ.
Martin BorchertUniversity Librarian, UNSW Sydney and Chair of the SCOSS Board

 

About CAUL

CAUL is the peak leadership organisation for university libraries in Australia.  Members are the lead library executive of the institutions that have representation on Universities Australia.

About CONZUL

The Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL) is a Committee of Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara. CONZUL’s objective is to act collectively to improve the access for students and staff of New Zealand universities, to the information resources required to advance teaching, learning and research. The objectives are embodied in CONZUL’s statement on Open Access.

About SCOSS
The formation of the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services(SCOSS) represents a community-led effort to help maintain, and ultimately secure, vital infrastructure. This recognition of the cruciality of such infrastructure, and of securing it, is what led to the formation of SCOSS. Groundwork for the coalition was laid by the Knowledge Exchange, which presented many of the foundational ideas for it in its 2016 report Putting Down Roots, Securing the Future of Open Access Policies.

Silver Sponsor Hindawi Answers our Questions on Open Access Publishing and DOAJ

Paul Tavner, Head of Institutional Outreach at Hindawi, answers our questions.

Artboard 1– Your organisation has been supporting DOAJ for some years now. Why is it important for Hindawi to support DOAJ?

DOAJ is a crucial tool for authors when assessing open access journals. Its use is taught by librarians around the world as part of Open Access 101. Hindawi strongly believes in supporting the development of tools that the community can rely on to make informed decisions about their publishing activities.

Importantly, DOAJ was designed as an ‘open first’ service – unlike legacy systems that are gradually retrofitted to support open practices. Developing and supporting new services dedicated to serving the open movement – such as DOAJ –  is a key priority for us.

– What benefits does being indexed in DOAJ bring to your journals?

The way that people think about and assess journals is changing. Prestige will always be an important factor when considering publishing venues, but open access – and open science more widely – adds new considerations to this decision-making process.

In a world of evolving practices and priorities, DOAJ encourages authors to think carefully about the most fundamentally important qualities a journal offers. A journal listed in DOAJ provides reassurance to authors that essential standards are met and that they can expect a certain level of service when submitting.

The fact that many librarians train authors to use DOAJ as a discoverability platform – as well as a tool for assessing journals – also means that more authors are finding and submitting to Hindawi’s journals for the first time via DOAJ.

– What is Hindawi doing to support that development? Do you have any exciting projects underway?

Hindawi’s current priorities are around the development of a truly open infrastructure for scholarly publishing. Although we’re actively developing our own solutions in-house, we strongly believe that collaborative community-led projects are where real progress will be made in this space. We’re therefore contributing significantly to initiatives including Crossref, the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) and the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation (CoKo).

Our CEO, Paul Peters, wrote a detailed blog post on this subject at the end of last year, which you can read here.

– What are your personal views on the future of Open Access publishing?

The Open Access genie is out of the bottle. It’s no longer a questions of ‘if’ Open Access will become the dominant paradigm, it’s just a question of ‘when’. As more and more digital natives become practicing researchers and take over from predecessors, the mental contortions needed to justify the old-fashioned practices of legacy business models become increasingly difficult to sustain.

That said, OA has a lot of problems that need to be resolved. APCs are a clever solution in many ways, but much more needs to be done to explore how they can be more rationally deployed. We need to do more to support researchers in countries with poorer access to funding. OA also has a huge problem with jargon – specifically around the varieties (gold, green etc.).

– What do you think that the scholarly community could do to better support the continued development of the Open Access movement in the near future?

My main wish is that as many people as possible could critically assess what they think they know about open access. Conflations of gold OA with APCs; slurs about ‘pay to publish’; general suspicion about publishing operations from non-Western countries. These are all examples of dogmatic prejudice that could all be addressed with a little simple research.

We all have a responsibility to ask questions about why things are done in a particular way. Challenging convention is key to improving our systems and processes. This applies just as much to publishers as it does to researchers and librarians. Every person who challenges the status quo helps to encourage change and development.

– Much has been said recently about whether open access is succeeding or failing, particularly in terms of the original vision laid out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002. Do you think that open access has fallen short of this vision, or has it surpassed expectations?

More people have greater access to scholarly content than ever before in human history. We’re succeeding by some metrics, but lagging behind by others.

The BOAI has had a huge impact on the landscape of the scholarly communications, but it was the result of a specific set of challenges and opportunities at a particular point in time. Rather than concentrating on its vision then, we should be looking more at the challenges and opportunities available to us now.

SILVER SPONSOR DANISH AGENCY FOR SCIENCE AND HIGHER EDUCATION ANSWERS OUR QUESTIONS ON OPEN ACCESS PUBLISHING AND DOAJ

Lotte Faurbæk and Hanne-Louise Kirkegaard from the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education (Styrelsen for Forskning og Uddannelse) answer our questions.

-Your organisation has been supporting DOAJ for some years now. Why is it important for the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education to support DOAJ?

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We regard DOAJ as an authoritative data source on Open Access Journals. We use DOAJ in the Danish Research Indicator to verify the data quality of the journals in our database, which consists of over 300,000 journals (both Opens Access and toll). Additionally, whenever we get a suggestion to accept a new journal to our list of publication channels that should generate points in the indicator, we check the status in DOAJ, to make sure it lives up to the criteria for acceptance. DOAJ is also an important part of the project called “Nordic lists”, which is a project supported by NordForsk, where the Nordic countries with research indicators collaborate to enhance the data quality of their national lists of publication channels.

-What is the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education doing to support that development? Do you have any exciting projects underway?

In 2014, the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science adopted a national strategy for Open Access to research articles from publicly funded institutions. The strategy The strategy has an ambitious goal, stating that already in 2022, 100% of the articles should be freely available via the Internet. Though, the Danish Open Access Indicator showed that only 36 percent of scientific publications produced at Danish universities were Open Access in April 2018. So, we are far from reaching the ambitious target, and a revision of the strategy – including scaling down the Open Access targets – is under way.

-What are your personal views on the future of Open Access publishing?

I think it is an irreversible trend. Though, the transition towards 100 pct. Open Access will happen at a slower pace than aimed for in the EU. In the EU Council Conclusions on Open Science the OA target is 100 pct. OA in 2020. Full OA will probably not happen at the speed desired due to a lot of reasons. Some of the reasons are: different Open Access approaches in EU member states and third countries – green, hybrid, green etc. -, the current lack of merit of OA compliance, the reluctance among publishers towards green Open Access, including big publishers imposing extraordinary long embargoes on scientific articles – 24 months or more.

– What do you think that the scholarly community could do to better support the continued development of the Open Access movement in the near future?

·         The rationale behind Open Science/Open Access must be communicated better to the public, and OA should be a political priority – both at national and institutional level.

·         National and institutional policies on Open Access must be adopted, implemented, monitored and enforced.

·         Change of culture among researchers towards openness is needed and could be supported by a change of the current merit system

·         Research funders must mandate and monitor OA

·         Universities must unite and collectively negotiate economically sustainable subscription deals – including OA – with the publishers (bargaining power).

– Much has been said recently about whether open access is succeeding or failing, particularly in terms of the original vision laid out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002. Do you think that open access has fallen short of this vision, or has it surpassed expectations?

I think we are under way, but not as fast as one could hope. More needs to be done, as we said in the previous question.