The rise of fake jour­nals

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Post Graduate - By PROF GRA­HAM KEN­DALL

the paper and, in­vari­ably, take money from the re­searcher and/or his or her in­sti­tu­tion.

It may be an ex­treme ex­am­ple, but one paper that was ac­cepted re­peated the phrase “Get me off your ******* mail­ing list”

863 times.

Fake jour­nals make money by charg­ing the au­thors a pub­li­ca­tion fee. This could be up to £1,000 (RM5,434) a paper, per­haps even more. The re­searchers get lit­tle or noth­ing in re­turn.

Th­ese fake jour­nals ex­ist to make a profit with­out hav­ing any re­gard to the sci­en­tific process. They may even pla­gia­rise pa­pers that have been pub­lished.

Pub­lish­ing in fake jour­nals will have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on an aca­demic’s ca­reer. Per­haps more wor­ry­ingly, it also means that the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity and the public could be mis­led as there are no checks and bal­ances on what is be­ing pub­lished and rep­re­sented as part of the sci­en­tific ar­chive.

Fur­ther­more, if this so-called re­search is cited, it could be prop­a­gated even fur­ther and ac­cepted as fact, even though it has never been ac­cepted as such by the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity.

I am for­tu­nate to have pub­lished al­most 250 peer-re­viewed sci­en­tific ar­ti­cles as well as been an ed­i­tor-in-chief of one jour­nal and an associate ed­i­tor of nine oth­ers.

This means I have be­come a tar­get and reg­u­larly see many of the ways preda­tory jour­nals try to make them­selves look cred­i­ble.

Th­ese in­clude us­ing lo­gos that are sim­i­lar to more es­tab­lished jour­nals, us­ing the names of recog­nised aca­demics on the ad­vi­sory or edi­to­rial board (of­ten with­out their knowl­edge) and claim­ing high im­pact fac­tors.

They are also ag­gres­sive in mar­ket­ing them­selves through e-mail, of­ten re­peat­edly send­ing the same e-mail ex­plain­ing how im­por­tant your pre­vi­ous work was and how they would like to help you pub­lish an ex­ten­sion to that re­search.

Roger Byard from the Univer­sity of Ade­laide has in­ves­ti­gated this sub­ject and found that “There were 18 (preda­tory jour­nals) in 2011, 477 at the end of 2014, and 923 in 2016 with the ma­jor­ity of those charg­ing ar­ti­cle pub­lish­ing charges.”

In fact, it has been sug­gested that there are­more Bri­tish our­nal o ... based in

Fake jour­nals make money by charg­ing the au­thors a pub­li­ca­tion fee. This could be up to £1,000 (RM5,434) a paper, per­haps even more. The re­searchers get lit­tle or noth­ing in re­turn.

Things could be about to get worse be­cause, up un­til re­cently, the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity had a gate­keeper that main­tained a list of preda­tory jour­nals. This has dis­ap­peared.

Jef­frey Beall used to main­tain a web­site that was a “crit­i­cal anal­y­sis of schol­arly open-ac­cess pub­lish­ing”. The web­site listed more than 900 preda­tory jour­nals.

An ar­chive of Beall’s web­site is still avail­able, but it is no longer up­dated. In fact, the orig­i­nal web­site has been taken down for un­clear rea­sons.

There are many peo­ple in the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity who will miss this re­source and many would ar­gue that there is a need for a ser­vice such as this to mon­i­tor sci­en­tific in­tegrity and en­able peo­ple to find out if a ref­er­ence is from a preda­tory/fake jour­nal.

Un­til this re­source is avail­able again, the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity needs to be vig­i­lant against preda­tory/fake jour­nals. They add no value to the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity or the public and they do noth­ing to im­prove the cur­ricu­lum vi­tae (CV) of a sci­en­tist.

In fact, it prob­a­bly harms a CV. The jour­nals are also tak­ing money that could be used for more pro­duc­tive re­search.

Be­fore sub­mit­ting their work to a jour­nal, sci­en­tists should check that it is le­git­i­mate. If a paper gets ac­cepted quickly and the pub­lisher asks for money, the alarm bell should start ring­ing.

This ar­ti­cle was pre­vi­ously pub­lished in The Con­ver­sa­tion.

Prof Gra­ham Ken­dall is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, provost a d - - lor of e . it

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Check with fel­low re­searchers on jour­nal au­then­tic­ity be­fore sub­mit­ting your pa­pers.

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