African Research Review

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The storm around Beall’s List: a review of issues raised by Beall’s critics over his criteria of identifying predatory journals and publishers

Stephen Gichuhi Kimotho


The issue of substandard, or the predatory journals as they are popularly known, flooding the internet has been one of the biggest challenges to quality and ethical scholarship in modern world. One of the most renowned watchdogs of predatory publishers was Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado-Denver, who came up with a blacklist of predatory OA publishers and journals. For several years since the publishing of the Beall’s list, there has been increasing concerns about the criteria that Beall used to develop his lists, with some scholars dismissing his lists as inaccurate, misleading and dangerous to academics. A review of literature of studies conducted concerning the predatory journals indicates that there is limited literature on systematic examination of the issues raised by Beall’s critics over these lists of predatory journals and publishers. To address this gap, this study sets out to answer this question: What are the major concerns of the critics of Beall’s list of predatory journals and publishers? Using a descriptive design that exploited qualitative approach, the researcher analysed 30 purposefully sampled publications. The findings indicate that four key issues are often raised by Beall’s critics: methodological flaws; Beall's bias against OA; discrimination against developing economies; and Beall’s lists of predatory publishers as an onslaught to academic freedom.

Keywords: Beall’s list, critics, predatory, journals, publishers
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