Open Access or Closed Minded

There are editors (the initial and final gatekeepers) who are not catching (or do not care about) these blatant displays of academic dishonesty.

The open access movement has come to academic journals in full force. The debate has recently been invigorate by governments moving to requiring publicly funded research to be published in open access journals. This concept has been going around the US legal circles for years too. 

The point of these movements is to allow more research to get into the hands of those who can benefit. With regards to journals, open access allows for anyone, anywhere to access articles so that the knowledge is not locked in the halls of ivy but free to the world. This sounds great, I agree. But is there a cost? If so, how can we mitigate those costs? 

Here is why I ask. Last week I received a request to review for a new open access journal. I agreed and in 2 days time I received the article and began reading. 

The abstract was horrid. Not only was it written in broken English, but the content simply was not there. I trudged on. From the first sentence I smelled a rat. The English got much better yet the ideas seemed somewhat disconnected. I then Googled "plagiarism checker" and found this one. The result? Hit after hit of directly lifted phrases from published work and Internet sources. I was livid. For better or worse, I shared those thoughts with the editor. :)

In theory, an article housed in an open access journal should have gone through the same double-blind peer-reviewed process. Yet there are editors (the initial and final gatekeepers) who are not catching (or do not care about) these blatant displays of academic dishonesty. I wish this were the first bad experience I had around open access journals. Last year I reviewed an article, giving copious amounts of feedback, only to find the article published as is without any of my comments (even mundane ones focused on grammar and formatting). 

So, I can we better gauge the quality of these journals? Will there be (or is there) a quality ranking? An integrity ranking? I know the 'system' is supposed to weed out the bad journals but I doubt this will happen. Authors around the world need to publish to keep their jobs so bad open access journals will always exist as a last ditch effort.

We are at a cross roads and we need to sort this out. Academic writers are all part of the solution (and part of the problem).

Photo credit (CC) Flicker user electriclibrarian

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

10 books to check out from Jordan Peterson's 'Great Books' list

The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.

Jordan Peterson with Carl Jung and the cover art of Jaak Panksepp's 'Affective Neuroscience' (Image: Chris Williamson/Getty Images/Big Think)
Personal Growth
  • Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
  • Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
  • Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Keep reading Show less

Radical theory says our universe sits on an inflating bubble in an extra dimension

Cosmologists propose a groundbreaking model of the universe using string theory.

Getty Images/Suvendu Giri
Surprising Science
  • A new paper uses string theory to propose a new model of the universe.
  • The researchers think our universe may be riding a bubble expanded by dark energy.
  • All matter in the universe may exist in strings that reach into another dimension.
Keep reading Show less

Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.