Predatory journals pose a significant problem to academic publishing. In the past, a number of attempts have been made to identify them. This blog post presents a novel approach towards a predatory-free academic publishing landscape: Bona Fide Journals.
Abstract: Academic journals provide a key quality-control mechanism in science. Yet, information asymmetries and conflicts of interests incentivize scientists to deceive journals about the quality of their research. How can honesty be ensured, despite incentives for deception? Here, we address this question by applying the theory of honest signaling to the publication process. Our models demonstrate that several mechanisms can ensure honest journal submission, including differential benefits, differential costs, and costs to resubmitting rejected papers. Without submission costs, scientists benefit from submitting all papers to high-ranking journals, unless papers can only be submitted a limited number of times. Counterintuitively, our analysis implies that inefficiencies in academic publishing (e.g., arbitrary formatting requirements, long review times) can serve a function by disincentivizing scientists from submitting low-quality work to high-ranking journals. Our models provide simple, powerful tools for understanding how to promote honest paper submission in academic publishing.
Abstract: This study investigates the attitudes of Chinese PhD students toward predatory journals. Data were gathered using an online questionnaire to which 332 Chinese PhD students responded. Our main conclusions are 1) in the sciences, technology, and medicine, respondents frequently confused predatory journals with open access journals; 2) in the humanities and social sciences, the respondents identified only Chinese-language (not English-language) journals as predatory and made a number of misidentifications; and 3) most respondents indicated that they would not submit papers to predatory journals, mainly because doing so would hurt their reputation, yet the minority who were willing to do so mentioned easy acceptance and a short wait time for publication as the top reasons for considering it.
“Research is relatively new in many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Across these regions, young scientists are working to build practices for open science from the ground up. The aim is that scientific communities will incorporate these principles as they grow. But these communities’ needs differ from those that are part of mature research systems. So, rather than shifting and shaping established systems, scientists are endeavouring to design new ones….”
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to investigate how predatory journals are characterized by authors who write about such journals. We emphasize the ways in which predatory journals have been conflated with—or distinguished from—open access journals. We created a list of relevant publications on predatory publishing using four databases: Web of Science, Scopus, Dimensions, and Microsoft Academic. We included 280 English-language publications in the review according to their contributions to the discussions on predatory publishing. Then, we coded and qualitatively analyzed these publications. The findings show the profound influence of Jeffrey Beall, who composed and maintained himself lists of predatory publishers and journals, on the whole discussion on predatory publishing. The major themes by which Beall has characterized predatory journals are widely present in non-Beall publications. Moreover, 122 papers we reviewed combined predatory publishing with open access using similar strategies as Beall. The overgeneralization of the flaws of some open access journals to the entire open access movement has led to unjustified prejudices among the academic community toward open access. This is the first large-scale study that systematically examines how predatory publishing is defined in the literature.
Abstract: Background: Scopus is a leading bibliometric database. It contains a large part of the articles cited in peer-reviewed publications. The journals included in Scopus are periodically re-evaluated to ensure they meet indexing criteria and some journals might be discontinued for ‘publication concerns’. Previously published articles may remain indexed and can be cited. Their metrics have yet to be studied. This study aimed to evaluate the main features and metrics of journals discontinued from Scopus for publication concerns, before and after their discontinuation, and to determine the extent of predatory journals among the discontinued journals.
Methods: We surveyed the list of discontinued journals from Scopus (July 2019). Data regarding metrics, citations and indexing were extracted from Scopus or other scientific databases, for the journals discontinued for publication concerns.
Results: A total of 317 journals were evaluated. Ninety-three percent of the journals (294/317) declared they published using an Open Access model. The subject areas with the greatest number of discontinued journals were Medicine (52/317; 16%), Agriculture and Biological Science (34/317; 11%), and Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (31/317; 10%). The mean number of citations per year after discontinuation was significantly higher than before (median of difference 16.89 citations, p<0.0001), and so was the number of citations per document (median of difference 0.42 citations, p<0.0001). Twenty-two percent (72/317) were included in the Cabell’s blacklist. The DOAJ currently included only 9 journals while 61 were previously included and discontinued, most for ‘suspected editorial misconduct by the publisher’.
Conclusions: Journals discontinued for ‘publication concerns’ continue to be cited despite discontinuation and predatory behaviour seemed common. These citations may influence scholars’ metrics prompting artificial career advancements, bonus systems and promotion. Countermeasures should be taken urgently to ensure the reliability of Scopus metrics for the purpose of scientific assessment of scholarly publishing at both journal- and author-level.
Abstract: In recent decades, the volume of scholarly literature worldwide has increased significantly, and open-access publishing has become commonplace. These changes are even more dominant in South Korea. Comparing the periods of 1981-2000 and 2001-2020, the number of medical articles produced in Korea increased by 16.8 times on the Web of Science platform (13,223 to 222,771 papers). Before 1990, almost no open-access articles were produced in South Korea, but in the last 10 years open-access publications came to account for almost 40% of all South Korean publications on Web of Science. Along with the expansion of literature and the development of open-access publishing, predatory journals that seek profit without conducting quality assurance have appeared and undermined the academic corpus. In this rapidly changing environment, medical researchers have begun contemplating publication standards. In this article, recent trends in academic publishing are examined from international and South Korean perspectives, and the significance of open-access publishing and recent changes are discussed. Practical methods that can be used to select legitimate publishers, including open-access journals, and identify predatory journals are also discussed.
Abstract: We comment on a recent article by Laakso et al. (arXiv:2008.11933 [cs.DL]), in which the disappearance of 176 open access journals from the Internet is noted. We argue that one reason these journals may have vanished is that they were predatory journals. The de-listing of predators from the Directory of Open Access Journals in 2014 and the abundance of predatory journals and awareness thereof in North America parsimoniously explain the temporal and geographic patterns Laakso et al. observed.
“In scholarly publishing, blacklists aim to register fraudulent or deceptive journals and publishers, also known as “predatory”, to minimise the spread of unreliable research and the growing of fake publishing outlets. However, blacklisting remains a very controversial activity for several reasons: there is no consensus regarding the criteria used to determine fraudulent journals, the criteria used may not always be transparent or relevant, and blacklists are rarely updated regularly. Cabell’s paywalled blacklist service attempts to overcome some of these issues in reviewing fraudulent journals on the basis of transparent criteria and in providing allegedly up-to-date information at the journal entry level. We tested Cabell’s blacklist to analyse whether or not it could be adopted as a reliable tool by stakeholders in scholarly communication, including our own academic library. To do so, we used a copy of Walt Crawford’s Gray Open Access dataset (2012-2016) to assess the coverage of Cabell’s blacklist and get insights on their methodology. Out of the 10,123 journals that we tested, 4,681 are included in Cabell’s blacklist. Out of this number of journals included in the blacklist, 3,229 are empty journals, i.e. journals in which no single article has ever been published. Other collected data points to questionable weighing and reviewing methods and shows a lack of rigour in how Cabell applies its own procedures: some journals are blacklisted on the basis of 1 to 3 criteria – some of which are very questionable, identical criteria are recorded multiple times in individual journal entries, discrepancies exist between reviewing dates and the criteria version used and recorded by Cabell, reviewing dates are missing, and we observed two journals blacklisted twice with a different number of violations. Based on these observations, we conclude with recommendations and suggestions that could help improve Cabell’s blacklist service.”
Abstract: OBJECTIVE. Open access publishing has grown exponentially and can be a means of increasing availability of scientific knowledge to readers who cannot afford to pay for access. This article discusses problems that can occur with open access and offers suggestions for ameliorating the problems facing radiology research because of poor-quality journals.
CONCLUSION. Open access literature has loosed an avalanche of information into the radiology world, much of which has not been validated by careful peer review. To maintain academic integrity and serve our colleagues and patients, radiologists need to guard against shoddy science published in deceptive journals.