One of the things I notice when I examine predatory publishers’ and predatory journals’ websites is that they often brag about how many abstracting and indexing services cover their journals.
To explain, an abstracting and indexing (A&I) service is a product a company sells or makes available. The product indexes content at the article level by assigning subject headings (descriptors or keywords) to each one and then making them searchable in the product’s database. These services also index other bibliographic elements of journal articles, including authors, titles, date of publication, etc.
(Recently, some A&I services have even begun to index at more granular levels, including, for example, indexing individual images.)
Today, most journals require that their authors compose an abstract (a summary) of their article, so A&I services generally don’t compose abstracts anymore — they just create a searchable database with subject, author, and title access to individual articles from a selection of journals they choose to include in their database.
It is a great advantage for a journal to be covered by A&I services. The Springer website says,
Being represented in the relevant online A&I services is without question an essential factor for the success of a … journal. Today all searching is done online, so it is imperative that a journal is represented in the relevant online search systems. Moreover, authors rely on finding articles through A&I services and therefore boost their usage when reading them. When they come across high-quality articles of a certain journal in their search, they are also very likely to consider the journal a good outlet to publish in themselves.
Because predatory publishers want to attract more author fees, they want authors to believe that they are covered by the most prestigious and greatest number of abstracting and indexing services.
The problem I observe very frequently is that predatory publishers claim their journals are indexed in services that are not abstracting and indexing services. Thus they are making a false claim and displaying their ignorance about journal indexing.
Here are some non-A&I services that many publishers claim to be “indexed” in: Scribd, Cabells Directories, SlideShare, Google Docs, Open J-Gate (now defunct), and NewJour.
On the other hand, when predatory publishers claim that they are indexed in Google Scholar they are probably telling the truth. Google Scholar indexes almost all the predatory publishers — it does not screen for quality. It is the largest A+I service in existence and probably accounts for more than half of all referrals to online journals.
Finally, when predatory publishers claim to be covered by legitimate abstracting and indexing services, such as EBSCO, Embase, Scopus, etc., they are usually lying.
[The image at the top is from the International Journal of Engineering and Advanced Technology.]