The academic landscape has become increasingly difficult to navigate. Researchers and professors are under pressure to publish, which has led to the creation of many predatory publications. For professors and researchers, the pressure to publish or perish is a severe reality. Many university departments require their professors to publish work of significance every couple of years. As the need for publication has increased, a new supply of online publications have risen to meet a niche need of academics.
The Internet Has Transformed the Academic Landscape
Technological advancement and the IT revolution have enabled an entire industry of predatory publications to form. Specifically, the creation of open access journals has infiltrated the academic world. In the past decade, open access journals have provided opportunities for researchers to publicize their work; researchers pay a journal an expensive fee for their work to grace the publication’s pages. These predatory publishers seek to serve their own economic interests by exploiting a pressure faced by academics. One way to combat the popularity of open access journals is to support quality publishers, such as Bentham Science.
Predatory Publications: An Academic Epidemic
It is no secret that not all academic journals and publications are created equal. In the past, the range in quality of publications did not span as great a distance as it does in the current landscape. The advent of predatory publications has made it increasingly difficult to navigate citing and researching quality papers and research.
Open access journals have gained increasing traction over the past decade. These journals make an economic profit off an academic pressure by charging researchers a high fee for publication. Often professors and researchers looking to gain publication will pay a fee as high as $1,500. Because they make the bulk of their profit from publication fees, they often don’t charge a fee for access. This poses a huge problem.
Quality publications often take work of extremely high merit without charging researchers a fee; therefore, they turn a profit by charging people access. The “free” nature of open access journals has made it extremely appealing to use these publications as a primary source for research. This means that the bulk of information in circulation is not of merit.
The Problem of Peer Review
In order to gain popularity and traction, predatory publications work to disguise themselves as publications of high quality. One of the main tactics they use to do this is to advertise their publications as peer-reviewed. Many open access journals claim to conduct a thorough peer review process for all of their publications; however, most of them do not.
Many students are taught that peer-review is the gold standard of academic work- that this process is what differentiates low quality work from high-quality publications. As the academic world has evolved, peer-review no longer remains a telltale sign of quality.
In the past, all journals required peer-review pre-publication; however, the majority of open access journals conduct their peer-review post publication. Additionally, many of these publications assure their authors that elite reviewers will review their works, although often the reviewers have little credibility. It is imperative to research work from quality publications, such as Bentham Science publishing that have high standards of peer-review.
A technologically advanced world has made information more accessible than ever; however, with a large pool of information comes a responsibility to assess the quality of sources. In today’s educational environment, it is important that educators teach students essential tools for determining the quality of a publication. The advent of open access journals and predatory publications has made navigating the quality of a publication a difficult task; therefore, students must be equipped with the necessary tools to determine validity.