Never mind predatory publishers … what about ‘grey’ publishers?

David Nicholas, Eti Herman, Abdullah Abrizah, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Cherifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Jie Xu, Anthony Watkinson, Marzena Świgoń, Hamid R. Jamali, Carol Tenopir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Harbingers project, which studied the working lives and scholarly communication behaviour of early career researchers (ECRs) over 6 years, found evidence of changing attitudes to questionable (grey) publishing. Thus, whilst predatory publishers have come to be treated with equanimity, as a problem easily dealt with, there was growing concern with the high volume of low-grade research being generated, some of which by ‘grey’ open access publishers for want of a better name (questionable and non-standard have also been used). With the recent announcement (2023) that the government of Malaysia (a Harbinger case country) is not providing Article Processing Charges (APCs) for articles published by MDPI, Frontiers and Hindawi on quality and cost grounds, we set out to see what lay behind this decision and whether other countries exhibited similar concerns. Information was obtained by asking Harbinger country leads, mostly embedded in research universities, from Australia, China, France, Israel, Malaysia, Poland, Spain, UK, and the US to conduct desk research to esta-blish what is happening. It was found that countries, like ECRs, appear to have formed into two different camps, with China, Poland, France, and Spain joining Malaysia in the camp of those who felt concerned about these publishers and the UK, US, Israel, and Australia belonging to the camp of the unconcerned. Explanations for the split are furnished and whether the Malaysian position will prevail elsewhere is considered. Finally, in this paper, we have aired issues/concerns, rather than provided robust, systematic data. For a systematic study we shall have to wait for the fuller study we are hoping to conduct.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere320509
Number of pages8
JournalProfesional de la Informacion
Volume32
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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