Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Black Eye for Open Access

Note how coverage of the murderous University of Alabama biologist Amy Bishop at the New York Times in "A Case for Tenure That Some See as Falling Short" implies that online journals would not be likely to be peer-reviewed and would be unlikely to strengthen a tenure case.

The publications include a recent paper in The International Journal of General Medicine, published electronically by Dovepress, essentially a scientific vanity press. Dr. Bishop’s paper in that journal, on nerve cells grown in the laboratory and exposed to drugs used to treat depression, lists her school-age children as the first three authors. The fourth author is herself, and the fifth is her husband, who is identified as being at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, although he does not have a position there.

Differentiating legitimate online journals from vanity press publications would seem to be important, given the unsustainability of current print models for academic publishing.

On its home page, the journal claims to be indexed in the large legitimate medical database PubMed, which many biological sciences students use, and posts a link that seems to affiliate itself with the open content initiative OCLC. It also includes the following description of its rigor:

An international, peer-reviewed, Open Access journal that focuses on general and internal medicine, pathogenesis, epidemiology, diagnosis, monitoring and treatment protocols. The journal is characterized by the rapid reporting of reviews, original research and clinical studies across all disease areas.

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