Taking a stand against predatory publishers

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There is a blight threatening nursing and midwifery research, academic credibility and the value of our scholarship, the blight of ‘predatory publishing’ (Beall 2012, Pickler et al. 2015, Simpson 2016). This is a more modern and more malign equivalent of the embarrassing phenomena of ‘vanity publishing’. Once, if you were convinced of your literary talents but could find no reputable publisher who shared your rosy self‐assessment, you could find a vanity publisher who would print a few hundred copies of your treasured poems or great first novel, in hidebound leather, with gold lettering. At last, you were now a published author, at least in your own mind.
That may have been appropriate for some, or sad and harmless for others but there is nothing either appropriate or harmless about today's predatory publishers. Latest estimates show that there are over 10,000 predatory journals churning out over 400,000 articles per year and netting the predators over US$74 million (Shen & Björk 2015). Finances aside, the potential effect on scholarship and on the trustworthiness of what we consult and respect as ‘the literature’ or ‘evidence’ could be catastrophic. We risk the pollution, debasement and devaluing of what should be a credible, reliable and valuable repository of the best of nursing and midwifery research and scholarship. We also risk the very notion of academic standards and scholarly quality as these relate to the dissemination and sharing of our research and thinking.
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