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Another page was discussing predatory journals and I thought it was a good segway for further discussion in this group. The discussion on pseudoscience seems to have become a standstill (I have been adding comments but it does not become active).

The issue about low impact journals and predatory journals is also not transparent, nor clear within the available guidelines of this SE. I am very concerned that there is a denigration and bias against "low impact journals" or low quality journals which tends to be open-access for "high impact journals" which tend to be not accessible to the public and also usually too academic for the public. The bias towards high impact journals I do not think should apply for this SE though the discussion should not exclude those journals. The problem is that if we enforce this standard of "high impact journals" then there will be a extremely limited pool of us in academia that are able to adequately engage with the discussion and access the breadth of the literature.

This group needs to be transparent and upfront about this bias as to not constantly traumatize newcomers (like I was) for standards that are not obvious and with a tone that implies gullibility and poor education. Poor access to journals should not be the limitation nor the standard for access to this SE.

Having said that, I think predatory journals are definitely off limits and need to be actively discouraged. There needs to be far more explicit expectations detailed in the FAQs or help page for the group needs to have information about predatory journals (either the code of conduct or expected behaviour, etc).

Beall's Predatory Journal list

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  • "Poor access to journals should not be the limitation nor the standard for access to this SE." I don't think it is? We even allow news articles, blog posts, etc. as references to back up questions. Or, is your question pertaining to answers? In which case, I don't think the journal should matter, but in case a member does not find the answer correct and has evidence from another journal counteracting it, why can't part of the argument simply be that one journal is more trustworthy than the other? – Steven Jeuris Sep 1 '19 at 9:40
  • I don't think there is such a bias. As anywhere on SE, the community tries to enforce correct answers. Answers that are deemed incorrect will receive down votes and comments. That is explained in the tour. Whether that incorrect answer comes from a high impact journal or low impact, really shouldn't matter. – Steven Jeuris Sep 1 '19 at 9:44
  • BryanKrause was harsh and made a comment about low impact journals which I think he has deleted now. The only comment that was similar was this "That review is in a journal known for publishing pseudoscience including support for easily discredited fields like homeopathy, mediums contacting dead people, and other junk" - psychology.stackexchange.com/questions/23866/… – Poidah Sep 1 '19 at 9:55
  • If the journal has been catalogued in Medline/Pubmed and is not a predatory journal, I am not sure how readers can tell whether it is a low impact journal or a journal publishing "pseudoscience". – Poidah Sep 1 '19 at 9:56
  • I guess my question is: what is wrong with that comment (other than perhaps 'junk' at the end)? That article might still be okay; you would have to read through it in full to be certain. That comment simply outlines a very good reason to be suspect, and in case contrasted with a well-respected journal and short on time, to simply prefer to more cited journal. Readers don't need to be able to tell. Answers like that are welcome, but might get down voted. This is simply SE's curation system at work. – Steven Jeuris Sep 1 '19 at 10:55
  • But, perhaps we should be more explicit about topics which are considered pseudoscience here and for which some pushback may be expected. That goes back to your previous question I still owe you an edit /answer to! – Steven Jeuris Sep 1 '19 at 10:57
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    Yes all these topics are intertwined and it would be good to get some consensus from the group which may hopefully clarify things and make things easier for newcomers – Poidah Sep 1 '19 at 10:58
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    The tone and the manner of delivery of that comment could have been softened and be less hostile to the writer. I honestly did not know that, but that statement implied that I should have. If it was worded to, did I know, or a question then it would have been much better – Poidah Sep 1 '19 at 11:00
  • Agreed and agreed. :) I'll try to pick up on your discussion thread later today. – Steven Jeuris Sep 1 '19 at 11:00
  • Thanks @StevenJeuris – Poidah Sep 1 '19 at 23:42
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    Have you seen this? – Arnon Weinberg Sep 2 '19 at 0:20
  • No @ArnonWeinberg. That is a helpful page and has quite a lot of useful detail for the newcomer. Can we add it to the help page for this group? Some other groups have common issues like this added to their Code of Conduct or Expected Behaviour document – Poidah Sep 2 '19 at 0:41
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    @Poidah To clarify, I did not say anything about "low impact" journals being a problem; my critique was about "a journal known for publishing pseudoscience including support for easily discredited fields like homeopathy, mediums contacting dead people, and other junk" - the problem is that articles there appear like they are peer-reviewed journal articles, but the editors clearly have a bias outside of mainstream science. My intent in commenting is to make sure readers, and the author, are aware of the source they are reading. – Bryan Krause Sep 2 '19 at 23:22
  • If it sounded harsh I certainly didn't mean to direct that at you, but rather at the journal. I find those sorts of journals to be far worse than the typical crap science that floats around on social media etc, because not only is it misleading but it also is masquerading as real science. They also make a lot of effort for real scientists to have to push back against. – Bryan Krause Sep 2 '19 at 23:24
  • Totally agree. Those journals do a great job in having a veneer of professionalism and scientific rigor which is highly problematic. Sorry, I think I interpreted your comments as low impact journals, so sorry about my misattribution. But I think clarifying the issue about low impact journals is still important for this group – Poidah Sep 3 '19 at 0:38

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