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How hyped media and misleading editorials can influence impressions about Beall’s lists of “predatory” publications

Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva (Independent Researcher, Kagawa-ken, Japan)
Panagiotis Tsigaris (Department of Economics, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, Canada)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 19 June 2019

Issue publication date: 20 November 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

The issue of “predatory” publishing and the scholarly value of journals that claim to operate within an academic framework, namely, by using peer review and editorial quality control, but do not, while attempting to extract open access (OA) or other publication-related fees, is an extremely important topic that affects academics around the globe. Until 2017, global academia relied on two now-defunct Jeffrey Beall “predatory” OA publishing blacklists to select their choice of publishing venue. This paper aims to explore how media has played a role in spinning public impressions about this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors focus on a 2017 New York Times article by Gina Kolata, on a selected number of peer reviewed published papers on the topic of “predatory” publications and on an editorial by the Editor-in-Chief of REM, a SciELO- and Scopus-indexed OA journal.

Findings

The Kolata article offers biased, inaccurate and potentially misleading information about the state of “predatory” publishing: it relies heavily on the assumption that the now-defunct Beall blacklists were accurate when in fact they are not; it relies on a paper published in a non-predatory (i.e., non-Beall-listed) non-OA journal that claimed incorrectly the existence of financial rewards by faculty members of a Canadian business school from “predatory” publications; it praised a sting operation that used methods of deception and falsification to achieve its conclusions. The authors show how misleading information by the New York Times was transposed downstream via the REM editorial.

Originality/value

Education of academics.

Keywords

Citation

Teixeira da Silva, J.A. and Tsigaris, P. (2019), "How hyped media and misleading editorials can influence impressions about Beall’s lists of “predatory” publications", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 438-444. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICES-06-2018-0059

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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