Hunters and hunted

January 28, 2016

The rise in exploitative publishing practices must be countered not only by the open-access movement but also by everyone involved in research publication. However, there are a few aspects of the graph on “predatory” publishers that readers should be aware of (“Journals and publishers setting sights on the unwary”, News, 21 January).

First, the source of the graph, Jeffrey Beall, began compiling his list only in 2010, so the graph does not necessarily represent growth, only what has been tracked. Second, as Walt Crawford has adeptly shown, Beall’s judgements are opaque. Crawford found that, in Beall’s most recent listings, “for roughly 90% of publishers...and journals added to the list, there is no published rationale whatsoever for Beall’s condemnation”. Third, Beall is ideologically motivated in his list, hoping to discredit open access, writing publicly that the open-access movement is “anti-corporatist” [sic] and that it “wants to deny the freedom of the press to companies it disagrees with”.

Finally, much of Beall’s rhetoric is pejoratively Anglocentric; he has publicly asked whether the well-respected South American publication platform, SciELO, is “more like [a] publication favela”.

For these reasons, among others, a number of institutions (such as the University of Manchester) are explicitly advising their authors not to use Beall’s list.

Martin Paul Eve
Senior lecturer in literature, technology and publishing
Birkbeck, University of London

Send to

Letters should be sent to:

Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday. View terms and conditions.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Home secretary says government will support 'best' universities

Man handing microphone to audience member

Academic attainment of disadvantaged students can be improved if they can decide how they are assessed, study claims

Woman drinking tea from saucer

Plugging a multibillion-pound deficit exacerbated by June’s poll result may require ‘drastic measures’, analysts have warned

Italy's gold medallist

New measures to ensure universities are ‘not penalised’ for taking poorer students also outlined for next stage of TEF

Classroom, school

Higher education institutions can and should do more to influence education at a secondary school level, says Edward Peck