The New York Times has an article on the rise of predatory, fake science journals — these are journals put out by commercial interests with titles that sound vaguely like the real thing, but are not legitimate in any sense of the word. They exist only for the resource that open access publishing also uses, the dreaded page charge. PLoS (a good science journal), for instance, covers their publishing costs by charging authors $1350; these parasitic publishers see that as easy money, and put up cheap web-based “journals”, draw in contributors, and then charge the scientists for publishing, often without announcing the page charges up front, and often charging much, much more than PLoS.
Nature has also weighed in on problematic journals, again emphasizing that it’s a bad side of open access. I think that’s the wrong angle; open access is great, this is a downside of the ease of web-based publishing, and is also a side-effect of the less than stellar transparency of accreditation of journals. There are companies that compile references to legitimate journals, and they are policing the publishing arena by refusing to index fake journals, but that isn’t going to be obvious to the reader.
One really useful resource, though, is this list of potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access journals. I notice that our old friend, The Journal of Cosmology, is listed, deservedly (I wonder if Jeffrey Beall, the author of the list, has had his face photoshopped onto pictures of obese women in bikinis as a reward?) It’s missing De Novo, the fake journal created by Melba Ketchum specifically to publish her Yeti DNA paper — but maybe that one isn’t threatening to sucker in authors, since it’s more of a vanity project.
Ha ha ha ha. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Scientist humor.
Maybe it’s because they’re so obviously fake and associated with such blatant ideological nonsense that no real scientist would be tempted to publish there.