Libraries are for Use

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Post-Beall’s List


No doubt you have heard that Professor Jeffrey Beall’s blog, http://scholarlyoa.com, with the associated lists of suspected publishers, journals and metrics, has been removed from public view at his request.  Here are some sites that have detailed timelines of this event:

The removal was sudden and unexplained, with reasons for speculation ranging from the capitalist (Cabell’s was going to take it over) to the nefarious (evil lawyers threatening legal action).  The explanation receiving the most acceptance does center on lawsuit settlement.

Several people have commented about the risk of having a single person making judgments and applying labels of “predatory”, although his criteria is clear and documented.  Perhaps this is an opportunity for the librarian, researcher, and publishing communities to collaborate in the development of a set of evaluation criteria that could applied more openly.  There could be a variety of ways that handle the evaluations – who evaluates what based on which criteria and how frequently.  It needn’t be something that everyone agrees to, but if there were more voices involved, it might gain more acceptance.

Professionally, I admire Mr. Beall for his fearlessness and his tenaciousness to start and continue with this effort.  I do not want to see it gone by the wayside.  However, I believe his use of the defamatory label (“predatory”) and his resistance to collaboration have made him and his work a lightning rod of controversy.  As a collection assessment librarian, I am always looking for tools and methods for comparing the quality of our collections.  I have always wanted to expand Beall’s methods more broadly, and perhaps now is the opportunity to do so.

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