Way back in March I gave a talk as part of the UVA Medical Center Hour series on the phenomenon of so-called “predatory publishing,” and I used that as a starting point for a much broader conversation about forms of predation in academic publishing.
My thesis, in a nutshell, is that “predatory publishing” is a relatively minor annoyance for big research institutions like ours, nothing compared to the catastrophic consequences of traditional academic publishing business models. The former cost most UVA researchers a few wasted minutes sending email to their spam folder; the latter cost our campuses millions of dollars each year, at a rate that is growing much faster than inflation, and lead to the fruits of our research being locked behind paywalls, useless to anyone outside an elite institution. Fake journal scam artists are easy targets for sting operations, and they offer a handy brush with which to tar open access, but we should focus instead on the big-time profiteers doing real damage to our scholarly ecosystem.
I have intended (and still intend) to write this argument up in textual form, and I think I delayed sharing the video as part of that plan. A long time has passed, and the text has not emerged, so I’m sharing the video in the meantime. Enjoy!