Marketing via Email Solicitation by Predatory (and Legitimate) Journals: An Evaluation of Quality, Frequency and Relevance

Authors: Warren Burggren, Dilip K. Madasu, Kevin S. Hawkins, Martin Halbert


Open access (OA) journals have proliferated in recent years. Many journals are highly reputable, delivering on the promise of open access to research as an alternative to traditional, subscriptionbased journals.

Yet some OA journals border on, or clearly fall within, the realm of so-called “predatory journals.” Most discussion of such journals has focused on the quality of articles published within them.

Considerably less attention has been paid to the marketing practices of predatory journals—primarily their mass e-mailing—and to the impact that this practice may have on recipients’ perception of OA journals as a whole.


This study analyzed a subset of the 1,816 e-mails received by a single university biology faculty member during a 24-month period (2015 and 2016) with an update from December 2017 and January 2018.


Of those e-mails sent in 2015, approximately 37% were copies or near-copies of previous e-mail messages sent to the recipient, less than 25% of e-mails from predatory journals mentioned publication fees, only about 30% of soliciting journals were listed in DOAJ, and only about 4% had an identifiable impact factor.

While most e-mails indicated a purported familiarity with, and respect for, the recipient, more than two thirds of the e-mails did not, implying use of mass-e-mailing methodologies.

Almost 80% of the e-mail solicitations had grammar and/or spelling mistakes. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, only a staggeringly small 4% of e-mails were judged highly relevant to the recipient’s area of expertise.


In light of the marketing practices of many predatory journals, we advocate specific instructions for librarians, faculty mentors, and administrators of legitimate OA journals as they interact with new researchers, junior faculty, and other professionals learning how to discern the quality of journals that send direct e-mail solicitations.

URL : Marketing via Email Solicitation by Predatory (and Legitimate) Journals: An Evaluation of Quality, Frequency and Relevance


Negative Effects of “Predatory” Journals on Global Health Research

Authors : Diego A. Forero, Marilyn H. Oermann, Andrea Manca, Franca Deriu, Hugo Mendieta-Zerón, Mehdi Dadkhah, Roshan Bhad, Smita N. Deshpande, Wei Wang, Myriam Patricia Cifuentes

Predatory journals (PJ) exploit the open-access model promising high acceptance rate and fast track publishing without proper peer review. At minimum, PJ are eroding the credibility of the scientific literature in the health sciences as they actually boost the propagation of errors.

In this article, we identify issues with PJ and provide several responses, from international and interdisciplinary perspectives in health sciences.

Authors, particularly researchers with limited previous experience with international publications, need to be careful when considering potential journals for submission, due to the current existence of large numbers of PJ.

Universities around the world, particularly in developing countries, might develop strategies to discourage their researchers from submitting manuscripts to PJ or serving as members of their editorial committees.

URL : Negative Effects of “Predatory” Journals on Global Health Research


What Value Do Journal Whitelists and Blacklists Have in Academia?

Authors : Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Panagiotis Tsigaris

This paper aims to address the issue of predatory publishing, sensu lato. To achieve this, we offer our perspectives, starting initially with some background surrounding the birth of the concept, even though the phenomenon may have already existed long before the popularization of the term “predatory publishing”.

The issue of predation or “predatory” behavior in academic publishing is no longer limited to open access (OA). Many of the mainstream publishers that were exclusively subscription-based are now evolving towards a state of complete OA.

Academics seeking reliable sources of journals to publish their work tend to rely on a journal’s metrics such as citations and indexing, and on whether it is blacklisted or whitelisted.

Jeffrey Beall raised awareness of the risks of “predatory” OA publishing, and his blacklists of “predatory” OA journals and publishers began to be used for official purposes to distinguish valid from perceived invalid publishing venues.

We initially reflect on why we believe the blacklists created by Beall were flawed, primarily due to the weak set of criteria confusing non-predatory with true predatory journals leading to false positives and missing out on blacklisting true predatory journals due to false negatives.

Historically, most critiques of “predatory publishing” have relied excessively on Beall’s blacklists to base their assumptions and conclusions but there is a need to look beyond these.

There are currently a number of blacklists and whitelists circulating in academia, but they all have imperfections, such as the resurrected Beall blacklists, Crawford’s OA gray list based on Beall’s lists, Cabell’s new blacklist with about 11,000 journals, the DOAJ with about 11,700 OA journals, and UGC, with over 32,600 journals prior to its recent (May 2018) purge of 4305 journals.

The reader is led into a discussion about blacklists’ lack of reliability, using the scientific framework of conducting research to assess whether a journal could be predatory at the pre- and post-study levels. We close our discussion by offering arguments why we believe blacklists are academically invalid.

URL : What Value Do Journal Whitelists and Blacklists Have in Academia?


Predatory Open Access Journals Publishing: What, Why and How?

Author : Shamprasad M. Pujar

The Internet has transformed scholarly publishing and made the availability of online resources possible, both in subscription and open access models. Open access, has enabled wider access to the scholarly literature, thus reducing the digital divide among the haves and have-nots.

In the case of journal articles, even though its ‘Gold’ (author pays model) and ‘Green’ access models have risen to the occasion, but some publishers of journals have turned its ‘Gold’ model to their advantage to earn a profit by charging fees for publication and adopting certain unethical practices of publishing.

An effort has been made here to explore what is ‘Predatory’ open access journals publishing, why this kind of publishing is flourishing and how this model works.


Format Aside: Applying Beall’s Criteria to Assess the Predatory Nature of both OA and Non-OA Library and Information Science Journals

Authors : Joseph D. Olivarez, Stephen Bales, Laura Sare, Wyoma vanDuinkerken

Jeffrey Beall’s blog listing of potential predatory journals and publishers, as well as his Criteria for Determining Predatory Open-Access (OA) Publishers are often looked at as tools to help researchers avoid publishing in predatory journals.

While these Criteria has brought a greater awareness of OA predatory journals, these tools alone should not be used as the only source in determining the quality of a scholarly journal.

Employing a three-person independent judgment making panel, this study demonstrates the subjective nature of Beall’s Criteria by applying his Criteria to both OA and non-OA Library and Information Science journals (LIS), to demonstrate that traditional peer-reviewed journals could be considered predatory. Many of these LIS journals are considered as top-tier publications in the field and used when evaluating researcher’s publication history for promotion and tenure.

URL:  Format Aside: Applying Beall’s Criteria to Assess the Predatory Nature of both OA and Non-OA Library and Information Science Journals


Incidence of predatory journals in computer science literature

Authors : Simona Ibba, Filippo Eros Pani, John Gregory Stockton, Giulio Barabino, Michele Marchesi, Danilo Tigano


One of the main tasks of a researcher is to properly communicate the results he obtained. The choice of the journal in which to publish the work is therefore very important. However, not all journals have suitable characteristics for a correct dissemination of scientific knowledge.

Some publishers turn out to be unreliable and, against a payment, they publish whatever researchers propose. The authors call “predatory journals” these untrustworthy journals.

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the incidence of predatory journals in computer science literature and present a tool that was developed for this purpose.


The authors focused their attention on editors, universities and publishers that are involved in this kind of publishing process. The starting point of their research is the list of scholarly open-access publishers and open-access stand-alone journals created by Jeffrey Beall.

Specifically, they analysed the presence of predatory journals in the search results obtained from Google Scholar in the engineering and computer science fields. They also studied the change over time of such incidence in the articles published between 2011 and 2015.


The analysis shows that the phenomenon of predatory journals somehow decreased in 2015, probably due to a greater awareness of the risks related to the reputation of the authors.


We focused on computer science field, using a specific sample of queries. We developed a software to automatically make queries to the search engine, and to detect predatory journals, using Beall’s list.

URL : Incidence of predatory journals in computer science literature


The false academy: predatory publishing in science and bioethics

Authors : Stefan Eriksson, Gert Helgesson

This paper describes and discusses the phenomenon ‘predatory publishing’, in relation to both academic journals and books, and suggests a list of characteristics by which to identify predatory journals. It also raises the question whether traditional publishing houses have accompanied rogue publishers upon this path.

It is noted that bioethics as a discipline does not stand unaffected by this trend. Towards the end of the paper it is discussed what can and should be done to eliminate or reduce the effects of this development.

The paper concludes that predatory publishing is a growing phenomenon that has the potential to greatly affect both bioethics and science at large.

Publishing papers and books for profit, without any genuine concern for content, but with the pretence of applying authentic academic procedures of critical scrutiny, brings about a worrying erosion of trust in scientific publishing.

URL : The false academy: predatory publishing in science and bioethics

DOI :10.1007/s11019-016-9740-3