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'Predatory' open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics.

Shen C, Björk BC - BMC Med (2015)

Bottom Line: These so-called predatory publishers are causing unfounded negative publicity for open access publishing in general.The regional distribution of both the publisher's country and authorship is highly skewed, in particular Asia and Africa contributed three quarters of authors.Authors paid an average article processing charge of 178 USD per article for articles typically published within 2 to 3 months of submission.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Information Systems Science, Hanken School of Economics, PO Box 479, Arkadiankatu 22, Helsinki, 00101, Finland. cenyu.shen@hanken.fi.

ABSTRACT

Background: A negative consequence of the rapid growth of scholarly open access publishing funded by article processing charges is the emergence of publishers and journals with highly questionable marketing and peer review practices. These so-called predatory publishers are causing unfounded negative publicity for open access publishing in general. Reports about this branch of e-business have so far mainly concentrated on exposing lacking peer review and scandals involving publishers and journals. There is a lack of comprehensive studies about several aspects of this phenomenon, including extent and regional distribution.

Methods: After an initial scan of all predatory publishers and journals included in the so-called Beall's list, a sample of 613 journals was constructed using a stratified sampling method from the total of over 11,000 journals identified. Information about the subject field, country of publisher, article processing charge and article volumes published between 2010 and 2014 were manually collected from the journal websites. For a subset of journals, individual articles were sampled in order to study the country affiliation of authors and the publication delays.

Results: Over the studied period, predatory journals have rapidly increased their publication volumes from 53,000 in 2010 to an estimated 420,000 articles in 2014, published by around 8,000 active journals. Early on, publishers with more than 100 journals dominated the market, but since 2012 publishers in the 10-99 journal size category have captured the largest market share. The regional distribution of both the publisher's country and authorship is highly skewed, in particular Asia and Africa contributed three quarters of authors. Authors paid an average article processing charge of 178 USD per article for articles typically published within 2 to 3 months of submission.

Conclusions: Despite a total number of journals and publishing volumes comparable to respectable (indexed by the Directory of Open Access Journals) open access journals, the problem of predatory open access seems highly contained to just a few countries, where the academic evaluation practices strongly favor international publication, but without further quality checks.

No MeSH data available.


Scatter plot of article numbers versus article processing fee
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Fig9: Scatter plot of article numbers versus article processing fee

Mentions: We calculated the results in two ways. Firstly, by just a direct average (each journal having equal weight). Secondly, by assigning each journal a weight according to the number of articles published in the past five years. The latter calculation better reflects the average APCs paid by authors publishing in these journals. The results turn out quite different depending on the calculation method, in particular for the 10–99 stratum, where the average declines from 239 USD per journal to only 104 USD per article. Also generalized to all predatory articles, the overall average APC is only about half as high (178 USD) per article as the average calculated over journals, indicating a clear author preference for lower priced journals, leading to higher publication volumes. The distribution of APCs as a function of the article volumes in the scattergram (Fig. 9) also illustrates this pattern.Fig. 9


'Predatory' open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics.

Shen C, Björk BC - BMC Med (2015)

Scatter plot of article numbers versus article processing fee
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4589914&req=5

Fig9: Scatter plot of article numbers versus article processing fee
Mentions: We calculated the results in two ways. Firstly, by just a direct average (each journal having equal weight). Secondly, by assigning each journal a weight according to the number of articles published in the past five years. The latter calculation better reflects the average APCs paid by authors publishing in these journals. The results turn out quite different depending on the calculation method, in particular for the 10–99 stratum, where the average declines from 239 USD per journal to only 104 USD per article. Also generalized to all predatory articles, the overall average APC is only about half as high (178 USD) per article as the average calculated over journals, indicating a clear author preference for lower priced journals, leading to higher publication volumes. The distribution of APCs as a function of the article volumes in the scattergram (Fig. 9) also illustrates this pattern.Fig. 9

Bottom Line: These so-called predatory publishers are causing unfounded negative publicity for open access publishing in general.The regional distribution of both the publisher's country and authorship is highly skewed, in particular Asia and Africa contributed three quarters of authors.Authors paid an average article processing charge of 178 USD per article for articles typically published within 2 to 3 months of submission.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Information Systems Science, Hanken School of Economics, PO Box 479, Arkadiankatu 22, Helsinki, 00101, Finland. cenyu.shen@hanken.fi.

ABSTRACT

Background: A negative consequence of the rapid growth of scholarly open access publishing funded by article processing charges is the emergence of publishers and journals with highly questionable marketing and peer review practices. These so-called predatory publishers are causing unfounded negative publicity for open access publishing in general. Reports about this branch of e-business have so far mainly concentrated on exposing lacking peer review and scandals involving publishers and journals. There is a lack of comprehensive studies about several aspects of this phenomenon, including extent and regional distribution.

Methods: After an initial scan of all predatory publishers and journals included in the so-called Beall's list, a sample of 613 journals was constructed using a stratified sampling method from the total of over 11,000 journals identified. Information about the subject field, country of publisher, article processing charge and article volumes published between 2010 and 2014 were manually collected from the journal websites. For a subset of journals, individual articles were sampled in order to study the country affiliation of authors and the publication delays.

Results: Over the studied period, predatory journals have rapidly increased their publication volumes from 53,000 in 2010 to an estimated 420,000 articles in 2014, published by around 8,000 active journals. Early on, publishers with more than 100 journals dominated the market, but since 2012 publishers in the 10-99 journal size category have captured the largest market share. The regional distribution of both the publisher's country and authorship is highly skewed, in particular Asia and Africa contributed three quarters of authors. Authors paid an average article processing charge of 178 USD per article for articles typically published within 2 to 3 months of submission.

Conclusions: Despite a total number of journals and publishing volumes comparable to respectable (indexed by the Directory of Open Access Journals) open access journals, the problem of predatory open access seems highly contained to just a few countries, where the academic evaluation practices strongly favor international publication, but without further quality checks.

No MeSH data available.