Predatory vs Real Academic Publishing

Why Predatory Journals Will Take Over

Up until a year ago I have never heard of the term “predatory journal” and I would still be quite oblivious to them, had I not been told that 3 of my articles were published in them!

What is a Predatory Journal?

The official definition:

In academic publishing, predatory open access publishing is an exploitative open-access publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals (open access or not) (source: wikipedia emphasis in original))

This definition is a bit outdated since all three articles I published in predatory journals were peer-reviewed and as one was an editorial invitation, no fee was charged. The market is changing!

Because they are in predatory journals, I decided to keep an official copy of all 3 of them uploaded here for future use, should the journals vanish. They can also be found here together with many of my other published articles (those are in real journals)–this is an article repository.

Are Statistics Misleading Sodium Reduction Benefits?

Functional Prodrome in Migraines

Migraine Cause and Treatment

Why are these Published in Predatory Journals?

The answer is simple: when a researcher introduces a paradigm shift, the articles cannot be published in legitimate journals.

For example, although JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) was interested in my Migraine Cause and Treatment paper, it wanted to see a clinical trial. A clinical trial for migraine experiment (that is well done) means placing (mostly) women in their prime of motherhood into a clinic-controlled environment for a considerable length of time. My paradigm shift process is not a matter of popping a pill! It requires several lifestyle changes.

What I would have to do in a clinical trial requires a change of lifestyle on many fronts for the migraineur because the cause of migraines–if you read my article on that–is not a single element but a combination of many:

  1. glucose intolerance,
  2. genetic mutations of the sodium-potassium pumps,
  3. genetic mutations of the ATPase transport, and
  4. possible mutation also at the renin aldosterone angiotensin pathway (RAAS) that
  5. requires manual manipulation of the electrolyte homeostasis maintenance.

This is impossible to learn how to do in one day and what this means for the migraineurs in terms of adjusting her daily life. Thus clinical trial–as our technology is today–is impossible.

What Can be Published?

Official academic journals may only publish those research articles that have been assigned a grant number–thus research without any funds from an official grant donor can never be published, even if research funds were not needed–such is my case. Research must also be approved by an ethical board even if there was nothing done to anyone. For example, in a clinical trial I would have to induce pain to prove it is possible so I can show what I do is not a placebo effect. This indeed would require an ethical board an any descent ethical board would turn such request down: one does not cause pain in patients today with knowledge! The way I work though is I need not induce a migraine! My subjects do that on their own when they derail from the protocol and admit that they have a migraine as a result! I do not need an ethical board to let my migraineurs cause harm to themselves! My work could never be approved by an ethical board because they have never seen a situation like this before.

And finally, my published research represents nearly 1000 subjects who self-reported how they felt. Cheating is easy to catch (as noted before) since complaints of migraines were always followed by evaluation of what may have caused the migraine, thus this observational study set is more valuable than a clinical trial–it is interactive.

It was also not in the interest of the subjects to cheat because who do they cheat? They were the ones ending up with a migraine as a result of cheating and that was undesirable for them.

The outcome of my research is repeatable (by now over 4000 migraineurs are migraine and medicine free). It can also be tested that it is not a placebo effect: migraines can be initiated on demand and stopped on demand. Furthermore migraines can completely be prevented. Not only have most of the migraineurs already stopped their medicines, some had surgical neuronal stimulators implanted and they all have had those already surgically removed–they remain migraine free. The proof of the process working is in the number of migraineurs who came off their medicines and remained migraine free for years now.

Can I publish this in official academic journals? Nope.

Are Publishers Concerned of the Loss of Business?

You bet! Don’t be fooled for a second: official open access publishing costs several thousands of dollars as well! In fact, they are more expensive than predatory journals (some asking for US$5,000 for an open access article). It is a rather lame excuse that predatory journals charge fees: yep, so do the big guys!

However, their business model means they are losing business. They try to smear the blame on the researchers for publishing in predatory journals because of the reputation of the journal. Really? Last I looked some of the top real academic journals had awful reputations of publishing bad science.

The official academic journals have absolutely no trouble publishing articles that analyze data collected for reasons completely independent of their research (epidemiological databases) that cannot possibly show causation–yet they publish totally erroneous causal articles BUT they had a grant number! If you have a genuine article that did not need any grants, you cannot publish! Grant number is king!

Kind of stupid if you ask me! Whether the article actually makes any sense or not–that does not matter! Only the grant number does.

Who Will Win?

It was, at first, painful to have learned that my articles were in predatory journals. But is it really a bad thing?

A predatory journal may come and go, in which case one can publish the paper elsewhere, since officially it is not published–so nothing is lost.

What if these predatory journals overtake the official academic journals?

They can. The number of academicians publishing in each predatory journal is large and growing! Much more papers are published in predatory than  in official academic journals! Academicians are perhaps still scared to cite an article in a predatory journal–many official academic journals prohibit it as well–but nothing can stop someone from citing articles from one predatory to another. A predatory may also morph into a real academic journal at one point! There is no reason for them not to do so.

Should You Care?

It depends on your goal. If you want to win the Nobel Price, perhaps you should not publish in a predatory journal but get ready to fight against a whole dogmatic school of editors and reviewers! And you may not get that Nobel Prize after all!

If you do research to help people, should you care? Nah! What does it matter if anything is published at all? If I want to achieve any success, I can just continue with my very successful grassroots movement, where over 4000 migraineurs (men, women and children) are already migraine and medicine free! It makes a lot more sense to me to help people become migraine and medicine free than to be published in an official academic journal.

My articles are attached! If you wish to read them, please do. They will remain here forever. Whatever happens to the predatory journals will be interesting since one of them undoubtedly will become the biggest academic journal in the world as the official academic journals will fade out of existence. I wrote about that earlier today.

Comments are welcome, as always,

Angela

About Angela A Stanton, Ph.D.

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist focusing on chronic pain, electrolyte homeostasis, and genetics. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines. As a forever migraineur from childhood, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic variations of all voltage gated channels that modulate electrolytes and voltage in the brain, insulin and glucose transporters, and several other related variants, such as the MTHFR variants of the B vitamin methylation process and many others. Migraineurs are glucose sensitive and should avoid eating carbs as much as possible. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and new research and findings after treating over 4000 migraineurs world wide, all ages and both genders, she is now finishing the 2nd edition. The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraines, incorporating all there is to know and also hypotheses. It includes an academic research section with suggestions for further research. The book is full of citations to authenticate the statements she makes to be followed up by those interested and to spark further research interest. It is a "Complete Guide". Due out in the summer of 2017. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in NeuroEconomics at Claremont Graduate University, and fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers. For relaxation Dr. Stanton paints and photographs. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook
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