Prevalence of Potentially Predatory Publishing in Scopus on the Country Level

Authors : Tatiana Savina, Ivan Sterligov

We present the results of a large-scale study of potentially predatory journals (PPJ) represented in the Scopus database, which is widely used for research evaluation. Both journal metrics and country, disciplinary data have been evaluated for different groups of PPJ: those listed by Jeffrey Beall and those delisted by Scopus because of “publication concerns”.

Our results show that even after years of delisting, PPJ are still highly visible in the Scopus database with hundreds of active potentially predatory journals. PPJ papers are continuously produced by all major countries, but with different shares. All major subject areas are affected. The largest number of PPJ papers are in engineering and medicine.

On average, PPJ have much lower citation metrics than other Scopus-indexed journals. We conclude with a brief survey of the case of Kazakhstan where the share of PPJ papers at one time amounted to almost a half of all Kazakhstan papers in Scopus, and propose a link between PPJ share and national research evaluation policies (in particular, rules of awarding academic degrees).

The progress of potentially predatory journal research will be increasingly important because such evaluation methods are becoming more widespread in times of the Metric Tide.