There is increasing evidence of a parallel economy developing around the scholarly publishing industry. The components of this parallel economy include predatory publishers, contrived metrics companies, bogus proofreading services, and now, a company supplying non-standard identifiers.
The company selling the non-standard identifier is called Scientific Object Identifier (SOI). This is clearly an attempt to create an identifier along the lines of the DOI, the Digital Object Identifier.
However, the term Scientific Object Identifier is poorly chosen, for “scientific object” sounds like a term for a piece of laboratory equipment — such as a microscope — rather than a digital object, essentially a computer file.
The main thing promoting the gray market in scholarly publishing is the system of payments from authors. There are numerous small and startup companies or sole proprietors that copy the functions and business plans of existing publishers and support companies.
The gray market provides services directly to scholarly authors or to other companies that market to authors.
They all seek revenue from scholarly authors, directly or indirectly. They want grant money, personal funds, money from APC funds, money from academic libraries, and money from provosts.
The problem is that these companies — like the Scientific Object Identifier company — are silly knock-offs of legitimate firms.
Generally, each new company means thousands of additional spam emails that academics will receive.
While it’s great that the open-access movement has helped make published research more accessible, the movement has resulted in the destabilization of scholarly publishing and the creation of much chaos.
- Thanks to: Ravi Murugesan for alerting me to the halitosis article.
- I acknowledge that gray is the American spelling, with grey the preferred Canadian and British spelling. Not sure about Australia and New Zealand.