A qualitative content analysis of watchlists vs safelists: How do they address the issue of predatory publishing?

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Abstract

Predatory journals and publishers are a growing concern in the scholarly publishing arena. As one type of attempt to address this increasingly important issue, numerous individuals, associations, and companies have begun curating journal watchlists or journal safelists. This study uses a qualitative content analysis to explore the inclusion/exclusion criteria stated by scholarly publishing journal watchlists and safelists to better understand the content of these lists, as well as the larger controversies that continue to surround the phenomenon that has come to be known as predatory publishing. Four watchlists and ten safelists were analyzed through an examination of their published mission statements and inclusion/exclusion criteria. Notable differences that emerged include the remaining influence of librarian Jeffrey Beall in the watchlists, and the explicit disavowal of his methods for the safelists, along with a growing recognition that the “list” approach may not fully address systemic aspects of predatory publishing that go beyond the individual author's ethical decision-making agency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102236
JournalJournal of Academic Librarianship
Volume46
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Beall's list
  • Jeffrey Beall
  • Predatory publishing
  • Publishing ethics
  • Scholarly publishing

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