TalkPoint: Who should fix poorly reviewed predatory journals– government or academics?

8 June, 2018

(with thanks to Margaret Winker and WAME newsletter)

Extracts below from ThePrint (a news publisher based in New Delhi, India). Full text here: https://theprint.in/talk-point/who-should-fix-poorly-reviewed-predatory-...

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Predatory journals are dubious research journals that charge authors money to quickly publish their studies and research, without conducting peer review and fact-check.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) approved 32,659 journals in June 2017, including many ‘predatory journals’. UGC has had to regularly drop such journals and update its whitelist, even as recently as earlier this month.

ThePrint asks: Who should fix poorly reviewed predatory journals – government or academics?

1. Sukhadeo Thorat, Former chairman, University Grants Commission (UGC): "Regulatory bodies like UGC and AICTE are responsible for ensuring quality control [...]"

2. Abhijeet Borkar, Postdoctoral researcher, Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences: "PhD theses can be bought in India; predatory journals are the next step [...]"

3. Dibyendu Nandi, Astrophysicist at IISER Kolkata, and leads Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India: "Bring focus back on quality of academic research rather than numbers [...]"

4. Pavan Srinath, Fellow and faculty member at Takshashila Institution. "Key problem with research in India is low trust in the system [...]"

5. Subhra Priyadarshini, Editor, Nature India: "Even UGC’s curated list is teeming with predatory journals [...]"

6. Anand Philip, Works in health technology and primary care: "Government must standardise quality and ensure structural reforms [...]"

7. Sandhya Ramesh, Sr. Asst Editor, Science: "Scientists often know the predatory journals to stay away from, they should make lists [...]"

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Comments (Neil PW):

1. The comments from the above seven people are diverse: what is needed is a simple approach that can be applied internationally.

2. It's interesting that none of the commentators recommedned the approach of Think, Check, Submit, as recommended widely by HIFA members

3. A whitelist, such as India's University Grants Commission, is valuable - provided it does not discriminate against high-quality journals (we have learned previoously on HIFA that the Medical Council of India discriminates against high-quality open-access journals - is this still the case?).

4. Predatory journals are a cancer in the open access system and governments should be doing much more to put them out of business. This should include introduction of laws that would criminalise their most nefarious practices. Predatory journals not only harm individual authors - they are also a public health issue because they pollute the health research literature.

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Access to Health Research

http://www.hifa.org/working-groups/access-health-research

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 18,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on five global forums in three languages. He also currently chairs the Dgroups Foundation (www.dgroups.info), which supports 800 communities of practice on international development, health and social justice. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org