Phil Davies, in an analysis of the Bohannon sting operation, observed that “Beall is falsely accusing nearly one in five as being a ‘potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open access publisher’ on appearances alone.”. He continues to say that Jeffrey Beall should reconsider listing publishers on his ‘predatory’ list until he has evidence of wrongdoing. Being mislabeled as a ‘potential, possible, or probable predatory publisher’ by circumstantial evidence alone is like the sheriff of a Wild West town throwing a cowboy into jail just ‘cuz he’s a little funny lookin.’ Civility requires due process.”.
Joseph Esposito wrote in the Scholarly Kitchen that he has been following some of Beall’s work with “growing unease” and that his “broader critique (really an assault) of Gold OA and those who advocate it” (…) “crosses the line”.
Wayne Bivens-Tatum, librarian at Princeton University, published a rebuttal in tripleC, regarding Beall’s criticisms of open access publishing. He stated that Beall’s “rhetoric provides good examples of what Albert O. Hirschman called the ‘rhetoric of reaction’“, and concluded Beall’s “argument fails because the sweeping generalizations with no supporting evidence render it unsound.” City University of New York librarians Monica Berger and Jill Cirasella said his views are biased against open-access journals from less economically developed countries. Berger and Cirasella argue that “imperfect English or a predominantly non-Western editorial board does not make a journal predatory”. While recognizing that “the criteria he uses for his list are an excellent starting point for thinking about the hallmarks of predatory publishers and journals,” they suggest that: “Given the fuzziness between low-quality and predatory publishers, whitelisting, or listing publishers and journals that have been vetted and verified as satisfying certain standards, may be a better solution than blacklisting. The central player in the whitelisting movement is the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).” The managing director of DOAJ, Lars Bjørnshauge, estimates that questionable publishing probably accounts for fewer than 1% of all author-pays, open-access papers, a proportion far lower than Beall’s estimate of 5-10%. Instead of relying on blacklists, Bjørnshauge argues that open-access associations such as the DOAJ and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association should adopt more responsibility for policing publishers: they should lay out a set of criteria that publishers and journals must comply with to win a place on a ‘white list’ indicating that they are trustworthy. Rick Anderson, associate dean in the J. Willard Marriot Library, University of Utah, challenges the term ‘predatory open access publishing’ itself: “what do we mean when we say ‘predatory,’ and is that term even still useful?… This question has become relevant because of that common refrain heard among Beall’s critics: that he only examines one kind of predation—the kind that naturally crops up in the context of author-pays OA.” Anderson suggests that the term “predatory” be retired in the context of scholarly publishing. “It’s a nice, attention-grabbing word, but I’m not sure it’s helpfully descriptive… it generates more heat than light.”