"In this article, Jeffrey Beall discusses one recent phenomenon that has arisen from the open access movement: that of ‘predatory publishers’. These are individuals or companies that use the open access financial system (author pays, rather than library subscribes) to defraud authors and readers by promising reputable publishing platforms but delivering nothing of the sort. They frequently have imaginary editorial boards, do not operate any peer review or quality control, are unclear about payment requirements and opaque about ownership or location, include plagiarised content and publish whatever somebody will pay them to publish. Predatory publishers generally make false promises to authors and behave unethically. They also undermine the scholarly information and publishing environment with a deluge of poor quality, unchecked and invalidated articles often published on temporary sites, thus losing the scholarly record."
"A total of 115 individuals (107 in round 1 and 45 in rounds 2 and 3) 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."
“Predatory journals - also called fraudulent, deceptive, or pseudo-journals - are publications that claim to be legitimate scholarly journals but misrepresent their publishing practices. Some common forms of predatory publishing practices include falsely claiming to provide peer review, hiding information about article processing charges, misrepresenting members of the journal’s editorial board, and other violations of copyright or scholarly ethics. Because of their increasing prevalence, this article aims to provide helpful information for authors on how to identify and avoid predatory journals.”
“The companies publishing predatory journals are an emerging problem in the area of scientific literature as they only seek to drain money from authors without providing any customer service for the authors or their readership. These predatory journals try to attract new submissions by aggressive email advertising and high acceptance rates. But in turn, they do not provide proper peer review, and therefore, the scientific quality of submitted articles is questionable. This is important because more and more people, including patients, are reading such journals and rely on the information they provide. Consequently, predatory journals are a serious threat to the integrity of medical science, and it is crucial for scientists, physicians and even patients to be aware of this problem. In this review, we briefly summarize the history of the open access movement, as well as the rise of and roles played by predatory journals. In conclusion, young and inexperienced authors publishing in a predatory journal must be aware of the damage of their reputation, of inadequate peer review processes and that unprofitable journals might get closed and all published articles in that journal might be lost.”
"Predatory journals represent a serious threat to scientific integrity because of the lack of proper scientific review of submitted manuscripts. Publication of poor-quality research findings can lead to unsafe practices with no benefit to patients, and might reward unethical and unscientific conduct."
Avoiding Citing Articles from Journals Listed in the Cabells’ “Predatory Reports” (Journal Blacklist)
"Predatory journals, which are a major concern of the academic community, generally do not properly fulfill the reviewing and editorial processes which are the most important pillars of scientific communication. In line with the principle of the accumulation of science, the papers that have not been faithfully reviewed in these journals cause a bad effect on the scholarly communication. In this study, the impact of 17 journals with addresses in Turkey in Cabells' Predatory Report (formerly Cabells' Journal Blacklist) to the literature were examined. For this purpose, the journal and article level descriptive statistics were examined for the aforementioned journals, and analyses were made for the citations from the papers published in the journals indexed in the Web of Science citation database. A total of 3427 papers were published in these journals, which started to be published between 2010 and 2015, and 389 citations were made to these papers from the journals listed in the WoS. Such highest citations come from Turkey (24.16%), then China (7.20%) addressed papers. In addition, although there are no papers in fields such as art, humanities and physics, it has been seen that there are citations to papers from these fields. This is important in terms of showing the widespread impact of science. A paper published without serious peer review in any predatory journal affects all fields of science in terms of its method, findings and discussions. Therefore, to reduce the misleading or false effect of predatory journals on the literature, a more skeptical behavior should be displayed about citing the papers published in these journals."
Criticism of Beall’s Blacklists and Possible Alternatives
"The aim of this paper is to investigate how predatory journals are characterized by authors who write about such journals. We emphasize the ways in which predatory journals have been conflated with—or distinguished from—open access journals ... The overgeneralization of the flaws of some open access journals to the entire open access movement has led to unjustified prejudices among the academic community toward open access. This is the first large-scale study that systematically examines how predatory publishing is defined in the literature."
"The predatory nature of a journal is in constant debate because it depends on multiple factors, which keep evolving. The classification of a journal as being predatory, or not, is no longer exclusively associated with its open access status, by inclusion or exclusion on perceived reputable academic indexes and/or on whitelists or blacklists. Inclusion in the latter may itself be determined by a host of criteria, may be riddled with type I errors (e.g., erroneous inclusion of a truly predatory journal in a whitelist) and/or type II errors (e.g., erroneous exclusion of a truly valid scholarly journal in a whitelist). While extreme cases of predatory publishing behavior may be clear cut, with true predatory journals displaying ample predatory properties, journals in non-binary grey zones of predatory criteria are difficult to classify. They may have some legitimate properties, but also some illegitimate ones. In such cases, it might be too extreme to refer to such entities as “predatory”. Simply referring to them as “potentially predatory” or “borderline predatory” also does little justice to discern a predatory entity from an unscholarly, low-quality, unprofessional, or exploitative one. Faced with the limitations caused by this gradient of predatory dimensionality, this paper introduces a novel credit-like rating system, based in part on well-known financial credit ratings companies used to assess investment risk and creditworthiness, to assess journal or publisher quality. Cognizant of the weaknesses and criticisms of these rating systems, we suggest their use as a new way to view the scholarly nature of a journal or publisher. When used as a tool to supplement, replace, or reinforce current sets of criteria used for whitelists and blacklists, this system may provide a fresh perspective to gain a better understanding of predatory publishing behavior. Our tool does not propose to offer a definitive solution to this problem."
"Jeffrey Beall, a US librarian, coined the term “predatory publishing” specifically to describe a movement or phenomenon of open access (OA) journals and publishers that he and others believed displayed exploitative and unscholarly principles. Using a blog to transmit those ideas, and profiling specific cases using blacklists, one of the most polemic aspects of Beall's blog was its tendency to attract and incite academic radicalism. Beall targeted both publishers and standalone journals, but how he precisely determined that an OA journal or a publisher was predatory was in many cases an ambiguity. Beall's deficient and highly subjective criteria, as well as those blacklists' incapacity to clearly distinguish low quality OA publishers from predatory ones, may have negatively impacted the operations of several Beall-blacklisted OA journals and publishers. Freedom of speech that embraces prejudice, via Beall's blog, and the establishment of “predatory” blacklists, are enhanced discriminatory ideologies that continue to be carried downstream from Beall to and by other like-minded individuals and groups who proliferate academic divisiveness and may also be formalizing and institutionalizing a culture of discriminative philosophies by cloning Beall's blacklists and encouraging their continued use."
"The issue of ‘predatory publishing’, and indeed unscholarly publishing practices, affects all academics and librarians around the globe. However, there are some flaws in arguments and analyses made in several papers published on this topic, in particular those that have relied heavily on the blacklists that were established by Jeffrey Beall. While Beall advanced the discussion on ‘predatory publishing’, relying entirely on his blacklists to assess a journal for publishing a paper is problematic. This is because several of the criteria underlying those blacklists were insufficiently specific, excessively broad, arbitrary with no scientific validation, or incorrect identifiers of predatory behavior. The validity of those criteria has been deconstructed in more detail in this paper. From a total of 55 criteria in Beall's last/latest 2015 set of criteria, we suggest maintaining nine, eliminating 24, and correcting the remaining 22. While recognizing that this exercise involves a measure of subjectivity, it needs to advance in order to arrive – in a future exercise – at a more sensitive set of criteria. Fortified criteria alone, or the use of blacklists and whitelists, cannot combat ‘predatory publishing’, and an overhaul of rewards-based academic publishing is needed, supported by a set of reliable criteria-based guidance system."
"A continued lack of clarity persists because academics, policymakers, and other interested parties are unable to clearly define what is a “predatory” journal or publisher, and a potentially wide gray zone exists there. In this perspective, we argue that journals should be evaluated on a continuum, and not just in two shades, black and white. Since evaluations about what might constitute “predatory” are made by humans, the psychological decision-making system that determines them may induce biases. Considering such human psychological characteristics might shed light on the deterministic criteria that have been used, and continue to be used, to classify a journal or publisher as “predatory”, and perhaps, bring additional clarity to this discussion. Better methods of journal evaluation can be obtained when the factors that polarize journal evaluations are identified. As one example, we need to move away from simply using whitelists and blacklists and educate individual researchers about how to evaluate journals. This paper serves as an educational tool by providing more clarity about the “gray” publishing zone, and argues that currently available qualitative and quantitative systems should be fused to deterministically appreciate the zonation of white, gray and black journals, so as to possibly reduce or eliminate the influence of cognitive or “perception” bias from the “predatory” publishing debate."
Criticism of Cabell’s Proprietary “Predatory Reports” (Journal Blacklist)
"In scholarly publishing, blacklists aim to register fraudulent or deceptive journals and publishers, also known as "predatory", to minimise the spread of unreliable research and the growing of fake publishing outlets. However, blacklisting remains a very controversial activity for several reasons: there is no consensus regarding the criteria used to determine fraudulent journals, the criteria used may not always be transparent or relevant, and blacklists are rarely updated regularly. Cabell's paywalled blacklist service attempts to overcome some of these issues in reviewing fraudulent journals on the basis of transparent criteria and in providing allegedly up-to-date information at the journal entry level. We tested Cabell's blacklist to analyse whether or not it could be adopted as a reliable tool by stakeholders in scholarly communication, including our own academic library. To do so, we used a copy of Walt Crawford's Gray Open Access dataset (2012-2016) to assess the coverage of Cabell's blacklist and get insights on their methodology. Out of the 10,123 journals that we tested, 4,681 are included in Cabell's blacklist. Out of this number of journals included in the blacklist, 3,229 are empty journals, i.e. journals in which no single article has ever been published. Other collected data points to questionable weighing and reviewing methods and shows a lack of rigour in how Cabell applies its own procedures: some journals are blacklisted on the basis of 1 to 3 criteria, identical criteria are recorded multiple times in individual journal entries, discrepancies exist between reviewing dates and the criteria version used and recorded by Cabell, reviewing dates are missing, and we observed two journals blacklisted twice with a different number of violations. Based on these observations, we conclude with recommendations and suggestions that could help improve Cabell's blacklist service."
"Many open access journals have a reputation for being of low quality and being dishonest with regard to peer review and publishing costs. Such journals are labeled “predatory” journals. This study examines author profiles for some of these “predatory” journals as well as for groups of more well-recognized open access journals. We collect and analyze the publication record, citation count, and geographic location of authors from the various groups of journals. Statistical analyses verify that each group of journals has a distinct author population. Those who publish in “predatory” journals are, for the most part, young and inexperienced researchers from developing countries. We believe that economic and sociocultural conditions in these developing countries have contributed to the differences found in authorship between “predatory” and “nonpredatory” journals."