Academia should stop using beall’s lists and review their use in previous studies

Authors : Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Graham Kendall

Academics (should) strive to submit to journals which are academically sound and scholarly. To achieve this, they could either submit to journals that appear exclusively on safelists (occasionally referred to as whitelists, although this term tends to be avoided), or avoid submitting to journals on watchlists (occasionally referred to as blacklists, although this term tends to be avoided).

The most well-known of these lists was curated by Jeffrey Beall. Beall’s Lists (there are two, one for stand-alone journals and one for publishers) were taken offline by Beall himself in January 2017.

Prior to 2017, Beall’s Lists were widely cited and utilized, including to make quantitative claims about scholarly publishing. Even after Beall’s Lists became obsolete (they have not been maintained for the past six years), they continue to be widely cited and used. This paper argues that the use of Beall’s Lists, pre- and post-2017, may constitute a methodological error and, even if papers carry a disclaimer or limitations section noting this weakness, their conclusions cannot always be relied upon.

This paper also argues for the need to conduct a detailed post-publication assessment of reports in the literature that used Beall’s Lists to validate their findings and conclusions, assuming that it becomes accepted that Beall’s Lists are not a reliable resource for scientific investigation.

Finally, this paper contends that any papers that have identified methodological errors should be corrected. Several lists that were cloned from Beall’s Lists have also emerged and are also being cited. These should also be included in any post-publication investigation that is conducted.

URL : Academia should stop using beall’s lists and review their use in previous studies