The following article recently appeared on the Website of ‘Science’, one of the premier scientific journals:
Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?
The issue was also picked up by the Guardian newspaper:
Hundreds of open access journals accept fake science paper
The articles describe how a hoax paper submitted to several hundred Open Access journals (journals whose articles are available free of charge to anyone) was accepted by a large number of them, sometimes without any peer review. This is obviously bad.
Although the article raises some important issues it seems wholly unfair to label these issues as Open Access issues. I’m confident that there are plenty of shifty journals out there (an unfortunate side-effect of the (also unfortunate) increasing pressure to publish more and more), some of which are OA and some of which are not. To make claims about OA, the Science hoax needed to also submit the paper to a large number of non OA journals and compare the acceptance rates. In fact, it’s very surprising that Science published a study that was so, well, unscientific. Perhaps it’s a double hoax?
Science, by the way, is not OA. If you don’t work in a University that has a subscription, it’ll cost you $150 per year to read the research that is mainly funded through public funds. The current OA system isn’t perfect but it feels like things are moving in the right direction.
If you want more, the hoax has already been picked apart by e.g.: Open access publishing hoax: what Science magazine got wrong, and I’m sure there will be others.