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(Are there other significant manifestations of deceptive publishing in the scholcomm space? The prospect of setting up a blacklist raises a number of difficult and important questions.Here are some of them, followed by my suggested answers: Focusing on the journal at the title level is probably the best general approach, since not every such journal is part of a suite of titles put forward by a publishing organization.

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In these cases, journals adopt titles designed to imply affiliation with a legitimate- and prestigious-sounding scholarly or scientific organization that does not actually exist.

For example, a Masquerader journal might call itself the .

This is perhaps the largest category of deceptive publisher, and also one of the more controversial ones, since the line between dishonesty and simple ineptitude or organic mediocrity can be fuzzy.

For this reason, it makes sense to exercise caution in ascribing deceptive intent to these journals; however, in many cases (such as those that falsely claim to have an Impact Factor, that lie about their peer-review processes, or that falsely claim editorial board members), deceptive intent can be quite clear. These are scam operators that set up websites designed to trick the unwary into believing that they are submitting their work to legitimate existing journals—sometimes by “hijacking” the exact title of the real journal, and sometimes by concocting a new title that varies from the legitimate one only very slightly. This looks like a variety of hijacking, except that there is no actual hijackee.

Deceptive monograph publishing seems to me much less of an issue, and I won’t address it here.

At the other end of the importance spectrum, my colleague Phill Jones has also recently brought up the issue of predatory conferences, which I believe is very important–enough so that I think it merits a separate discussion. These are journals that falsely claim to offer to the reading public documents based on legitimate and dispassionate scientific or scholarly inquiry.

However, it’s also worthwhile to take note of publishers that have a pattern of putting out deceptive journals.

There are two reasons, I believe: first, because this kind of scam simply works best on an author-pays basis, and author-pays models are, for obvious reasons, far more prevalent in the open access world than in the toll-access world.

While I think it’s worth calling out publishers who, in our view, engage in unfair or unethical leveraging of their monopoly power in the marketplace, this seems to me like a very different problem from that of essentially deceptive publishing.

It’s also an issue that is clouded by the fact that raising prices is not, in itself, necessarily unethical (unlike deception, which is).

(See further discussion of both points below.) The difference lies in the intent to deceive.

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