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An unhappy coincidence?

April 10th, 2017

The other day my incoming email included an invitation from an Olla Galal, special issue developer at Hindawi publishers, to be the Lead Guest Editor for a Special Issue of Occupational Therapy International. Nothing too surprising in that, although my knowledge of occupational therapy would barely extend to a paraphrase of the name. I’m always getting invitations like this, and while I had the impression that Hindawi was a cut above the kind of predatory publishing house that does this kind of thing, I wasn’t too sure. (I have received previous invitations of this kind from them, but in fields where I could at least be a plausible candidate.

What made me pay attention was this

In June 2016, Wiley and Hindawi entered into a new publishing partnership that converted nine Wiley subscription journals into Open Access titles. The journals will be published under both the Wiley and Hindawi brands and distributed through Hindawi’s online platform

So, if this is accurate, I could become a guest editor for a Wiley journal in a field in which I am totally unqualified. More seriously, authors of papers in the old version of Occupational Therapy International “very well respected in its field with an impact factor of 0.683” according to Olla Galal, will now be associated with the new one.

Having got this far, I thought I should check Beall’s list of predatory journals, only to discover that it went dark on 17 January* for unexplained reasons. This is certainly depressing. It seems that even supposedly reputable academic publishers are now engaged, with only the fig leaf of a “partnership”, in seriously predatory behavior. How long before we see them pandering to the demand for “alternative fact” journals to give proper credibility to creationism, climate science denial, antivax and so on, if they are not already?

* Only a couple of days before Trump’s inauguration. Coincidence?

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  1. Ikonoclast
    April 10th, 2017 at 18:14 | #1

    We appear to be entering a kind of new dark age. The “Age of Endarkenment” some call it. For example;

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2007/aug/15/endarkenment

    This article starts well and then limits itself to an analysis starting with this;

    “A minor aspect of the endarkenment has been a resurgence in magical and superstitious ideas about medicine. The existence of homeopaths on the high street won’t usually do too much harm. Their sugar pills contain nothing and they won’t poison your body. The greater danger is that they poison your mind.”

    An article like this has a strict word limit of course. But the topic is much broader right across the board. We are entering a new age of endarkenment and we need to ask why. The answer is relatively simple and this development was predicted by that great philosopher, Karl Marx. People forget he was first and always a philosopher, albeit of a scientific materialist bent. This process was pretty much always (high probability) going to begin and gather momentum under late stage capitalism.

    Marx essentially predicted that capitalism’s fetish for money value, financial value, would destroy all other values. It has reached the stage where even the values of humanism, democracy and science (the legacies of the Enlightenment, and then the Humanist and Scientific revolutions are all to be destroyed by capitalism in its endless pursuit of profit and self-interest. Nothing else matters to this system (or rather its champions) and it simply will burn up absolutely everything else, material resources, human values and environmental values.

    The only options for humanity now are true socialism or barbarism, decay and extinction. If we leave the engine of capitalism running full bore then it destroys everything.

  2. Marco
    April 10th, 2017 at 18:59 | #2

    John, Hindawi has an ethics person, featured some time ago on retractionwatch. Contact him to express your concerns:
    http://retractionwatch.com/2016/10/03/meet-hindawis-new-head-of-research-integrity/
    He indicated his e-mail address in a comment:
    http://retractionwatch.com/2016/10/03/meet-hindawis-new-head-of-research-integrity/#comment-1129202

  3. Chris Lloyd
    April 10th, 2017 at 21:01 | #3

    It is about time that major professional societies took over the role of publishers. We simply do not need commercial publishers any more. Add the cost to the membership. With no paper versions, it is not that expensive (apart from refereeing which is already done for us for free).

  4. Henry Haszler
    April 10th, 2017 at 23:30 | #4

    I thoroughly support Chris Lloyd’s suggestion and do so based on some historical experience.

    I have been a member of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society since 1967 and was its Secretary for two years in the early 1970s [can’t remember exactly]. At that time our journal was printed in a shed/garage in a Melbourne backyard. It was not a glossy as now but it did the job of disseminating decent stuff. As Honorary Secretary I managed the membership list, the Hon Treasurer managed the subs, the editors edited, the printer printed and things went along OK.

    Sometime later movers and shakers in the Society decided the Melbourne operation was not fancy enough. I suppose we were losing/not increasing the membership and no organisation — eg ABARE or university department — was prepared to cover the public good effect of hosting the Secretary as the former BAE had done back then. So we switched to the professionals and now Wiley runs the show.

    I know that membership has been a perennial issue and I doubt the size of our membership is all that different from what it was in the 1970s. Moreover I have had massive problems with the professionals — getting them to recognise the terminology we use wrt our subs, branches, etc etc, probably because there are so many layers in any global operation. Back then our members had only two people to contact, the Treasurer and me. We knew our member list and could fix things on the spot.

    So what’s to lose by professional societies doing their own publishing and doing it online? These days people live longer than before and I bet there are retired members who would take on various roles at cost. And so long as we put articles on RePEc, etc and paid Google for search positioning the whole world could find our material.

  5. Chris
    April 11th, 2017 at 18:15 | #5

    Beall’s list lives on in the Internet Archive…

    http://web.archive.org/web/20170103170903/https://scholarlyoa.com/

    …albeit uncurated.

  6. may
    April 12th, 2017 at 16:44 | #6

    but but, “tha market” can’t be wrong.( praise ye)

    have faith!

    believe!

    knowledge is a fungible asset.

    if misinformation increases the value of usable information, that’s just the market mechanism working as it should.

    can compensation be sought for damages and/or loss caused by misinformation spread for commercial gain? like libel or slander?

    icono?

    you are not wrong about capitalism but capitalism is not the only ideology that does the damage.
    the process of populations/environments being drained for the benefit of a minority has happened with communism,religion,monarchy,fascism, etc.

    that book i posited recently has studies of different systems showing the same results over time.

    we keep looking for the system that works and don’t pay any attention to the individuals acting to the detriment of everyone else, and how they manage their exploitation.

  7. may
    April 12th, 2017 at 16:51 | #7

    it’s a bit like the current housing market.
    no matter what the govt does nothing will obviate the fact that according to the fin one in four sales are to overseas buyers.

    one in four will pay whatever the market demands!
    so it is a sellers market.

    tough luck wanna be home owner.

    hinch lurves it.

  8. Collin Street
    April 12th, 2017 at 19:22 | #8

    Capital gains are great for money laundering. Works like this.

    You-the-upstanding-citizen scrapes together a tiny little bit of seed money, and you borrow the rest from… eh, kinda iffy sources [but it’s all who will lend to you]; the iffy sources are of course you-the-criminal, with enough cut-outs and blind trusts to hide it. The interest rate can be high, but that’s OK; you’re only paying yourself.

    You buy land. Or something. Actually doesn’t matter which, as long as it’s a rising market. You hold the land for a while, and sell it to the next guy, who’s doing the same thing; you have to pay interest on your proceeds… but that money goes back to you-the-crook, and you just have to rerun this exercise to wash it out. The margin, profit over interest, that’s yours free and clear from legitimate, demonstrable, business interests

    It works as long as the capital gains are enough over the interest rate to make this worthwhile [and you’re borrowing from yourself, so that’s not hard] and you can generate your own “rising markets” by running multiple white-hat personae and bouncing the property back and forth between them, washing a little each time. You want to do this multi-stage, because whatever’s actually in the property when the market crashes is gone. So you do it 10% at a time or so.

  9. Bernard J.
    April 14th, 2017 at 23:30 | #9

    Word amongst the traps is that it was not entirely an unhappy coincidence, although the factors involved are convoluted.

    There’s also a move to instigate at least one (commercial) replacement.

  10. Monty
    April 15th, 2017 at 21:59 | #10

    John, are you suggesting Trump is a freemason who used his Illuminati connections to have the Beall site pulled down?

  11. David Zetland
    April 18th, 2017 at 01:30 | #11
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