Defining Legit Open Access Journals

Scholarly publishing organizations join forces to set standards for aboveboard open access journals.  

Dec 20, 2013
Kerry Grens

WIKIMEDIA, MODA group of scholarly publishing organizations has laid out guidelines to help weed out non-legitimate open access journals. The move comes as these organizations have seen an increase in applications for membership. News reports have also revealed the sometimes shoddy practices at some of these new publishing houses.

Paul Peters, the president of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), told Inside Higher Ed in an e-mail: “While many of these new publishers are doing an excellent job in adhering to the commonly accepted set of best practices, we do see a number of membership applications coming from publishing organizations that are not going as good a job, either because of a lack of knowledge about appropriate publishing standards or possibly due to a lack of interest in certain cases.”

The guidelines, set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), OASPA, and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), include 16 transparency principles to watch out for. These include whether a publisher supplies contact information for its staff and editorial board; its peer-review process; and if it has a journal name too similar to an existing publication or that misleads readers about its affiliation.

According to COPE, “In the event that a member organization is found to have violated these best practices, OASPA/DOAJ/COPE/WAME shall in the first instance try to work with them in order to address any concerns that have been raised.” If the publisher doesn’t comply, its membership will be terminated.