Beall's List

Friday, May 02, 2014


Some academic journals have embraced a “gold open access model” of publishing, wherein the scholars whose work appears in the journal pay for the privilege. Bob speaks with Jeffrey Beall, an academic librarian at the University of Colorado Denver who has assembled a list of "predatory journals" - journals that may be more interested in profit than academic contributions


Jeffrey Beall

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [3]

Heather Joseph from Washington, DC

We appreciate “On the Media” highlighting the problem of “predatory journals," but found the piece deeply misleading. For starters, the promo leaves listeners with the mistaken impression that the concept of Open Access – the free, immediate availability of research articles to all readers – is somehow inextricably linked to vanity publishing.

The reality is very different. While many Open Access journals do use article processing fees (APC’s) as a way to cover the costs of publication, these are usually paid by the author’s funder or home institution. Despite the impression given by this piece, in very few cases does an author reach into his or her own wallet to pay an article processing fee.

Vanity publishers do exist. They existed in the subscription-based publishing environment long before Open Access (OA) journals came onto the scene. The interview makes no mention of this long history, leaving listeners with the false impression that the problem is unique to to OA publishing.

The interview with Jeffrey Beall also makes another troubling leap. He notes that one effect that predatory publishers can have is the questionable quality of scientific results published in such outlets. He fails to note that it is a problem that exists in equal measure across the journal publishing marketplace – regardless if a journal is supported by an Open Access business model, or a traditional subscription access business model.

This does a disservice to the thousands of publications successfully using Open Access business models that leverage technology to get critical, high-quality research articles out to the widest possible community.

While efforts to provide the research community and the public with a mechanism for avoiding publication outlets that employ unsavory business practices is laudable, the credibility of Beall’s list suffers from consistent lapses in logic, and the lack of data demonstrating that this problem is somehow more pressing in the Open Access journal environment.

Heather Joseph
Executive Director
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)

May. 06 2014 06:49 PM
Stephen O Moshier from St Charles, IL

I was driving home from church this morning listening to OTM and intrigued by this story, because I am a scientist who gets those phony email journal solicitations every week. When I heard that remark about pastors and degree mills I yelled out loud! That would not be acceptable to me, as a scientist who attends church. Why would a show like OTM, dedicated to best practices in reporting, promote the all too common media stereotype that = rational and intellectual, religion = irrational and anti-intellectual? Shame on you, Bob!

May. 05 2014 12:04 AM
Andy Edwards from Saint Cloud, MN

I really enjoyed this piece, but I was disappointed by a contrast that the host drew between the necessity of accredited training for airline pilots and the more acceptable possibility that a pastor "has gotten a theological degree from a diploma mill and no actual training." As someone who has spent years in theological education (PhD almost complete!), I found this quite insulting. It's this kind of thoughtless comment that both reflects and reinforces the privileging of the so-called "hard" sciences over the humanities, which in turn is hurting our education system and thereby our overall quality of life.

May. 04 2014 07:55 PM

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