Over three quarters of published journal articles are locked behind a paywall of some sort, and fees can approach £25,000 for the very largest journals if libraries fail to purchase subscriptions of bundled titles, which can cost millions. The problem exacerbates in the developing world, where penurious institutions can afford only a small fraction of the access they really require, severely limiting both students and researchers. Budgets are pillaged to provide access to just a glimpse of cutting-edge research. These universities have little choice in the matter: scientific papers, tending to be highly individual pieces, cannot be easily substituted. When libraries cannot pay, bizarre situations arise.
The primary problem with predatory journals is that the articles published on their platforms do not undergo rigorous peer review. Under the conventional peer-review process, once an author submits a paper to a journal for consideration, the journal will then send it out to other scientists for their review. The reviewers normally ask for revisions. Only when the reviewers agree that the work is of a sufficiently high quality does the science gets published. If the work is insufficient, the paper is rejected. The simplest step is to use the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), rather than the favourite search engine, to find journals or articles. This 'whitelist' database only lists reputable open-access journals. Although not all reputable journals are included on the DOAJ, disreputable journals are not.
Hybrid Open Access journals offer researchers something that many fully Open Access journals cannot: prestige and tradition. Hybrid journals are already well-established and, over the years or decades, have accumulated a certain reputation within the research community. Whereas, Open Access still is not the norm and might, in some cases, even be seen as risky. If researchers regard more traditional publication venues as beneficial or even necessary for their advancing their career, hybrid journals seem like a safe and easy choice to provide Open Access while following the rules to move up the ivory tower. But due to a lack of discoverability, hybrid Open Access might not offer authors the best value after all.
Is there really anything that everyone needs to know about scholarly communication? At first blush, the answer might seem to be no. Scholars typically communicate mostly with each other: they create articles, books, white papers, and other scholarly products, not usually expecting that those writings will reach millions of people and directly affect the public's collective mind and discourse, but more often with the hope that their colleagues will read what they have written and that their ideas and discoveries will shape the discourse within their fields, and will eventually make the world a better place in that way.
A recent study found that two international relations (IR) journals favour articles written by authors who share the journal's institutional affiliation. In-group bias is a well-known phenomenon that is widely documented in the psychological literature. People tend to favour their group, whether it is their close family, their hometown, their ethnic group, or any other group affiliation. Before the study, the evidence regarding academic in-group bias was scarce, with only one study finding academic in-group bias in law journals. Studies from economics found mixed results. The report provides evidence of academic in-group bias in IR journals, showing that this phenomenon is not specific to law. It also provides tentative evidence which could potentially resolve the conflict in economics, suggesting that these journals might also exhibit in-group bias.