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FRONTIERS; LEGITIMATE OR PREDATORY?! UNPROVEN CLAIM BY JEFFERY BEALL

23-Jul-2018
News

Frontiers; legitimate or predatory?! Unproven claim by Jeffery Beall

Frontiers is an academic open access contemporary publisher, although it started by (Frontiers in Neuroscience), currently operating in broad spectrum of biomedical science and technology [1].  It was established in 2007 by a class of neuroscientists including Kamila Markram and Henry. Its headquarter is placed in Lausanne, Switzerland [2].  It is indexed by both OASPA and COPE [3, 4]. At the beginning of 2015, in a controversial decision, Jeffery Beall added Frontiers to his list of possible, probable and potential predatory publishers that brought about backlash among scientific community.  The aim of this report is to narrate the story of Kscien organization with predatory and legitimate features of Frontiers publisher and come to a conclusion regarding the scientific nature of the journals belonging to this publisher.

What is Kscien?!

Kscien organization is a non-governmental, non-profit organization founded by young researchers with focus to implant and enhance research culture in developing countries (DCs). It is exactly planned to entomb predatory publications, keep exceptional scientific communication specifically in DCs. The latter has been perceived by many authors to be more accessible to be attacked by the predatory journals and publishers.  Kscien has initiated a special committee with of 23 memberships of young researchers under the title of (Predatory List Committee (PLC)). They are working constantly to maintain the list updated, uncover newly invented tricks by the predators and instruct authors towards scientific publication. The list is constructed in a way that it can be updated daily. For the time being, this criteria is utilized to identify predatory publishers and journals are similar to that established by Jeffery Beall. Researches are ongoing to create solid criteria with objective features to bypass mistakes that Beall went through.

The story of Kscien with Frontiers:

At the end of 2107, a team of German investigators sojourned north of Iraq (Kurdistan) to conduct a research regarding refugees of one of the camps (Arbat camp). They were attempting to collect data about psychological aspects of the immigrants and understand their enigmas.  During their mission, they demanded Kscien support in their data collections and entry. During curt discourse with the one of the team members, Kscien realized that they would like to submit their paper to one of the Frontiers journal and we had previously heard about Beall’s decision regarding Frontiers inclusion in the black list. Kscien vigorously criticized working with Frontiers for the sake of Beall’s decision. The German team inquired for objective evidences regarding Frontiers being predatory apart from Beall’s intuition. Kscien promised them to commence in-depth analysis and investigation in this subject, attempting to persuade the team being away from Frontiers (supposed to be predatory publishers at that time.)

Kscien and his specialized committee, PLC initiated scrutiny and rigorous inspection into Frontiers, starting from the editorial board members and were astonished from the first step when we perceived that huge numbers of scientists and experienced researchers laboring with frontiers like (Loet Leydesdorff, Chaomei Chen, Henk F. Moed, Luigi Daniele Notarangelo, Betty Diamond, Catherine Sautes-Fridman, Herman Waldmann….). secondly, we scaned the websites of the Frontiers journals for deceptive claims like false impact factors, incorrect indexing or indexing in predatory companies and other features common to predatory journals and publishers. None was found with Frontiers.  To recapitulate, we did not get kind of evidence, neither from editorial board members nor from the website.  The last and the most crucial feature of the predatory journals is ignoring scientific peer review process. For the sake of revenue, they acquiesce any paper submitted to them, a trend completely antagonized by actual peer review practiced by legitimate journals.  We started to examine peer review process with the Frontiers. A manuscript was set with major defect that cannot pass through any filter if present. Our manuscript faced desk rejection few hours after submission. A second manuscript submitted with less visible problem, again refused by Frontiers. A third manuscript submitted to another Frontier’s with exceedingly minor problems, it underwent peer review process and failed to pass the filter. Lastly, we decided to scram Frontiers from the Kscien’s list.

In conclusion, Frontiers is a legitimate, contemporary open access publisher engaging in scientific communication in the field of biomedical science and technology. Due to its rigorous peer review process and notorious editorial board members, it doesn’t deserve to be itemized among predatory publishers that spread and promote pseudoscience for personal revenue.

References:

1-       “Members: OA Professional Publishing Organizations”Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). Retrieved 2018 -10-06.Available in:

 https://oaspa.org/member/frontiers/

2-       Peter Suber, ed.  “Open Access News: New series of OA journals in neuroscience”. Retrieved 2018-06-04.Available in:

http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/2007/10/new-series-of-oa-journals-in.html

3-      Claire Redhead. “Frontiers membership of OASPA”. Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. Retrieved 2018-6-3. Available in: https://publicationethics.org/newsevents/201510

 

4-      Schneider, Leonid. “Is Frontiers a potential predatory publisher?”. For Better Science. Retrieved 2018-06-14. Available in: https://oaspa.org/frontiers-membership-of-oaspa/

 

5-    Bloudoff-Indelicato M. Backlash after Frontiers journals added to list of questionable publishers. Nature News. 2015;526(7575):613. Available in: https://www.nature.com/news/backlash-after-frontiers-journals-added-to-list-of-questionable-publishers-1.18639