Bentham Science Publishers: Your Questions Answered Regarding Beall’s List

Who are Bentham Science Publishers (BSP)? 

Bentham Science is a science, technology, and medical publisher, providing academic researchers and industrial professionals with the latest information in diverse fields of science and technology. Our peer-reviewed scholarly journals and books have an ever-increasing readership of millions of researchers worldwide. 

Bentham Science currently publishes more than 170 journals in both electronic and printed formats. Our journals cover various disciplines in pharmaceutical research and development, medical subspecialties, engineering, technology, and social sciences. The journals are indexed in recognized indexing agencies, Information on our journals’ indexation, by various indexing agencies, can be viewed at https://benthamscience.com/indexing-agencies.php  

A division of BSP, Bentham Open, publishes a number of peer-reviewed, open access journals. These free-to-view online journals cover all major disciplines of science, medicine, technology and social sciences. Bentham Open provides researchers a platform to rapidly publish their research in a good-quality peer-reviewed journal. 

As we will outline in this Article, all peer-reviewed accepted submissions to Bentham Open meeting high research and ethical standards are published with free access to all. 

Why did Bentham Open have an issue with Beall’s List? 

Bentham Open was reviewed by Jeffery Beall, a well-known librarian from the University of Colorado Denver on 15th May, 2009. The review score composite encompassed the following areas: 

  1. Content quality
  2. Publication fees / membership fees
  3. Search and navigation functionalities 
  4. Open access license

Beall entered BSP onto his self-maintained list because inexperienced Bentham editors accepted two fake papers for peer review. These articles were never actually published; the BSP peer review process caught them and rejected them. However, shortly thereafter Beall stopped updating his list, and so now a frozen version is floating around on Internet, making it impossible for BSP to leave the list. This is an important starting point for our discussion and we ask readers to also note that Cabell’s International, who maintain an updated list of predatory publishers, have never listed BSP journals. 

The publishing industry is largely self-policing in regard to Predatory Publishers and has, in our view, not kept pace with academic developments. We illustrate this with a personal example: The unfortunate case of Bentham Science Publishers (BSP) remaining ‘frozen’ in the (now defunct) Beall’s List (2008-2018) (archived here: https://beallslist.net/). The clear case presented in this commentary is that Bentham Science Publishers is a reputable publisher of subscription and open access journals, based on all industry and academia based benchmarks available, including those initially used by Beall himself (Beall, 2016). 

What have we done to fix this issue? Are BSP Open Access journals predatory? Here are some facts 

Since 2009 Bentham Open has taken serious measures to improve in all above areas which we discuss with evidence.  

1. BSP receives about 25,000 submitted papers annually and about 8,000 of these papers are published each year. This means that more than two thirds of the papers received are rejected after editorial scrutiny and external peer review. This includes papers for both subscription/hybrid journals and the Bentham Open, Open Access journals. 

2. Bentham publishes 44 Open Access journals and 132 subscription/hybrid journals. Bentham has drastically reduced the number of Open Access journals published, from over 150, ten years ago, to just 44 journals now. 

3. BSP have 98 Editors in Chief with H index above 30, and 5,692 Editorial Board members with H index above 20 for the subscription/hybrid and Open Access journals. 

4. The following indexing agencies are involved in indexing the various BSP journals:

(1) Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch)®, (2) Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, (3) Science Citation Index, (4) Biochemistry & Biophysics Citation Index®, (5) ISI Biochemistry,(6) BIOSIS, (7) BIOSIS Previews, (8) Biological Abstracts, (9) MEDLINE/PubMed/Index Medicus, (10) Scopus, (11) EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, (12) Chemical Abstracts; Service/SciFinder, (13) ChemWeb, (14) Google Scholar, (15) BIOBASE, (16) Biomed Link, (17) EMBiology, (18) Genamics JournalSeek, (19) Cabell’s Directory, (20) MediaFinder®- Standard Periodical Directory, (21) PubsHub, (22) Index Copernicus, (23) J-Gate, (24) CNKI Scholar, (25) Suweco CZm (26) TOC Premier, (27) EBSCO, (28) Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory, (29) JournalTOCs, (30) InCites, (31) Index to Scientific Reviews®, (32) Biochemistry and Biophysics Citation Index®, (33) Current Contents® – Life Sciences, (34) Research Alert, (35) BIOSIS Reviews Reports and Meetings, (36) Prous Science Integrity®, (37) ProQuest, (38) Reference Update, 39) British Library, (40) Medical Documentation Service, (41) Custom Information Services®, (42) Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA)/ProQuest, (43) SciSearch, (44) Current Contents®(Physical, Chemical and Earth Sciences) (45) Chemistry Citation Index®, (46) Engineering Village/Chimica, (47) PubMed/PubMed Central, (48) Europe PMC, (49) BIOBASE, (50) Current Contents® – Clinical Medicine, (51) Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), (52) EMBASE, (53) PsycINFO. 

5. BSP has published 102,030 papers over the last 20 years without one single documented case of a paper ever being published without rigorous peer review. BSP faced a situation similar to several publishers when the review process was compromised by fraudulent interventions and many publishers including Elsevier, Springer, Bentham and others discovered this and retracted all those papers (e.g., https://www.elsevier.com/connect/china-reigns-in-on-identity-fraud-over-concernsof-author-reviewer-authenticity; https://www.editage.com/insights/springerannounces-mass-retraction-of-107-papers-by-chinese-authors/1493198456; https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/07/china-cracks-down-after-investigationfinds-massive-peer-review-fraud). 

6. BSP openly notes two incidents of fake papers being accepted for peer review by BSP 10 years ago; this attempted fraud was discovered by BSP in time and these papers were caught in the peer review process and never published. 

7. BSP are members of COPE and adhere to all internationally recognized practices. (https://publicationethics.org/category/publisher/bentham-science-publishers). 

How papers submitted to Bentham Open are evaluated

We will explain how the manuscripts submitted to Bentham Open journals are evaluated. Evaluation of manuscripts is carried out by the journal’s Editors and the invited external peer reviewers according to the following procedures.

Both the editorial process and peer-review workflow for each journal are taken care of by a team of Senior Editors, Editorial Board Members (EABMs) who have expertise in their specific fields, and the publication managers. Bentham follows a single blind peer review process. The services of Senior Editors and Editorial Board Members are sought through invitations to organize and conduct the peer-review of a submitted manuscript, keeping in view the scope of the manuscript and the expertise of Editors. Manuscripts are forwarded for evaluation to Editors initially and then subsequently to independent external reviewers to check if the research work presented in the manuscript:

1. Falls within the scope of the journal and 

2. Meets the editorial criteria of Bentham Open in terms of originality and quality. 

Bentham Open carries out independent review of all articles. The reviewers are selected according to their expertise, from our, regularly updated, referee database.

On the basis of reviewer comments, the Editors may recommend acceptance, revision or rejection of a manuscript.

After review of the manuscript by at least three independent experts, in addition to the views of the Editor, the decision is relayed to the authors, which may be categorized as:

  • Requires minor changes 
  • Requires major changes 
  • Rejected but may be resubmitted 
  • Rejected with no resubmission 

Selection of reviewers

The Editor-in-Chief (EiC) and Senior Editors of a journal together with the publication manager have the right to select reviewers for a particular manuscript considering the knowledge and experience of the reviewers.

Before sending the manuscripts to a reviewer, Bentham Open seeks consent from potential reviewers about their availability and willingness to carry out a review. The correspondence between the editorial office of the journal and reviewers is kept strictly confidential. The author does not know who has conducted the review on his or her manuscript (except in the case when the author and the reviewer have accepted to the “Open Reviewer Option”, in which case this information becomes available to the public after publication).

The purpose of a review at Bentham Open

A review report provides the Editor-in-Chief/Senior Editor with an expert opinion on the quality of the manuscript under consideration. It also supplies authors with explicit feedback on how to improve their papers to make them acceptable for publication in the journal. Although confidential comments to the editors are not relayed to authors, any remarks that may help improve the quality of the manuscript are forwarded to the authors for their consideration. A good review report answers the following important areas:

  • Is the work novel and of high standards?
  • What are the main findings of the paper? Is relevant work of other authors in the field appropriately acknowledged and references given to the previous literature? 
  • Do the experimental data support the declarations? If not, what other evidence may prove fruitful? 
  • What kind of readers would benefit from the manuscript and why? 
  • In what further directions would it be feasible to take the current research? 

Bentham Open publication fees 

Beall mentioned fees. This is standard for any Open Access publication.

Bentham Open is committed to disseminating research and scholarly publications as widely as possible. It supports the principle that ‘the results of research that have been publicly funded should be freely accessible in the public domain’ and therefore it encourages researchers to make their research available through Open Access (OA). 

Open access publishing is not without costs. To provide open access, Bentham Open journals partly defray the expenses of journal production, and online hosting and archiving from authors and their research sponsors by charging a publication fee for each article they publish. 

 These fees vary by journal, as is standard in OA publishing. 

The publication fee for each article published in Bentham Open journals are US $950 which is below the average publication fees of other open access publishers. The largest publishers of Open Access journals (BioMed Central and PLoS) charge between US$ 1,350 to US$ 2,250 to publish peer-reviewed articles. However, this figure can go up to US$ 2,700 or even US$ 2,900 for articles published in more renowned journals, for reference please view the below link:  https://blog.scielo.org/en/2013/09/18/how-much-does-it-cost-to-publish-in-openaccess/#.Yg94cOhBxPY

Additionally, Bentham Open also offers a significant discount to authors from developing countries and the editorial board members of a journal. 

The following special discounts are offered to authors and editorial board members: 

  • Authors from developing countries are entitled to 30% discount of their article publication fee submitted to any of the Bentham Open journals. 
  • Authors from Bentham Open member institutes are entitled to 30% discount of their article publication fee submitted to any of the Bentham Open journals. 
  • All Editors and Editorial Board Members of Bentham Open journals are entitled to publish their articles free of charge. 
  • Subsequent submissions from the Bentham Open authors will receive a discount of US$ 100 on the total publication charges providing their previous submission did not avail any discount off the listed full author open access fee rate. 
  • Waiver and additional discount requests are decided on the basis of the author’s country of origin and quality of the submitted article. Editors and reviewers have no access to whether authors are able to pay; decisions to publish are only based on meeting the editorial criteria. 
  • Bentham Open does not charge submission charges. 

The publication fee includes professional copy editing charges.  For reference, https://benthamopen.com/publication-fee.php   

Membership fees 

In addition to standard fees, Bentham Open offers a free membership program to benefit institutions that have researchers who want to publish frequently. 

The Bentham Open membership program has been revised and offers ‘Complimentary Membership’ to International R & D organizations, institutes and universities. Bentham Open Membership entitles authors from different member institutes to a special discount of 20% on the open access publication fee on their submissions to Bentham Open journals. 

 For reference: https://benthamopen.com/membership.php  

Search and navigation functionalities 

Beall’s initial 2009 criticism was that navigation to a PDF took too much time. He cites 6-7 clicks to reach downloadable content.

The site layout has changed since 2009. The search functionalities and navigation seems to work now. It takes 3 clicks to download a PDF from search. Each journal has its own dedicated website with advanced and simple search options.  

The website layout is very simple and easy to navigate, a user can search and track his manuscript online. All latest articles are listed on the homepage which makes easier to find the content without going into many tabs. 

For reference: https://opendentistryjournal.com/  

Open access license 

We have added details of the license on our website.

Articles are licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode), which permits unrestricted, distribution and reproduction in any medium, ensuring that the work is properly cited.

Rapid publication

The articles are peer-reviewed and published rapidly. Submission generally appear online within 15-30 days of the manuscripts being revised and accepted, after a rigorous peer review process.

Authors retain copyright

The use of a Creative Commons License enables authors to retain copyright to their work.

Self-archiving

Authors can deposit the final published article in any other institutional, disciplinary or governmental repository.

CrossMark:

The articles are published with CrossMark® to maintain the publication record.

For reference: https://benthamopen.com/about-us.php  

This information can also be found here.

https://benthamopen.com/editorial-policies.php

In conclusion 

This Article shows that BSP open journals has an excellent track record comparable with that of any reputable international publisher.  

Author: Bentham Science Publishers

A major STM journal publisher of more than 100 online and print journals and related print/online book series, Bentham Science answers the information needs of scientists in the fields of pharmaceutical, biomedical, medical, engineering, technology, computer and social sciences.

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