Predatory Open Access Journals and Attainment of Educational Sustainable Development Goals in Africa

Predatory Open Access Journals and Attainment of Educational Sustainable Development Goals in Africa

Wole Michael Olatokun (University of Ibadan, Nigeria) and Ojinga Gideon Omuinu (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5018-2.ch004
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Putting into consideration the objective of the SDG 4, it would be important to note that the provision, access, and use of information resources such as open access (OA) journals is a sine qua non for quality education in Africa. Despite its importance to the education system, open access journals have been proliferated by predatory journals. Stakeholders in the OA movement and academia claim that predatory publishing is a big problem for scientific communication and could undermine development efforts. Hence, the increasing use of predatory open access journals could affect the attainment of SDGs in Africa; hence, there is the need to raise awareness to enhance the possibility of attaining the SDGs in Africa. This chapter will among others enumerate the possible havocs predatory open access journals can create and the setbacks on the attainment of SDGs in Africa. It will also spell out the necessary prospects of curtailing these havocs and setbacks towards providing quality-based information resources such as open access journals to the education societies in Africa.
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A major goal in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides a great plan to achieve quality and equal education especially in Africa. Other goals in the SDGs are to reduce poverty, reduce hunger, ensure good health and well-being of people, gender equality, provide clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, ensure decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequality, provide sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, enhance life below water, life on land, peace and justice strong institutions and partnerships to achieve the goals. A major strategy to attain the quality and equal education goal is through the provision of effective learning environment which cuts across the provision of information and the necessary tools to manage the information and knowledge such as the open access initiative. Ogunmodede, Apata and Nwokeoma (2017) noted that there seems to be a link between Open Access and the attainment of quality and equal education; but quality and equal education can also play a mediating role between Open Access (OA) and the attainment of other SDGs. Therefore, the role of Open Access in the attainment of quality and equal education and also other SDGs cannot be overemphasized. Providing improved access to equal and quality education can have positive impetus on sustainable development (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 2018) and a strong education system does enhance other sectors of the economy towards achieving economic growth and development (Bokova, 2015). UNESCO (2017) affirmed that education is both a goal in itself and a means to attaining other SDGs. It is not only seen as an integral part of sustainable development of nations but also as major enabler for the attainment of other SDGs. To this end, education with Open Access as its enabler remains a part and also represents an essential strategy in the pursuit of the SDGs.

According to Ogunmodede et al. (2017), access to and utilization of information resources such as research publications for which Open Access has become a notable tool is vital for modern development which could include sectoral development especially in Africa. Olurode (2017) noted that there is a dire need in recent times to draw attention to the use and application of research findings and publications so as to enhance sectoral and national development and reducing human sufferings especially in Africa. Putting into consideration the objectives of the SDGs, with focus on goal 4, which is to ensure equal and quality education, it would be important to note that “promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all” entails the provision of necessary resources and infrastructures such as the Open Access to provide a better environment towards enhanced learning opportunity. To this end, the education systems must respond to this pressing need by defining relevant learning objectives and learning contents, hence, the provision and use of information resources such as open access journals for better learning.

Open access (OA) refers to the provision of free and unrestricted online access to research outputs such as journal articles, books, among others (Macmillan Publishers Limited, 2019). In the same vein, open access journals are journals that publish research outputs such as journal articles and books and provide them for free online for users to access or read. According to Suber (2012); UNESCO (2015) and Omiunu (2019), there are different types of OA models used in the open access business model and include: “gold, green, and hybrid models”. A gold journal is an open access journal which makes published contents available for free on the publisher’s website for readers/users. However, there is a delay in the gold open access model before such articles become free for readers on the publisher’s website (usually 12 months) (Kieńć, 2015). Also, the green open access journal is one which publishes non-free content, but allows its authors to republish their articles in various open access repositories such as Research gate, Google scholar, academic, institutions’ websites, among others. To this end, while the article on the website of the publisher is placed as pay-walled, the author can place the same article on various other repositories. The hybrid open access journals are generally pay-walled and offer the possibility for authors to open individual articles by paying an extra fee otherwise their articles would be placed on subscription before user can access them. All these models have some advantages and disadvantages.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sustainable Development Goals: The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

Green Open Access Model: Self-archiving by authors is permitted under green OA. Independently from publication by a publisher, the author also posts the work to a website controlled by the author, the research institution that funded or hosted the work, or to an independent central open repository, where people can download the work without paying.

Open Access: This is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers.

Predatory Publishing: Predatory publishing, sometimes called write-only publishing or deceptive publishing, is an exploitive academic publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without checking articles for quality and legitimacy and without providing the other editorial and publishing services that legitimate academic journals provide, whether open access or not.

Predatory Open Access Journals: Predatory journals are journals often accused of applying poor academic standards and practices in their editorial and peer-review processes. They apply poor ethical procedures by claiming to live-up to the established quality control standards in peer-review, but do so only on a superficial level.

Hybrid Open Access model: Hybrid open access journals contain a mixture of open access articles and closed access articles. A publisher following this model is partially funded by subscriptions, and only provide open access for those individual articles for which the authors pay a publication fee.

Gold Open Access Model: In the gold OA model, the publisher makes all articles and related content available for free immediately on the journal's website, usually by requiring the author rather than the reader to bear the costs of publication. In such publications, articles are licensed for sharing and reuse via creative commons licenses or similar.

Quality Education: It refers to the type of education which enables people to develop all of their attributes and skills to achieve their potential as human beings and members of society.

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