This past week I added a publisher called KnowledgeCuddle Publication to my list. The publisher’s name is silly and unprofessional, more evidence of scholarly open-access publishing’s decline into absurdity.
At the same time, two U.S. universities implemented strong open-access policies, policies their faculties will be pressured to follow and submit to.
The contrast is stark: the appearance of a completely ridiculous open-access publisher, and the appearance of what are essentially open-access mandates at two U.S. universities. Why are universities promoting and essentially mandating a publishing model that is increasingly becoming a self-parody?
KnowledgeCuddle Publication uses the open-source Open Journal Systems software, a favorite of predatory publishers.
Based in Gujarat, India, KnowledgeCuddle currently publishes two open-access journals:
- International Journal of Research in Advance [sic] Engineering
- International Journal of Computer Engineering and Sciences
The two journals cover academic disciplines already saturated with open-access journals — both are completely unneeded.
The two universities that announced their new open-access policies are the University of Arizona and Florida State University. Now faculty at the two universities can publish in either of the two KnowledgeCuddle journals and be in compliance of their university’s open-access policy, provided they also submit a post-print of their work to their library’s repository.
The policies only specify open-access and don’t address journal quality, a big problem with OA journals.
Over the past couple weeks, some library email lists I monitor have been inundated with congratulatory messages directed at the two universities. I think this is an example of what anthropologist Michael F. Brown calls open-access triumphalism.
I oppose open-access mandates as a violation of academic freedom. Fortunately, both universities’ policies provide easy escape clauses from the Orwellian policies.
Still, I think the appearance of publishers such as KnowledgeCuddle, together with the tacit approval of such publishers by academic librarians and others is cause for worry.