Wolf in sheep’s clothing- Fraudulent journals

The antitheses of quality journals are fraudulent journals. In the last years, as a negative consequence of the appearance of digital magazines, and more specifically of the Open Access models in which the author assumes them costs of edition (golden via) have proliferated a numerous group of magazines of questionable quality that with the technic of the camouflage attract to the authors, normally through personalized offers (through email), with the main objective of making a profit by publishing their works. This phenomenon has been studied extensively by Jeffrey Beall, who puts at our disposal a list of hundreds of publishers of fraudulent journals as well as predatory journals without a publishing house. Another tool where it is possible to identify thousands of fraudulent tools is the CIRC classification.

The main problem of the fraudulent journals is that a great percentage of this concentrate their efforts in the attraction of the incautious researcher, disregarding basic processes, as it is the evaluation of the works, reason why the works published in them lack of the validation of the scientific community, one of the main missions of the journal. Moreover, it is added the merit of that the works do not compete for being published, i.e., all what comes to these journals is published.

These journals are hardly detectable at first sight because they use the strategy of camouflage, they have very similar titles to the international journals in the area, they all have a staff of scientists rich in terms of number, although its contribution to the journal is merely decorative. Also these journals are advertised as indexed on a large number of scientific databases, although most of them are either false or are databases that do not perform selective processes. This fact made that DOAJ had to redefine its policies of inclusion, which led to the expulsion of thousands of journals.

However there are others data that should take us to suspect, as its youth, since they arise with the lowering of costs that the appearance of magazines 100% digital supposed. Their titles tend to be generic, in imitation of the journals of higher prestige of the area. In many cases, edited by countries of scientific “periphery”  (Egypt, Nigeria…). They replace its shortcomings such as indexing database or the lack of impact through the calculation of the own indicators. In addition, they have a proactive political for capturing to the incautious researcher through the personal shipping of emails. Definitely the main aspect that should alert to the author is that the journal has chosen the golden via, asks for money to their authors for publishing ergo, to the greater number of works the better fundraising.

The researcher must act very cautiously at the time of choosing a journal, publishing in a fraudulent journal is a loss of prestige that exposes that:

  • The researcher unknowns the field where he or she is moving.
  • The effort does not go with him or her, thus opts by the back door of the publication.
  • Is a bad manager of public funds, because usually pays the cost of the articles with money assigned for projects, with which performs a public embezzlement.

The worst thing is that being public their works, it is quickly reported the name of the incautious and then could be easily the laughingstock of their departments, areas, etc.

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2 Responses to Wolf in sheep’s clothing- Fraudulent journals

  1. Pingback: Open Access | Comunicar. School of Authors

  2. Thank you very much for sharing those cites to detect these types of predators. I am sure that they will be very helpful to avoid falling into this fraud. I consider that if we are aware of those signals you mentioned in your post we could prevent problems like these, especially if we do not have much experience in publishing. However, even if we are novel researchers, I agree with the idea that we need to be very careful when choosing a journal and take enough time to analyze it. I suppose that sometimes researchers might be so interested (or disparate) to publish that they forget following some elemental rules like studying deeply the journal to be chosen for this purpose. For this reason, using tools such as the websites you provided can be a very helpful and easy way to detect fraudulent journals that can take advantage of researchers.


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