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it difficult for funders and academic institutions to generate practical guidance or policy to ensure their members do not publish in these channels.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

Potential predatory journals are colonizing the ICMJE recommendations list of followers

Authors : Dal-Ré R., Marušić A.

BACKGROUND

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has expressed its concerns about predatory journals using the list of ICMJE Recommendations (ICMJE-R) followers to “gain the appearance of legitimacy.”

We assessed the presence of potential predatory journals on the ICMJE-R list and their adherence to ICMJE recommendations.

METHODS

A random sample of 350 journals from the estimated 3,100-3,200 biomedical journals listed as ICMJE-R followers was chosen. Data collected from the ICMJE and journal webpages in English were: adherence to six ICMJE-R policies/requirements, year of journal’s listing as ICMJE-R follower, discipline covered, publisher and its country of origin and existence of article processing charge.

Potential predatory journal was considered as one open access journal not being a member of a recognized listing in COPE, DOAJ, OASPA, AJOL and/or INASP.

RESULTS

Thirty-one percent of journals were considered to be potentially predatory; 94% of them were included in the ICMJE-R list in 2014-2018. Half were published in the United States and 62% were devoted to medicine.

Adherence to five of the six policies/requirements was infrequent, ranging from 51% (plagiarism) to 7% (trial registration). Seventy-two percent of journals mentioned a policy on authors’ conflicts of interest. Information on article processing charge was available for 76% journals and could not be found for 22%.

Authorship policy/ instructions were significantly more present in journals with publishers from India than from the USA (53% vs 30%; p = 0.047), with no differences in the other five policies.

CONCLUSION

Predatory journals should be deleted from the ICMJE-R list of followers to prevent misleading authors. ICMJE-R following journals need to be reevaluated with pre-defined published criteria.

URL : http://www.njmonline.nl/getpdf.php?id=2093

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

INTRODUCTION

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.

METHODS

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.

RESULTS

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.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

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

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2246

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

DOI : http://doi.org/10.29024/aogh.2389

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?

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2018.09.017

Predatory Publishers using Spamming Strategies for Call for Papers and Review Requests : A Case Study

Author : Alexandru-Ionut Petrisor

Spam e-mail and calls from the predatory publishers are very similar in purpose: they are deceptive and produce material losses. Moreover, the predatory publishers show evolving strategies to lure potential victims, as their number increases. In an effort to help researchers defending against their constant menace, this article aims to identify a set of common features of spam e-mail and calls from predatory publishers.

The methodology consisted of a comparative analysis of data found on the Internet and e-mails received at several addresses during December 2017 – January 2018. The results indicate that concealed, fake or disguised identity of the sender and/or of the message, mass mailing, missing or useless opt-out option and an obvious commercial character are the most prominent common features.

Moreover, the location of predatory publishers is well disguised; the analysis of the real location, found using web-based tools, suggests a joint management or at least a concerted action of several publishers, and raises additional questions related to the reasons of masking the true location.

From a theoretical standpoint, the results show, once again, that predatory publishers are a part of the worldwide scam, and should be ‘convicted’ in a similar way, including the means of legal actions. From a practical perspective, distinct recommendations were phrased for researchers, policy makers, libraries, and future research.

URL : Predatory Publishers using Spamming Strategies for Call for Papers and Review Requests : A Case Study

Alternative location : http://publications.drdo.gov.in/ojs/index.php/djlit/article/view/12551

‘Predatory’ Open Access Journals as Parody: Exposing the Limitations of ‘Legitimate’ Academic Publishing

Author : Kirsten Bell

The concept of the ‘predatory’ publisher has today become a standard way of characterising a new breed of open access journals that seem to be more concerned with making a profit than disseminating academic knowledge.

This essay presents an alternative view of such publishers, arguing that if we treat them as parody instead of predator, a far more nuanced reading emerges. Viewed in this light, such journals destabilise the prevailing discourse on what constitutes a ‘legitimate’ journal, and, indeed, the nature of scholarly knowledge production itself.

Instead of condemning them outright, their growth should therefore encourage us to ask difficult but necessary questions about the commercial context of knowledge production, prevailing conceptions of quality and value, and the ways in which they privilege scholarship from the ‘centre’ and exclude that from the ‘periphery’.

URL : ‘Predatory’ Open Access Journals as Parody: Exposing the Limitations of ‘Legitimate’ Academic Publishing

Alternative location : http://www.triple-c.at/index.php/tripleC/article/view/870