Penetrating the Omerta of Predatory Publishing: The Romanian Connection
Not so long ago, a well institutionalized predatory journal exposed itself by publishing a hoax article that blew the whistle for its devastating influence on the academic affairs of a small country. This paper puts that experiment in context, gives all the important details and analyzes the results. The experiment was inspired by well-known cases of scientific activism and is in line with recent efforts against predatory publishers. The paper presents the evidence in detail and uses it to analyze the publishing practices of the offending journal, using established criteria for assessing predatory publications. That journal somehow acquired an impact factor and charged money to publish thousands of “scientific” papers without any peer review. Since the impact factor is the major official evaluation criteria for scientists in Serbia, these papers disturbed the whole academic evaluation process. Credentials acquired by those publications form a strong obstacle to institutionalized reasoned efforts against such practices. This case warns the whole community of the long lasting damage when journals with low publishing ethics are taken seriously.
KeywordsPredatory publishing Whistleblowing Scientific responsibility Peer review Publication practices Professional competence
- Beall, J. (2012a). Criteria for determining predatory open-access publishers (2nd edition). http://scholarlyoa.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/criteria-2012-2.pdf. Accessed 24 September 2013.
- Beall, J. (2013). Beall’s list of predatory publishers 2013. http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/. Accessed 24 September 2013.
- Curb, L. A., & Abramson, C. I. (2012). An examination of author-paid charges in science journals. Comprehensive Psychology, 1(1), 1–6.Google Scholar
- Cyril, L. (2010). Ike antkare one of the great stars in the scientific firmament. International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics Newsletter, 6(2), 48–52.Google Scholar
- Fischer, B., & Zigmond, M. (2012). Scientific publishing. In R. Chadwick (Ed.), Encyclopedia of applied ethics (2nd ed.) (pp. 32–40). San Diego: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-373932-2.00175-7. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123739322001757.
- Nacionalni savet za visoko obrazovanje. (2007). Preporuke o bliim uslovima za izbor u zvanja nastavnika. Nacionalni savet za visoko obrazovanje.Google Scholar
- Roth, D. L. (2005). The emergence of competitors to the science citation index and the web of science. Current Science, 89(9), 1531–1536.Google Scholar
- Sipka, P. (2012). Legitimacy of citations in predatory publishing: The case of proliferation of papers by serbian authors in two bosnian wos-indexed journals. Tech. Rep. CEES Occasional Papers Series 2012-12-2, CEON—Centar za evaluaciju u obrazovanju i nauci. http://ceon.rs/ops/12122.pdf.
- Sokal, A. (2010). Beyond the hoax: Science, philosophy and culture: Science, philosophy and culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Sokal, A. D. (1996b). Transgressing the boundaries: Toward a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity. Social Text, 46/47, 217–252.Google Scholar
- Stribling, J., Krohn, M., & Aguayo, D. (2005). Scigen—an automatic cs paper generator. http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen.
- Univerzitet u Beogradu. (2008). Kriterijum za sticanje zvanja nastavnika na univerzitetu u beogradu. Glasnik Univerziteta u Beogradu. http://www.bg.ac.rs/files/sr/univerzitet/univ-propisi/KriterijumiZaSticanjeZvanja.pdf. Accessed 24 September 2013.