[N.B: As of 2020, this product has been renamed Predatory Reports.]
A couple of years ago, I published in The Kitchen a review of what was then a new product: Cabell’s Blacklist, a directory of journals that are published using questionable, suspicious, or objectively deceitful and dishonest strategies. The Blacklist was designed to take the place of the controversial Beall’s List, which had recently shut down after being operated out of the library office of Jeffrey Beall for about five years. Beall’s List had offered a mixed bag of benefits and problems from the start, and Cabell’s (publisher of a long-respected serials directory) sought to create a more rigorous and consistent version of the same service.
A very quick summary for those who may — against all odds — still be blissfully unaware of what terms like “predatory publishing or “deceptive publishing” refer to: what are commonly called predatory publishers are those who lie about their business practices for the purpose of attracting paying authors. These journals misrepresent themselves with regard to, for example, editorial board members (claiming people as editors without permission), peer review practices (falsely claiming to provide meaningful peer review), impact metrics (mostly by lying about their Journal Impact Factor), organizational affiliations (usually claiming a relationship with a nonexistent organization), etc. The common feature of all such journals is that instead of rigorously evaluating and vetting submitted articles, they will instead publish anything submitted as long as the author is willing to pay an article processing charge (APC). By injecting non-vetted content into the scholarly and scientific marketplace and misrepresenting it as peer-reviewed science, these journals contaminate and undermine both the legitimacy and the trustworthiness of scholarly discourse.
Thus, the introduction of Cabell’s Blacklist in 2017 was a welcome development. It promised a tool that can be used by authors needing help deciding where to publish, by academics and other employers seeking to check the legitimacy of job applicants’ claimed applications or editorial board memberships, or anyone else interested in monitoring the behavior of deceptive publishers. And for those who question the necessity of such a tool, it’s worth noting that Cabell’s Blacklist currently includes almost 12,000 journals — and its list of titles under consideration for inclusion in the Blacklist comes to over 1,000 more.
My original review identified several strengths of the new Blacklist as well as a few areas in need of improvement. Two years on, I’m pleased to announce that the product has both deepened and strengthened, and that while a couple of quirks remain to be remedied, Cabell’s Blacklist is now a very solid product. (Whether it represents good value for money is a separate question, one that can’t be answered here because pricing is negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Those interested in a quote should contact email@example.com.)
The primary strengths of Cabell’s Blacklist product remain the same as they were two years ago. Most notably, these include:
- A clearly-described set of inclusion criteria
- A clear and fair appeals policy
- A quick and easy mechanism by which readers can submit information about journals
- Evaluation at the journal level rather than the publisher level
- Specific reasons for inclusion provided for each title entry
In addition to these important strengths, I can now report that some the problems I reported in 2017 have been resolved. These include:
- The product now functions well in the Safari browser.
- “Advanced” searches no longer routinely fail, sending the user back to the Blacklist home page.
- The inclusion criteria are now categorized in tiers, from “Severe” (“the journal gives a fake ISSN,” “editors do not actually exist or are deceased,” etc.) to “Minor” (“the website does not identify a physical editorial address for the journal,” “the number of articles published has increased by 25-49% in the last year,” etc.).
- Inclusion criteria are now more carefully crafted, and less likely to sweep fundamentally honest but low-quality/low-resource journals into the same net as genuinely fraudulent ones.
Since my original review, Cabell’s has included a new feature: the ability to download a list of journals that have been removed from the Whitelist. It is important to understand (and Cabell’s is at pains to point this out on its website) that a journal’s removal from the Whitelist does not mean — or even suggest — that the journal has been added to the Blacklist. It means only that the journal no longer meets all of Cabell’s criteria for inclusion in the Whitelist.
And here it is worth noting the evolution of Cabells’ directory product over the years. The Cabell’s Directory established in the late 1970s was a more neutral tool, one that made no particular representation as to the quality of the journals included. This began to change in 2011, when Cabell’s began developing a set of quality metrics and applying them when considering journals for inclusion in its directory; these metrics were fully implemented in 2013, at which point the directory morphed into a Whitelist; in 2015, Cabell’s removed from its list over 2,000 journals that failed to meet those criteria.
A few minor issues persist from the earlier version of the Blacklist. These include:
- The list of journals under review for the Blacklist still includes no indication as to why each title is under review.
- Some of the inclusion criteria are still somewhat ambiguous and unclear; however, this problem has been significantly mitigated by the addition of new, more concrete criteria and by the sorting of those criteria into tiers of seriousness.
- The advanced search feature is still insufficiently advanced, only offering the most basic search options. I still recommend that these be expanded, and would particularly urge Cabell’s to make it possible to search by violation type. (For example, it would be very useful to be able to do a search for journals that falsely claim affiliation with universities or other sponsors, or for journals that hide or misrepresent their practice of charging APCs.)
The only new problem I encountered was the fact that each entry no longer includes a direct link to Cabell’s appeals policy. Worse, it’s rather difficult to find the details of that policy unless one is a subscriber to the service — I finally had to ask where it was, at which point I was directed to the question “How do I get a specific journal removed from the Blacklist?” on Cabell’s publicly-facing FAQs page. This information needs to be easier to find.
Overall, I find the Cabell’s Blacklist product to be a carefully crafted, honestly managed, and highly useful tool for libraries, faculty committees, and authors.
Disclosure: When Cabell’s was in the early stages of planning for the creation of this product, I did a few hours of paid consulting work for them and later contributed to a Cabell’s-organized conference panel discussion on the topic of predatory publishing. I’ve had no further involvement in the project, and I have no ongoing financial relationship with Cabell’s and no financial interest in the company.
60 Thoughts on "Cabell’s Predatory Journal Blacklist: An Updated Review"
In this context, see: https://thinkchecksubmit.org/
One technique I would recommend to researchers is to ask whether research being published in a journal is cited by reputable journals. But of course there are many other criteria to examine, too.
I wish there was a list of journals that had been investigated but not added to the Blacklist. Its fine that the Whitelist is not comprehensive but there’s a fair number of journals appearing not on white, black, or under review.
While I am glad a new, more rigorously policed resource exists for academics without the time or know-how to check for legitimate publications, I am concerned that it is a subscription based service. Despite short comings, Bealls list was publicly available. I am not sure if a discontinued free service is better off being handled in the private sector. As a service increases in demand, so does price and eventually even the best services become inaccessible to many.
is this not just another attempt to commodify academia (despite best intentions)?
May 01st 2019. Like world famous Distinguished Mr. Jeffery Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and their Publishers which was and still is available ‘On-line’ FREE of CHARGES, your’s so-called ‘IMPROVED’ , revised and extended List packaged as Cabell’s Backlist SHOULD be made available FREE of CHARGE, otherwise it would be considerd as another publication came out to make money just the same way all Predatory Journals and their Publishers listed in Beall’s List. The very act of ‘unrestricted’ Free Distribution of new List on the Internet will be heralded as ‘Unselfish Service’ to all those aspiring Chemist, Scientists, Engineers and Research Scholars and Academia (who were/are taken advantage of by the ‘money hungry’ Predatory Journals and their Publishers) and will generate GOODWILL which will emotionally COMPENSATE the creator of new list for a long time to come even after when the creator is retired.
“Free” is a price we all love, of course — except when it’s the price offered for our labor. I’m really not sure it’s realistic (to say nothing of fair) to expect Cabell’s to do this work, in the way that they’re doing it, for free.
I don’t grudge them charging something, but US$57,000 per year for access (what our library was quoted) does seem excessive to me.
Was that quote for the whitelist, the blacklist or the combination? From the quotes I’ve seen, the blacklist is a lot cheaper than the whitelist. Also, how many users was that for?
That’s interesting because I think that the blacklist has more obvious value (avoiding losing money to scams) than a whitelist. The value of the whitelist – improved research reputation and attractiveness to funders – is hard to calculate. But the value of the blacklist is easy – how much money did your institution lose to scammers last year? Multiply that by the proportion of academics who will listen when you tell them to check the blacklist first and you have the maximum price you should be willing to pay.
So unless your institution is publishing 500 predatory journal articles a year and you have employed academics who do not know who the top people in their field are and where they publish, then I agree that US$57,000 a year is too much.
The whitelist has been around for 40 years and is a well established product (you can read about what people do with it at the company’s website). The blacklist is new to the market and it remains unclear if it is a viable product, hence a lower price (at least until it established itself). But I’m with you on $57K being too much.
Our pricing varies based on the size of the institution, duration of the subscription, and of course, the products/disciplines included (i.e. Journal Blacklist, disciplines of the Journal Whitelist). Without knowing specifics of this quote it is difficult to comment, but this would not have been a quote for the Blacklist alone.
We would be happy to review the quote to confirm the size of your institution and the products for which you would like pricing information, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those asking that this list be made freely available, it’s worth considering why the previous Beall’s list was discontinued. My understanding is that it was taken down after continual harassment and threats of lawsuits from publishers named as predatory. These threats, and the legal costs incurred, are likely the main reason why no one was willing to take on the responsibility post-Beall. It is hard to see any company taking on such risk and costs without recompense, and Cabell’s saw a market opportunity and is trying to fill that niche, and good for them.
If you want a free list, then I would ask you where you will find the legal and financial support for the efforts, and how much of your own unpaid time you’re willing to devote to running it and dealing with these issues.
That is a very good point. Thank you for making it. As long as the costs incurred go towards fighting potential legal issues, then that is fine with me. However, if the point is to make a profit and fight legal action, it gets a little muddy, does it not? I have seen other resources exist for free like this, Plos One coming to mind immediately but I could probably think of a few more given more time.
What I would like is to see something like this published as a not-for-profit agency that does pay its employees fair wages and fights any potential legal battles.
PLOS One is by no means a free resource. Authors pay a considerable amount to publish their work in PLOS One.
I suspect the intended parallel to PLOS is that reading is free. But, I definitely wouldn’t want to see the “author pays” model extended to the Cabell’s list. First, what journal is going to pay to be blacklisted? But, I also definitely don’t want there to be publisher payment to be on the whitelist! And, I also don’t want competing publishers to be able to pay a fee to nominate for the blacklist.
So, unlike some other data sharing portals, I don’t think publisher funding is an option here without a lot of conflict of interest issues.
What might work is a “Subscribe to Open” kind of deal. But, that would likely mean libraries would have to be public about supporting blacklists and that would definitely garner a lot of criticism in some quarters. Easier to be a subscriber for your own campus than be a public supporter of a blacklist?
I suspect the intended parallel to PLOS is that reading is free.
Well yes, of course. But that’s the whole point: “free to read” creates an illusion of freeness that can be dangerous if it leads people to think that (legitimate) publishing can be done without significant cost. Resources like PLOS One don’t “exist for free”; they’re paid for by people other than readers. (This was actually true of Beall’s List, too: it was paid for by Beall and–to the degree that he used UCD resources to develop and support it–his employer.)
Yes, agreed. Sorry if that came of differently than I intended. My intention was to spin-out why I wouldn’t want to see a publisher-pays APC-like model here and also obliquely raise the prospect that there might be other funding models that would make free access to the data possible – if libraries were willing to do something like subscribe-to-open (and if Cabells was willing to pursue that model – I can imagine reasons that they might not).
Yes, totally agree — I don’t see how a publisher-pays/APC-like model could possibly work in this context. It’s kind of a horrifying prospect!
I suggested a business model to Cabell’s back before the list launched, but so far they haven’t been able to implement it: What I want as a publisher is a tool that I can run on every manuscript I accept, a tool which will check the references in that manuscript and flag any that are to journals which are on the blacklist. Then my editors can raise questions about the reference with the authors. I would pay a fee for every manuscript I run through the tool, much like we do for tools like iThenticate.
So far, they have been unable to build such a tool, but if they could do it, they could make the list freely available and sell the tool to cover costs.
I am sure it will not be long before somebody hacks it and posts it somewhere for everybody. It will go out of date soon after – but that is, unfortunately or not, the world we live in.
So we have a white list and a blacklist, but also a gray list.
The tool is useful for collection development and for authors. In order to be more useful for consumers of published literature Cabells needs create an API or license their data for integration with other content sets. Think of how useful this tool would be if it was integrated with A&I databases or with document delivery tools. This information should really be thought of as meta-data. Think how useful it would be as a Crossref data point.
What types of customers are purchasing access to this? I’m especially wondering if they’re institutions so researchers can actually use it, or if they’re publishers, or other. And how many people are paying for it? It’s only useful if it’s accessible to people who need it, after all.
This product is owned by Clarivate, correct? You don’t discuss what that means in your analysis. Do you not see a vested interest there?
I think this misapprehension may be arising because Cabell’s includes a trademark notice at the bottom of some of its webpages regarding the term “Journal Impact Factor” (see, for example, here). If not read carefully, that notice could be misinterpreted as an indication that Cabell’s is a division of Clarivate.
A few random questions and observations.
–I entirely agree that a quality product costs money. Nothing in this world is free.
–It would be good to know the extent of the “grey list” of those journals that don’t appear on the other two lists. And why they are in the grey list. E.g., was the publisher contacted, but no reply was forthcoming about matters of detail relating to inclusion in either the white or black list?
–The concept that was suggested about integrating Cabell rankings into A and I sources sounds as if it is worth exploring. (Though, yet more lawsuits?)
–I wonder if Cabell’s black list is mainly suitable for large institutions. One can see however the value of a product like this for educating folks in any university about predatory practices in scholarly publishing.
–For those universities or colleages whose budgets cannot support Cabell’s, I’d suggest developing a set of criteria for what constitutes a predatory journal. If I have to give advice to people who ask whether a journal is legit, one of starting points (inter alia) would be: what journals cite the questionable journal?
–An index of how much a journal gets cited by a heavily cited journal might be a good metric to incorporate into Cabell’s analysis if it is not already there.
I am amused by this thread. Yes, one way to ensure that a journal is legitimate is to see how often it is cited by reputable journals. Gasp! Does this mean that the best way to determine the quality of a journal is its impact factor? What an amazing thought!
I didn’t put the point clearly. If a researcher asks me whether a journal is predatory, they want to know whether to publish there. That’s their sole reason for asking.
One answer to that is whether any experts in their field takes the journal seriously. Something easily discernible using a citation database to see whether the journal gets cited by serious researchers. That shifts the issue away from IFs of citing journals, to author quality or article quality metrics, solely. IFs in my view do more harm than good for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you would disagree.
May 02nd 2019.
Mr. Rick Anderson!
It seems Yours constant defending this publishing company of Cabell’s Blacklist, etc. suggest you ‘may’ be acting as Marketing Agents for selling Cabell’s Blacklist, etc. “PRODUCTS”!!! Are you? Or do you have other indirect arrangement for reward with company? It would of public interest to find out one way or other early-on.
You may continue defending this company but sooner global scientific community will not have reason believe you anymore.
It must be highlighted heres that not every one as individual especially those university PhD Research Students, Research Scholars, and as orgainzation such as most Universities in the under-developed and poor countries would not be able afford to subscribe such paid subscription of list.
Help preventing publications of meticuously carried out research in any predatory journal and fake journals is Nobel thing to do as Distinguished Prof. Jefferry Beall did in his tenunre at the university.
May be it is beyond the comprehension of the Company (which want to sell rather than distribute it freely as a public service) what public service especially for the Academia means. Company could make money by placing paid Advertisements within the Cabell’s Blacklist and other sister publications on the internet. Presently, I say Good By for now.
Did you read the entire post? Particularly the part where the author declares:
I have no ongoing financial relationship with Cabell’s and no financial interest in the company.
The idea of having this sort of service performed as a charitable act for the research community is a noble one. However as we saw from Beall’s efforts (highly flawed efforts, by the way — see https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2013/12/16/parting-company-with-jeffrey-beall/ and https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2015/08/10/defending-regional-excellence-in-research-or-why-beall-is-wrong-about-scielo/ ), it does not seem to be a feasible activity without significant financial backing. The constant harassment and lawsuits are the reason why no one picked up his efforts when his university finally pulled the plug (said to have happened due to mounting lawsuit threats from Frontiers).
If you have an actionable plan to create a free version of this list, I’m sure all here would love to hear it (I offered a business model above that would work if the technological difficulties can be overcome). But being angry because someone isn’t willing to give their hard work and investment away for free does not solve the problem.
May 2, 2019. Hello Mr. David, You too are defending the company who wants to make money off those PhD Students, Research Scholars and universities in Poor and Under-develop Countries!!! Just Nobel thoughts you say! It is worth persuing with the direct or indirect baking of legitmate consortium of NOT FAKE and NOT PREDATORY Journals and their Publishing Houses.
If Google, Facebook, YouTube and other countless public search portals makes heathy and sustained living through advertisements model while providing Free access and search facilities. So, your once again defending this company would not go well with those students, researchers and universities around the world. What do you know about their Plight ans strugle to publish their research work countrd toward the Acaddmic Degree and/or And Oh Yes, about the Claims made by Mr. Anderson, or you, or me or anyone in any public portal or legitmate business or Public Forum Discussion at anytime and place can be investigated and verified through algorithm one way or other without doubt. America knows Donald Trump made many claims, and the whole world knows how many of them are true. You got my point? Have a great Weekend and Cinco deMayo.
Okay. This seems to have gone off the rails a bit. To end this discussion — I’m happy this product exists, because otherwise, post-Beall, no such list seems to have arisen. The fact that someone is willing to give it a try, and to try to improve the many flaws in Beall’s list is a good thing. As someone who works for a living, I expect to get paid for my work, and I don’t begrudge anyone else the same.
If you seriously think that the market for a journals blacklist is of similar scale to the market for Google, Facebook, and YouTube, then there’s very little reason to continue this discussion. If the New York Times’ market is too small for them to be sustainable using an online advertising business model, then I suspect that might tell you something about how a specialized product for a tiny market might fare. Further, where would Cabell’s display such ads, and who would those advertisers be? The model makes no sense at all on so many levels that it’s not really worth considering.
Actually Cabell´s do sell advertising : https://www2.cabells.com/advertising
Apparently it is displayed in their bi-weekly e-newsletter called The Source, which is sent to their subscribers. A headline banner costs $2600 for a year (24 issues).
I’m going to take a wild guess that the revenue from these ads is insufficient to cover all of the costs incurred in creating their blacklist and whitelist.
Most probably you are right. $57K for a yearly subscription for one library is definitely more. Cabell’s has a third product beside the “Whitelist” and “Blacklist”, namely “Author Services” https://cabells.editage.com/. I guess that this might generate more revenue. The editing service is run by Cabell´s India-based partner company Editage/Cactus Communications. Although it is not clear what role/share Cabell´s has in this partnership. They offer English editing, journal selection and manuscript formatting. English editing costs between $200-500 for a 3000 word document depending on the level of . I did not bother to fill out all the required fields for journal selection to get a quote, but one of them was “What is the desired impact factor range?”
Now we have Blacklist, Whitelist and the list of journals which are being considered as the ones to be included in the Blacklist. If to reveal the journals that were considered, but not included either in the Blacklist or in the Whitelist, then we have one more List. And this List already exists, but it is not revealed. And there is some gap in the methodology, because there is no clear distinction between the areas Underreviewlist-Blacklist-List-Whitelist. If the criteria of the journal’s inclusion in the Blacklist, then maybe it must be revealed. Now it turns out that it is a matter for the discretion of the experts.
I’m not sure I’ve understood your comment 100%, but I can tell you that the criteria for inclusion in the Blacklist have already been revealed. I linked to those criteria in my review, but for your convenience here’s the link again.
Thank you. I meant this: “Each element listed is assigned a score based on the severity of the offense.” How does it look like in practice? Which weighting is for this or that criterion and how much score will be critical? And is it possible to be included in the Blacklist only on account of the criteria of, for example, MODERATE group?
I’m not sure where you took that quote from (“each element listed is assigned a score based on the severity of the offense”) — it’s not from my review. Cabell’s doesn’t assign scores to its various inclusion criteria, though it does categorize the criteria as either “minor,” “moderate,” or “severe.” So in practice, what it looks like is that each entry for a blacklisted includes language that says which of the criteria led to its blacklisting. Interested readers can see for themselves how severe those infractions were, and thus decide for themselves how concerned they are about publishing with that journal (or how concerned they should be to see a colleague publish in it).
Cabell’s Blacklist Violations
This policy establishes the criteria for identifying deceptive, fraudulent, and/or predatory journals for inclusion in The Journal Blacklist. The Journal Blacklist Review Board uses the following criteria to evaluate all journals suspected of deceptive, fraudulent, and/or predatory practices. Each element listed is assigned a score based on the severity of the offense. Some offenses receive a much higher score than others.” https://www2.cabells.com/blacklist-criteria
Ah, thanks. So what the word “score” means in this context is “assignment to one of the three tiers of severity.” Despite what it says in the “General Information” paragraph at the head of the criteria document, I don’t recall seeing anything like a “score” indicated in any of the entries I looked at from Cabell’s Blacklist.
Journal Blacklist violations are placed in one of three categories (Severe, Moderate, Minor) based on the level of severity and how directly they relate to deceptive behavior. Each category carries with it a range of scores. Violations in a category are analyzed against other violations in that same category and each is given a score based on how serious it is compared to the other violations in the category. This scoring system has been designed specifically to ensure that legitimate journals that are new, from developing countries, or are simply low quality, are not classified as ‘predatory’ and included in the Journal Blacklist.
The first category includes behaviors that directly indicate deception and are weighted heavily as a result. Through careful analysis of these and similar behaviors, we developed a scoring rubric that is applied in the investigation of each journal. This produces a weighted score that increases with the probability that a journal is engaging in deceptive behaviors. A total score over 100 is the threshold for including a journal on the Journal Blacklist.
It would be good if someone from Cabell’s were to speak up here. Who’s their target market? Authors or institutions? Are their prices such that an individual author could subscribe at a modest cost before submitting an article, or is it only for institutional subscriptions? I have good library services through my employer, but we don’t have subscription, and my local Midsize University doesn’t subscribe. Rick Anderson is a librarian at a “R1” first-tier research university, and in an earlier post he mentioned that Cabell’s had to give him complimentary, temporary access to do the review. So what good are black or white listings if they are invisible to most?
So I appreciate David Crotty’s points that the black and white listing services can’t be free because publishers that get unfavorable reports will make life hard for the reporter. For instance, Beall called out MDPI and Leonid Schneider reported that a Frontiers executive engaged in a sockpuppet anti-Beall campaign (https://doi.org/10.11613/bm.2017.029; and https://forbetterscience.com/2017/09/18/frontiers-vanquishers-of-beall-publishers-of-bunk/).
It seems that if Cabell’s came up with a low-cost way for individual authors to run a check whether a short-list of candidate journals had a clean bill, it could open this up to the masses.
To me, the so-called predatory publishing issue is worse than it was several years ago with some major players offering what I call “Gray-Lit Journals” that produce articles with a good veneer of reputability: nice layout, doi numbers, in CrossRef, indexed in Google Scholar. Certainly not all that is published in these Gray-Lit journals is bunk, but they seem like pre-prints with the imprimatur of a respectable sounding journal name. It’s only going to get worse with Plan S pressure to go all Gold.
Currently, we do not offer subscriptions to the Whitelist or Blacklist at an individual level; the majority of our subscribers are academic institutions and pricing varies based on institutional size.
We continue to explore alternative models of pricing/access in an effort to make our services as widely available as possible.
The price tag for this list is predatory; it does not matter how you spin it. We all know the journals that matter to our professions.
As a representative of Cabell’s has pointed out, the price tag that a commenter reported here for the Blacklist was incorrect. That’s not spin; it’s a correction of misinformation.
As has been discussed elsewhere, the resources necessary to develop, grow, maintain and refine the Journal Blacklist do not allow us to offer this product for free.
Another important point to keep in mind is that the Journal Blacklist is not just for those who ‘know the journals that matter,’ but it is also for those who may not.
Unfortunately, not every researcher who publishes in a predatory journal is tricked into doing so. Many are complicit in the process and are seeking a shortcut to publication. Not all administrators and department heads are experts in each field for which they must review candidates to hire, promote or tenure. Likewise, not all government or granting agencies, responsible for dispersing limited research funds, are experts in the field(s) under consideration. The Journal Blacklist allows these key decision-makers to easily and confidently vet the publication records of candidates to ensure important positions and limited funds are protected.
I am not sure those of us from developing countries, especially Africa can afford these charges. At least any journal listed in the whitelist will not take Cabell to court for anything, hence the whitelist could be given for free, or a very small token
Hi everyone. I’ve asked for a quote for my Russian university a couple of months ago.
Yes, the pricing is crazy %)
So strange. Predatory publishing is a bane of Russia, India, Indonesia etc, not some Ivy League (or would-be Ivy League) private US universities, but the pricing is suited only for them.
Blacklists, like whitelists, suffer from several limitations:
Teixeira da Silva, J.A., Tsigaris, P. (2018) What value do whitelists and blacklists have in academia? The Journal of Academic Librarianship 44(6): 781-792.
That said, should academics and their institutions be paying such prices for what could potentially be a flawed whitelist / blacklist?
Is there any requirement that they license these databases at all? I am not aware of any. If the price is too high, don’t buy it. If others follow suit, the publisher will either lower the price or stop providing the service. Then we all move on.
For those looking for an OA or “free resource” (although we have to acknowledge that those on charge of maintaining the list have to put their own time and resources) “Stop Predatory Journals is an alternative free listing for those unable to subscribe a paid service. The author of the page declare: “After Jeffrey Beall took down his list of predatory journals in January 2017 in order to avoid continued harassment and threats, a small group of scholars and information professionals decided to anonymously rebuild and resurrect that list.” https://predatoryjournals.com/about/
It is build with a community-base approach to curate and maintain the list and provide an outlet for those willing to contribute with this effort.
Unfortunately, this new version of Beall’s List perpetuates many of the problems of the original: most notably a lack of clarity as to why any individual journal is included, and complete opacity as to the appeals process (if there is one; this may be what’s intended by the term “pull request”). These problems are compounded by a lack of accountability; with Beall’s List, at least the person characterizing journals as predators was doing so under his own name and taking responsibility for doing so. Publicly accusing a person or business of fraud is serious business, and should not (IMO) be done anonymously.
I have to fully agree with you. Such listings can’t be taken at face value. However, I think that they can be a useful starting point for people without enough budget to pay for a professional service. I firmly believe the answer is education/training of present and future scholars. We need constant training on how to detect and hopefully avoid suspicious outlets (not only journals), how to use (or not to use) such listings and strong publishing ethics to keep scholarly publishing integrity. After all, the public is the final user of whatever is derived from scientific endevours and its products (papers are just one of them).
The cost of all that training, desirable though it may be, would be far greater than the cost of the subscription. That is why the product exists: it is the least expensive method to date that addresses a very real problem.
To what extent does the data in the Cabell’s white list replicate what’s in Ulrich’s? Or is this apples and oranges? (Same question about the black list, though I’m assuming that Ulrich’s probably hasn’t done that type of listing.)
We greatly value the feedback of the academic community and strive to make our products as useful and accessible as possible. We are constantly monitoring the scholarly publishing landscape to refine our services and policies to address the fluid nature of the industry and to meet the needs of the community.
More information on how are addressing Rick’s observations, as well as updates on plans going forward can be found in the latest post to our blog, The Source: https://blog.cabells.com/2019/05/08/feedback-loop/