Back in May I highlighted Jeffrey Beall’s article in the Charleston Advisor open access archive (the OA archive is open, unlike the rest of the journal) , an entertaining exposé about several open access publisher websites that don’t describe or respond to questions about peer review or anything else…just register as an author, insert your credit card, and hope for the best. Yes, it was a sure sign of tarnished gold open access.
Lots of us appreciated Jeffery’s diligence and used various means to circulate his indictment. That means that as new open access publishers appear, they get the scrutiny they deserve from more eyeballs, and Jeffrey will get new nominations for potential predatory practices. It didn’t take long for Jeffrey to sound the warning bells again.
The July 2010 issue of the Charleston Advisor contains Jeffrey’s Update: Predatory Open-Access Scholarly Publishers. The first candidate for open access infamy include:
There are several questionable things present in the Medwell Journals website.
What did I notice?
- The contact information page is an ingest form. Will they get back to you?
- Use of a gmail account for contact on the subscription ordering page.
- No contact information linked or provided for journal editors.
- Must register and enter the manuscript system to see information about fees.
- A “News” page which actually prints news, not from their own journals or business, but from the Journal of Clinical Investigation( see “Genetic Link to Heart Failure.” [a subliminal appeal to legitimacy?!]
The second candidate suggested for scrutiny by Jeffrey is International Research Journals.
What did I notice?
- This blog is about biomedical open access, so I took a closer look at one of the biomedical titles. The Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences may certainly intend to be as general as the PLoS Medicine, but it will be hard to accomplish with only a single editor on the editorial board, listed without email or phone number.
- Use of a gmail account on the contact page. Refreshingly, there are two Nigerian cell phone numbers listed. The weekend had already begun in Nigeria when I used skype to verify the numbers worked.
- The Guide to Authors for the Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences attempts to describe a unique submission style for paper elements and citation references, apparently in ignorance of the International Biomedical (Vancouver) style, a well-known international standard that would really simplify the production of manuscripts with citation management tools, as well as provide guidelines for nearly every detail you might forget to think about in setting up a new biomedical journal.
- Author processing fees for articles are published, mostly around $400US – $450US . Since my first impression is that this at best an immature or amateur start-up, a competitively low fee is not a bad strategy. On the other hand, the expenses of what we see in this website are pretty minimal, so what does the money go for? There is no advisory board to lend credibility or confidence.
Anyway, you also have Jeffrey Beall’s impressions. Thanks, Jeffrey!