Dr. Beall recently posted on Scholarly Open Access an item about a very disturbing case. Namely, that the Icelandic journal Jökull, which is published in the traditional paper form, has been hacked. Some scammers created a new website and pretended to run an official website of the bona fide journal. According to Dr. Beall, the hackers have a simple goal: “to steal the reputation and brand value of the journal and then invite submissions to the counterfeit online journal, charging authors fees to publish their articles there.” Is this a consequence of the growing presence of Open Access?
This question is not intended to suggest that Dr. Beall holds such views. His article does not state his position either way. He simply presents a case of someone taking advantage of the fact that a journal is not present on the Internet.
However, on Twitter there appeared tweets to suggest (based on this post) that the guilty party is Open Access.
Why do I write about this? Well, very often these types of situations are cited as examples of the negative aspects of Open Access. The existence of predatory journals? Open Access is guilty. Someone scammed authors? Blame it on Open Access. Someone hacked an existing journal? Open Access stands accused.
Well, not quite. Open Access has nothing to do with that. It is a natural consequence of the existence of the Internet. OA does not pose the only opportunity for crooks to cheat others on the Internet. It suffices to mention credit card phishing via email. Does this mean that e-mail communication causes crime or the systems and companies that provide email accounts?
Open Access is the new trend. Knowledge about OA among scientists is still limited, so there is the potential for abuse. This, however, does not rule out the idea of OA, but only emphasizes the need for awareness-raising campaigns on this issue.