Bentham Science Publishers
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“”After the first flush of enthusiasm, however, researchers began to question Bentham's activities, not least because many of the invitations they were receiving seemed decidedly badly targeted. For instance, psychologists were being invited to contribute papers on ornithology, health policy researchers were being invited to submit papers on analytical chemistry and economists were being invited to submit papers on sleep research or, even more oddly, invited to join the editorial board of educational journals. This inevitably raised concerns about the likely quality of the new journals, particularly as researchers were being asked to pay from $600 to $900 a time for the privilege of being published in them.
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.
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, often irrelevantly, and offering scientists membership on its journals' editorial boards out of the blue. As of August 23, 2014, the Scientificspam.net DNS-based blocklist lists the 126.96.36.199/23 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. 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.
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). The editor of said journal also quit when he found out what the publisher had done. Bentham's director of publication claimed they merely sent a fake acceptance to flush out the hoaxer.
Bentham's questionable behaviour, and the extensive documentation of it, led directly to the formation of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, 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.
Jeffrey Beall published Beall's List of Predatory, Open Access Publishers, in 2014.
- Beall's List, a now-defunct listing of predatory journals
- The Open Access Interviews: Matthew Honan (Richard Poynder, Open And Shut?, 2008-04-23)
- Re: Bentham Science Publishers (Ted Bergstrom, liblicense-l, 2008-04-07)
- Black sheep among Open Access Journals and Publishers (Gunther Eisenbach, 2008-03-08)
- CRAP paper accepted by journal (Peter Ahdhouse, New Scientist, 2009-09-28)
- ESCALATION LISTING: 188.8.131.52/23 (Bentham) scientificspam.net, 23 August 2014.
Over the course of our existence we’ve received spam from Bentham from multiple IP addresses in this Pakistani network. The abuse@ address indicated in the APNIC WHOIS for the operator is bouncing. Bentham is spamming, and expanding its presence.
- Bentham Editor Resigns over Steven Jones' Paper (Screw Loose Change, 2009-04-28)
- Open Access Publisher Accepts Nonsense Manuscript for Dollars (Phil Davis, The Scholarly Kitchen, 2009-06-10)
- Jessica Shepherd, Editor quits after journal accepts bogus science article. The Guardian, 18 June 2009.
- Editors quit after fake paper flap (Bob Grant, The Scientist, 2009-06-11)
- Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association
- Publishing ethics, open access, and OASPA (OASPA News and Commentary, 2009-06-11) Archived from the original at oaspa.org.
- Beall's List of Predatory, Open-Access Publishers by Jeffrey Beall, 2014 Edition; Facebook group.