12 June 2009

Bentham follow-up

Happily, the editor of The Open Access Information Science Journal, Bambang Parmanto, of the University of Pittsburgh has resigned - I wonder how long it will take the other Editorial Board members to do so? Tellingly, Dr. Parmato commented that he never saw the hoax manuscript and an Editorial Board member of another Bentham journal, who has also resigned, said that in his time on the Board he had never received a paper for review. Peter Suber comments: "In April, Marie-Paule Pileni, editor in chief of Bentham's Open Chemical Physics Journal, resigned when the journal published a 9/11 conspiracy-theory paper without her knowledge or approval."

It's a strange scholarly publishing activity where editors don't see what is to be published and where board members don't get papers to review. One wonders whether the term 'scholarly' should be used at all!

Dr Parmanto also commented, in respect of the author pays business model: "I see that [Bentham would] have the incentive to maintain the credibility of the journal, but I also see the potential for abuse."


10 June 2009

Author pays, publisher profits & science loses?

Peter Suber reports on the successful submission of a hoax paper to the Bentham Science, The Open Information Science Journal, which claims to have peer-review. Last year Bentham Science announced about 200 new OA journals, all using author charges and, of course, the aim is to maximise profits. It does make one wonder, however, how far other more reputable publishers may be prepared to go in maximising profits and raises a question about the whole idea of OA based on author charging.

Readers of this blog will be well aware of my feelings on the subject: money spent to support corporate shareholders and executive bonuses should be spent, instead, on establishing really open journals, like Information Research. No money changes hands in any direction as far as publication or access are concerned: strict and strong peer review is applied because I don't need to fill pages. The only thing that counts is the quality of the content.

Any other process is flawed: author charging will encourage corruption, and 'toll access' puts money in the wrong place. Some day the policy makers are going to understand this, it's just a pity that it is a long time coming!

When this particular journal was announced several friends of mine and I were approached to be members of the Editorial Board - we conferred and we all declined. I trust that those who accepted the invitation will now resign - although I must admit that the names of only six of the Board members are known to me.