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Science  06 Dec 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6163, pp. 1170
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6163.1170

Open Access and Peer Review

For his 4 October News story “Who's afraid of peer review?” (special section on Communication in Science, p. 60), J. Bohannon investigated whether open-access journals would accept his flawed submission. His results elicited more than 200 comments, available at http://comments.sciencemag.org/content/10.1126/science.342.6154.60.

A selection of your thoughts:

…A correlation analysis between impact factor and rejection rate would have provided other important answers. – Eugenio Santoro

It's a shame the author did not extend the scope of his research by sending his spoof paper also to traditional, subscription-based journals! – Gabor Cocumelo

I am the editor of a social science journal, and this problem is not about open access or traditional publishing. It is about too many papers, over-worked academics who do peer review as a courtesy, and the “publish or perish” mentality of the academic appointment system…. The entire system of academic publishing is broken. Open Access is an attempt by many to build a new system. It is unfortunate that it has been diverted from its course by those who do not share its values. – Peta Wellstead

…Calling the predators “open-access publishers” is a disservice, as it obscures the issue; it would be like calling pyramid scheme operators “savings & loan banks” or snake oil salespeople “physicians.”… – Xing Chen

Bohannon does not challenge open access, and he did not criticize all open-access publishing. Determining the degree of similar problems in paper journals would require a similar study. This was not Bohannon's task. We have all seen stupidity among reviewers and authors at paper journals. What we do not see in subscription journals is the cash incentive to publish utter rubbish. – Ken Friedman

…Research publications have been made criteria for promotion in Indian medical institutions, paving the way for emergence of thousands of spurious journals that publish your paper for a said charge on the next day without any peer review or copyediting…. – Venkataramana Kandi

Why is AAAS attempting to smear OA publications? Operating a sting to discredit an OA publication is not science, not journalism, and not entertainment. The authors and the editors of Science should feel embarrassed…. – Ed Hinchey

…What I find most intriguing is that there is apparently no central publishing ethics board or council to do the job Mr. Bohannon's investigation clearly reveals is necessary…. – Philip Badiz

…I have been confronted myself, repeatedly, with such untrustworthy magazines inviting an open-access paper, after I had published an article in a respectable subscription journal…. – Peter Prudon

…It is ironic that journals that charge submission fees are excluded from this test, as this model (or membership fees) is perhaps the better model to prevent vanity publishing (as the publisher is not incentivized to accept as many articles as possible). – Gunther Eysenbach

…It is getting easier to parse what is important to one's research needs, and it is becoming less important where “good ideas that work” are published. – Kevin Henderson

…Isn't our job to read every paper with scrutiny, regardless of where it is published?… – Alen Piljic

…The core issue is one of oversight and the impact this may have on the dissemination of accurate information to the scientific community…. Overlooked data in one paper get passed on like a faulty gene, and each time it gets passed on, the number of people influenced by it increases…. – Chell Price

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