Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Beall's List

Jeffrey Beall of the University of Colorado Denver provides a list of publications and publishers of questionable scholarly value at http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/. In addition to the Beall List, the link provides further information on the subject of questionable scholarly publications and practices. A good guidance to keep in mind when researching outside ones expertise.

I checked Beall's list after coming across a geology paper on the San Juan Islands published in he Journal of Earth Science and Engineering. The Journal of Earth Science and Engineering is on Beall's list. Having read the paper, I would say that the journal absolutely belongs on the list.

I am familiar enough with the geology and specific locations discussed in the paper in question to recognize that the paper is seriously flawed to the point of being mostly BS. I am also familiar enough with reputable journals to question this previously unknown journal as a good source. That said,  I do a fair bit of research outside my area of expertise. If I am researching biochar and nutrient uptake for example it is worth taking a bit of time to consider the journals in this dawning era of open access journals and pdfs on the internet.

Beall's List may not be the be all end all. But it is a good start.   

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