Jeffrey Beal, Publisher, Director discussed on Science Friction
This is an ABC podcast. This is science fiction. Hey, I'm the Tesha Mitchell. Welcome. This week the pursuit of a predator as a reporter, you get all kinds of of little suggestions tips complaints. And you know, you can't deal with them. All this one. Intrigued me I had started to hear about similar complaints, and sort of once you hear enough of them the signal adds up. And you think oh, well, maybe there's a story here. What was I seeing what what the clues that that made you smell? A rash was a researcher myself. I was a faculty librarian at my university. And I did a research. Probably starting. Five six years ago. I was always looking for publishing opportunities. I started getting letters, and I started to receive these emails sort of saying extremely nice things to me that basically said call for paper journal editors wanting me to submit my manuscript to their journal and they had lots of grammatical errors. In addition to that one in the emails, and generally, speaking editors don't say nice things about you. And they don't typically they don't write to you and ask you to submit a manuscript will you ever attempted to submit no. I mean, I'm a clinical epidemiologist and some of these journals were lifted from soil science, why would somebody from Swail signs Bianchi me and saying nice things about me. They wouldn't know me from anywhere. He's smell. I did maybe several. But that rat will several thousand rats they now well and truly on the loose predatory publishes and the predatory journals have become a major industry global enrich and in destructive potential. In fact, you're going to hear from someone who believes these industry represents the biggest threat to science since the inquisition. The US federal court has just ordered one of the biggest of these companies to pay up over fifty million US dollars owned makes international headquartered in Hajer bed India, but also operating in the US climbs to publish more than seven hundred scientific and medical journals. It was found to employ deceptive business practices to entice on tests to other published in the journals or participating conferences, so does the ruling site by predatory publishes. Well, let's see if any of that money, actually. Moves anywhere is not clear with a group will cough up that fifty million dollars, which is an estimate of how much the company made from customers over a six-year period all whether will appeal we sent a list of questions to its representatives. But yet to receive a reply, but it is nice clear. Message to all the sake journal publishers of the world that they're being watched and their consequences. Joan by Hanan a science journalist and now director of science at an artificial intelligence startup in San Fran cold primer that basically slipping under the radar and using American Canadian European banks to move money millions of dollars of money from illicit gains. So this court ruling basically makes that extremely inconvenient to do. Now Joan was asked to present evidence. In the case brought against the group by the US Federal Trade Commission because hate head and unusual in Canada with the publisher. So. So was one of hundreds of publishers that I tested in sting operation, I root some computer code to generate thousands of very bad scientific papers. In what have been next kind of legendary in sawn circles back in twenty twelve John was reporting for the general size, and the expression predatory journals wasn't in common news. There was a guy named Jeffrey. Beal who was probably the only person around making a big public stink about this and trying to actually shine a light on it. It was a very very bold effort. He had something called feels list, or at least it became known as Beal's last Miami's Jeffrey Beal, and I'm a retired academic librarian from university of Colorado. Denver buffet, said Beal Beal's, blacklist fame and climb and notoriety. He was the first to coin the fries predatory journals of a journal publishers hated being on the list because it stigmatized them and meant that their income was decreased. Most of the predatory publishers are predatory not only in their publishing. But in just the way they operate in general, and they would use the. Heckler's veto. They would call the library director and complain about me, and they would try to annoy people at my university as much as possible in order to manipulate those people at the university to make me stop the list. So that their complaints would stop. I also received several threats of legal action, including think it was in twenty twelve international threaten to sue me for one billion dollars one billion dollars. It was just a threat what I learned from it is that you can basically pay an attorney five hundred dollars in. All right, a threatening letters. So they they did that. But they never followed through with it. It was never introduced in any court consequences for Jeffrey of running that black least would immense and I'll come back to that. One estimate suggests that there at least eight thousand predatory generals. I makes is just one publisher of many that Jeffrey Bill provocatively Kohl's it the evil empire of predatory publishing iced. I stand by that statement, and what they do is. They have really hurt a lot of people, you know, the scholarly publishing system works on the honor system and people operate in good faith, but omitted or national has has totally broken all that down. They use a lot of spamming to solicit article manuscripts from researchers. They have journal titles that match the titles of respected journals. So usually one word off enough to confuse people that might be the respected journal in the field. They will add people's names to their editorial boards without the person's permission people from top universities top researchers in the field in the to use their identity to promote the journal. And when the person finds out about it and ask them to remove their name. They don't remove it. They just leave it there because they're operating from foreign country. There's really nothing you can do about it. And they specially prey on young researchers in emerging researchers researchers who. Who don't speak English as their first language. It's not just scientists from developing countries that a targeted although that Eason acknowledged problem clinical epidemiology, David mo- assays the crosses reaches into some of America's most delayed institutions, including Harvard in analysis that we did where we looked at a close to two thousand articles published in predator journals, we found that actually the most frequent corresponding authors were from what we would call first world countries countries with lots of money and lots of resources that is troubling very very troubling. Because it suggests that at these institutions authors may not be aware of predatory journals, and we need to oversee ramp up some educational activities people think that they're sending manuscripts to a legitimate respected journal when it's religious the phony oryx international journal, and then they quickly accept the paper without any pure of you and. Then send them an invoice. And that point the authors realized that something is wrong because the there was really no period done yet, the papers accepted, and they have this two thousand dollar invoice that comes through Email in the mix demanding payment. Most of them asked to withdraw the paper when they realize that they've been duped. But then omits says you can't withdraw your paper unless you pay us withdrawal and often than omits will publish the article quickly in one of their journals. And then they can't submit it anywhere else because then that would be duplicate submission. It would be publishing the same article twice which is something not supposed to do. Nothing about predatory journals. What he's supposed to happen in science. As John Bohannon discovered when he said, the taste. Yes. So I just wanted to data. It's frustrating to have such an enticing story of you know, bad actors that potentially Ricky and millions of ill-gotten dollars and not get some hard data to find out if it's true. So we pay AM molecular biology from Oxford Oppy slave, he plotted an experiment, which was pretty straightforward. And the idea nutshell is if I submit a really, and I mean, truly bad scientific paper to your journal, and you accept it with no sign of any peer review, and you asked me for money, then you're uric journal publisher. Yeah. Joan wanted to taste how easy it was to get published in a predatory journal. It can usually take many months used even to get a pipe into a reputable scientific journal, and even then it's not a given. That's partly because of what's called peer review essential to the scientific process. So you do an experiment. Hugh, wrought it up reporting results submitted to a journal, and then it gets pulled traits by a bunch of other scientists, and so it should that's peer review, it's designed to Cape science rigorous experiments well-designed the results real usable and reproducible many predatory journals site, I conduct p review about him fact, most of them don't appear of you. They go through the motions of peer review, they might have like a stock pure view that they used for every paper that's submitted. And basically the papers are accepted and just published almost immediately as soon as the invoices. Paid. And so pure review is it's it's a fundamental component of how honest journals carry out their business of looking at manuscripts and seeing whether they're fatally flawed or whether they can be improved whether they're acceptable for publication. Dive moa is director of the Santa fa- gentle Ola g at the auto a hospital were sich institute at the university of Ottawa. Hey in colleagues just hosted a global summit on predatory journals because they want to build a consensus IVA what they are and how to shut them down. So these sorts of behaviors and many other behaviors that are not trustworthy. Jiffy Beal when something is published in a scholarly journal that doesn't represent validated science than it pollutes the whole scientific record and can't build on junk science, or if you do then the future science isn't real science either.