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ResourcesResearch IntegrityBeware! Academics are getting reeled in by scam journals – UA/AU (Alex Gillis | January 2017)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Beware! Academics are getting reeled in by scam journals – UA/AU (Alex Gillis | January 2017)

 


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This past year, when an undergraduate biology student at the University of the Fraser Valley approached dean of science Lucy Lee for $2,000 to publish a paper in an academic journal, Dr. Lee had immediate concerns about the request. She’d had a bad experience with the journal in question, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, while doing a review for the publication. She discovered a lack of rigour in some of the journal’s articles, was alarmed at its many retractions and corrections, and had concerns with the journal’s practice of publishing an “acknowledgement” issue with a very long list of reviewers to make it look credible.

This starts off with a repeat of what we already know but then speaks about the purchase of reputable publishers by predatory organisations, and we did like “my spidey senses began tingling”

The publisher, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), churns out nearly 160 scholarly journals a year, many of them of mediocre quality, according to Jeffrey Beall, an associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver, and one of the world’s leading experts on what he calls “predatory” open access publishing. Each week, MDPI and other questionable publishers hound Dr. Lee by email, asking her to review submissions that she considers shoddy. Mr. Beall has called this particular environmental publication a “pretend journal.” So when Dr. Lee next saw the biology student, she alerted her to the potential problems and redirected her to more credible scholarly publications, such as FACETS, a Canadian open access journal.
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Predatory and mediocre journals are based on the model of open access publishing in which authors pay fees to have their work published online. However, unlike legitimate journals, they bombard academics with spam emails, accept almost all submissions and overstate the rigour of their peer-review processes. They also often conveniently neglect to mention publication fees until late in the process.
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