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Blacklist of predatory journals to return – at a price

I’ve previously reported on the problem of predatory journals, which accept almost any submissions and lack rigour in their peer review processes.

University of Colorado Denver librarian Jeffrey Beall had maintained a blacklist of “potential, possible, or probable” predatory open access publishers, which was unexpectedly shut down in January this year (but can still be viewed in internet archives).

The journal Nature reports that scholarly services firm Cabell’s International is set to launch its own list of predatory journals on 15 June. However, the list will only be available to paying subscribers, as an add-on to Cabell’s existing ‘whitelist’ of trustworthy journals. This decision is understandable though, given that a team of four staff has been employed to maintain the predatory journal list.

Cabell’s says that it has responded to criticism that Beall’s list lacked objectivity and transparency by establishing around 65 criteria for blacklisting that will be reviewed quarterly. The criteria are expected to be made public later this year. Publishers and journals can find out if they are listed, and will have the opportunity to appeal their status once a year.

Some of the publishers and journals that had been listed by Beall have been excluded from Cabell’s list, and Cabell’s has also added new journals, including some that are not open access. The blacklist currently contains around 3,900 journals.

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