Who are the editors at these journals? They're largely former researchers from popular academic research groups.
Who are the government program managers looking at journal statistics to judge research quality? They're largely former researchers from popular academic groups.
Who are the university administrators creating the publish or perish environment? They're largely former researchers from popular academic groups.
These relationships are the defining characteristic of modern scientific research. Despite the heartache and frustration the system causes, it also produces a huge amount of value for the rest of us.
Over the last 30 years, the commercial labs, defense contractors and government facilities have all become subordinate to university R&D. This has combined the metrics university research has traditionally used with the competition of the private sector. If we want to change things, we need to change the basic structure of how we do research again.
We didn't like using private funding as a success metric. Now we don't like using citations as a success metric. Ok, what else can we use?