Open Access Predatory Journals: be careful!

This blog post is base on our comment published in Science of the Total Environment (Pourret et al., 2020).

The definitions of ‘predatory’, ‘deceptive’, or ‘questionable’ publishers/journals are often vague, opaque, and confusing, and can also include fully legitimate journals, such as those indexed by PubMed Central. In this sense, Grudniewicz et al. (2019) recently proposed a definition that needs to be shared:

Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.”

Figure from Grudniewicz et al. (2019)

Moreover, Eve and Priego (2017) queried who is actually harmed by “predatory publishers”, and concluded that any harm is negligible to virtually all stakeholder groups, including researchers. However, they also noted that “established publishers have a strong motivation to hype claims of predation as damaging to the scholarly and scientific endeavour while noting that, in fact, systems of peer review are themselves already acknowledged as deeply flawed”. As researchers, it is our duty to remain critical and not fall for such misleading messaging, and focus on the real problems at hand.

Publishers have always been in the lucrative business of making money off of researchers, and the largest publishing houses are among the most profitable companies in the world, often at the expense of vast amounts of taxpayer funds. Predatory publishers are no worse in this regard than any other commercial publishing house, except that the scale of their threat is relatively minute. However, the problem of predatory publishers can be easily alleviated with a little knowledge and training. One simple rule for researchers is that if you do not recognise a journal, invoke some scholarly intellect and act sensibly and do not publish with them. There now exist a number of alternatives to the defamed “Beall’s List”, including Cabell’s Whitelist and Blacklist (commercial), as well as the DOAJ. Web of Science and Scopus also offer whitelists of a sort, and a tool dedicated to this specific problem, Think Check Submit, is freely available.

These tools and services will not stop the ‘pollution’ of the scholarly record. With or without OA journals and OAPJs, there has always been harmful research published in journals. One of the most harmful papers ever published, associating vaccines with autism, was published in the ‘top’ journal, Science, retracted finally 12 years after publication. and continues to create major global health problems to this day. There is absolutely no evidence to support the assertion that OAPJs lead to a decline in the public trust in science; and indeed, with more open research practices, public trust in science is actually on the rise. In terms of the ‘fight’ against questionable publishing, many organisations, groups, and individuals have already in part taken on this burden (e.g., COPE, DOAJ). At an institutional level in Denmark, France and many other countries, it is now commonly a requirement for students at different levels to pass a responsible research course of some sort, including ethical research conduct, plagiarism, and identification of predatory journals. We do not believe that judges are required to fix this problem, but that training, support, and education can help. If we want to almost completely solve the problem at its source, the solution is easy: require all journals to publish their review reports alongside articles, and thus prove that they operate a rigorous peer review procedure.


Eve, M.P., Priego, E., 2017. Who is actually harmed by predatory publishers? TripleC, 15(2): 755-770.

Grudniewicz, A., Moher, D., Cobey, K.D., Bryson, G.L., Cukier, S., Allen, K., Ardern, C., Balcom, L., Barros, T., Berger, M., Ciro, J.B., Cugusi, L., Donaldson, M.R., Egger, M., Graham, I.D., Hodgkinson, M., Khan, K.M., Mabizela, M., Manca, A., Milzow, K., Mouton, J., Muchenje, M., Olijhoek, T., Ommaya, A., Patwardhan, B., Poff, D., Proulx, L., Rodger, M., Severin, A., Strinzel, M., Sylos-Labini, M., Tamblyn, R., van Niekerk, M., Wicherts, J.M., Lalu, M.M., 2019. Predatory journals: no definition, no defence. Nature, 576(7786): 210-212. doi:10.1038/d41586-019-03759-y.

Pourret, O., Irawan, D.E., Tennant, J.P., Wien, C., Dorch, B.F., 2020. Comments on “Factors affecting global flow of scientific knowledge in environmental sciences” by Sonne et al. (2020). Science of The Total Environment: 136454.

International Open Access Week | 19th to 25th October 2020

International Open Access Week | 19th to 25th October 2020

The commitment of the School Libraries Network (Portugal)
to make knowledge and culture a value and a purpose of all

In the International Open Access Week which is celebrated from 19 to 25 October with the theme, “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion,” the School Libraries Network (SLN) reinforces its commitment to build libraries that are “inclusive organizations, ensuring equal access to information services and resources” – SLN. (2014). Strategic Framework 2014-2020, p. 10.

Open access practices and policies enable the reading, distribution and recreation of knowledge and culture without borders, making them a value that is a public right and heritage and on the basis of which people find opportunities and develop skills to improve their lives.

How do school libraries facilitate and stimulate open access in their daily lives?

– By ensuring equity in “access to diverse equipments, services and information resources capable of fulfilling the specific needs of different users” – SLN. (2014). Strategic Framework 2014-2020, p. 22.

– Creating and making available open and inclusive repositories that allow the consultation and collaborative creation, in different languages, media and formats. They integrate works fallen into the public domain or with open Creative Commons licenses (e.g. CC BY 4.0), for example: SLN Digital School Library – Ebooks.

– Using software (for example: Libre Office has Writer and Calc equivalent to Word and Excel, respectively) and open source digital tools such as those gathered in SLN Digital School Library – Instruments.

– Training and stimulating the participation of children and young people, teachers, parents, municipality, local library and other community agents to fulfil the library’s mission.The promotion of literacies is based on unique educational resources, centered on users’ autonomy and created by the library based on the curriculum – for example: SLN Digital School Library – Information and Media Tutorials. It works on issues that contribute to resilience and well-being, for example: copyright, data protection, online ethics.

– Proposing and spreading to the whole school guidelines/ policies and good practices that, based on the IFLA Statement on Open Access, deepen and disseminate the right for information, knowledge and culture that supports a free and good life.

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Quinta Disertación de la Semana de Acceso Abierto. Facultad de Tecnología y Ciencias Aplicadas. UNCA (Argentina)

Disertante Dr. Hernán Ahumada. Miembro del Comité Editorial de la Revista de Tecnología y Ciencias Aplicadas. Evento ACCESO ABIERTO EN ACCIÓN, organizado por la Facultad de Tecnología y Ciencias Aplicadas de la Universidad Nacional de Catamarca, Argentina. Este evento se lleva a cabo en el marco de la Semana Internacional de Acceso Abierto 2020.

Open Access Week 2020 program at the University of Antwerp, Belgium

“There’s no point in publishing anything, if no one will read it in the end.”

This year’s Open Access Week consists of webinars, blog articles and video testimonials on Open Science. The event is put together by the faculties of Law and Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences together with the Library and the Department of Research Affairs & Innovation.

For a full up-to-date overview click here


Opening of Open Access week by Vice-rector of research, Prof. Ronny Blust – view

Introducing the Flemish Open Science Board by Vice-rector of research, Prof. Ronny Blust – view

Research Data Management by Head of Research Affairs Office, Jord Hanus – view

Video testimonials

Alumnus Dr. Anthony Liekens – view

Dr. Bert van den Bogerd – view

Professor Dr. Colebunders – view

Prof. Professor Stuart Maudsley & PhD Student Hanne Leysen view

PhD Students Matthias Govaerts & Marlies Boeren view


Open Access Policies and Experiences in Brazil: A Success Story? by Felipe César de Andrade – view

Open Access at the University of Antwerp: a library point of view by Rudi Baccarne – view

A student’s guide to Open Access by Joris Van Meenen – view

Publishing Research Support Documents in Open Access Platform to Improve Research Impact

Publishing Research Support Documents in Open Access Platform to Improve Research Impact

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Preprints are manuscripts made publicly available before they have been submitted for formal peer review and publication. They might contain new research findings or data. Preprints can be a draft or final version of an author’s research but must not have been accepted for publication at the time of submission.

posted on 05.03.2019 by Nader Ale Ebrahim, Nader Ale Ebrahim, Yiibonn Bong

Article has an altmetric score of 1
Researchers, journals, and universities want to receive more citations for their scholarly publications. However, a paper citations depend on its quality, visibility and author’s online profile. Research support documents (unpublished papers, white papers, project reports, datasets, software, posters, online resources and teaching materials) can be additional source for increasing the author’s visibility. To enhance research visibility and impact, the full range of scholarly output should be available online on the open access platform. With open access platform, key research findings are made accessible immediately to the scientific community. Therefore, the publicly available research support documents may result in receiving more citations in addition to the published papers. In this short communication we will elaborate more on improving your research visibility and impact through publishing research support document.


05.03.2019First online date, Posted date

A Crisis in “Open Access”: Should Communication Scholarly Outputs Take 77 Years to Become Open Access?

A Crisis in “Open Access”: Should Communication Scholarly Outputs Take 77 Years to Become Open Access?

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journal contribution


posted on 23.08.2019 by Nader Ale Ebrahim, Abbas Ghanbari Baghestan, Hadi Khaniki, Abdolhosein Kalantari, mehrnoosh akhtari-zavare, Elaheh Farahmand, Ezhar Tamam, Havva Sabani,, Danaee, Mahmoud

Article has an altmetric score of 8
This study diachronically investigates the trend of the “open access” in the Web of Science (WoS) category of “communication.” To evaluate the trend, data were collected from 184 categories of WoS from 1980 to 2017. A total of 87,997,893 documents were obtained, of which 95,304 (0.10%) were in the category of “communication.” In average, 4.24% of the documents in all 184 categories were open access. While in communication, it was 3.29%, which ranked communication 116 out of 184. An Open Access Index (OAI) was developed to predict the trend of open access in communication. Based on the OAI, communication needs 77 years to fully reach open access, which undeniably can be considered as “crisis in scientific publishing” in this field. Given this stunning information, it is the time for a global call for “open access” by communication scholars across the world. Future research should investigate whether the current business models of publications in communication scholarships are encouraging open access or pose unnecessary restrictions on knowledge development.


23.08.2019First online date, Posted date

Maximising Research Visibility Through Open Access

Maximized Research Impact: An Effective Strategies for Increasing Citations

Managing and Leading Creative Universities – Foundations of Successful Science Management: A Hands-On Guide for (Future) Academics (pp. 29-51). Tampere, Finland: International Ambient Media Association (iAMEA); ISBN 978-952-7023-16-7

23 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2018

Nader Ale Ebrahim

Centre for Research Services, Institute of Management and Research Services (IPPP), University of Malaya (UM); University of Malaya (UM) – Department of Engineering Design and Manufacture

Hossein Gholizadeh

University of Ottawa, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Artur Lugmayr

Curtin University

Date Written: December 15, 2017


The high competitive environment has forced higher education authorities to set their strategies to improve university ranking. Citations of published papers are among the most widely used inputs to measure national and global university ranking (which accounts for 20% of QS, 30% of THE, and etc.). Therefore, from one hand, improving the citation impact of a search is one of the university manager’s strategies. On the other hand, the researchers are also looking for some helpful techniques to increase their citation record. This chapter by reviewing the relevant articles covers 48 different strategies for maximizing research impact and visibility. The results show that some features of article can help predict the number of article views and citation counts. The findings presented in this chapter could be used by university authorities, authors, reviewers, and editors to maximize the impact of articles in the scientific community.

Keywords: University ranking, Improve citation, Citation frequency, Research impact, Open access, h-index

JEL Classification: L11, L1, L2, M11, M12, M1, M54, Q1, O1, O3, P42, P24, P29, Q31, Q32, L17

Ale Ebrahim, Nader and Gholizadeh, Hossein and Lugmayr, Artur, Maximized Research Impact: An Effective Strategies for Increasing Citations (December 15, 2017). Managing and Leading Creative Universities – Foundations of Successful Science Management: A Hands-On Guide for (Future) Academics (pp. 29-51). Tampere, Finland: International Ambient Media Association (iAMEA); ISBN 978-952-7023-16-7, Available at SSRN:

Improve your Research Visibility and Impact



Research Skills Session 12: Improve your Research Visibility and Impact


posted on 26.12.2019, 01:06 by Nader Ale Ebrahim

Do you know “Over 43% of ISI papers have never ever received any citations?” (, 2014). Publishing a high quality paper in scientific journals is only halfway towards receiving citation in the future. The rest of the journey is dependent on disseminating the publications via proper utilization of the “Research Tools”. Proper tools allow the researchers to increase the research impact and citations for their publications.


First online date:
Posted date:


Cuarta Diesrtación de la Semana de Acceso Abierto. Facultad de Tecnología y Ciencias Aplicadas. UNCA (Argentina)

Disertante Dra. Ivanna Lazarte. Integrante de la Comisión de Gestión de Repositorios Digitales de Acceso Abierto. Evento ACCESO ABIERTO EN ACCIÓN, organizado por la Facultad de Tecnología y Ciencias Aplicadas de la Universidad Nacional de Catamarca, Argentina. Este evento se lleva a cabo en el marco de la Semana Internacional de Acceso Abierto 2020.

Open Access Week event – UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning and OER, NWU, South Africa

The North-West University’s UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning and Open Educational Resources (South Africa) and the University of the Witwatersrand’s UNESCO Chair in Teacher Education for Diversity and Development (South Africa) invite you to the following webinar:

Renewable Assignments: The New Pedagogical Possibilities of Open Educational Resources

Friday, 23 October 2020 – 14:30-15:30 (South Africa/GMT+2/CAT) via Zoom

presented by David Wiley

To attend, register here by 21 October 2020

For more information, contact Jako Olivier at

Prof. Wiley from the USA is the Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning, a company dedicated to increasing student success, reinvigorating pedagogy, and improving the affordability of education using a combination of open educational resources, learning analytics, continuous improvement, and professional development. He is also currently a Simon Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, the Education Fellow at Creative Commons, an Ashoka Fellow, and adjunct faculty in Brigham Young University’s graduate program in Instructional Psychology and Technology, where he is part of the Open Education Group.