JCEPS: Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies
Jeffrey Beall's bookmarks 2012-12-13
In the context of open-access (OA) academic publishing, the mounting pressure cross global academe to publish or perish has spawned an exponentially growing number of dodgy academic e-journals charging high fees to authors, often US$300-650, and even triple that amount, promising super-fast processing and publication open-access (OA) online. Jeffrey Beall (Scholarly Open Access, http://scholarlyoa.com) has characterized this phenomenon as ‘predatory OA publishing,’ since it is oriented largely to extorting a high fee from authors. This exponential growth in start-up cyber-journals galore of questionable quality and dubious upstart origin is driven largely by the globalization of Euro-Atlantic research cultures into the Global South and lower-income economies everywhere, part of the now rapid internationalization of scientific research (Jha 2011) and ‘researching under the audit’ (Illner 2011: 70), and is potentially a form of ‘academic racketeering.’ It tends to attract and exploit lesser-privileged academics, often on ‘knowledge production peripheries.’ They are a segment of a hugely expanding global constellation of researchers, in some ways a ‘research proletariat’ (Harvie 2000), many of whom can can least afford the ‘cyber-services’ of these start-up, fee-gouging OA journals. Yet researchers anywhere, including doctoral students and others in an ‘academic precariat,’ may be lured to publish there, given a turnaround time of three weeks from submission to acceptance and publication often offered and implemented (Stratford 2012). A certain kind of ‘market cynicism’ (Power 2010) may take hold, where young academics are forced to think of themselves largely in economic terms and the ‘price’ of quick dubious publication.
In essential ways, the phenomenon of predatory academic journals is also part of the largely ex-colonial and subalternized ‘academic periphery striking back’ against that Eurodominance of research cultures, involving basic contestations about asymmetrical power and representation and the geopolitics of hegemonic and subaltern knowledge production and dissemination on a global scale, the ‘coloniality of power/knowledge’ (Quijano 2000; Grosvoguel 2008; Jaramillo 2012) within the changing face of biopolitical production and the emergence of a new ‘common’ (Hardt 2010; Hardt & Negri 2009) inside globalized immaterial capitalist production. Racist subtexts about ‘academic scams based in Africa and South Asia’ need to be confronted and avoided.
In resisting trends toward corporate, high-cost Western-dominated academic publication, cost-free OA knowledge publication paradigms need to be expanded in the (re)appropriation of a ‘knowledge commons’ under late capitalism. These include arXiv.org, journals like JCEPS, the Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Qualitative Social Research (bit.ly/xjc0mD), and more than 7,000 others associated with the Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) -- in the spirit of the Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics (bit.ly/zPYYFJ) and the work of the Public Knowledge Project (http://pkp.sfu.ca), Open Journal Systems (tinyurl.com/2ydklr), SciELO (http://socialsciences.scielo.org/) in Latin America -- and other initiatives for ‘Green OA’ in open-access repositories elsewhere. These OA needs to be reconceived in the struggle for a ‘communism of the common’ (Hardt 2010: 140). That re appropriation and its self-organization should become a main goal in confronting and dismantling the regime of monopolistic knowledge control today by giant ‘knowledge enclosure’ corporations like Thomson-Reuters, Springer and Wiley.
A key aim of the present paper is to spotlight these ‘predatory’ journals and urge further empirical research. Despite the huge amount of largely bourgeois analysis of OA, there is very scant critical inquiry into such academic journals and their burgeoning conglomerates.