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Bentham Science Publishers

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Bentham Science Publishers straddles the fine line between "open access journal publisher" and "vanity press scam."

Bentham was founded in 1994 and enjoyed a reputation as a small but reputable and scholarly publisher. In April 2007, it announced that it would open more than 300 open access journals by the end of the year, though it later cut this to 200.[1]

The journals work on the model where the journal is available free, and authors pay to have their paper published. A new journal will often contact people in the field noting the journal's existence and requesting submissions. However, Bentham took it as far as repeatedly spamming people[2][3], often irrelevantly,[1] and offering scientists membership on its journals' editorial boards out of the blue.[4] (As of August 23, 2014, the DNS-based blocklist lists the network from which Bentham spams in its entirety.) Membership of a journal's editorial board can be quite prestigious, but when people realised what sort of company they were dealing with and withdrew their acceptance, Bentham kept their names on the masthead and ignored all demands for removal.[1] In April 2009, the Open Chemical Physics Journal published an article advocating 9/11 conspiracy theories without anyone bothering to inform the journal's editor, who promptly resigned.[5]

This aroused the interest of the curious, and Bentham was busted in 2009 accepting a paper for the Open Information Science Journal consisting of random sentences computer-generated with SCIgen, whose imaginary authors both worked at the Center for Research in Applied Phrenology (CRAP).[6][7] The editor of said journal also quit when he found out what the publisher had done.[8] Bentham's director of publication claimed they merely sent a fake acceptance to flush out the hoaxer[4].

Bentham's questionable behaviour, and the extensive documentation of it, led directly[3] to the formation of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association,[9] which endeavours to serve as a mark of respectability in OA publishers. Not only is Bentham not a member, OASPA has blogged specifically concerning it.[10]

Annoyingly, the scams continue. Jeffrey Beall publishes Beall's List of Predatory, Open Access Publishers, which helps.[11]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]