Jeffrey Beall is a librarian living in Colorado with high merits in studying predatory Open Access publishers and journals. He is the leading expert in this area.
I have his blog Scholarly Open Access http://scholarlyoa.com in my feeds and read his new piece on Greener Journals
The publisher’s website boasts bright colors but uses unidiomatic English filled with grammatical errors. […] I cannot understand why any serious researcher would pay to have their scholarly articles published by this ridiculous publisher.
As my own English isn’t much better I cannot see bad English as reason to condemn an OA publisher. But browsing through the journal contents I found an article by a serious scientist, Patrick D. Biber:
He has published in various reputable journals:
What the hell motivates an US Associate professor to publish in such a bogus journal? But looking closer on his publications list it is clear that he has published the article already in 2006:
Biber, P.D. 2006. Measuring the effects of salinity stress in the red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle L., African Journal of Agricultural Research 1(1): 1-4 [pdf]
Curiously enough there isn’t a link under “pdf” like the most other publikations. The African Journal of Agricultural Research is an other Open Access journal which is due its publisher Academic Journals on Beall’s Black list:
Nevertheless Biber’s contribution seems serious because it was cited several times including Elsevier journals – according to Google Scholar.
It is not marked in the article nor in the frontdoor page by Academic Journals that the article is CC-BY but this is indeed the case according to the general statement:
Academic Journal (with contact adresses in Kenia and Lagos) writes on handling fees: Academic Journals is a self supporting organization and does not receive funding from any institution/government. Hence, the operation of the Journal is solely financed by the handling fees received from authors. The handling fees are required to meet operations expenses such as employees’ salaries, internet services, electricity etc. Being an Open Access Publisher, Academic Journals does not receive payment for subscription as the journals are freely accessible over the internet.
Greener Journals (with a contact adress in Lagos) has exact the same wording.
Pure plagiarism or indication of personal connections between the two publishers?
I cannot find any evidence on the websites that it is allowed to the publisher on the ground of a copyright transfer or a contract to re-use the arcticle. (And this would only work under the premise that the publisher of Academic Journals and Greener Journals is the same.)
Now we have to examine if the CC license allows this dubious re-use of an old OA article. It is clear what the intention of Greener Journals is: By copying the PDF from Academic Journals (omitting the date of the acceptance 10, August 2006 and changing the copyright notice) the very small contents of the Greener Journal Archives are enriched by a good article of a serious US scientist.
Obviously this practice is highly misleading and unethical – but it is legal according the CC terms?
As readers of my blog entries will know for me the CC-BY license is the only appropriate license to fulfill the BBB OA definitions. Make all research results CC-BY and the data CC0!
But this only works if the terms of the license are respected. You cannot say “Hey scholars look at this case – this can happen if you make your articles CC-BY!” Thus my aim is to show that the re-use isn’t legal and this sceptical argument isn’t valid. CC-BY is the best way for the progress of science and arts!
First you have to ask if there is a specification on the original website defining the attribution like “By attributing this article according the CC-BY license you have to mention the name of the author, the name of the journal and the following URL”. Read the legal code at
4b If You Distribute, or Publicly Perform the Work or any Adaptations or Collections, You must, unless a request has been made pursuant to Section 4(a), keep intact all copyright notices for the Work and provide, reasonable to the medium or means You are utilizing: (i) the name of the Original Author (or pseudonym, if applicable) if supplied, and/or if the Original Author and/or Licensor designate another party or parties (e.g., a sponsor institute, publishing entity, journal) for attribution (“Attribution Parties”) in Licensor’s copyright notice, terms of service or by other reasonable means, the name of such party or parties; (ii) the title of the Work if supplied; (iii) to the extent reasonably practicable, the URI, if any, that Licensor specifies to be associated with the Work, unless such URI does not refer to the copyright notice or licensing information for the Work; and (iv) , consistent with Section 3(b), in the case of an Adaptation, a credit identifying the use of the Work in the Adaptation (e.g., “French translation of the Work by Original Author,” or “Screenplay based on original Work by Original Author”). The credit required by this Section 4 (b) may be implemented in any reasonable manner; provided, however, that in the case of a Adaptation or Collection, at a minimum such credit will appear, if a credit for all contributing authors of the Adaptation or Collection appears, then as part of these credits and in a manner at least as prominent as the credits for the other contributing authors. For the avoidance of doubt, You may only use the credit required by this Section for the purpose of attribution in the manner set out above and, by exercising Your rights under this License, You may not implicitly or explicitly assert or imply any connection with, sponsorship or endorsement by the Original Author, Licensor and/or Attribution Parties, as appropriate, of You or Your use of the Work, without the separate, express prior written permission of the Original Author, Licensor and/or Attribution Parties.
Therefore it is possible to designate the name of the author the journal title and the publisher as “attribution parties”.
I am unaware of any OA CC-BY journal with such a designation. For me it is ethical to mirror a CC-BY article with the standard bibliographic citation like Biber, P.D. 2006. Measuring the effects of salinity stress in the red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle L., African Journal of Agricultural Research 1(1): 1-4 adding the source URL (or DOI – please keep in mind that both publishers doesn’t offer DOIs!). If I have some critical comments on Biber’s work I can reproduce the whole article for reader’s comfort. This is the sense of CC-BY.
As there is no such designation on the Academic journals website there is no license violation by Greener Journals in this regard.
But there are two other violations of the license terms:
1. There is no mentioning of the CC-license in the PDF nor on the abstract page by Greener Journals.
The CC-BY legal code reads: You may Distribute or Publicly Perform the Work only under the terms of this License. You must include a copy of, or the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) for, this License with every copy of the Work You Distribute or Publicly Perform.
2. The original copyright notices are not kept (“keep intact all copyright notices for the Work”, quoted above). For German law see also § 95c UrhG (German Copyright Act).
I cannot image that Professor Biber has made an individual contract with the Lagos company or persons behind Greener Journals allowing them to re-use its 2006 article. Thus one has to conclude that the fraudulent re-use by Greener Journals clearly violates the CC-BY license terms. Violating the CC terms is violation of copyright. It is illegal and this clearly confirms Beall’s judgement on this bogus OA publisher.
CC-BY (URL quoted above). You are free to distribute this blog entry (without the picture below), to build upon or adapt it (especially by meliorating its English) if you distribute it with the following Copyright notice: “(c) Klaus Graf: Greener Journals. In: Archivalia, 2012, Februar 19, http://archiv.twoday.net/stories/64979561” And don’t forget to mention the license URI!
Source: Greener Journals website