Because Science does not need lack of rigor and seriousness, we do not need them ...
DOAJ, a real whitelist?
What is DOAJ?
DOAJ is an organization that is supposed to inform researchers about the open access scientific publishing sector. In this context, it holds what is presented as a whitelist of publishers and journals. This is certainly what publishers like Frontiers claim on this subject (article available here). However, many of these journals and publishers are on the Dolos list, including Frontiers. Why ? I will answer you as clearly as possible ...
Who finances DOAJ?
While several testimonials on internet forums mention funding by publishers such as Frontiers, there is no mention of this in the "sponsors" section of the DOAJ website, which is completely empty (page available here, but by caution, you will be able to access a screenshot here), with the exception of a mention "patrons" where is Enago, including so Taylor & Francis, another publisher present on the Dolos list and whose seriousness was not always the priority (article available here and screenshot available here), that is part or partner of Enago (page available here and screenshot available here). But the sponsorship sections are indeed empty.
Important note: When we made the first screenshot of the DOAJ sponsors page, no logo was displayed. Two possibilities: Either their site has been corrected, or it was a technical problem present on the two browsers that we use. You can find the new screenshot here. As suspected, Frontiers and Taylor & Francis are mentioned as sponsors (there is even MDPI, when we talk about questionable financing ...).
We will see however that some questionnable publishers appear alongside others in the list of their members (page available here and screenshot available here). Was it really necessary to link the evaluated and the evaluator to this point? For the evaluated publisher who would doubt his own seriousness, it is surely necessary. This does not mean that the entire list contains predatory publishers. This makes the DOAJ's list a simple list, not a whitelist.
What about their impartiality?
If DOAJ members are publishers, then DOAJ is not independent, which may call into question the viability of this list. If I publish a list of the most brilliant physicists in the world (which I do not intend to do, I reassure you) and include a friend or myself in it, what credit would you give to it? Well, already, you will probably think that I became a little crazy or that I am making a joke, but you will not give any credit to this type of list.
It is the same principle for these "whitelists", it is always necessary to verify who establishes them. If doubtful publishers are able to finance one, it is because any whitelist or blacklist whose sources of funding are unclear or questionable are potentially lists of interests other than those of the scientific community.
Who to believe then?
If the Dolos list contradicts DOAJ's "whitelist", it's up to you to decide which is the most credible. But in the absence of more transparency and independence from DOAJ, it seems to me that any scientist will at least take the time to consult the content posted by publishers and journals to get a better point of view. Be careful though: this can make you lose faith in the future of scientific publishing, you are forewarned.
Beside that, the Dolos list is established by an office that depends only on me to live. The Dolos list is therefore independent and does not try to please the most massive publishers (otherwise, I would not have added Taylor & Francis and Wolters Kluwer). It builds on your suggestions, on fixed criteria, and on reruns from the Beall's List, on which Frontiers has already been present.
What should you do, if so many journals and publishers are pseudoscientific or predatory?
First of all, we have not listed all members of the scientific publishing sector. There are Wiley, De Gruyter, Springer Nature, Elsevier, Science, and many others that I will not mention (the Dolos list will remain a blacklist), which are quite serious and legitimate, at least until proven otherwise. We then recommend independent sources and your own judgment to determine whether the journal you wish to submit your article to is serious or not.
The Dolos list is here for you, researchers, journalists, or readers of the general public. It has an informative character and is at your disposal if you still doubt a journal or publisher who is not listed.
In the meantime, I will seriously think about creating a section dedicated to false whitelists.
The predatory publishing sector is harmful to the researchers that it scams, to the journalists that it deludes, and to the general public that it misinforms. It is dangerous for public health, sometimes promoting dubious practices and toxic products that it will present as innocuous or curative. Science and people would suffer greatly from its expansion, to which DOAJ contributes.
Professor Alexandre GEORGES.
Article published in September 2018.