Anarchy and Commercialism 2012-08-20


“In recent years, scholars worldwide have found themselves under increasing pressure to publish more, especially in English-language ‘internationally circulated’ journals that are included in globally respected indexes such as the ISI Citations. As a result, journals in these networks have been inundated by submissions and many of them accept as few as 10 percent of papers, and in some cases fewer. Given that too few journals or other channels exist to accommodate all the articles written, there has been a proliferation of new publishers offering new journals in every imaginable field (see, for example, the Directory of Open Access Journals). While some inventive scholars and publishers have responded to scholarly demands and new research trends, clever people have understood that new technology has created confusion as well as opportunities and that money can be made in the knowledge communication business. Not surprisingly, a large number of ‘bottom feeders’ are now starting ‘journals’ with the sole goal of earning a quick profit and enriching their owners... These so-called journals have impressive sounding names and lists of prominent advisory editors — some who have in fact never been asked to serve. Peer reviewing is touted, but one suspects that anyone who pays the fee can get published... Many of these sham journals are in the sciences, with computer science being well-represented. The primary problem, of course, is that it is increasingly difficult for potential users to discern the respectable journals from the new fakes. A quite useful resource is Jeffrey Beall's List of Predatory, Open-Access Publishers... According to The Scientist, from 2002–2005 Elsevier was paid by the pharmaceutical company Merck — to publish articles in that journal that were favorable to Merck’s drugs Vioxx and Fosamax. Merck’s financial involvement in the journal was not disclosed. AJBJM was not the only pseudo-journal published by Elsevier. The company also published a number of other journals in the early 2000s whose research quality could be considered suspect. According to a June 4, 2009 statement by Elsevier: ‘An additional eight 'Journal of' titles were published with ads from multiple advertisers and therefore did not call for additional disclosure. None of these nine titles were primary research journals and should not have been called journals.’ As well as exploitative journals with a primary goal to make money rather than to advance scholarship, a profusion exists of ‘legitimate’ journals, mediocre at best — publishing articles that really should not be published... Though many of these periodicals are supposedly peer-reviewed, the standard is frequently low, and much weak research is accepted for publication... A 21st-century paradox is that while it is ever more difficult to get published in a top-tier journal, it is now easier than ever to get published... Surely, the still-vibrant ‘publish or perish’ syndrome must bear some of the blame. Universities increasingly demand more publications for promotion, salary increases, or even job security. Further, the pressure has increased to publish in English-language journals... This, their administrators believe, will improve their institutions’ rankings... Thus, pressure is created on scholars in many fields, who must consult an exponentially increasing number of articles — many of which are worthless... An excessive number of journals are exorbitantly priced. Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory lists over 141,000 academic and scholarly journals, of which 64,000 are peer-reviewed. Clearly, libraries cannot afford to keep up with such numbers; for a long time, libraries have been canceling journals, due to the ever-escalating cost of serials. For years, the cost of journals has been increasing at a far higher rate than the Consumer Price Index, at a time when library budgets have generally been decreasing. The highest journal costs are invariably in the sciences (the average price of chemistry journals in 2011 was $4,044, that of physics ones was $3,499). (See Library Journal’s 2011 Periodicals Price Survey.) The cost of some journals is indeed astronomical; for example, $24,048 annually for Brain Research, $20,269 for Tetrahedron and $17,258 for Chemical Physics Letters — all three journals published by Elsevier. John Wiley is another publisher whose journals are frequently extremely expensive. An institutional subscription to Wiley’s Journal of Comparative Neurology will be $30,860, in 2012. Though journals in non-hard-science disciplines tend to be substantially cheaper, they are also often subject to high cost increases. Library Journal’s 2011 Periodicals Price Survey reveals that journals in language and literature had a 29 percent cost increase from 2009 to 2011. Philosophy and religion were next with a 22 percent increase, followed by agriculture, anthropology, and arts and architecture being tied for third at 17 percent. Another problem for libraries is the bundling in subscription packages of hundreds of journals that often range widely in quality. With the bundling model, t



08/16/2012, 06:08

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Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.comment oa.advocacy oa.elsevier oa.cs oa.societies oa.libraries oa.access oa.peer_review oa.impact oa.quality oa.prestige oa.librarians oa.prices oa.wiley oa.citations oa.doaj oa.budgets oa.credibility oa.cornell.u oa.stem oa.journals



Date tagged:

08/20/2012, 18:59

Date published:

03/08/2012, 13:30