SOPhiA 2017

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Predatory Publishers targeting Graduates -- an Ethical Evaluation
(Ethics, English)

So-called Predatory (Open Access) Publishers have developed a business model to exploit authors by charging exceedingly them high fees. Publications in such journals are of highly questionable value for their authors because, despite their impressive sounding names and claim to be peer-reviewed, the journals usually accept any submission whose author is willing to pay, regardless of the quality of the work. Predatory Publishers advertise their "service" by actively approaching researchers and hope to reach them in a weak moment. Early stage researchers and graduate students are one of their main target groups, as e.g. e-mails sent to contributors of SOPhiA show.
The talk will develop an ethical judgement of this specific targeting: On the one hand, even publishing in a low-level journal might be helpful for early stage researchers because they gain first experiences in the system; and in some situations, having any publication might let them stick out, e.g. when applying for Ph.D. funding. On the other hand, the financial burden usually is relatively higher for students without a regular income of their own than for researches with a job (however badly paid). Thus, it is case-dependent whether Predatory Publishers cause more harm to senior or graduate researches if they succeed.
However, the latter are especially weak targets: While later in their career, researchers are aware that publishing in low-level journals is a bad idea, graduates entering academia might lack sophistication about differences between journals. They will simply feel honoured by someone from a journal with an impressive name seemingly likes their work and even tries to approach them. Predatory Publishers only play on senior researchers' lack of willpower but in the case of graduates, they additionally try to exploit a lack of knowledge. This is not only bad for the targeted early stage researcher themselves but also potentially corrupts academic culture by promoting a focus on quantity instead of quality to those who are not experienced enough to see why this might be problematic.
Therefore, publishers act particularly worse when trying to trick graduate researchers, as an especially vulnerable group, into spending money for publications in their low-level journals.

Chair: Noelle Rohde
Time: 11:50-12:20, 14 September 2017 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.007

Daniel Matthias Mayerhoffer 
(University of Surrey, United Kingdom)

Daniel did his undergraduate studies in Philosophy & Economics at the University of Bayreuth and is currently is an MA student of Social Research Methods at the University of Surrey (focussing on Political Philosophy and Computational Social Modelling). In October, he wants to return to his Master programs in Politics at the Otto-Friedrich-University of Bamberg and of the elite study program Ethics of Textual Cultures at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg which he currently pauses for his stay at Surrey. He plans on staying in Bamberg and starting a Ph.D. there 2018 in the area of Computational Policy Models.

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