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Open discussion on: Appeal Process to be Implemented for This Blog’s Lists

March 3, 2013

Here readers are welcome for their ‘open comments’ on the post Appeal Process to be Implemented for This Blog’s Lists

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One Comment
  1. I saw a recent relevant update is going to happen. Poynder has many times rightly pointed that Beal’s list is lacking ‘appeal process’. Now Beall has proposed Appeal process to be implemented for his list (http://scholarlyoa.com/2013/02/27/appeal-process-to-be-implemented-for-this-blogs-lists/). In my some recent posts, I have also suggested to apply ‘correction’ policy. Successful implementation of the ‘Appeal process’ is more important. Though sometimes I was doubtful that whether Beall want to help OA or destroy OA, but most of the times I had faith on Beall, on his flexibility to accept other’s suggestion, on his guts to confess errors in public and also on his hard work. I am so happy to see that academic and social peer review of questionable publishers are about to start. I am also happy to see that third component (correction/appeal) of our social peer review system (i.e. Reward, punishment and correction) is taking shape. Many times I was too harsh on Beall, but most of the time I am very much pleased with Beall’s efforts to establish the Gold OA system in right track.
    Now I have some suggestions and also some warning notes for this process to be implemented successfully.
    Many times Beall’s list is termed as some sort of ‘negative approach’ (Reference: comments of Jan Velterop, Ex. Director of Nature, Ex. Director of Springer Open, Reference: http://poynder.blogspot.in/2013/01/the-oa-interviews-ashry-aly-of-ashdin.html).
    Karen Coyle (a librarian like Beall) had severely criticized Beall for enlisting some publishers without much proof and described some of Beall’s evaluation language “to be bordering on racism”. (Reference: https://plus.google.com/109377556796183035206/posts/LQVaue6XYev?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20GPeterSuber%20%28G%2BFeed%20of%20Peter%20Suber%29). Therefore, I suggest Beall to take more care to prove his case and arguments this time.

    Suggestion 1: If an appeal process really starts, I suggest that Beall should not be involved in the board (I agree that previously I proposed Beall in the board, which I withdraw now Ref: http://poynder.blogspot.in/2013/01/the-oa-interviews-ashry-aly-of-ashdin.html). It will be more than a case of ‘Competing Interest’ if Beall himself is in the board. In fact here Beall is one party (who is having allegations against the publishers) and publishers are other party (who will be defending their position). Therefore, being a party of this case, Beall cannot take the both post of judge as well as one party.

    Suggestion 2: Make this total appeal process and discussion completely OPEN for highest level of transparency and also to defend complains against any biased evaluation. (Beall can take idea from Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics OR BMC Medicine Open peer review system (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/10/101/prepub).
    Anyway adoption of OPEN evaluation requires lots of guts and patience but the result will be the most transparent one. Nobody can challenge this transparent system. (I am not claiming that it is the perfect system. In fact no system on earth is perfect. But we should make the system transparent to increase the credibility). Anyway I assume, that Blog concept is by nature OPEN and Beall invited ‘Appeal process” in a blog, he should publish all appeal related discussion/documents open to respect the very nature of BLOG.

    Suggestion 3: First Beall should publish specific complain against each entry in his list based on RECENT evaluation (as Beall also agreed that questionable publishers can adopt standard practices and can improve themselves and also Beall had dropped one name when that publisher improved its business practice). Beall must publish it as OPEN pdf document. Your allegations should not be too old to evaluate (say not more than 6-8 months old). I think this should be the valid starting point for this appeal process. Unless all allegations are in one place then how on earth the publishers start to defend themselves. Otherwise it will be a mockery.
    (You got complain from many persons that your inclusions are without any proof or properly justified (Example:
    1. Karen Coyle: https://plus.google.com/109377556796183035206/posts/LQVaue6XYev?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20GPeterSuber%20%28G%2BFeed%20of%20Peter%20Suber%29)
    2. David Solomon (http://scholarlyoa.com/2012/08/04/criteria-for-determining-predatory-open-access-publishers/#comment-1391)

    Suggestion 4: I propose more scientific way to categorize new (probable suspicious) publishers. I fully agree with R Poynder that a Binary system of evaluation has lots of limitation, as he correctly pointed that, “Either way, assuming a simple binary opposition of “good guy” or “bad guy” — as Beall’s list effectively does — is doubtless likely to encourage prejudice and discrimination.” (Reference: http://poynder.blogspot.in/2013/01/the-oa-interviews-ashry-aly-of-ashdin.html). I also oppose a subjective way of evaluation. An objective evaluation scale, say 0-100 score will be more scientific way of labeling different classes of publishers.
    Suggestion 5: I propose this time Beall should develop some precise, solid and useful criteria before evaluation. His evaluation criteria are so broad that if properly applied no publisher in the world can escape his list (Reference: Lars Juhl Jensen’s comment: http://scholarlyoa.com/2012/08/04/criteria-for-determining-predatory-open-access-publishers/#comment-1373). He is ready to term a publisher predatory, if it publishes a journal with very broad scope. Somebody can apply same analogy and can term him a ‘predatory evaluator’ as his evaluation criteria are too broad.
    I propose the new criteria should be very precise and should concentrate on the main service of a publisher (i.e. to work as a gatekeeper for academic scholarly publishing by providing peer review service). There should be weighting of different points as every point can not have equal importance during evaluation and so on. For me a publisher’s basic service is ‘to work as a gatekeeper for academic scholarly publishing by providing peer review service’. If they are claiming that they are gatekeeper but accepting all the papers for their own profit then they are cheating.
    Initial weakness of infrastructure (good office, commercial email service, etc) of a new start-up is bound to come for a new startup. Very few publisher can be lucky enough like PlOS to start with millions of donation. If initial poor office is in question then we would not have seen Microsoft, Facebook, Dell, etc. In fact origination of OPEN access lies in the power of internet and information technology. A small start-up OA publisher without a office and operating from an apartment can run efficiently if it establishes a proper E-management system of peer review and publication. That is the beauty of E-age and internet as it opens up immense opportunity. Here I want recall the comments of Maria Hrynkiewicz: “…but as long as they safeguard the quality of the content and follow the best practices in terms of peer review, copyrights and funding mandates – they contribute to the better dissemination of science.” (Reference: http://www.nature.com/news/report?article=1.11385&comment=50956).

    Suggestion 6: Beall should clearly define what is “Predatory open access publisher” and what is “Legitimate GOLD open access publishers”. At the end of this appeal it will help to make final decision.
    Allow me to recollect, Beall’s definition of predatory publishers as “Predatory, open access publishers are those that unprofessionally exploit the author pays model of open access publishing (Gold OA) for their own profit”. My simple understanding tells me that “Legitimate GOLD open access publishers are those that PROFESSIONALLY exploit the author pays model of open access publishing (Gold OA) for their own profit”. No car can run without fuel. It means taking money or earning money by doing some business (here OA publishing) is not bad/unethical if you are providing your basic service honestly.

    (Note: First I tried to post most part of this comment in Bealls original blog. He did not allowed me there. As it was relevant to Poynder’s blog I posted there (http://poynder.blogspot.in/2013/01/the-oa-interviews-ashry-aly-of-ashdin.html). Now I am reposting it here.

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