Academia should stop using beall’s lists and review their use in previous studies

Authors : Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Graham Kendall

Academics (should) strive to submit to journals which are academically sound and scholarly. To achieve this, they could either submit to journals that appear exclusively on safelists (occasionally referred to as whitelists, although this term tends to be avoided), or avoid submitting to journals on watchlists (occasionally referred to as blacklists, although this term tends to be avoided).

The most well-known of these lists was curated by Jeffrey Beall. Beall’s Lists (there are two, one for stand-alone journals and one for publishers) were taken offline by Beall himself in January 2017.

Prior to 2017, Beall’s Lists were widely cited and utilized, including to make quantitative claims about scholarly publishing. Even after Beall’s Lists became obsolete (they have not been maintained for the past six years), they continue to be widely cited and used. This paper argues that the use of Beall’s Lists, pre- and post-2017, may constitute a methodological error and, even if papers carry a disclaimer or limitations section noting this weakness, their conclusions cannot always be relied upon.

This paper also argues for the need to conduct a detailed post-publication assessment of reports in the literature that used Beall’s Lists to validate their findings and conclusions, assuming that it becomes accepted that Beall’s Lists are not a reliable resource for scientific investigation.

Finally, this paper contends that any papers that have identified methodological errors should be corrected. Several lists that were cloned from Beall’s Lists have also emerged and are also being cited. These should also be included in any post-publication investigation that is conducted.

URL : Academia should stop using beall’s lists and review their use in previous studies


Problematizing ‘predatory publishing’: A systematic review of factors shaping publishing motives, decisions, and experiences

Authors : David Mills, K. Inouye

This article systematically reviews recent empirical research on the factors shaping academics’ knowledge about, and motivations to publish work in, so‐called ‘predatory’ journals. Growing scholarly evidence suggests that the concept of ‘predatory’ publishing’ – used to describe deceptive journals exploiting vulnerable researchers – is inadequate for understanding the complex range of institutional and contextual factors that shape the publication decisions of individual academics.

This review identifies relevant empirical studies on academics who have published in ‘predatory’ journals, and carries out a detailed comparison of 16 papers that meet the inclusion criteria. While most start from Beall’s framing of ‘predatory’ publishing, their empirical findings move the debate beyond normative assumptions about academic vulnerability.

They offer particular insights into the academic pressures on scholars at the periphery of a global research economy. This systematic review shows the value of a holistic approach to studying individual publishing decisions within specific institutional, economic and political contexts.

Rather than assume that scholars publishing in ‘questionable’ journals are naïve, gullible or lacking in understanding, fine‐grained empirical research provides a more nuanced conceptualization of the pressures and incentives shaping their decisions. The review suggests areas for further research, especially in emerging research systems in the global South.

URL : Problematizing ‘predatory publishing’: A systematic review of factors shaping publishing motives, decisions, and experiences


Is Predatory Publishing a Real Threat? Evidence from a Large Database Study

Authors : Marcelo Perlin, Takeyoshi Imasato, Denis Borenstein

Using a database of potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access journals, the objective of this research is to study the penetration of predatory publications in the Brazilian academic system and the profile of authors in a cross-section empirical study.

Based on a massive amount of publications from Brazilian researchers of all disciplines during the 2000 to 2015 period, we were able to analyze the extent of predatory publications using an econometric modeling.

Descriptive statistics indicate that predatory publications represent a small overall proportion, but grew exponentially in the last 5 years. Departing from prior studies, our analysis shows that experienced researchers with a high number of non-indexed publications and PhD obtained locally are more likely to publish in predatory journals.

Further analysis shows that once a journal regarded as predatory is listed in the local ranking system, the Qualis, it starts to receive more publications than non-predatory ones.