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Pseudoacademia

The integrity of the scientific basis of medicine is under attack from numerous fronts. It is not only the intrusion of pseudoscience and mysticism into mainstream institutions of medicine, but also attempts to distort or game the scientific process for ideological and financial reasons.

Ideological groups such as the anti-vaccine movement, or grassroots organizations promoting pseudodiseases such as chronic Lyme, electromagnetic sensitivity, or Morgellon’s often misrepresent the scientific evidence while they lobby for special privilege to avoid the science-based standard of care within medicine.

Pharmaceutical companies, with billions on the line, have been very creative in figuring out ways to optimize their chances of getting FDA approval for their drugs, and then promoting their drugs to the medical community. Ghost-writing white papers, hiding negative trials, and designing trials to maximize positive outcomes have all been documented.

And of course there is now a vibrant subculture of “alternative” medicine proponents with their own journals, training programs, NIH center, and even their own privileged regulations existing in parallel to science-based medicine, distorting and subverting the process of science in countless ways, carefully documented over the last few years on SBM.

Now, it seems, we have a new source of pseudoscience to contend with, outlined in a recent article in The New York Times – open-access journals.

We have spoken mostly positively about online open-access journals. They allow for more transparent publication of scientific articles which are accessible to the general public, bringing science publishing into the 21st century. More access to information is generally a good thing, especially with an institution like science that requires openness and robust communication.

What typically happens is that we go into these new adventures, like the internet, the world wide web, social media, and now open-access journals, with naïve optimism about the potential new media. Then the con-artists and profiteers come in and exploit the new medium for selfish gain. I guess that is the unavoidable nature of any open society. Now we have to contend with the dark side of open-access scientific journals.

Here is how the scam works, according to the NYT article: Individuals or companies create an open-access online journal and try to give it the trappings of legitimacy. They give it an impressive sounding name, and sometimes give it a name that is very close to that of an established journal, hoping that it will be mistaken for the legitimate one. They invite recognized professionals onto their editorial board, and often enough naïve professors and researchers, hoping to support new open-access journals, sign on. Creating an impressive-looking website is now a simple task, requiring a relatively small investment for a company.

These journals then spam e-mail professors and researchers soliciting articles from them. After articles are submitted they then hit them with an author’s fee, which can be as much as several thousand dollars. Open-access journals often charge the authors a fee to publish because they do not charge readers subscriptions – that is the whole point of being open-access. So superficially the whole thing looks legit.

Such journals, however, have been described as “predatory” because of the aggressive way they solicit articles and the deceptive nature of how they pack their editorial boards and charge author fees.

The big problem is that they often lack a quality peer-review process. They will often publish anything, as long as you pay the fee. The result is that they are flooding the literature with poor quality papers which are difficult to weed out from the rest because they are doing a good job of hiding in the herd, by camouflaging themselves with the trappings of legitimacy.

For those attempting to research a medical topic, doing an online search has become much more difficult. Unless you are intimately familiar with all the journals in your field, you will likely get poor-quality results mixed in with the legitimate articles, and they will be difficult to recognize because they are convincing mimics.

The problem of bogus open-access journals is essentially the same as the more general problem of the web and social media – the field is crowded with fraud, biased sources, and simple mediocrity. There is no traditional editorial filter in place, no hurdle of getting past a publisher or editor. Lowering the barriers to publishing is still overall a good thing, in my opinion, but it means we have to invent new ways to indicate quality.

Since there is no longer any prepublication barrier, we need to add postpublication evaluation. For open-access journals this may mean creating a list of journals that have been evaluated and meet minimal criteria for quality and the legitimacy of their peer-review.

Of course, this will just be one more system to manipulate and game. Scientific quality in an open-access world requires eternal vigilance.

Posted in: Science and Medicine

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53 thoughts on “Pseudoacademia

  1. FastBuckArtist says:

    Dont like the journal – dont read it?
    There are a lot of crap magazines out there that I dont read, wouldnt ban them though.
    Freedom of press, speech – These are pillars of a free society.

  2. weing says:

    It’s not a question of liking. It’s a question of reliability. We don’t have the time to even evaluate legitimate science thoroughly. We need a filter to tell us which journals are even worthy of our limited attention.

  3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I’ve heard Bentham Science is bad for this.

    Does pubmed serve as this sort of basic filter? I know they have rather terrible journals (Journal of Comp and Alt Med or something similar being a notable one) but does it indiscriminately include all open access too?

    @FBA

    Do you have any suggestions for pre-emptively identifying “crap magazines”? That’s the problem, there are now so many out there that it is a time-consuming process simply to identify which can be trusted. The issue isn’t one of “freedom of press”, it’s one of quality.

    Several other pillars of a free society are eternal vigilence and an educated populace. This article aims to help with the latter two.

  4. Jeremy Praay says:

    More to the point than either of those responses, such a journal may contain both VERY GOOD and VERY BAD articles. Getting something published in a top-tier journal can take a substantial amount of time. It is conceivable that some may opt for the quicker solution, even though the study is legitimate science in every way. At that point, the reader is then assigned the job reviewing the article.

    It would certainly be an interesting world to see “Steven Novella, Harriet Hall, and 327 others like this.” But perhaps that’s not a bad model…?

  5. elburto says:

    I try not to engage with trolls, but FBA, I have a couple of points to raise.

    1. How does the layperson distinguish between reputable/junk journals?

    2. Seems like this is becoming my pet subject here, but if by “Free speech” you’re referring to the First Amendment of the US constitution, then you’re not even barking up the wrong tree, you’re barking up a telegraph pole.

    a) The internet is not America’s newest state. It is not owned by Americans for Americans, it is global. Your constitution is invalid.

    b) The cornerstone of the First Amendment is that the government of the United States of America shall not censor the free press, or the opinions of citizens.*

    As Doctor Novella is not the new Commander in Chief (are you Dr N? If so, well done sir), he cannot censor Americans. However, even if he was, he’d have no jurisdiction over the online journals he’s talking about, the open access journals on the World Wide Web, the Global Superhighway.

    *Surprising how few US citizens realise this, and use “FREE SPEECH!!!” to mean “I can say what I want, to who I want, wherever I want to, without fear of redress or reproach.

  6. Angora Rabbit says:

    FBA: the problem is two-fold. First, ethical scientists are being scammed by these journals into submitting, then getting hit by an outrageous fee that is solely aimed at skimming $ off the grant (which supports publication costs, but not the rates this rip-off artists charge). Then the journal disappears and the article can’t be found. Well, that’s too bad for the author because you can’t republish the findings in a legit journal. Thus your science can’t be disseminated, and if your data aren’t disseminated, then you can’t build on the work and can’t cite it in future publications or research grants as indicators of productivity. Basically, you’ve been scammed and screwed.

    The second problem is that unethical and junk scientists *will* publish in these journals because they quickly realize that they will never get fact-checked. They will publish data that are wholesale plagiarized from legit publications, made-up data, and just crap. They are issued a citation which they will then spread around like a bad venereal disease (ooh, I love saying that!) as indicators of “productivity.” They use this to get tenure at lesser schools, to pad CVs at institutes (mostly in Asia) where you get a financial bounty for each publication, and to try leverage a move to legitimate research positions in North America and Europe.

  7. Angora Rabbit says:

    @WLU: The big ones that I receive regular solicitations for are Bentham, Hindawi, and OMICS. I think Bentham actually paid attention to my Unsub request as they seem to have disappeared, which is a tiny mark in their favor. I get everything from requests to be an Editor to requests to edit a “special issue.” I’d avoid everything from those publishers. Spend some time looking at websites for legitimate journals, and you’ll soon learn to spot the differences.

    Also, real publishers should always willing to issue or assist with obtaining a PMID and final citation number for the accepted publication. But this is only true for research supported by US Federal dollars and I think UK national funding. I think but don’t know for sure how many private funding agencies and other countries are falling in line with this. It’s a bit of a wild west on this one because it’s only now being enforced by Congress and we are scrambling to figure out what types of publications qualify. But I think having a PMID can be a helpful (perhaps not absolute) indicator about the journal itself. Maybe someone else knows more? I don’t think I’m seeing these journals pop-up on PubMed.

    I meant to mention above the other big scam, which are the Chinese invites the Esteemed Investigator to present research at a Chinese symposium where you pay, all on your own dime, to have your research ideas stolen by the competition. I get these several times a week. The tipoff is that the “Conference” title has nothing to do with one’s research area, you get to invent your own topic from a long list of choices, and god knows who you audience is apart from certainly not your colleagues and peers. Real conferences ask you to speak specifically about your work on narrow topic X, and you can easily see how your presentation fits into the larger whole, as well as benefits your target audience.

    Yes, the NY Times article was outstanding.

  8. mousethatroared says:

    In the visual arts we have something similar, they are called vanity galleries, but they are much easier to recognize and not so much of a problem.

    Ahhh, the WWW can be such a pain in the rear. Maybe a search engine that preferences the most legitimate journals or articles? But who decides what the most legitimate are by what criteria? How do you avoid consuming mass amounts of time in keeping things updated.

  9. goodnightirene says:

    I read the Times article and was going to send it to each of you and ask for comment, but as I have done this before and had no luck, I didn’t. At any rate I was happy to see it turn up as a topic. I flooded the comments with replies to a number of comments and got good “ratings” (recommendations). Most of the most egregious were along the lines of “how will brave maverick scientists get published without brave maverick journals?” The years of reading this blog paid off and I was able to make some pretty good rebuttals, I think. :-)

  10. mousethatroared says:

    In the visual arts we have something similar, they are called vanity galleries, but they are much easier to recognize and not so much of a problem.

    Ahhh, the WWW can be such a pain in the rear. Maybe a search engine that preferences the most legitimate journals or articles? But who decides what the most legitimate are by what criteria? How do you avoid consuming mass amounts of time in keeping things updated.

    @Elburto – If you look into international organizations concerned with human rights you will see that freedom of the press and speech are not U.S. based principles.

    But regardless, laws become somewhat irrelevant or at least tons more difficult to deal with once things get online.

  11. FastBuckArtist says:

    @Angora Rabbit

    – First, ethical scientists are being scammed by these journals into submitting

    Why dont they submit to a journal of their choice? Dont like the dodgy journal? Submit to Nature and Lancet. Its a free world. Publish where you wish, if your material is of good quality, they’ll publish it. Otherwise you can always put it on your website for free. Nobody forces you to pay big fees to the dodgy journals.

    – They will publish data that are wholesale plagiarized from legit publications, made-up data, and just crap. –

    Then the journal gets a bad reputation, low readership, low google pagerank, low citations index, etc… It’s a problem that resolves itself.

  12. Liz Ditz says:

    MommaData (Polly Palumbo PhD) covered this yesterday in an excellent blog post, Pseudoscience R Us. In it, she linked to an enterprise new to me, Jeffrey Beall’s Scholarly Open Access.

    He keeps track of questionable journals and publishers.

  13. FastBuckArtist says:

    @WilliamLawrenceUtridge

    - Do you have any suggestions for pre-emptively identifying “crap magazines”?

    Google PageRank : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank
    Science Citation Index: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_Citation_Index
    and Impact Factor: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_factor

  14. mousethatroared says:

    argh – sorry for the double post. I seem to be having wifi or website issues.

  15. nobeardpete says:

    The most geniusly titled of these that I’ve seen is “Nature and Science” . For a few thousand bucks, you can have whatever drivel you want published there, and then just drop statements like the following into conversation, “Well, this work has been published in Nature and Science.”

  16. DugganSC says:

    I think MouseThatRoared has it aright when he compares it to vanity publishing. I’ve known many people scammed into buying expensive compilations of poetry or “Who’s Who” books because their name is in them. It’s a bit o a scam, but not truly a crime in my opinion. You get exactly what you pay for.

  17. KillCurve says:

    I am a long time lurker at this site, but I had to come out of the woodworks for this post. An excellent and important article, Dr. Novella. Academia is under attack, and we had best remain vigilant. I was duped into publishing a review article through InTech, which is on Beale’s List of Predatory Journals. I was actually proud of what I had written, and I am glad it is so easily accessible, so I do feel slight ambivalence. However, the rest of the book was a terrible mess that obviously had not even been subjected to a rudimentary editing process, and I hate having my name floating in that.

    I teach a Research Methods course and I now dedicate class time talking about the benefits and potential dangers of the OA vs. subscription publication model.

  18. Linda Rosa says:

    It’s bad enough that legitimate journals have the occasional crappy paper sneak by. Decades of bad practice can be sustained by just one such paper; I am thinking of the mental health field, and Attachment Therapy in particular.

    Is there nowhere a reliable “not recommended” list of substandard journals?

  19. Angora Rabbit says:

    @Linda: the NY Times article has links to at least one page, which is maintained by the librarian from UColorado that they interviewed. Sadly, it’s a bit like Whack-a-Mole because the invented titles pop up faster than one person can track. I think ultimately it’s a gestalt, looking at numerous features of the journal and individual publication to reach a conclusion.

    @DugganSC, I sort of agree. It’s a crime if the person is tricked into publishing there and then their publication disappears and doesn’t get a real peer-review. In fact, I wonder if it could be a crime if Federal dollars are involved in the research within the publication. Hmm…

  20. mousethatroared says:

    Angora Rabbit – I look-up any organization to whom I plan on making donations on Better Business Bureau Non-profit website.

    When I apply to shows or galleries I pay for listings that give the details and reputations of shows. Usually galleries I visit in person or contact other featured artists to make sure the gallery is legit and doesn’t “lose” work.

    Is there any similar service that lists reputable journals for publishing? FBA lists a few sources (page rank, impact factor), but I don’t know the field well enough to know if they would function in that capacity.

    It seems to me there are two issues. First the problem of credibility from the readers perspective. Second the problem of scientists who wish to publish (and those paying for the research) getting scammed when a promised service is not delivered, intellectual property theft, etc.

    It seems helpful to separate the problems, because it seems they would need different solutions. Just a thought.

  21. elburto says:

    @mtr -

    @Elburto – If you look into international organizations concerned with human rights you will see that freedom of the press and speech are not U.S. based principles.

    As I am not a sea cucumber I am fully aware of this. However, I have never seen any NotAmerican wank on about “Blah blah oppressing freedom of speech blah blah” until their fingers bleed. Not to mention the various giveaways to FBA’s nationality.

    Recalibrate the hair trigger.

  22. Chris says:

    FBA:

    Why dont they submit to a journal of their choice? Dont like the dodgy journal?

    Because the dodgy journals will pretend to be the real journal. They are purposely scamming researchers. This was discussed on the latest NY Times Science podcast, and in the actual article. You might try either listen to the podcast, or actually reading the article.

    Then the journal gets a bad reputation, low readership, low google pagerank, low citations index, etc… It’s a problem that resolves itself.

    The scam journals actually don’t care. They don’t need any readership. All they have to send lots of spam email and fool researchers into thinking they are legitimate, put the paper on a website and then send a large bill to the researcher.

    Again, try actually reading the NY Times article, or listen to this podcast.

  23. mousethatroared says:

    My apologies if my comment insulted you Elburto – it was not my intention. Just pointing out that there are some universal principles at play.

    Of course it goes without saying, but I’ll be obvious and say it anyway. I think there is a universal value in free speech and the press. But it’s also good to consider that those values should not be allowed to infringe upon the rights of others, through fraud, invasion of privacy, intellectual property theft and the like.

    Now a days, this is an inescapable global issue. You hear about it in the arts, technology, engineering. I’m not sure that anyone has come up with a good way to deal with it.

  24. ConspicuousCarl says:

    FastBuckArtist,

    The page rank only tells you that something is relatively well-known by quantifying references to it. It doesn’t tell you if that is accounted for by popularity among knowledgeable people or suckers.

    All you are really saying is “it must be good because everyone is talking about it” which is ridiculous.

  25. TheRealCervantes says:

    A) I am the reader formerly known as Cervantes. WordPress would not send new password to address of old Cervantes, or allow Cervantes to register again.

    B) Peer reviewers generally have access to no more information than what is contained in the submitted article. Therefore, if it’s junk, you can tell just as well as a peer reviewer; or not. That goes for JAMA and NEJM just as much as it does for a spam journal. So don’t worry about it too much, say I.

  26. Linda Rosa says:

    There is a handful of pseudo-journals promoting the anti-fluoridation agenda. They can be so very good at looking legitimate. Very annoying.

  27. windriven says:

    It seems to me that academics who can’t determine the quality of academic journals aren’t.

    There is garbage research in every field whether music theory or history or science. There will always be an element of caveat emptor unless we empower some entity to be the final arbiter of what is and isn’t publishable. The very thought scares the bejesus out of me.

    The price that we pay then is that some real crap gets published and some credulous people read it and take it to be gospel. The answer is not limiting the ability of morons to publish, it is teaching critical thinking skills and reducing the number of the credulous.

    Seems to me that SBM does a pretty good job of it in their little corner of the world.

  28. mousethatroared says:

    windriven “The price that we pay then is that some real crap gets published and some credulous people read it and take it to be gospel. The answer is not limiting the ability of morons to publish, it is teaching critical thinking skills and reducing the number of the credulous.”

    I am actually more disturbed by the idea that good research will be lost in a deluge of junk publishing. Similar to how the good programs on my Netlix account are now lost in a deluge of Disney programming. (Damn you personalization). But I tend to think technical innovation that helps users find what they are looking for is the way out…not some entity that is a final arbiter…although to what extent any filter that is developed becomes the final arbiter (like Google) is always in question.

    Sorry, I do go on, sometimes.

  29. rork says:

    Some are better than others, I admit, but there’s not a one where you can’t find dreck thanks to bad review, or editors valuing cool over good. Truly rogue journals – I don’t see how real people can be fooled into submitting stuff to them (in biomedical fields). I don’t consider PLOS One to be such an entity for example.

    Post-publication “review” by commenting is possible for some journals – but how many of you have ever been brave enough to do it, except in special cases of little risk (like after the retraction)? I know I’m too scared to list the things I don’t like or are suspicious about in new articles of interest to me. I’m no Eleftherios Diamandis – got tiny gonads I guess. Even when I offer to supply public comments to reveal wicked little statistician tricks, or failure to follow journal requirements for minimal disclosure of data (when I really want that data for my own interest, or to reveal my competitor is, um, not being completely truthful), my biologist colleagues usually ask me to forbear – too risky. Calling BS means making enemies. Our brave posters here must know much better than I about that.

    Trivia: maybe Angora meant PMCID rather than PMID in their second comment. No damage resulted, I’m sure.

  30. Angora Rabbit says:

    Yeah, PMCID. My notes from the “you must submit” seminar are at work and I’m home writing a grant today. Thanks for the correction – I figured some kindly soul would. :)

    Oddly, a number of colleagues thought we were supposed to be using PMID, so now we are all scrambling to update our Biosketches with the PMCIDs.

  31. norrisL says:

    Is there no end to the amount of scammery (is that a word?) that thieves will come up with to fleece innocent people?

  32. FastBuckArtist says:

    @Chris :

    – Because the dodgy journals will pretend to be the real journal. They are purposely scamming researchers.

    Where is the scam? Did the journal promise any services they didnt deliver? If yes, you can take them to court and get your publication fees money back. If your article got published in the journal, then there is no scam, they delivered the service.

    I am yet to hear an explanation why you guys dont simply send your work to a peer-reviewed journal that you like.. because that journal will REJECT YOUR SUBMISSION, is that the real reason why you have to send to dodgy 3rd-tier journals?

  33. Chris says:

    FBA:

    Did the journal promise any services they didnt deliver?

    Yes. In one case (listen to the podcast), there was a scam journal that was using a name very close to the real journal. The researcher thought he was dealing with the real journal, and after the fake journal posted his article online he wondered why it was not in the print version of the real journal. It was after he called up the real journal that he discovered he was scammed.

    Also, there is no actual peer review in the pseudo-journals. One researcher was fired from her university when it was found out she only published in a pay-to-publish journal.

    Again, you really need to read the article, or at a minimum listen to the NY Times Science Times podcast.

  34. Chris says:

    You should also read the Nature article that was cited by Ms. Kolata in her article, Sham journals scam authors:

    Scientific publishing, meet cybercrime. Two reputable European science journals have fallen prey to identity theft by criminals who have created counterfeit journal websites. These online doppel­gängers have duped hundreds of researchers into paying author fees, with the ill-won gains being funnelled to Armenia.

  35. Chris says:

    Also, Nature has written about the predatory publishers, Predatory publishers are corrupting open access:

    Some predatory publishers spam researchers, soliciting manuscripts but failing to mention the required author fee. Later, after the paper is accepted and published, the authors are invoiced for the fees, typically US$1,800. Because the scientists are often asked to sign over their copyright to the work as part of the submission process (against the spirit of open access) they feel unable to withdraw the paper and send it elsewhere.

    Do you think an honest business would only reveal the cost after the scientist agrees to publish with them?

  36. Narad says:

    I was duped into publishing a review article through InTech, which is on Beale’s List of Predatory Journals.

    Also the source of DeSoto & Hitlan’s identification of “major methodological flaws” in Price et al.’s thimerosal-autism paper, BTW.

    I’m pretty comfortable with the AAS’s approach: page charges are $110/page (with the EIC having a budget to waive them for underfunded authors), and everything is open access after two years. I think this setup was a better deal with the previous publisher, but they blew that on their own. The fact is that it does cost money to turn out a quality product after acceptance, and my experience has been that societies are quite keen to keep a lid on them. (Unfortunately, they’re also susceptible to being promised more than the publisher can actually deliver for the price; I could go on about my current gig, but I need it for the moment.) I’m certainly not neutral, but society journal + university press strikes me as a decent compromise, so long as the press can deliver added value, something that isn’t necessarily guaranteed.

  37. Narad says:

    I don’t consider PLOS One to be such an entity for example.

    PLOS One, however, has the side issue of limiting review solely to methodology (or, as they put it, they will “publish all papers that are judged to be technically sound”).

  38. mousethatroared says:

    FBA – You claim to support free speech, yet you seem flustered when people use that right to share information about predatory publishing. I really don’t see your gripe.

    How, exactly is freedom of the press or speech being infridged by SN’s article or the following comments?

  39. Narad says:

    Google PageRank : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank

    This is hilarious.

    Science Citation Index: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_Citation_Index
    and Impact Factor: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_factor

    You do understand that SCI, aside from having standards of what they’re indexing, isn’t a ranking service, right? Both this and the Journal Citation Reports are products of Thomson-Reuters, so it’s effectively one thing, and neither is free.

    Did the journal promise any services they didnt deliver? If yes, you can take them to court and get your publication fees money back.

    Uh-huh. How easy do you think it is to sue a company based in Hyderabad?

  40. FastBuckArtist says:

    @Chris

    Two reputable European science journals have fallen prey to identity theft by criminals who have created counterfeit journal websites.

    Now thats a true scam! Sending money to Armenia should have rang an alarm bell, or two.

    The other examples you highlighted may be considered unethical but they are not scams:

    - If the researcher wasnt notified it will cost $1800 to publish, then he’s under no obligation to wire the money or release his copyrights. Just walk away.
    - The guy who published in the journal with a similar name was just sloppy. Why didnt he call the journal on their office phone number? Its a standard check – if somebody emails me saying they are John Doe from company XYZ, I call back on the company’s official number and ask to talk to John Doe.

  41. Chris says:

    You know, FBA, you would have known that if you had actually read Gina Kolata’s article.

  42. Narad says:

    The guy who published in the journal with a similar name was just sloppy. Why didnt he call the journal on their office phone number? Its a standard check – if somebody emails me saying they are John Doe from company XYZ, I call back on the company’s official number and ask to talk to John Doe.

    And ask what? “Are you a reputable journal”? It’s becoming screamingly apparent that you have no understanding whatever of academic publishing.

  43. FastBuckArtist says:

    @Narad

    You do understand that SCI, aside from having standards of what they’re indexing, isn’t a ranking service, right? Both this and the Journal Citation Reports are products of Thomson-Reuters, so it’s effectively one thing, and neither is free.

    The citations will tell you how many other researchers have considered this publication important to them.
    Ranking is subjective, whats relevant to you may not be relevant to another reader.

    Personally when I look for articles to read, I will sort by number of citations first, then I’ll sort by date to see the newest articles that have no citations yet.

    Some of the best studies I read were in PLOS One, by the way.

    Uh-huh. How easy do you think it is to sue a company based in Hyderabad?

    Dont send money to Hyderabad! It’s like people sending money to Nigeria and then complain they got scammed, seriously what did you expect?

  44. Chris says:

    FBA:

    Dont send money to Hyderabad! It’s like people sending money to Nigeria and then complain they got scammed, seriously what did you expect?

    How do you know how the money is sent? If they don’t post their real address, how do you how a credit card transaction is being handled?

  45. Narad says:

    The citations will tell you how many other researchers have considered this publication important to them.
    Ranking is subjective, whats relevant to you may not be relevant to another reader.

    Um, again, SCI (or, more appropriately, Web of Science) isn’t free.

    Personally when I look for articles to read, I will sort by number of citations first, then I’ll sort by date to see the newest articles that have no citations yet.

    Please do elaborate on your precise method for accomplishing this.

    Dont send money to Hyderabad! It’s like people sending money to Nigeria and then complain they got scammed, seriously what did you expect?

    First of all, OMICS maintains U.S. offices to collect remittances (for checks and wire transfers, that’s through Citibank, N.A., Palo Alto, 250 University Ave., CA 94301, and winds up at the account of an LA office; tell me what in this tells you where the funds go). That doesn’t mean you can easily recover from them. In any event, with this admonition, you have basically tossed the bulk of the predatory OA business, which you seem to have been trying to defend, right under the bus while simulantaneously endorsing false advertising and spamvertising. Congratulations.

  46. Chris says:

    Narad:

    In any event, with this admonition, you have basically tossed the bulk of the predatory OA business, which you seem to have been trying to defend, right under the bus while simulantaneously endorsing false advertising and spamvertising. Congratulations.

    Considering his username, he may be here looking for ideas? :-)

  47. FastBuckArtist says:

    @Chris

    How do you know how the money is sent? If they don’t post their real address, how do you how a credit card transaction is being handled?

    The card-issuing bank knows exactly where the money is going. You can instruct your bank to not honor any transactions going outside your country. Credit card transactions can be reversed. If you believe the merchant scammed you, file a fraudulent transaction claim with your bank. You will receive a refund, and its up to the merchant to prove they delivered the services you paid for.

    @Narad

    Please do elaborate on your precise method for accomplishing this.

    Google scholar, sort by relevance, sort by date, its not complicated.

    In any event, with this admonition, you have basically tossed the bulk of the predatory OA business, which you seem to have been trying to defend, right under the bus while simulantaneously endorsing false advertising and spamvertising. Congratulations.

    Well if Hyderabad and Nigeria rejects your scholarly submission, I can publish it for you on my website, for a modest fee, credit cards accepted, wire transfers and checks also welcome, worldwide exposure guaranteed!

  48. FastBuckArtist says:

    Um, again, SCI (or, more appropriately, Web of Science) isn’t free.

    Here is a freebie, not as comprehensive but will list the top 100 journals overall and top 20 in each field:

    http://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=top_venues&hl=en

  49. kathy says:

    South Africa also pays academics at Universities for each paper published. However, the varsities have a list of “approved” journals … papers must be in one of these to count for payment. I assume they are well chosen – in my own subject they are, but I don’t know anything about others.

  50. mousethatroared says:

    FastBuckArtist – You must have missed my question. I’ll ask again, How is communicating the predatory tactics of some open access journals infringing on anyone’s free speech or freedom of the press?

    Are you suggesting that people shouldn’t publish newspaper or blog articles about phishing scheme or “free” timeshare vacations as well? Somehow people are just suppose to intuitively know to be on the look-out for journals with sound-alike names or how to separate reputable journals from predatory ones?

    Gosh – ebay has pages and pages of ways to avoid scams there. Artists discussion boards and publications share liberally about poor quality shows (that are basically scams) and potential problems with galleries. Do have a problem with that?

    Even setting fraud aside, are you suggesting that “creating a list of journals that have been evaluated and meet minimal criteria for quality and the legitimacy of their peer-review.” as SN suggested is an infringement on free speech or the press?

    What exactly do you object to? -besides some imaginary ban, that only you have mentioned.

  51. etatro says:

    Several years ago, when I was a post-doc, my advisor was working on a book chapter with Nova publishers and having a lab tech help him with it. This particular advisor would do ANYthing to increase items on his CV. (good on him because he’s chair of a department now). But I was skeptical and googled “Nova Science Publishers Scam” and one of the tops hits was a 2010 forum thread from James Randi’s Educational Foundation website with just this problem. I helped edit the book chapters and got middle author status for it. But I don’t think it was helpful to my career. I have also gotten several “invitations” to be on editorial boards that seemed legit and I seriously considered. Then I talked to a few people about it and I decided not to because I didn’t think it would actually help my career to be on the editorial board of a new journal that I hadn’t heard of. That my time should be spent attempting to publish in established places and be a good mentor. Little did I know that these were probably scams and I can’t believe I considered it and spent time talking about it. I’ve gotten countless invitations to speak at Chinese conferences. The first one was an “antibody research conference” which was so strange sounding. I’ve come to realize that when it comes to figuring out whether something is a scam, if you have to ask …. it probably is either: (a) A scam or (b) not worth your time.

    Regarding publishing in PLOS ONE, there are lots of good articles in there. They have a peer review / editorial model, where the article is reviewed/edited by two scientists and the reviewers’ names are attached to the article. The thing I like is that you know the reviewers’ names and they cannot hide behind anonymity and therefore their criticisms are legitimate. I cannot tell you how many times I have been peer reviewed (publishing and more often — grants) and the criticisms been ad hominems (you’re not tenured), logical fallacies, factually inaccurate, and totally unhelpful. The model of PLoS One is to not be a gatekeeper in predicting what will be important or “impactful” and to let post-submission statistics / usage sort that out. If you disagree with something reported in PLOS One, you are free to leave a comment that will be viewed alongside the article. If research was done technically correct, and the results and conclusions are scientifically sound, I don’t see the problem with publishing it. I have published in PLoS One; after the first submission, the reviewer returned it saying that two additional control experiments should be done. Seem legit to me.

  52. Narad says:

    The model of PLoS One is to not be a gatekeeper in predicting what will be important or “impactful” and to let post-submission statistics / usage sort that out.

    It might be more appropriate to say that the model of PLoS One is to publish as much as possible in order to fund the rest of the operation. Postpublication review is an inherently tenuous proposition, making cases such as this more a matter of luck than anything.

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