May 17, 2022

“What Those Responsible for Open Infrastructure in Scholarly Communication Can Do About Possibly Predatory Practices” (Preprint)

The preprint linked below was recently posted on SciELO Preprints.


What Those Responsible for Open Infrastructure in Scholarly Communication Can Do About Possibly Predatory Practices


Saurabh Khanna
Stanford University

John Willinsky
Stanford University


SciELO Preprints
Posted: 01/10/2022 — Updated on 01/14/2022

DOI: 10.1590/SciELOPreprints.3474


This chapter presents a three-phase analysis of 521 journals that use the open source publishing platform Open Journal Systems (OJS) while appearing on Beall’s list of predatory publishers and journals and/or inCabells Predatory Reports, both which purport to identify journals that charge authors article processing fees (APC) to publish in the pretense of a peer-reviewed journal. In 2020, 25,671 journals were actively using OJS, with 81.3 percent in the Global South, representing a great growth in global research activities. As members of the Public Knowledge Project, which develops this freely available publishing platform, the authors feel a responsibility to explore what platform developers can do to address both the real problem of duplicitous journals and the over-ascription of the “predatory” label to publishers and journals. represented by the authors of this chapter, Drawing on data from the beacon is a part of OJS, the chapter represents an assessment and intervention In the first phase, the researchers reached out to 50 publishers and 51 journals that use OJS and appear on Beall’s list offering to assist in improving their journal quality. The response from 14 publishers (28.0 percent) among publishers and two journals (3.9 percent) among standalone journals demonstrated a likely misanalysis as “predatory” along multiple dimensions from financial model to peer-review evidence. The second phase, devoted to assessing the degree to which journals using OJS are implicated in this issue, revealed that 2.0 percent of the journals using OJS are on one or both lists. The two phases point to how the identification issue is not that of Beall or Cabells International, but results from a journal tradition of asking readers to take on trust the adherence to scholarly standards. Amid the increase in research and open access to it, the third phase of this study introduces PKP’s new technical strategy for verifying and communicating standards adherence to the public. Work has begun on systems involving trade organizations, such ORCiD and Crossref, for authenticating journal practices (including editorial oversight, peer review, research funding, and data management), while communication strategies include adapting and testing with students and professionals the familiar Nutrition Facts label used with packaged foods. The goal is to provide a publicly accessible industry standard for more reliably assessing journal quality.


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Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.