The University of Bremen continues to support open access publishing but points out the importance of quality control when selecting publishers. The State and University Library provides regular information on the subject of open access and also sheds light on predatory publishers in this context. Scientists can also seek personal advice there if they wish to publish their research results with open access. Having been made aware about this issue by current media coverage, the University of Bremen is intensifying its activities to provide clarification about predatory publishers.
Around ten years ago, the idea of open access to scientific publications gained a lot of support. But what does open access mean? Open access guarantees free and unrestricted access to scientific publications on the Internet. Scientists pay for publishing in an open access journal. In contrast with articles from traditional publishers, the reader can read the articles without paying a fee. The scientific quality and seriousness of the research is in no way affected by this method of publication. Instead, it means that the research results reach more people than they would through a classic publication.
The University of Bremen advocates open access in its Strategy for 2018 to 2028. Research institutions such as the Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz Association, the Leibniz Association, the Fraunhofer Society, the German Rectors’ Conference, the German Research Foundation, academies, higher education institutions, and politicians also support the idea of publishing with open access.
Unfortunately, in recent years, publishers who work with dubious methods have also appeared on the market. For example, the contributions of these predatory publishers do not undergo a review process or any review process in accordance with the usual standards, also known as a peer review process, before they are published. Scientists often find it difficult to recognize the machinations of predatory publishers. Universities, higher education institutions, and research institutions are therefore obliged to provide their employees with the best possible information about predatory publishers and to support them when publishing with open access.
The University of Bremen takes this task very seriously. The State and University Library provides regular advice on publishing with open access and warns of predatory publishers in this context. In the policy on institutional affiliation in research publications (in german only), published in 2017, the university also refers to the importance of quality control when selecting open access portals. In addition, the State and University Library advises scientists who apply to it for funding for open access publications specifically on the selection of possible publishers.
Current media coverage can make a further contribution to making all members of the scientific system aware of the problems concerning the machination of predatory publishers. The University of Bremen is using the publications as an opportunity to intensify its activities educating and warning about predatory publishers so that they don’t stand a chance at the University of Bremen.