“Researchers worldwide grapple with the “publish or perish” dilemma, leading some to fall into predatory journal traps. The issue is especially severe in the developing world. But we have some good news to share. Under the umbrella of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) INYAS has joined hands with other three international science academies i.e. Bangladesh, Benin, and the Czech Republicto form a consortium. The consortium has received fund support of 50,000 USD from InterAcademy Partnership. Our mission is to create awareness and unite against predatory publishing practices and push for change at the highest levels to safeguard academic quality and integrity”
Publishing due diligence and supporting researchers in identifying trusted journals
“How to support researchers in identifying trusted journals and publishers for their research. Katherine Stephan, Librarian Representative for Think. Check. Submit. and Research Engagement Librarian, Liverpool John Moores University shares her experience. She explains how to help researchers discover what they need to know when assessing whether or not a publisher is suitable for their research. This due diligence approach will help them avoid predatory publishers.”
Abstract: The Harbingers project, which studied the working lives and scholarly communication behaviour of early career researchers (ECRs) over 6 years, found evidence of changing attitudes to questionable (grey) publishing. Thus, whilst predatory publishers have come to be treated with equanimity, as a problem easily dealt with, there was growing concern with the high volume of low-grade research being generated, some of which by ‘grey’ open access publishers for want of a better name (questionable and non-standard have also been used). With the recent announcement (2023) that the government of Malaysia (a Harbinger case country) is not providing Article Processing Charges (APCs) for articles published by MDPI, Frontiers and Hindawi on quality and cost grounds, we set out to see what lay behind this decision and whether other countries exhibited similar concerns. Information was obtained by asking Harbinger country leads, mostly embedded in research universities, from Australia, China, France, Israel, Malaysia, Poland, Spain, UK, and the US to conduct desk research to establish what is happening. It was found that countries, like ECRs, appear to have formed into two different camps, with China, Poland, France, and Spain joining Malaysia in the camp of those who felt concerned about these publishers and the UK, US, Israel, and Australia belonging to the camp of the unconcerned. Explanations for the split are furnished and whether the Malaysian position will prevail elsewhere is considered. Finally, in this paper, we have aired issues/concerns, rather than provided robust, systematic data. For a systematic study we shall have to wait for the fuller study we are hoping to conduct.
“We have some exciting news to share – a new and improved Journalytics Academic & Predatory Reports platform will soon be here. Our team has been working on multiple updates and enhancements to our tried and true platform that will benefit users in multiple ways. Along with our ongoing addition of new verified and predatory journals, users will experience better search results, new data points and visualizations, increased stability and speed, and more secure logins.
In addition to the visual elements and expanded analytics of this redesign, a key component is the full integration of our Journalytics and Predatory Reports databases. This integration will allow for comprehensive searches that present the full range of publishing opportunities and threats in a given area. Our goal is to facilitate journal discovery and evaluation so our users know the journals and know the risks.
Last month we hosted a webinar to give users a sneak peek at the upcoming changes, which include a new guided search page to jumpstart journal discovery, updated platform and journal card designs, and new data points such as fees and article output. Check out the video below or visit our YouTube channel where you’ll find a time-stamped table of contents in the description for easy navigation to specific points in the video….”
“When we think about the predatory journal issue, given the ability of Large Language Models (LLMs) to generate convincing text at zero cost to the user, this threatens the business model of the deceptive publisher. There are only a few studies into the motivations of authors who publish in predatory journals, but those that have looked at the question broadly identify them as either being unaware or unethical. While a naïve author may still publish in a predatory journal thinking it is legitimate, an unethical one may weigh up the expense and risk of knowingly doing so against the cheaper and potentially less risky alternative of using Generative AI.
For example, imagine you are an unethical author and just want to get a publication in a recognized journal, and are willing to take some risks to do so, but unwilling to actually write a real paper yourself. Publishing in a predatory journal is an option, but it will cost a few hundred dollars and only gives you a publication in a journal few people have heard of, so significant risk for minimal reward. However, if you ask an AI to write you a paper and then make some tweaks, you might get it published in a better journal for no fee (assuming you take the non-open access route). With AI-checking software still in its infancy, an unethical author may decide that using an AI is the most effective course of action, hoping it escapes detection and is accepted. And of course, they can much more easily increase their output using this option. So as we can see, an unintended consequence of Generative AI could be to reduce demand for predatory journals, effectively disrupting their business models….”
[Not even an abstract is OA.]
“If the US government and the European Union would forbid their researchers to pay APCs, this might have a similar result, certainly if other governments would follow: these authors would no longer pay APCs, and publishers would accept this because libraries will not be interested in journals that boycott so many manuscripts. Without library subscriptions and payment of APCs by American and European authors, almost all journals will financially break down unless another source of income will be found. Because progress of science is a conditio sine qua non for modern society, society (i.e., governments) will eventually be willing to make arrangements with science publishers to pay lump sums as a substitute for APCs, just like now such sums are paid for access to journals.
Obviously, the abandonment of APCs (and comparable charges) will be complicated, but there will be important advantages: predatory journals, for instance, will disappear so that the contamination of good scientific literature by low-quality contributions will (almost) completely be stopped.
Authors and their employers would profit because they need no longer worry about APCs; publishers would profit for several reasons: (1) they would have a fairly fixed income, (2) they would not have to spend time to decide (subjectively!) about waiving APCs, and (3) they would no longer have predatory journals as competitors; databases would no longer need to handle articles of almost countless amounts of commonly low-quality articles published in predatory journals; and finally (but most importantly), medical researchers would be able to consider newly published medical literature as reliable, since the tsunami of paid-for articles published solely for reasons of publish-or-perish would be stopped: a bright and promising future for the medical community and for society!”
Abstract: In recent times, there has been a proliferation of questionable practices in research publishing, for example, via predatory journals, hijacked journals, plagiarism, tortured phrases and paper mills. This paper intends to analyse whether journals that had been removed from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) in 2018 due to suspected misconduct were cited within journals indexed in the Scopus database. Our analysis showed that Scopus contained over 15 thousand references to the removed journals identified. The majority of the publications citing these journals came from the area of Engineering. It is important to note that although we cannot assume that all the journals removed followed unethical practices, it is still essential that researchers are aware of the issues around citing journals that have been suspected of misconduct. We suggest that research libraries play a crucial role in training, advising and providing information to researchers about these ethical issues of publication malpractice and misconduct.
“Whatever the merits of the allegations surrounding Manogaran and his collaborators, ample evidence suggests a systemic problem in the publishing industry and its recent expansion into special issues. The problem affects publishers at all levels of the industry, including respected and established houses like Elsevier and Wiley. It also extends to newer players, including publishers of freely available, open-access online journals such as Frontiers, MDPI, and Hindawi, which was acquired by the publisher Wiley in 2021.
Of these, Bishop says it’s a common perception that all three publishers have made special issues an important part of their business model, but none quite as much as MDPI, which now says it’s the biggest publisher of open-access articles in the world. In 2013, the company published nearly 400 special issues; a decade later, it opened up nearly 56,000. MDPI’s revenues have also exploded from around $15 million per year in 2015 to more than $300 million in 2021, according to some estimates. The rejection rate for papers published at MDPI journals has also been decreasing, even as the time between submission and publication has shrunk — suggesting to some critics that quantity is taking precedence over quality….”
“We’ve recently been seeing a lot of attention to predatory publishers, especially with reference to lists of predatory journals, and ‘safe lists’ (see COPE’s Officers’ Statement on identifying fake journals). Here, we offer an overview of how this issue intersects with a number of other problems in scholarly publishing.
At COPE it is clear that predatory publishing is just one aspect of a wider network of unethical activities. The different elements of this network seek to profit from a system which dilutes the scholarly literature, either dupes authors or actively promotes their unethical behaviour, and wastes millions of pounds of research funding. These actors capitalise on the easy circulation of information across national boundaries on the internet, the pressures to publish in academia, and the growth of Open Access publishing models which can make authors more open to believe offers of rapid publication and low article processing charges (APCs)….”
A major education exercise is needed to ensure that Editors are aware of the problem of paper mills, and Editors/editorial staff are trained in identifying the fake papers.
Continued investment in tools and systems to pick up suspect papers as they are submitted.
Engagement with institutions and funders to review incentives for researchers to publish valid papers and not use services that will give quick but fake publication.
Investigation of protocols that can be put in place to impede paper mills from succeeding in their goals.
Review the retraction process to take account of the unique features of paper mill papers.
Investigate how to ensure retraction notices are applied to all copies of a paper such as preprint servers and article repositories….”
Abstract: This study examines the patterns of faculty solicitations by open-access (OA) publishers in radiology. The purpose of the research is to determine the factors that predict the likelihood of receiving such solicitations. We recruited 6 faculty members from 7 subspecialties in radiology to collect emails from OA journals for 2 weeks. We assessed the number of publications by each faculty member in 2022 and 2023, the previous 5 years, and entire career in PubMed. For each email, the solicitation was categorized for article submission, article review, and editorial board membership. An invitation to submit a manuscript was the most common type of solicitation received, followed by editorial boards and reviewer invites. Faculty with more than 10 indexed articles in PubMed since January 2022 were significantly more likely to receive article solicitations than those with 10 or fewer publications. Additionally, scholars with more than 40 articles since 2018 were significantly more likely to receive more than 10 article solicitations. Full professors were significantly more likely to receive solicitations to serve on editorial boards. A multivariate linear regression model predicted that publications since 2022 had the highest predictive value for the number of article solicitations and total solicitations. This study provides insight into the patterns of mass communication and various solicitations by OA publishers in radiology. The study highlights the importance of publication productivity as a predictor of article and total email solicitations and of professorial rank for editorial board invitations.
“Have you heard about hijacked journals, which take over legitimate publications’ titles, ISSNs, and other metadata without their permission? We recently launched the Retraction Watch Hijacked Journal Checker, and will be publishing regular posts like this one to tell the stories of some of those cases….”
Abstract: This talk will consider the marginalization of scholars and other stakeholders in the Global South and how local publishing infrastructure is critical to recalibrating imbalances. The Latin American ethos and practice of bibliodiversity, or scholarly self-determination, is a precondition for the decolonialization of knowledge. Accordingly, predatory publishing is minimal in Latin America which has its own publishing infrastructures. Library publishing, which supports bibliodiversity, represents an important path towards much needed free to authors or diamond open access. Librarians play a critical role in educating editors and fostering publishing best practices.