State pays millions for predatory journal articles

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The South African government spent between R100 million (US$7.5 million) and R300 million (US$23 million) over a 10-year period in subsidies for academic articles published in predatory journals, according to a South African Journal of Science study, writes Sarah Wild for Quartz.

Internationally, the academic world has seen a spike in the number of predatory journals. These journals lure academics – often junior researchers – into paying to publish their findings in journals that have little to no peer review, are not recognised within their fields, and are a racket to make money out of open-access publishing.South Africa, in a bid to improve its research output, offers a subsidy of about R100,000 for each academic article published. This has seen the country’s research output rise from 4,063 articles in 2005 to 10,789 in 2014. Through this incentive system, the South African government pays an additional R1.8 billion (US$135 million) annually and this is a major form of revenue, says Johann Mouton, study co-author and director of the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology at Stellenbosch University.