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Jeffrey Beall's list of predatory publishers has been taken down, Inside Higher Ed reports.

Beall, a research librarian at the University of Colorado Denver, had developed a list of thousands of open-access journals and publishers that he considered predatory. For example, Inside Higher Ed notes that this list included publishers that would spam researchers, inviting them to publish and pay high fees, but then conduct little-to-no peer review. Beall published his list online at Scholarly OA.

But that list is no longer available there, IHE says. Its sudden disappearance led some people to suspect it was target by hackers or is the subject of a lawsuit, it adds. Cabell's International, which offers services to librarians and had been working with Beall, said on Twitter that he "was forced to shut down [the] blog due to threats and politics."

While many applauded his efforts to highlight predatory publishing in academia, critics thought Beall focused too much on open-access publishers, publishers from the developing world, and on developing a black list, rather then a white list, Retraction Watch's Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus note at Stat News. Of course, companies on his list criticized him and often threatened to sue, IHE adds.

University of Colorado Denver tells Retraction Watch that Beall is still on the faculty there and that he "decided to no longer maintain or publish his research or blog on open access journals and 'predatory publishers." The school added that it supports his work.

At Stat News, Oransky and Marcus say that it now the time to develop a successor to Beall's list. "[W]e need lists that are as inclusive, comprehensive, and transparent as possible. They should not only be about open-access publishers, but about closed-access publishers, too," they argue. "They should be global, and should clearly delineate which criteria each publisher meets or fails to meet."