What are Predatory journals?
Predatory journals also called fake, unreliable, and pseudo-journals are publications that misrepresent their publishing practices while claiming to be authentic scholarly journals.
These are published by publishers that “produce counterfeit journals to abuse the open-access paradigm in which the author pays. These predatory publishers lack transparency and are dishonest. They seek to deceive scholars, particularly those who lack intellectual communication skills.”
Seeking profit is the only goal of these journals. They do not care about the research quality or writing.
Typical Features of Predatory Journals
- The publishers bombard writers with emails inviting them to submit articles of all types (original articles, reviews, case reports, commentaries, etc.), usually addressed to their co-authors rather than the authors themselves. Generally, non-predatory journals invite articles on specific topics and types.
- They blend weak research articles with better or special research publications, typically writing the latter in subpar English and with little originality or methodological merit.
- They frequently present their impact factor (IF), which is not officially assigned to the publication. However, there may be predatory publications with a high officially gained IF.
- No standard number or limit for the articles to publish in a single issue.
- No clear peer review policies and no information about article rejection rates.
Why should you stay away from predatory publishers?
- False peer review damages the scientific dialogue.
- Your research can be more challenging to find and less likely to be used by others if you publish it in a low-quality journal.
- You can lose your job as a result of fraud.
Tips to identify predatory journals?
- Research the journal’s APC:
Predatory journals charge a high amount of APC. So it’s best to double check to be sure.
- Check if the journal contains reputable content:
Journals should routinely publish articles in your field, and it’s even better if those articles are cited in other works.
- Check the journal’s website reputation:
You can do this in a number of different ways. The most straightforward is to scan the editorial board. Look for any names. If you are hesitant you can send emails as few predatory journals also add the names and emails of reputed scientists to their boards without getting permission.
- If any member of that journal’s editorial board is known to you:
Any respected publication needs an editorial board to manage submissions, evaluate papers, and drive the journal’s focus and thematic direction. Check out the journal’s editorial board, and consider sending a few quick emails to a few members. Making so-called pre-submission inquiries regarding your papers before submitting them is always a great idea because it saves time and effort.
- If the journal is published frequently:
Observe the problems that cause. Additionally, you should generally stay away from publications not included in international databases like ISI, Web of Science, PubMed, or Scopus. When evaluating a journal’s dependability, these are solid starting points.
- Check if the journal has an Impact Factor (IF):
If at all possible, try that your paper is published in journals with high-impact factors.
- Have you used Think, Check, Submit?
Using “a variety of tools and practical resources,” Think, Check, Submit “helps scholars choose reliable publications for their study.” It is a global, cross-sector movement that “seeks to uphold integrity, educate researchers, and foster public confidence in reliable research and publications.”