I believe that open-access publishing enables, facilitates, and increases the rate and occurrence of author misconduct. I base this conclusion on my observation of predatory journals over the past several years.
In fact, it is pretty easy to detect author misconduct in the journals on my list. Author misconduct includes plagiarism, self-plagiarism and duplicate publication, image and data manipulation, honorary authorship, ghost authorship, and salami slicing, the breaking up of research into “least publishable units.”
I also think that authors are more blatant in their misconduct, not caring whether their misconduct eventually gets discovered, preferring only to get the academic credit for their work when it’s published.
So, here is an example of 100% plagiarism. The first article below was written in 2010. The second article was recently published (in 2013). Except for one word in the title, the text of the second paper appears identical to the first.
2010 paper [PDF]
2013 paper [PDF]
Mohammed, S. Sheik, Ramasamy, K., & Shanmuganantham, T. (2010). Wireless power transmission: A next generation power transmission system. International Journal of Computer Applications, 1(13):100-103.
Reddy, M.Venkateswara, Hemanth, K. Sai, & Mohan, C.H. Venkat. (2013). Microwave power transmission: A next generation power transmission system. IOSR Journal of Electrical and Electronics Engineering 4(5): 24-28.
There is also a third paper, published in 2012, that contains unattributed text from the 2010 paper. Here it is, also with a similar title:
Mehdipour, Amin, Kia, Abouzar shahraki, & Yazdanipour, Marzieh. (2012). Investigating the different wireless power transmission systems. International Journal of Advancements in Electronics and Electrical Engineering 1(2): 28-32.
There may be additional articles that copy some or all of the original text (if that is really the original text). Complete-article plagiarism, carried out at an increasing rate, harms the integrity of the scholarly record, clutters database search results with duplicate hits, and hurts honest researchers whose papers appear alongside the copied works.
As predatory journals occupy an increasing share of the scholarly journal market, author misconduct will continue to increase. I hope that academic authors realize the extent to which author misconduct stains science communication and that they challenge it wherever they encounter it.
Image Octagon-warning by Prodego and published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 unported license.