掠夺性期刊滥发论文侵蚀博士学位价值

学术界担忧日甚,澳大利亚大学因而限制了博士学位认可的期刊范围

七月 7, 2021
Person in front of a display of a group of full-scale replica sharks as a metaphor for Predatory journals jeopardise PhDs
Source: Alamy

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学者们对掠夺性期刊对博士生构成的威胁表示愈加担忧,至少有一家学院通过控制论文标准来提升其博士办学的质量。

作为博士办学政策的“核心要素”,西悉尼大学(Western Sydney University)已经缩小了其博士学位认可的期刊范围。它的护理与助产学院(School of Nursing and Midwifery)则更严格,坚持论文必须发表在SCImago期刊排名前75%的出版物上。

一名外部审查员抱怨说,以博士论文的形式提交的论文见于掠夺性期刊,而后发生了上述改变。一项审查发现,这些期刊不符合西悉尼大学对掠夺性出版物的定义——缺乏同行评审、缺乏透明度或合理的编辑标准,并具有征稿诈骗行为。

但是该案例加强了大学在“加强期刊质量管控”方面的努力。此项工作已经在进行,以实践数据收集和研究评估实践的指导方针,一位女发言人如是说。

这一插曲反映了一种更广泛的担忧,即滥发博士论文刺激了低质量和重复的科学研究,滋生了自我剽窃和侵权的困扰。同时,人们对掠夺性出版商会议组织者的激增普遍感到焦虑。

学者们表示,他们每周甚至每天都会收到为有问题的期刊撰稿或参加鲜为人知的活动的请求,这些请求都是通过措辞拙劣的电子邮件发出的,最初并没有透露参与者需要付费。

博士生特别容易受到这种方法的影响,因为他们对学术文化的认识相对浅薄。尤其是如果他们有临床背景的话,可能会受到奉承其为“医生”的邀请函的诱惑。

墨尔本大学(University of Melbourne)法学教授凯蒂·巴奈特(Katy Barnett)说:“我认为博士生们不会不知道这种情况。”她说最近注意到推特上有一名博士生向她提出了发文咨询,而她建议其从一家出版社撤回论文。

“她真的很兴奋,”巴奈特教授说。“她说,‘这是我第一次发表学术刊物,现在他们要我付钱——这正常吗?’”

巴奈特教授说,大学和管理人员需要更主动地向博士生通报掠夺性出版商的“警告信号”。“我们已经制定了激励措施,早期的学术论文必须公开发表。指出发表陷阱是我们义不容辞的责任。我们需要更好的资源来帮助博士生明确如何以及在哪里发表论文。”

但她也承认,编写一份掠夺性期刊清单的难度很大,部分原因在于出版商十分狡猾。“他们改了名字。不断变更办公地址。我想说的是,如果有人要你为在他们的杂志上发表文章付钱,请马上让他们滚!’”

悉尼科技大学(University of Technology Sydney)数字社会教育研究中心(Centre for Research on Education in a Digital Society)主任西蒙·奈特(Simon Knight)警告称,对于期望成为学者的人,学院出台了“不正当的激励措施”,即,在荣誉学位课程期间发表论文成为博士录取的先决条件。

但奈特博士说,将与学术相关的论文限制在特定期刊上也可能产生意想不到的后果。他说:“很多期刊不在这些名录中。例如,新兴知识领域的新期刊,具有很多非常规性的期刊等等,不太可能出现在那些商业指数中。”

西悉尼大学表示,期刊质量的高低由学科水平的高低而决定。在大的院校范围内,并没有广泛规定论文需要发表在排名较好的SCImago期刊上,“因为这将排除书籍章节的发表以及其他声誉良好的出版物”。

john.ross@timeshighereducation.com

本文由陈露为泰晤士高等教育翻译。

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Reader's comments (3)

By saying that "What I would say as the indicia is, ‘If anyone asks you to pay for publishing in their journal, get out now!’” Professor Barnett seems to show that she doesn't understand Open Access publishing. These routinely, and legitimately, ask for an Article Processing Charge (APC). That's how they fund themselves while making their content available to all. Predatory publishing is now a huge and difficult problem that needs serious addressing, but identifying journals as predatory, or not, is a far more involved process than suggested.
If payment is what indicates that a journal is predatory then we are losing it. There are journals that subject articles to rigorous peer review but at the end of the day demand APC since their articles are free to access. Inasmuch as we have journals that do not meet the required standards, we should not yield to pressure from highly commercialistic journals listed in high-end sites to label 'all' open access journals as predatory.
There needs to be a clear scientific consensus on what makes a journal predatory. We have seen instances in the past of journals 'influencing' Universities to 'silence' certain academics who raised legitimate questions about journal intent and methods. And then, there are journals who employ devious tactics to get established academics to join their editorial boards in lieu of certain favours. And finally, there are journals that have been established for the sole purpose of making quick $$$ by promising rapid publication often with no peer-review at all. Academic publishing is a constantly evolving process and one that needs diligent involvement and meticulous management. You can almost be certain that predatory journals will always attempt to game the system.