Opinion: Pay-to-Play Publishing

The Internet has enabled the dissemination of information at lightning speed. This information revolution has created tremendous business opportunities for online publishers, but not all of them maintain proper quality-control mechanisms to ensure that only good information is being shared. Instead, many publishers aim simply to make money by whatever means possible, with no regard for the ramifications for society at large.

When greedy publishers set up shop online, the primary goal is to publish as much as possible, often at the cost of quality. In this vein, many publishers start numerous online journals focused on overlapping disciplines—to increase their total number of published papers—and hire young business managers who do not have any experience in either science or publishing. In some cases, online publishers even forgo peer review, while still presenting themselves as scientific journals—a scam designed to take advantage of scientists who simply want to share their research. In the most egregious cases, counterfeit publications use the same name as legit journals that are not published online (for example, Archives des Sciences and Wulfenia).

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