[Coral-List] NYT Article on "Predatory Open-Access Journals"

Héctor Reyes Bonilla hreyes at uabcs.mx
Fri Apr 26 10:29:06 EDT 2013

Coral list, saludos.

With all this situation of the "predatory journals", I believe that the
point is being missed, and that some perspective is needed..

The problem here is not if open access is good in itself or beneficial to
scientists in developing countries, nor if the new electronic
journals should have a place in the world to exist. The thing is that
science needs (begs for...) quality. The only reason science has been
probably the most successful collective enterprise in human history is that
not everything is taken as is. We need proof, evidence, and from that point
on we move on. Each and every day when all of us turn on a light or a
computer or a tv, and the machine starts, we can see how efficient science
is. When the quality goes down, everything goes down.

The new open access "journals" are not looking for a better world for
everyone, or to open lines for third world academics to flourish. The
editors just want to make a quick buck, either fooling young scientists (I
sincerely do not believe that a seasoned researcher is unaware of which are
the "good journals" and which ones not), or (the worst case) play to the
need to improve our income. Most people in the developed world do not know
that scientists in many countries in Latin America or Asia are rated
annualy by government agencies depeding basically on the number of
"international" papers that we produce. If you pass, you receive a monthly
stipend of about 1,000 to 2,500 USD, which practically doubles your salary.

Before the "predatory journals", one had to do adequate research in order
to get published in good journals (basically, those in ISI or other similar
companies). Now, as the government "referees" simply do not know the
quality of the journals (they are NOT scientists), if the paper is written
in English or in a journal with a title in English, it is valued equally as
if it appears in Nature, MEPS or whatever (I am exaggerating, but
unfortunately, just a little bit...). What is happening? Suddenly, many
people who has never won a competitive grant in their life and does field
work or experiments using a 6,000 USD yearly support of their institutions,
is publishing more papers and earning better salaries, jubilation money and
climbing faster in the academic ladder than those trying to obtain
resources from each country´s science agency (equivalent to the NSF).

In short, maybe in developed countries the new open access journals can be
seen with some sympathy as they do not seem to hurt anyone, but here in the
south, things are quite different...

¡Saludos a todos!

Hector Reyes

2013/4/25 Magnus Johnson <m.johnson at hull.ac.uk>

> I agree - both have their place.  I subscribe and edit for the wonderful
> Journal of Crustacean Biology (
> http://thecrustaceansociety.org/Jrl-Crustacean-Biology.html) and value
> the fact it groups papers together around a theme and encourages me to read
> stuff I might not stumble upon otherwise.  I've also recently started
> editing for PeerJ, an exciting new OpenAccess venture (https://peerj.com/
> ).
> I like both because they promote access to more people through discounts
> for those from developing nations or self funded graduate students and the
> latter allows anyone to view its contents.  I would think this is
> particularly important for tropical research.
> I used to depend upon MEPS, a traditional journal for much of my
> information but my university doesn't subscribe to the most up to date
> volumes because it is so expensive.  I have to access it by writing
> directly to authors.  That fact dissuades me from publishing in it.
> Cheers, Magnus
> ____________________________________________________
> Dr Magnus Johnson
> Centre for Environmental and Marine Sciences
> School of Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Sciences University of
> Hull
> http://www.marine-biology.org.uk/
> Associate Editor, Journal of Crustacean Biology,
> http://www.thecrustaceansociety.org
> Editor: Johnson M & Johnson M (2013) The Ecology and Biology of Nephrops
> norvegicus (Adv. Mar. Biol.)
> Nephrops project: www.nephrops.eu
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Héctor Reyes Bonilla
Departamento Académico de Biología Marina
Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur
Carretera al sur km 5.5. Col. El Calandrio
La Paz, B.C.S., C.P. 23080.
Tel. (52-612) 123-8800, ext. 4160
Fax (52-612) 123-8819.

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