The reason why the Science article deserves a vocal and energetic response from those of us working on open access publishing is Science‘s reputation as a journal and the visibility and online traffic it has. One cannot but interrogate the author’s and his editor’s motivations to publish what comes across as a biased and ‘non-scientific’ approach to exposing poor standards of scientific publication.
What the piece highlights is bad peer review, but as many other respondents have emphasised this does not have any relation to open access as an alternative to paywalled or subscription journals. The piece shows evidence of what was already clearly signposted in Beall’s list of “predatory publishers”, becoming the equivalent of a study involving spoof responses to bank transfer scams to prove that they are indeed bank transfer scams.
Because the author explicitly used this list of known bad journals, the results were always going to be on the negative side. As Martin’s response points out, the article’s main caveat is hidden at the very end as a “Coda”: “If I had targeted traditional, subscription-based journals, [David] Roos told me, “I strongly suspect you would get the same result.””