Year : 2019 | Volume
: 6 | Issue : 1 | Page : 1--2
Confronting the menace of predatory publishers of health journals
Director, Research Center, Riyadh Elm University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
H A Mosadomi
Director, Research Center, Riyadh Elm University, PO Box 84891, Riyadh 11681
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
|How to cite this article:|
Mosadomi H A. Confronting the menace of predatory publishers of health journals.Saudi J Oral Sci 2019;6:1-2
|How to cite this URL:|
Mosadomi H A. Confronting the menace of predatory publishers of health journals. Saudi J Oral Sci [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Mar 24 ];6:1-2
Available from: http://www.saudijos.org/text.asp?2019/6/1/1/241176
It is philosophically accepted that in all human endeavors, especially in the context of community/country activities, there must be continuity and change, although expectedly and hopefully the continuity and change should be positive and by-and-large beneficial. When continuity and change become damaging or toxic, the community concerned should react and strive to find some answer to contain or remove the damage or toxicity.
In research/publishing communities in the arts, sciences, health sciences in particular, etc., there is now already a menacingly palpable presence of predatory publishers and journals. The question to ask legitimately is what has led to this new or not-so-new phenomenon? Many researchers, professors, lecturers, students, and others, continue to receive unsolicited invitation from unknown journals to submit ready-to-publish manuscripts, to serve on editorial boards, to become editor-in-chief or even review submitted manuscripts. This phenomenon appeared to be an off-shoot or product of “open access” academic journals publication. A few of these predatory journals may have actually proceeded the era of open-access journals. There is evidence that the philosophy of “open access” publications is a lofty one which improves accessibility to disclose to the targeted readerships research results that have been obtained through ethically conducted research but which do not find ready access to publication among the traditional and established Journals that have plausibly fair but constrictive “Instructions to Authors.” These established Journals have Chief Editors, Associate Editors, Managing Editors, Editorial Boards, and Advisory Boards in various organizational arrangements. In addition, these Journals follow “established rules” (peer-reviewing) in processing submitted manuscripts.
Open-access journals are propelled by the explosive internet and computer technology resources to match the volume of research results output. Then like in a huge sweep, predatory publishers (rogue journals and false journals) rushed in to make a kill knowing full well that the remit of academics includes publishing for promotion, recognition, and tenure where applicable. These predatory publishers and journals have all the trappings (mostly virtual) of the traditional counterparts. The problem is that they are primarily commercial outfits designed to be so and function so as well. Hence, the up-front or down-front request for cash payments of variable amounts before a submitted paper is “finally processed” for publication. It is not unusual for a predatory publisher to accept for publication the same day or a day after receiving the manuscript from author(s)!!! If the approximately 25,000 regular research journals worldwide with varying transparently calculated impact factors are unable to accommodate the volume of research papers generated everyday, it would seem impossible to stop the growth of predatory publishers and journals. These predatory publishers/journals are damaging the essence of “research and publishing” which are inseparably linked.
What is to be done? Many things! However first and foremost, the real existence and scope of predatory publishing must be discussed, debated and made known to researchers, especially the young researchers. These young (and even old) researchers should be encouraged to publish in peer-review journals that follow the accepted rules built over the past several decades by consensus. Many of these peer-reviewed journals may indeed have no impact factor value yet, most likely because they are young, but they are publishing according to the rules.
Furthermore, stakeholders in research/publishing should find ways to encourage some predatory publishers to become “clean” and accept the rules of the enterprise of research and publication, which in health sciences are intimately linked to evidence-based care and therapy. There should be a way to dialog.
Health research is critically important and rogue publishers and predatory health journals must not be allowed to prosper. The number of predatory journals is between 8000 and 10,000. If this were truly so, then it is obvious that the task before ethical publishers and authors as well as institutions will not be an easy one. However, a way must be found to confront and even dialog with these predators and their products.
We must collectively act to shut the inviting trap of dealing with fake publishers and journals or find some ways to positively and significantly reduce the menace.