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Science and Fake news

Science can play an important role in fact checking. Investigations can show up unguided and unsupported 'truths' that dominate the public debate. That is why it is important that the results of these studies should be accessible. However, access is not exactly perfect now.

When you as a citizen want to delve into a scientific study, you are confronted with financial barriers. You will either have to pay high subscription rates for a scientific journal or high costs for downloading an article. 

This is remarkable because research is conducted using a good deal of public money. Universities have to pay hefty prices to publishers to include their research results in their journals, and books in their digital libraries. These sources are then exclusively accessible to the University's own researchers and students, not to the general public.

A growing group of scientists is working hard towards setting up alternative journals with Open Access so that the general public will also have access. The problem is that these journals often do not have a reliable peer review system yet, as a result of which the scientific quality may not always be fully guaranteed. In addition, scientists themselves prefer publishing with classic publishers as publishing in highly rated journals will enhance their scientific reputation. 

It is difficult to change this situation, yet changes will have to be made. Scientific knowledge is desperately needed to inform us, to help us think about social themes and to be able to offer alternative solutions.  

More and more, Open science and Open Access is becoming the norm in scientific research. To publish Open Access is stimulated, but it is doubtful that - in keeping with the Dutch national policy and the requirements of various research funding organisations - by 2020 all publications and articles will be freely accessible. 

More information on open access publishing

Publishing at the University

It is common practice for researchers to publish in scientific journals on a regular basis. Articles in scientific journals are peer-reviewed by an editorial board before they are published. In this way the quality of the publication is guaranteed.

Fake Open Access journals

In academia, where "to publish or perish” is not an empty threat, it is often difficult for scholars to have their research published in legitimate journals, let alone top-quality ones. Maybe as a result of this, it is becoming increasingly common for academics to get articles published in questionable journals.

The publications in those journals are not peer-reviewed, and do therefore not appear in any of the main databases like Web of Science, PubMed or Scopus. 

To avoid publishing in such a questionable journal, please apply to the Open Access department of your University (mostly located at the Library) and have them check whether the journal you want to publish in, is a predatory journal. They can also advise you on other options or even discounts.

At the moment there is ongoing (American) research concentrating on two notorious cheaters in the field of Open Access publishing: OMICS (supposed to publish more than 700 journals), and WASET (supposed to organize conferences and publish conference papers).

Information on predatory publishers



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Subjects: Information Literacy, SmartCat, Systematic Review, OER, Fake news