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Gold open-access open to exploitation, says US librarian

Increased acceptance rates in gold open-access journals and a decline in peer review is threatening the credibility of scholarly publishing, writes University of Colorado metadata librarian Jeffrey Beall in the US magazine The Scientist.

“Scholarly communication is now flooded with hundreds of thousands of new, second-rate articles each year, burdening conscientious researchers who have to sort through them all, filtering out the unworthy ones,” he writes.

In the gold open-access model author fees, not subscriptions, support publishing. This, in Beall’s opinion, turns authors into “customers” and creates a conflict of interest for publishers—“the more papers a publisher accepts, the more revenue it earns”.

“Predatory” publishers, he writes, exploit this trend for their own profit. He claims they “entrap” researchers into submitting their work and then charge them to publish it, prey on junior faculty members and send personalised spam using information from legitimate publishers’ websites.

According to Beall, some open-access advocates fail to recognise the value of high-quality publishing and says there are many other factors associated with open-access to consider.

He adds: “Scholarly communication needs more unbiased analysis and less ideology.”