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Predatory publishing, also write-only publishing or deceptive publishing, is an exploitative
academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal articles, books or thesis' form. The part of academic written output that is not formally ...
business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without checking articles for quality and legitimacy, and without providing editorial and publishing services that legitimate
academic journals An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of w ...
provide, whether
open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. With open access strictly defined (according to the 2001 definition), or Gratis vers ...

open access
or not. The phenomenon of "open access predatory publishers" was first noticed by
Jeffrey Beall Jeffrey Beall is an American librarian and library scientist, best known for drawing attention to " predatory open access publishing", a term he coined, and for creating what is now widely known as Beall's list, a list of potentially predatory ...

Jeffrey Beall
, when he described "publishers that are ready to publish any article for payment". However, criticisms about the label "predatory" have been raised. A lengthy review of the controversy started by Beall appears in ''The Journal of Academic Librarianship''. Predatory publishers are so regarded because scholars are tricked into publishing with them, although some authors may be aware that the journal is poor quality or even fraudulent. New scholars from
developing countries 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A developing country is a country with a less developed industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, ...

developing countries
are said to be especially at risk of being misled by predatory publishers. According to one study, 60% of articles published in predatory journals receive no citations over the five-year period following publication. '' Beall's List'', a report that was regularly updated by
Jeffrey Beall Jeffrey Beall is an American librarian and library scientist, best known for drawing attention to " predatory open access publishing", a term he coined, and for creating what is now widely known as Beall's list, a list of potentially predatory ...

Jeffrey Beall
of the
University of Colorado The University of Colorado (CU) is a system of public universities A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an institution of higher (or tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in various academic discipl ...
until January 2017, set forth criteria for categorizing publications as predatory. A demand by
Frontiers Media Frontiers Media SA is a publisher of peer-reviewed open access scientific journals currently active in science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and ...
to open a misconduct case against Beall, which was launched by his university and later closed with no findings, was one of several reasons Beall may have taken his list offline, but he has not publicly shared his reasoning. After the closure, other efforts to identify predatory publishing have sprouted, such as the
paywall A paywall is a method of restricting access to content (media), content, with a purchase or a subscription business model, paid subscription, especially news. Beginning in the mid-2010s, newspapers started implementing paywalls on their websites ...
ed
Cabell's blacklist Cabells' Predatory Reports is a paid subscription service featuring a database of deceptive and predatory journals, and a database of "verified, reputable journals", with details about those journals' acceptance rates and invited article percentages ...
, as well as other lists (some based on the original listing by Beall).


History

In March 2008,
Gunther Eysenbach Gunther Eysenbach is a German-Canadian researcher on healthcare Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social wel ...

Gunther Eysenbach
, publisher of an early
open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. With open access strictly defined (according to the 2001 definition), or Gratis vers ...

open access
journal, drew attention to what he called "
black sheep Black sheep is an idiom used to describe an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within a family. Black sheep may also refer to: Film * The Black Sheep (1920 film), ''The Black Sheep'' (1920 film), British silent film directed by Sid ...

black sheep
among open access publishers and journals" and highlighted in his blog publishers and journals which resorted to excessive spam to attract authors and editors, criticizing in particular
Bentham Science Publishers Bentham Science Publishers is a company that publishes scientific, technical, and medical journals and e-books. It publishes 120+ subscription-based academic journals and over 60 open access journals. It is based at Sharjah (emirate), Sharjah in the ...
,
Dove Medical Press Dove Medical Press is an Academic publishing, academic publisher of open access peer-reviewed Scientific journal, scientific and medical journals, with offices in Manchester, London (United Kingdom), Princeton, New Jersey (United States), and Auckla ...
, and
Libertas AcademicaLibertas Academica (LA) is an Open access (publishing), open access academic journal Academic publishing, publisher specializing in the biological sciences and clinical medicine. It was acquired by SAGE Publications in September 2016. Background L ...
. In July 2008, Richard Poynder's interview series brought attention to the practices of new publishers who were "better able to exploit the opportunities of the new environment." For the series of interviews, se
The Open Access Interviews
index page.
Doubts about honesty and scams in a subset of open-access journals continued to be raised in 2009. Concerns for
spamming Spamming is the use of messaging systems to send multiple unsolicited messages (spam) to large numbers of recipients for the purpose of commercial advertising Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimu ...
practices from these journals prompted leading open access publishers to create the
Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association The Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA) is a non-profit trade association of open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other a ...
in 2008. In another early precedent, in 2009 the ''
Improbable Research The ''Annals of Improbable Research'' (''AIR'') is a bimonthly magazine devoted to scientific humor, in the form of a Satire, satirical take on the standard academic journal. ''AIR'', published six times a year since 1995, usually showcases at leas ...
'' blog had found that
Scientific Research Publishing Scientific Research Publishing (SCIRP) is an academic publishing, academic publisher of presumably peer-reviewed open-access electronic journals, conference proceedings, and scientific anthologies of questionable quality. Although it has an addr ...
's journals duplicated papers already published elsewhere; the case was subsequently reported in ''
Nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter an ...
''. In 2010,
Cornell University Cornell University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
graduate student Phil Davis (editor of the ''
Scholarly Kitchen The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is a professional society, founded in 1978, dedicated to promoting and advancing communication and networking among all sectors of the scholarly communications community. It has approximately 1,100 members ...
'' blog) submitted a manuscript consisting of computer-generated nonsense (using
SCIgen SCIgen is a paper generator A paper generator is computer software that composes scholarly papers in the style of those that appear in academic journals or conference proceedings. Typically, the generator uses technical jargon from the field to ...
) which was accepted for a fee (but withdrawn by the author). Predatory publishers have been reported to hold submissions hostage, refusing to allow them to be withdrawn and thereby preventing submission in another journal. Predatory publishing does not refer to a homogeneous category of practices. The name itself was coined by American librarian
Jeffrey Beall Jeffrey Beall is an American librarian and library scientist, best known for drawing attention to " predatory open access publishing", a term he coined, and for creating what is now widely known as Beall's list, a list of potentially predatory ...

Jeffrey Beall
who created a list of "deceptive and fraudulent" Open Access (OA) publishers which was used as reference until withdrawn in 2017. The term has been reused since for a new for-profit database by Cabell's International. On the one hand, Beall's list as well as Cabell's International database do include truly fraudulent and deceptive OA publishers, that pretend to provide services (in particular quality peer review) which they do not implement, show fictive editorial boards and/or ISSN numbers, use dubious marketing and spamming techniques or even hijacking known titles. On the other hand, they also list journals with subpar standards of peer review and linguistic correction. The number of predatory journals thus defined has grown exponentially since 2010. The demonstration of existing unethical practices in the OA publishing industry also attracted considerable media attention.


Bohannon's experiment

In 2013,
John Bohannon John Bohannon is an American science journalist and scientist who is Director of Science at Primer, an artificial intelligence company headquartered in San Francisco, California. He is known for his career prior to Primer as a science journalist and ...
, a staff writer for the journal ''
Science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...
'' and for popular science publications, tested the open access system by submitting to a number of such journals a deeply flawed paper on the ''purported effect'' of a
lichen A lichen ( , ) is a composite organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by taxonomy ( ...

lichen
constituent, and published the results in a paper called, "
Who's Afraid of Peer Review? "Who's Afraid of Peer Review?" is an article written by ''Science'' correspondent John Bohannon that describes his investigation of peer review among Open access journal#Fee-based open access journals, fee-charging open-access journals. Between J ...
". About 60% of those journals, including journals of
Elsevier Elsevier () is a Netherlands-based publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the creation and ...
, Sage,
Wolters Kluwer Wolters Kluwer N.V. () is a Dutch information services company. The company is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn 275px, ''Topographic map of Alphen aan den Rijn (town), Sept. 2014'' Alphen aan den Rijn (, en, Alphen upon Rhine or ''Alphen o ...
(through its subsidiary Medknow), and several universities, accepted the faked medical paper.
PLOS ONE ''PLOS One'' (stylized ''PLOS ONE'', and formerly ''PLoS ONE'') is a peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-re ...
and
HindawiHindawi or Hindavi can refer to: *Hindawi affair *Hindustani language (Hindi-Urdu), Central Indo-Aryan languages, or any language of the Hindi Belt *Something of, from, or related to Hind or Hindustan (another name of India) *Hindawi Programming Sys ...
rejected it.


"Dr Fraud" experiment

In 2015, four researchers created a fictitious sub-par scientist named Anna O. Szust ( pl, oszust, label=none is
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
for "fraudster"), and applied on her behalf for an editor position to 360 scholarly journals. Szust's qualifications were dismal for the role of an editor; she had never published a single article and had no editorial experience. The books and book chapters listed on her CV were made-up, as were the publishing houses that published the books. One-third of the journals to which Szust applied were sampled from Beall's List of predatory journals. Forty of these predatory journals accepted Szust as editor without any background vetting and often within days or even hours. By comparison, she received minimal to no positive response from the "control" journals which "must meet certain standards of quality, including ethical publishing practices." Among journals sampled from the
Directory of Open Access Journals The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web pages and related content that is identified by a common domain name and published on at least one web server. Notable exa ...

Directory of Open Access Journals
(DOAJ), 8 of 120 accepted Szust. The DOAJ has since removed some of the affected journals in a 2016 purge. None of the 120 sampled journals listed in ''
Journal Citation Reports ''Journal Citation Reports'' (''JCR'') is an annual publicationAnnual publications, more often simply called annuals, are periodical publications appearing regularly once per year."Annuals", in ''Encyclopedia of library and information science'' ( ...
'' (JCR) offered Szust the position. The results of the experiment were published in ''
Nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter an ...
'' in March 2017, and widely presented in the press.


SCIgen experiments

SCIgen SCIgen is a paper generator A paper generator is computer software that composes scholarly papers in the style of those that appear in academic journals or conference proceedings. Typically, the generator uses technical jargon from the field to ...
, a computer program that randomly generates academic computer science papers using context-free grammar, has generated papers that have been accepted by a number of predatory journals as well as predatory conferences.


''Federal Trade Commission vs. OMICS Group, Inc.''

On 25 August 2016, the
Federal Trade Commission The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promot ...

Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) filed a lawsuit against the
OMICS The branches of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations ...
Group, iMedPub, Conference Series, and the individual Srinubabu Gedela, an Indian national who is president of the companies. In the lawsuit, the defendants are accused of "deceiving academics and researchers about the nature of its publications and hiding publication fees ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars". The FTC was also responding to pressure to take action against predatory publishers. Attorneys for the OMICS Group published a response on their website, claiming "your FTC allegations are baseless. Further we understand that FTC working towards favoring some subscription based journals publishers who are earring Billions of dollars rom scientists literature," suggesting that corporations in the scientific publishing business were behind the allegations. In March 2019, the FTC won the suit in a
summary judgement Summary may refer to: * Abstract (summary)An abstract is a brief summary of a research article, thesis A thesis or dissertation (abbreviated diss.) is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree An academic d ...
and was awarded $50,130,811 in damages and a broad injunction against OMICS practices.


Characteristics

Complaints that are associated with predatory open-access publishing include: * Accepting articles quickly with little or no peer review or quality control, including hoax and nonsensical papers. * Notifying academics of article fees only after papers are accepted. * Aggressively campaigning for academics to submit articles or serve on editorial boards. * Listing academics as members of editorial boards without their permission, and not allowing academics to resign from editorial boards. * Appointing fake academics to editorial boards. * Mimicking the name or web site style of more established journals. * Making misleading claims about the publishing operation, such as a false location. * Using ISSNs improperly. * Citing fake or non-existent
impact factor #REDIRECT Impact factor#REDIRECT Impact factor The impact factor (IF) or journal impact factor (JIF) of an academic journal is a scientometric index calculated by Clarivate that reflects the yearly average number of citations of articles publish ...
s. * Boasting about being "
indexed Index may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Fictional entities * Index (A Certain Magical Index), Index (''A Certain Magical Index''), a character in the light novel series ''A Certain Magical Index'' * The Index, an item on a Halo (megastr ...
" by academic social networking sites (like
ResearchGate ResearchGate is a European commercial social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a 2014 study by ''Nature (journal), Nature'' and a 2016 article in ''Times H ...

ResearchGate
) and standard
identifier An identifier is a name that identifies (that is, labels the identity of) either a unique object or a unique ''class'' of objects, where the "object" or class may be an idea, physical countable In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) i ...
s (like
ISSN An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an eight-digit serial number A serial number is a unique identifier A unique identifier (UID) is an identifier that is guaranteed to be unique among all identifiers used for those object ...
s and
DOI DOI or Doi may refer to: Science and technology * Digital object identifier, an international standard for document identification * Distinctness of image, a quantification of vision used in optics * 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine, a hallucinogeni ...
s) as if they were prestigious or reputable
bibliographic database A bibliographic database is a database of bibliographic records, an organized digital collection of references to published literature, including academic journal, journal and newspaper articles, conference proceedings, reports, government and lega ...
s. Predatory publishers have also been compared to
vanity press #REDIRECT Vanity press#REDIRECT Vanity press A vanity press, vanity publisher, or subsidy publisher is a publishing house in which authors pay to have their books published. Where mainstream publishers aim to sell enough copies of a book to cover t ...
es.


Beall's criteria

In 2015,
Jeffrey Beall Jeffrey Beall is an American librarian and library scientist, best known for drawing attention to " predatory open access publishing", a term he coined, and for creating what is now widely known as Beall's list, a list of potentially predatory ...

Jeffrey Beall
used 26 criteria related to poor journal standards and practices, 9 related to journal editors and staff members, 7 related to ethics and integrity, 6 related to the publisher's business practices, and 6 'other' general criteria related to publishers. He also listed 26 additional practices, which were 'reflective of poor journal standards' which were not necessarily indicative of predatory behaviour.


Eriksson and Helgesson's 25 criteria

In 2016, researchers Stefan Eriksson and Gert Helgesson identified 25 signs of predatory publishing. They warn that a journal will not necessarily be predatory if they meet one of the criteria, "but the more points on the list that apply to the journal at hand, the more sceptical you should be." The full list is quoted below: #The publisher is not a member of any recognized professional organisation committed to best publishing practices (like
COPE , Ghent Ghent ( ; nl, Gent}, ; french: Gand, ; traditional English: Gaunt) is a city and a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-govern ...
or EASE) #The journal is not indexed in well-established electronic databases (like
MEDLINE MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, or MEDLARS Online) is a bibliographic database A bibliographic database is a database of bibliographic records, an organized digital collection of references to published literatu ...

MEDLINE
or
Web of Science Web of Science (WoS; previously known as Web of Knowledge) is a website that provides subscription-based access to multiple databases that provide comprehensive citation data for many different academic discipline An academic discipline or aca ...
) #The publisher claims to be a "leading publisher" even though it just got started #The journal and the publisher are unfamiliar to you and all your colleagues #The papers of the journal are of poor research quality, and may not be academic at all (for instance allowing for obvious
pseudo-science Pseudoscience consists of statements, belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to ...
) #There are fundamental errors in the titles and abstracts, or frequent and repeated typographical or factual errors throughout the published papers #The journal website is not
professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns a living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowled ...
#The journal website does not present an
editorial board The editorial board is a group of experts, usually at a publication To publish is to make content Content or contents may refer to: Media * Content (media), information or experience provided to audience or end-users by publishers or media p ...
or gives insufficient detail on names and affiliations #The journal website does not reveal the journal's editorial office location or uses an incorrect address #The publishing schedule is not clearly stated #The journal title claims a national affiliation that does not match its location (such as "''American Journal of ...''" while being located on another continent) or includes "International" in its title while having a single-country editorial board #The journal mimics another journal title or the website of said journal #The journal provides an
impact factor #REDIRECT Impact factor#REDIRECT Impact factor The impact factor (IF) or journal impact factor (JIF) of an academic journal is a scientometric index calculated by Clarivate that reflects the yearly average number of citations of articles publish ...
in spite of the fact that the journal is new (which means that the impact cannot yet be calculated) #The journal claims an unrealistically high impact based on spurious alternative impact factors (such as 7 for a bioethics journal, which is far beyond the top notation) #The journal website posts non-related or non-academic advertisements #The publisher of the journal has released an overwhelmingly large suite of new journals at one occasion or during a very short period of time #The
editor in chief An editor-in-chief, also known as lead editor or chief editor, is a publication's editorial leader who has final responsibility for its operations and policies. The highest-ranking editor of a publication may also be titled editor, managing edito ...
of the journal is editor in chief also for other journals with widely different focus #The journal includes articles (very far) outside its stated scope #The journal sends you an unsolicited invitation to submit an article for publication, while making it blatantly clear that the editor has absolutely no idea about your field of expertise #Emails from the journal editor are written in poor language, include exaggerated flattering (everyone is a leading profile in the field), and make contradictory claims (such as "You have to respond within 48 h" while later on saying "You may submit your manuscript whenever you find convenient") #The journal charges a submission or handling fee, instead of a publication fee (which means that you have to pay even if the paper is not accepted for publication) #The types of submission/publication fees and what they amount to are not clearly stated on the journal's website #The journal gives unrealistic promises regarding the speed of the
peer review process Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work (:wiktionary:peer#Etymology 2, peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the ...
(hinting that the journal's peer review process is minimal or non-existent)—or boasts an equally unrealistic track-record #The journal does not describe
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
agreements clearly or demands the copyright of the paper while claiming to be an open access journal #The journal displays no strategies for how to handle
misconduct In law, misconduct is wrongful, improper, or unlawful conduct motivated by premeditated or intentional purpose or by obstinate indifference to the consequences of one's acts. Misconduct can be considered an unacceptable or improper behavior, espec ...
,
conflicts of interest A conflict of interest (COI) is a situation in which a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a cultu ...
, or secure the
archiving An archive is an accumulation of Historical document, historical records – in any media – or the physical facility in which they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual o ...
of articles when no longer in operation


Growth and structure

Predatory journals have rapidly increased their publication volumes from 53,000 in 2010 to an estimated 420,000 articles in 2014, published by around 8,000 active journals. Early on, publishers with more than 100 journals dominated the market, but since 2012 publishers in the 10–99 journal size category have captured the largest market share. The regional distribution of both the publisher's country and authorship is highly skewed, with three-quarters of the authors from Asia or Africa. Authors paid an average fee of US $178 each for articles to be published rapidly without review, typically within 2 to 3 months of submission. As reported in 2019, some 5% of Italian researchers have published in predatory journals, with a third of those journals engaging in fraudulent editorial practices.


Causes and impact

The root cause of exploitative practices is the author-facing article-processing charge (APC) business model, in which authors are charged to publish rather than to read. Such a model provides incentives for publishers to focus on the quantity of articles published, rather than their quality. APCs have gained increasing popularity in the last two decades as a business model for OA due to the guaranteed revenue streams they offer, as well as a lack of competitive pricing within the OA market which allows vendors full control over how much they choose to charge. Ultimately, quality control relies on good editorial policies and their enforcement, and the conflict between rigorous scholarship and profit can be successfully managed by selecting which articles are publish purely based on (peer-reviewed) methodological quality. Most OA publishers ensure their quality by registering their titles in the
Directory of Open Access Journals The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web pages and related content that is identified by a common domain name and published on at least one web server. Notable exa ...

Directory of Open Access Journals
and comply with a standardised set of conditions. A recent study has shown that Beall's criteria of "predatory" publishing were in no way limited to OA publishers and that, applying them to both OA and non-OA journals in the field of
Library and information science Library and information science (LIS) (sometimes given as the plural library and information sciences) is a branch of academic disciplines that deal generally with organization, access, and collection of information, whether in physical (for example ...
, even top tier non-OA journals could be qualified as predatory (; see also on difficulties of demarcating predatory and non-predatory journals in biomedicine). The majority of predatory OA publishers and authors publishing in these appear to be based in Asia and Africa, as well as Europe and the Americas. It has been argued that authors who publish in predatory journals may do so unwittingly without actual unethical perspective, due to concerns that North American and European journals might be prejudiced against scholars from non-western countries, high publication pressure or lack of research proficiency. Hence predatory publishing also questions the geopolitical and commercial context of scholarly knowledge production. Nigerian researchers, for example, publish in predatory journals due to the pressure to publish internationally while having little to no access to Western international journals, or due to the often higher APCs practiced by mainstream OA journals. More generally, the criteria adopted by high JIF journals, including the quality of the English language, the composition of the editorial board or the rigour of the peer review process itself tend to favour familiar content from the "centre" rather than the "periphery". It is thus important to distinguish between exploitative publishers and journals – whether OA or not – and legitimate OA initiatives with varying standards in digital publishing, but which may improve and disseminate epistemic contents. In Latin America a highly successful system of free of charge OA publishing has been in place for more than two decades, thanks to organisations such as
SciELO SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online) is a bibliographic database, digital library, and cooperative electronic publishing model of open access journals. SciELO was created to meet the scientific communication needs of developing countries ...
and
REDALYC The Redalyc project (''Red de Revistas Científicas de América Latina y El Caribe, España y Portugal'') is a bibliographic database and a digital library of Open Access journals, supported by the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México with ...

REDALYC
.


Response


Blacklists


Beall's list

University of Colorado Denver The University of Colorado Denver is a public university, public research university in Denver and Aurora, Colorado. It is part of the University of Colorado system. The university has two campuses—one in downtown Denver at the Auraria Campus, a ...
librarian and researcher
Jeffrey Beall Jeffrey Beall is an American librarian and library scientist, best known for drawing attention to " predatory open access publishing", a term he coined, and for creating what is now widely known as Beall's list, a list of potentially predatory ...

Jeffrey Beall
, who coined the term "predatory publishing", first published his list of predatory publishers in 2010. Beall's list of potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers attempted to identify scholarly open access publishers with questionable practices. In 2013, ''Nature'' reported that Beall's list and web site were "widely read by librarians, researchers, and open-access advocates, many of whom applaud his efforts to reveal shady publishing practices." Others have raised the objection that "(w)hether it's fair to classify all these journals and publishers as 'predatory' is an open question—several shades of gray may be distinguishable." Beall's analyses have been called sweeping generalizations with no supporting evidence, and he has also been criticized for being biased against open-access journals from less economically developed countries. One librarian wrote that Beall's list "attempts a binary division of this complex gold rush: the good and the bad. Yet many of the criteria used are either impossible to quantify..., or can be found to apply as often to established OA journals as to the new entrants in this area... Some of the criteria seem to make First World assumptions that aren't valid worldwide." Beall differed with these opinions and wrote a letter of rebuttal in mid-2015. Following the ''
Who's Afraid of Peer Review? "Who's Afraid of Peer Review?" is an article written by ''Science'' correspondent John Bohannon that describes his investigation of peer review among Open access journal#Fee-based open access journals, fee-charging open-access journals. Between J ...
'' investigation, the DOAJ has tightened up its inclusion criteria, with the purpose of serving as a
whitelist Whitelisting (also referred to as allow-listing) is the practice of explicitly allowing some identified entities access to a particular privilege, service, mobility, access or recognition. It is the opposite of Blacklist (computing), blacklisting. ...
, very much like Beall's has been a
blacklist Blacklisting is the action of a group or authority, compiling a blacklist (or black list) of people, countries or other entities to be avoided or distrusted as being deemed unacceptable to those making the list. If someone is on a blacklist, t ...
. The investigation found that "the results show that Beall is good at spotting publishers with poor quality control." However, the managing director of DOAJ, Lars Bjørnshauge, estimates that questionable publishing probably accounts for fewer than 1% of all author-pays, open-access papers, a proportion far lower than Beall's estimate of 5-10%. Instead of relying on blacklists, Bjørnshauge argues that open-access associations such as the DOAJ and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association should adopt more responsibility for policing publishers: they should lay out a set of criteria that publishers and journals must comply with to win a place on a 'white list' indicating that they are trustworthy. Beall has been threatened with a
lawsuit A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil ...
by a Canadian publisher which appears on the list. He reports that he has been the subject of online harassment for his work on the subject. His list has been criticized
Walt Crawford Walt Crawford is an Americans, American writer specializing in libraries. He is primarily concerned with technology-related issues in the library sector. He has also written extensively on open access, publishing detailed surveys of gold open access ...
, (July 2014),
Journals, 'Journals' and Wannabes: Investigating The List
", '' Cites & Insights'', 14:7,
for relying heavily on analysis of publishers' web sites, not engaging directly with publishers, and including newly founded but legitimate journals. Beall has responded to these complaints by posting the criteria he uses to generate the list, as well as instituting an anonymous three-person review body to which publishers can appeal to be removed from the list. For example, a 2010 re-evaluation resulted in some journals being removed from Beall's list. In 2013, the
OMICS Publishing Group OMICS Publishing Group is a predatory publisher of open access academic journals. It started publishing its first journal in 2008. By 2015, it claimed over 700 journals, although about half of them were defunct. Its subsidiaries include iMedPu ...
threatened to sue Beall for $1 billion for his "ridiculous, baseless, impertinent" inclusion of them on his list, which "smacks of literal unprofessionalism and arrogance". An unedited sentence from the letter read: "Let us at the outset warn you that this is a very perilous journey for you and you will be completely exposing yourself to serious legal implications including criminal cases lunched against you in INDIA and USA." Beall responded that the letter was "poorly written and personally threatening" and expressed his opinion that the letter "is an attempt to detract from the enormity of OMICS's editorial practices". OMICS' lawyers stated that damages were being pursued under section 66A of India's Information Technology Act, 2000, which makes it illegal to use a computer to publish "any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character" or to publish false information. The letter stated that three years in prison was a possible penalty, although a U.S. lawyer said that the threats seemed to be a "publicity stunt" that was meant to "intimidate". Section 66A has been criticised in an ''
India Today ''India Today'' is a weekly Indian English-language news published by . It is the most widely circulated magazine in , with a readership of close to 8 million. In 2014, ''India Today'' launched a new online opinion-orientated site called the ...
'' editorial for its potential for misuse in "stifling political dissent, crushing speech and ... enabling bullying". Beall could have been sued for
defamation Defamation (also known as calumny, vilification, libel, slander, or traducement) is the oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation and usually constitutes a tort A tort, in commo ...
, and would not have been able to fall back on truth as a final defense; under section 66A, the truth of any information is irrelevant if it is grossly offensive. In an unrelated case in 2015, Section 66A was struck down by the
Supreme Court of India The Supreme Court of India (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scie ...

Supreme Court of India
, which found that it had no proximate connection to public order, "arbitrarily, excessively and disproportionately invades the right of free speech," and that the description of offences is "open-ended, undefined and vague." As such, it is not possible for the OMICS Group to proceed against Beall under section 66A, but it could mount a defamation case. Finally, in August 2016, OMICS was sued for "deceptive business practices related to journal publishing and scientific conferences" by the Federal Trade Commission (a US government agency), who won an initial court ruling in November 2017. Beall's list was used as an authoritative source by South Africa's Department of Higher Education and Training in maintaining its list of accredited journals: articles published in those journals will determine funding levels for their authors; however, journals identified as predatory will be removed from this list.
ProQuest ProQuest LLC was an Ann Arbor, Michigan Ann Arbor is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyc ...
is reviewing all journals on Beall's list, and has started removing them from the
International Bibliography of the Social Sciences The International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) is a bibliography 250px, Bibliographies at the University Library of Graz Bibliography (from and ), as a discipline, is traditionally the academic study of book A book is a m ...
. In January 2017, Beall shut down his blog and removed all its content, citing pressure from his employer. Beall's supervisor wrote a response stating that he did not pressure Beall to discontinue his work, or threaten his employment; and had tried hard to support Beall's academic freedom. In 2017, Ramzi Hakami reported on his own successful attempt to get an intentionally poor paper accepted by a publisher on the list and referenced a resurrected version of Beall's list. This version includes Beall's original list and updates by an anonymous purported "postdoctoral researcher in one of the ropean universities ho hasa hands-on experience with predatory journals."


Cabells' lists

At the May 2017 meeting of the
Society for Scholarly Publishing The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is a professional society, founded in 1978, dedicated to promoting and advancing communication and networking among all sectors of the scholarly communications community. It has approximately 1,100 members ...
, Cabell's International, a company that offers scholarly publishing analytics and other scholarly services, announced that it intended to launch a blacklist of predatory journals (not publishers) in June, and said that access would be by subscription only. The company had started work on its blacklist criteria in early 2016. In July 2017, both a black list and a white list were offered for subscription on their website.


Other lists

Since Beall's list closed, other list groups have started. These include Kscien's list, which use Beall's list as a starting point, updating it to add and remove publishers, and '' Cabells' Predatory Reports''.


Science funders


Poland

On 18 September 2018, Zbigniew Błocki, the Director of the National Science Centre (NCN), the largest agency that funds fundamental research in Poland, stated that if articles financed by NCN funds were published in journals not satisfying standards for peer review, then the grant numbers would have to be removed from the publications and funds would have to be returned to the NCN.


Other efforts

More transparent peer review, such as
open peer review Open peer review is the various possible modifications of the traditional scholarly peer review Scholarly peer review (also known as refereeing) is the process of subjecting an author's scholarly work, research, or idea In philosophy ...
and post-publication peer review, has been advocated to combat predatory journals. Others have argued instead that the discussion on predatory journals should not be turned "into a debate over the shortcomings of peer review—it is nothing of the sort. It is about fraud, deception, and irresponsibility..." In an effort to "set apart legitimate journals and publishers from non-legitimate ones", principles of transparency and best practice have been identified and issued collectively by the
Committee on Publication Ethics The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) is a nonprofit organization whose stated mission statement, mission is to define best practice in the ethics of academic publishing, scholarly publishing and to assist editing, editors and publishing, publ ...
, the DOAJ, the
Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association The Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA) is a non-profit trade association of open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other a ...
, and the World Association of Medical Editors. Various journal review websites (crowd-sourced or expert-run) have been started, some focusing on the quality of the peer review process and extending to non-OA publications. A group of libraries and publishers launched an awareness campaign. A number of measures have been suggested to further combat predatory journals. Others have called on research institutions to improve the publication literacy notably among junior researchers in developing countries. Some organisations have also developed criteria in which predatory publishers could be spotted through providing tips. As Beall has ascribed predatory publishing to a consequence of
gold open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. With open access strictly defined (according to the 2001 definition), or Gratis versu ...
(particularly its author-pays variant), one researcher has argued for platinum open access, where the absence of
article processing charges An article processing charge (APC), also known as a publication fee, is a fee which is sometimes charged to authors to make a work available open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research ...
removes the publisher's
conflict of interest A conflict of interest (COI) is a situation in which a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an i ...
in accepting article submissions. More objective discriminating metrics have been proposed, such as a "predatory score" and positive and negative journal quality indicators. Others have encouraged authors to consult subject-area expert-reviewed journal listings, such as the Directory of Nursing Journals, vetted by the International Academy of Nursing Editors and its collaborators. It has been argued that the incentives for fraud need to be removed. Bioethicist
Arthur Caplan Arthur L. Caplan (born 1950), is the Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center and the founding director of the Division of Medical Ethics. Caplan has made many contribution ...
has warned that predatory publishing, fabricated data, and academic plagiarism erodes public confidence in the medical profession, devalues legitimate science, and undermines public support for
evidence-based policy Evidence-based policy (EBP) is an idea in public policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a ...
. In 2015, Rick Anderson, associate dean in the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, challenged the term itself: "what do we mean when we say 'predatory,' and is that term even still useful?... This question has become relevant because of that common refrain heard among Beall's critics: that he only examines one kind of predation—the kind that naturally crops up in the context of author-pays OA." Anderson suggests that the term "predatory" be retired in the context of scholarly publishing. "It's a nice, attention-grabbing word, but I'm not sure it's helpfully descriptive... it generates more heat than light." A 2017 article in ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'' suggests that a significant number of academics are "eager" to publish their work in these journals, making the relationship more a "new and ugly symbiosis" than a case of scholars being exploited by "predators". Similarly, a study published in January 2018 found that "Scholars in the developing world felt that reputable Western journals might be prejudiced against them and sometimes felt more comfortable publishing in journals from the developing world. Other scholars were unaware of the reputation of the journals in which they published and would not have selected them had they known. However, some scholars said they would still have published in the same journals if their institution recognised them. The pressure to '
publish or perish "Publish or perish" is an aphorism describing the pressure to academic publishing, publish academic work in order to succeed in an academia, academic career. Such institutional pressure is generally strongest at Research university, research unive ...
' was another factor influencing many scholars' decisions to publish in these fast-turnaround journals. In some cases, researchers did not have adequate guidance and felt they lacked the knowledge of research to submit to a more reputable journal." In May 2018, the
University Grants CommissionUniversity Grants Commission may refer to: * University Grants Commission (Bangladesh) * University Grants Commission (India) *University Grants Commission (Nepal) * University Grants Commission (Sri Lanka) See also

* University Grants Committ ...
in India removed 4,305 dubious journals from a list of publications used for evaluating academic performance. To further define and distinguish predatory journals, Leonhard Dobusch and Maximilian Heimstädt in 2019 proposed a tripartite classification of Open Access journals with below-average peer review quality. Based on their procedures, there would be 1) "aspirant" 2) "junk" and 3) "fake" journals. While aspirant journals are science-oriented despite their below-average peer review (e.g. student-run journals), junk and fake journals are predominantly or exclusively profit-oriented. Junk and fake Open Access journals have superficial or no peer review procedures, despite their claims of being peer-reviewed. In April, 2019, 43 participants from 10 countries met in Ottawa, Canada to formulate a consensus definition: “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.” Adequacy of peer review was not included in the definition because this factor was deemed too subjective to evaluate. Critics of this definition argued that excluding the quality of peer review from the definition "could strengthen rather than weaken" predatory journals.


See also

* List of scholarly publishing stings * Author mill *
Diploma mill A diploma mill (also known as a degree mill) is a company or organization that claims to be a higher education institution but provides illegitimate academic degree An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful compl ...
*
Conflicts of interest in academic publishing Conflicts of interest (COIs) often arise in academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for ...
(covers publishers' COIs) * Hijacked journal *
Journalology Journalology (also known as publication science) is the scholarly study of all aspects of the academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software ...
*
Mega journalA mega journal (also mega-journal and megajournal) is a peer-reviewed academic journal, academic open access journal designed to be much larger than a traditional journal by exercising low selectivity among accepted articles. It was pioneered by ''PL ...
*
Open access journal Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. With open access strictly defined (according to the 2001 definition), or Gratis versu ...
* Peer review failures * Predatory conference *
Pseudo-scholarship Pseudo-scholarship (from pseudo- and Scholarly method, scholarship) is a term used to describe work (e.g., publication, lecture) or body of work that is presented as, but is not, the product of rigorous and objective study or research; the act of pr ...
* Center for Promoting Ideas


Explanatory notes


References


Further reading

* *


External links


Think. Check. Submit.
*
Predatory journals: No definition, No defence
(2019).
Nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter an ...
. "Leading scholars and publishers from ten countries have agreed a definition of predatory publishing that can protect scholarship."
AMWA – EMWA – ISMPP Joint Position statement
{{Open access navbox Open access (publishing) Ethically disputed business practices Ethically disputed research practices