What many now refer to as predatory publishing first came to my attention 7 years ago, when I interviewed a publisher who — I had been told — was bombarding researchers with invitations to submit papers to, and sit on the editorial boards of, the hundreds of new OA journals it was launching.
Since then I have undertaken a number of other such interviews, and with each interview the allegations have tended to become more worrying — e.g. that the publisher is levying article-processing charges but not actually sending papers out for review, that it is publishing junk science, that it is claiming to be a member of a publishing organisation when in reality it is not a member, that it is deliberately choosing journal titles that are the same, or very similar, to those of prestigious journals (or even directly cloning titles) in order to fool researchers into submitting papers to it etc. etc.
The number of predatory publishers continues to grow year by year, and yet far too little is still being done to address the issue.
Discussion of the problem invariably focuses on the publishers. But in order to practise their trade predatory publishers depend on the co-operation of researchers, not least because they have to persuade a sufficient number to sit on their editorial boards in order to have any credibility. Without an editorial board a journal will struggle to attract many submissions.
Is it time to approach the problem from a different direction?