Predatory Journals

The problem

Hundreds of new open access journals are being set up by reputable publishers, scholarly societies and universities each year. Unfortunately, alongside these reputable journals, an increasing number of pay-to-publish “vanity” journals continue to appear. Such journals are referred to as ‘predatory’ or ‘bogus’ journals. Some academic authors are being scammed into submitting their research outputs to be published in these journals that do not have proper quality control or peer review processes.

The risks

  • No proper peer review is carried out to preserve the quality of the research output.
  • Damage to the reputation of the researcher and institution.
  • Researchers and institutions lend their reputation to a disreputable publication.
  • Negative impact on the REF submission if the publication is not detected.
  • Your article will most likely not be able to be published elsewhere.
  • Copyright would likely be retained by the publisher.

How to check for predatory journals?

Think   Check   Submit  – Provides a checklist of questions that can be used to identify trusted journals.

Look out for the following warning signs:

  • Board of Editors list shows that members are not recognised in their field or that they are affiliated with questionable institutions; however, this should be done with caution, as Board member names may be used without their permission.
  • Journals with dubious or non-existent addresses for their registered office.
  • Unsolicited email or paper communication inviting publication in journals you don’t know or have never heard of.
  • Unsolicited invitations to conferences run by event managers, not professionals in the research area, often at attractive destinations.
  • Note – Legitimate new journals acknowledge if they are newly created and do not yet have an impact factor.

Further steps to undertake:

  • Consult the Directory of Open Access Journals for reputable journals (doaj.org)
  • Check the publisher’s membership of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (oaspa.org), Committee on Publication Ethics (www.publicationethics.org), and International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (www.stm-assoc.org).
  • Reputable journals typically will be listed in the Journal Citation Report.
  • Resist the temptation to publish quickly and easily in any journal. Be aware of the publication landscape in your research area and the most reputable journals (check with your research leader if unsure).
  • Jeffrey Beall (librarian at the University of Colorado Denver) has also created lists of ‘Potential, possible or predatory’ scholarly open access journals and publishers. This list is controversial and has been debated, however it has been listed on many university webpages.

Related articles and blogs

University of Edinburgh Standards in Open Access scholarly communication: http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/information-services/research-support/publish-research/open-access/1.108824

Jeffery Beall’s website on scholarly Open Access: http://scholarlyoa.com/

‘Investigating Journals: The dark side of publishing’ by Declan Butler (in Nature): http://www.nature.com/news/investigating-journals-the-dark-side-of-publishing-1.12666

Berger, Monica and Jill Cirasella. “Beyond Beall’S List Better Understanding Predatory Publishers“. Crln.acrl.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 4 Jan. 2017.

Further Information

If you have any further questions on the information displayed here or if you would like advice on a specific journal please contact us at OpenAccess@northampton.ac.uk.

About Dawn Hibbert

Head of Research Support at the University of Northampton.

Posted on January 4, 2017, in Research, Researcher development, Support and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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