In 2002 the African scholarly publisher, Academic Journals, began publishing peer reviewed journals. By 2011 they had grown to be a considerably sized publisher, publishing 107 journals with more than 220 employees, and having become an important publishing platform for African researchers.
Then disaster struck. They were added to Jeffery Beall’s list of “Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers”.
The impact was immediate. From the About Us section of their website:
Several editors resigned from the various editorial board. The number of manuscript submission declined, including several withdrawals. This decline was steep and fast, and impacted on our ability to support our team. At the end of the year, under this very difficult condition, Academic journals was forced to downsize the number of employees. Almost half of all members of the team was affected by the downsizing. Over a hundred and twenty employees lost their jobs.
Academic Journals submitted a formal appeal to Beall. He admitted it may have been a bit harsh to add them to his list, but refused to remove them. Academic Journals had no choice but to struggle on. Quoting their website again:
Academic Journals doubts the sincerity of the Jeffrey Beall’s list. We perceive that the list is deliberately biased towards open access journals. In addition, we consider Jeffrey Beall’s methods questionable and lacking in rigor in a matter as important as the evaluation of academic publishing. We welcome a fair, transparent and rigorous evaluation of all our activities.
How crazy is it that you can build a substantial publishing infrastructure on your home continent and then see it decimated by a single man across the ocean who decides to add you to his blacklist? Continue reading