Faculty knowledge and attitudes regarding predatory open access journals: a needs assessment study

Authors : Stephanie M. Swanberg, Joanna Thielen, Nancy Bulgarelli

Objective

The purpose of predatory open access (OA) journals is primarily to make a profit rather than to disseminate quality, peer-reviewed research.

Publishing in these journals could negatively impact faculty reputation, promotion, and tenure, yet many still choose to do so. Therefore, the authors investigated faculty knowledge and attitudes regarding predatory OA journals.

Methods

A twenty-item questionnaire containing both quantitative and qualitative items was developed and piloted. All university and medical school faculty were invited to participate.

The survey included knowledge questions that assessed respondents’ ability to identify predatory OA journals and attitudinal questions about such journals. Chi-square tests were used to detect differences between university and medical faculty.

Results

A total of 183 faculty completed the survey: 63% were university and 37% were medical faculty. Nearly one-quarter (23%) had not previously heard of the term “predatory OA journal.”

Most (87%) reported feeling very confident or confident in their ability to assess journal quality, but only 60% correctly identified a journal as predatory, when given a journal in their field to assess.

Chi-square tests revealed that university faculty were more likely to correctly identify a predatory OA journal (p=0.0006) and have higher self-reported confidence in assessing journal quality, compared with medical faculty (p=0.0391).

Conclusions

Survey results show that faculty recognize predatory OA journals as a problem. These attitudes plus the knowledge gaps identified in this study will be used to develop targeted educational interventions for faculty in all disciplines at our university.

URL : Faculty knowledge and attitudes regarding predatory open access journals: a needs assessment study

Original location : http://jmla.pitt.edu/ojs/jmla/article/view/849

Who reviews for predatory journals? A study on reviewer characteristics

Authors : Anna Severin, Michaela Strinzel, Matthias Egger, Marc Domingo, Tiago Barros

Background

While the characteristics of scholars who publish in predatory journals are relatively well-understood, nothing is known about the scholars who review for these journals.

We aimed to answer the following questions: Can we observe patterns of reviewer characteristics for scholars who review for predatory journals and for legitimate journals? Second, how are reviews for potentially predatory journals distributed globally?

Methods

We matched random samples of 1,000 predatory journals and 1,000 legitimate journals of the Cabells Scholarly Analytics’ journal lists with the Publons database of review reports, using the Jaro-Winkler string metric.

For reviewers of matched reviews, we descriptively analysed meta-data on reviewing and publishing behaviour.

Results

We matched 183,743 unique Publons reviews that were claimed by 19,598 reviewers. 6,077 reviews were conducted for 1160 unique predatory journals (3.31% of all reviews). 177,666 were claimed for 6,403 legitimate journals (96.69% of all reviews).

The vast majority of scholars either never or only occasionally submitted reviews for predatory journals to Publons (89.96% and 7.55% of all reviewers, respectively). Smaller numbers of scholars claimed reviews predominantly or exclusively for predatory journals (0.26% and 0.35% of all reviewers, respectively).

The two latter groups of scholars are of younger academic age and have fewer publications and fewer reviews than the first two groups of scholars.Developing regions feature larger shares of reviews for predatory reviews than developed regions.

Conclusion

The characteristics of scholars who review for potentially predatory journals resemble those of authors who publish their work in these outlets. In order to combat potentially predatory journals, stakeholders will need to adopt a holistic approach that takes into account the entire research workflow.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.09.983155

How Frequently are Articles in Predatory Open Access Journals Cited

Authors : Bo-Christer Björk, Sari Kanto-Karvonen, J. Tuomas Harviainen

Predatory journals are Open Access journals of highly questionable scientific quality. Such journals pretend to use peer review for quality assurance, and spam academics with requests for submissions, in order to collect author payments.

In recent years predatory journals have received a lot of negative media. While much has been said about the harm that such journals cause to academic publishing in general, an overlooked aspect is how much articles in such journals are actually read and in particular cited, that is if they have any significant impact on the research in their fields.

Other studies have already demonstrated that only some of the articles in predatory journals contain faulty and directly harmful results, while a lot of the articles present mediocre and poorly reported studies.

We studied citation statistics over a five-year period in Google Scholar for 250 random articles published in such journals in 2014, and found an average of 2,6 citations per article and that 60 % of the articles had no citations at all.

For comparison a random sample of articles published in the approximately 25,000 peer reviewed journals included in the Scopus index had an average of 18,1 citations in the same period with only 9 % receiving no citations. We conclude that articles published in predatory journals have little scientific impact.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1912.10228

Defining predatory journals and responding to the threat they pose: a modified Delphi consensus process

Authors : Samantha Cukier, Manoj M. Lalu, Gregory L. Bryson, Kelly D. Cobey, Agnes Grudniewicz, David Moher

Background

Posing as legitimate open access outlets, predatory journals and publishers threaten the integrity of academic publishing by not following publication best practices. Currently, there is no agreed upon definition of predatory journals, making it difficult for funders and academic institutions to generate practical guidance or policy to ensure their members do not publish in these channels.

Methods

We conducted a modified three-round Delphi survey of an international group of academics, funders, policy makers, journal editors, publishers and others, to generate a consensus definition of predatory journals and suggested ways the research community should respond to the problem.

Results

A total of 45 participants completed the survey on predatory journals and publishers. We reached consensus on 18 items out of a total of 33, to be included in a consensus definition of predatory journals and publishers.

We came to consensus on educational outreach and policy initiatives on which to focus, including the development of a single checklist to detect predatory journals and publishers, and public funding to support research in this general area.

We identified technological solutions to address the problem: a ‘one-stop-shop’ website to consolidate information on the topic and a ‘predatory journal research observatory’ to identify ongoing research and analysis about predatory journals/publishers.

Conclusions

In bringing together an international group of diverse stakeholders, we were able to use a modified Delphi process to inform the development of a definition of predatory journals and publishers.

This definition will help institutions, funders and other stakeholders generate practical guidance on avoiding predatory journals and publishers.

URL : Defining predatory journals and responding to the threat they pose: a modified Delphi consensus process

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1101/19010850

Perspectives From Authors and Editors in the Biomedical Disciplines on Predatory Journals: Survey Study

Authors : Andrew J Cohen, German Patino, Puneet Kamal, Medina Ndoye, Anas Tresh, Jorge Mena, Christi Butler, Samuel Washington, Benjamin N Breyer

Background

Predatory journals fail to fulfill the tenets of biomedical publication: peer review, circulation, and access in perpetuity. Despite increasing attention in the lay and scientific press, no studies have directly assessed the perceptions of the authors or editors involved.

Objective

Our objective was to understand the motivation of authors in sending their work to potentially predatory journals. Moreover, we aimed to understand the perspective of journal editors at journals cited as potentially predatory.

Methods

Potential online predatory journals were randomly selected among 350 publishers and their 2204 biomedical journals. Author and editor email information was valid for 2227 total potential participants.

A survey for authors and editors was created in an iterative fashion and distributed. Surveys assessed attitudes and knowledge about predatory publishing. Narrative comments were invited.

Results

A total of 249 complete survey responses were analyzed. A total of 40% of editors (17/43) surveyed were not aware that they were listed as an editor for the particular journal in question.

A total of 21.8% of authors (45/206) confirmed a lack of peer review. Whereas 77% (33/43) of all surveyed editors were at least somewhat familiar with predatory journals, only 33.0% of authors (68/206) were somewhat familiar with them (P<.001). Only 26.2% of authors (54/206) were aware of Beall’s list of predatory journals versus 49% (21/43) of editors (P<.001).

A total of 30.1% of authors (62/206) believed their publication was published in a predatory journal. After defining predatory publishing, 87.9% of authors (181/206) surveyed would not publish in the same journal in the future.

Conclusions

Authors publishing in suspected predatory journals are alarmingly uninformed in terms of predatory journal quality and practices. Editors’ increased familiarity with predatory publishing did little to prevent their unwitting listing as editors.

Some suspected predatory journals did provide services akin to open access publication. Education, research mentorship, and a realignment of research incentives may decrease the impact of predatory publishing.

URL : Perspectives From Authors and Editors in the Biomedical Disciplines on Predatory Journals: Survey Study

DOI : https://doi.org/10.2196/13769

Knowledge and motivations of researchers publishing in presumed predatory journals: a survey

Authors : Kelly D Cobey, Agnes Grudniewicz, Manoj M Lalu, Danielle B Rice, Hana Raffoul, David Moher

Objectives

To develop effective interventions to prevent publishing in presumed predatory journals (ie, journals that display deceptive characteristics, markers or data that cannot be verified), it is helpful to understand the motivations and experiences of those who have published in these journals.

Design

An online survey delivered to two sets of corresponding authors containing demographic information, and questions about researchers’ perceptions of publishing in the presumed predatory journal, type of article processing fees paid and the quality of peer review received. The survey also asked six open-ended items about researchers’ motivations and experiences.

Participants

Using Beall’s lists, we identified two groups of individuals who had published empirical articles in biomedical journals that were presumed to be predatory.

Results

Eighty-two authors partially responded (~14% response rate (11.4%[44/386] from the initial sample, 19.3%[38/197] from second sample) to our survey. The top three countries represented were India (n=21, 25.9%), USA (n=17, 21.0%) and Ethiopia (n=5, 6.2%).

Three participants (3.9%) thought the journal they published in was predatory at the time of article submission. The majority of participants first encountered the journal via an email invitation to submit an article (n=32, 41.0%), or through an online search to find a journal with relevant scope (n=22, 28.2%).

Most participants indicated their study received peer review (n=65, 83.3%) and that this was helpful and substantive (n=51, 79.7%). More than a third (n=32, 45.1%) indicated they did not pay fees to publish.

Conclusions

This work provides some evidence to inform policy to prevent future research from being published in predatory journals.

Our research suggests that common views about predatory journals (eg, no peer review) may not always be true, and that a grey zone between legitimate and presumed predatory journals exists. These results are based on self-reports and may be biased thus limiting their interpretation.

URL : Knowledge and motivations of researchers publishing in presumed predatory journals: a survey

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-026516

Hype or Real Threat: The Extent of Predatory Journals in Student Bibliographies

Authors : H. Rainer Schira, Chris Hurst

Predatory publishing has risen with the development of open access publishing. This study examines how many potential predatory journals were used by Brandon University students by analyzing their bibliographies.

In total, 245 bibliographies including 2,359 citations were analyzed. Of the 1,485 citations to journals in these citations, five were found to cite journals on Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers.

The probable sources of these journals in the students’ bibliographies were examined.

URL : Hype or Real Threat: The Extent of Predatory Journals in Student Bibliographies

DOI : https://doi.org/10.21083/partnership.v14i1.4764