The Onslaught of Questionable Open-Access Journals Persists Unabated

On April, 8, I was quoted in a New York Times article about questionable open-access publishers and questionable conferences. Since that day I’ve been happy to receive many emails, some with suggestions about possible publishers and standalone journals to add to my lists.

Below are three publishers and two standalone journals that I added to my lists after completing an analysis of each. For each I’ve listed the name, a representative image, a selection of the reasons for including the publisher / journal on my list, and a short discussion.

1. Scribes Guild:

Scribes Guild

Scribes Guild (note the typo in the image)

Reasons for inclusion:

  • The publisher does not reveal its location information.
  • The site includes content pirated from other websites (i.e. privacy policy, authors’ guidelines)
  • The site has numerous broken links and dead image links.
  • Some of its journals have empty editorial boards but they have papers published.

Discussion: This publisher has a spare website with its format copied from existing sites. It was probably created in a single sitting. This publisher is part of a recent surge of similar operations coming from Nigeria.

2. International Journal Publishers Group:

International Journal Publishers Group

International Journal Publishers Group

Reasons for inclusion:

  • The Publisher is not a group of publishers as indicated in the name; it is a single publisher.
  • The publisher claims its journals will be indexed in services that are not abstracting and indexing services.
  • The publisher appears to use the same editorial board for all its journals
  • The publisher does not reveal its headquarters location or address.
  • The publisher requires copyright transfer
  • The site makes no mention of whether authors are charged an APC or the amount.

Discussion: I cannot figure out where this publisher is based. It uses the ubiquitous Open Journals Systems software, a favorite of low-quality publishers. Its servers are slow, and some of its journals, such as the International Journal of Advanced Mechanic [sic] Engineering still lack any content.

3. Design for Scientific Renaissance:

Design for Scientific Renaissance

Design for Scientific Renaissance

Reasons for inclusion:

  • The publisher gratuitously uses the logos of Elsevier, Thomson Reuters, Scopus and Emerald on some of its pages.
  • The editorial boards are listed but lack members’ institutional affiliations.
  • The site makes no mention of whether authors are charged an APC and if so, the amount.
  • Some of the journals use the word “advanced” in their titles but the articles do not reflect advanced research.
  • There are instances of plagiarism among the articles.
  • The articles all bear this licensing statement: “© 2012 Design for Scientific Renaissance All rights reserved.” The site makes no reference to free licenses.
  • The author guidelines are pirated from other sites.

Discussion: This publisher is from Malaysia (which it clearly states). I am not sure why this publisher plasters the Elsevier, Thomson Reuters, and other logos on its web pages. The name, Design for Scientific Renaissance, is contrived and corny.

4. International Journal of Medicine and Biosciences:

International Journal of Medicine and Biosciences (IJMB)

International Journal of Medicine and Biosciences (IJMB)

Reasons for inclusion:

  • The journal does not list a headquarters location.
  • The journal lists a fictitious person as its editor in chief (A. Anderson from the International University, Cambodia). Also, editorial board members are listed without institutional affiliations.
  • Some of the articles contain plagiarism.
  • Much of the journal’s content (such as its editorial policy) is copied from other publishers without attribution.
  • The journal mentions an article processing charge on its website but doesn’t state the amount.
  • The journal claims to be indexed in services that are not abstracting and indexing services.

Discussion: This journal is trying to be a mega-journal and wants to accept practically any article that might match or come remotely close to its scope. The world does not need another journal on this topic; there are too many already. This is likely a one-man operation in which the man wants to do an hour’s work every day and watch the money roll in.

5. International Journal of Trends in Economics Management and Technology (IJTEMT):

International Journal of Trends in Economics Management and Technology (IJTEMT)

International Journal of Trends in Economics Management and Technology (IJTEMT)

Reasons for inclusion:

  • The publisher’s headquarters location is not listed.
  • The journal requires that authors transfer their copyright
  • The journal charges a higher, per-page APC for papers above eight pages.
  • The journal makes false and boastful statements including, “As the world’s leading publisher of Economics Management and Technology, IJTEMT serves more than 30 million Researchers, Students, Academecians [sic] & information professionals worldwide.”
  • The journal promises a two-week turnaround time for peer review.

Discussion: This journal is brand new and lacks any content. It shows three issues as being published, but this is just a ruse. In fact, the three issues each have a table of contents and abstracts listed and no full text. The article titles and abstracts are lifted from other publications. An example is the article Rough logic for building a landmine classifier from volume 1, issue 6 of this journal, an article that originally appeared here.

Conclusion:  These are only a few of the publishers I’ve added to my list in April. The numbers of questionable journals and publishers are surging. Every day I receive new “nominations” from concerned scholars. The increasing predominance of predatory publishers in the scholarly open-access publishing industry seriously threatens the future of the open-access movement.

Hat tips:

11 Responses to The Onslaught of Questionable Open-Access Journals Persists Unabated

  1. I think it is very valuable to list specific Reasons for inclusion, and to also have a Discussion.

  2. Yet another bunch of predators.
    I appeal to UNESCO to form an international watch body to protect the interests of genuine researchers and scientists.This is very unfortunate that the fake predatory publishers are taking control of the articles of researchers and scientists for their unethical trading.

  3. […] “On April, 8, I was quoted in a New York Times article about questionable open-access publishers and questionable conferences. Since that day I’ve been happy to receive many emails, some with suggestions about possible publishers and standalone journals to add to my lists …” (more) […]

  4. David Solomon says:

    International Journal Publishers Group may well be a sleazy journal but you have no business linking it to open journal systems (OJS). OJS is an open source software project and is used by thousands of legitimate open access journals many in developing countries operated by universities and other groups of scholars that publish journals in most cases at no cost to authors or readers.

  5. danny bloom says:

    While Zaineul Abedin comments above “yet another bunch of predators” — and well said! — I also feel it is important that the gullible and sometimes vain people who are willing to close their eyes and sit back and enjoy it for their own careerist and resume reasons needs are also PART of the problem. Not only caveat emptor, but open your eyes people.

  6. dianabuja says:

    Yes, giving reasons is an excellent idea. I recently received the following email, and just the fact that it was delivered to my ‘spam’ suggests problems: Interesting the sender gives the option of receiving no more emails by sending one with STOP as the subject.
    ” Dear Colleague,

    Science Journal Publication is an international Open-Access Journal with the sole aim of publishing original research paper(s).
    We publish:

    * Original articles in basic and applied research.
    * Case studies.
    * Critical reviews, surveys, opinions, commentaries and essays.

    We will inform author(s) of the decision on their manuscript(s) within 2
    weeks of submission.

    Author(s) interested in publishing their research paper(s) should send their manuscript(s) in MS-WORD directly to this E-mail

    Thank you very much for your time and have a nice day.

    Regards,

    Management
    Science Journal Publication

    Note: To stop receiving this message, simply send a blank message with STOP as subject.

  7. protohedgehog says:

    I think, while having a list like this of some sort is valuable, you severely undermine scientists by thinking that we’re all daft enough to submit to these journals! Yes they exist, but do you have any usage statistics for them? Scientists aren’t idiots – if it’s not a reputable name, they won’t submit, it’s that simple. Saying that this threatens the OA movement is like saying that door-to-door fliers threatens the newspaper business – not gonna happen! At least it won’t as long as there’s an awareness strategy and all of a sudden overnight, scientists don’t forget how to publish their research.

    When we do research, it’s normally with a target journal in mind. With all major publishers now being OA compliant (with the RCUK and other policies at least), these newb journals are seriously not a problem.

    See this too by Mike Taylor: http://svpow.com/2013/04/09/tutorial-23-how-to-avoid-giving-your-work-to-a-predatory-open-access-publisher/ – yeah, it’s a minor issue, but not one we can’t combat with a bit of common sense :)

  8. liza2408 says:

    I am wondering about The Clute Institute. I published a paper with them a couple of years ago on the suggestion of my co-author. The paper was peer-reviewed, or so we were told, but there were no reviewer comments sent to us, and the paper was accepted as is, and rather quickly. Since then I found a couple of minor errors — typos — and realize the paper was probably not copy-edited. I was shocked to find out that we had to pay $40 per page to publish. I had never heard of paying to publish but am told, especially by business professors, that it is increasingly common. One professor at our university published 84 articles in one year. My colleague says he did it with Clute.

    What do you think about Clute? And is paying for publication usual in OA journals?

    • Clute is on my list, and I recommend that scholars considering publishing with them find a better option.
      Article processing charges are becoming common, unfortunately. They create a conflict of interest and lead publishers to accept papers that ought not to be accepted. Many new publishers are appearing that are corrupting the open-access publishing model.
      The article submission fee is not so common. It is just a way for publishers to get more money out of their clients, the authors.

  9. Nita D. S. says:

    Thanks for sending this info. I’ll also have to comment on the practice of spurious conferences whose main purpose is to price-gouge the unsuspecting attendee. One such in my opinion is the International Conference of Environmental Science and Technology, that unfortunately I attended a coupe of years ago. Its held apparently every year and purportedly under the auspices of the “American Academy of Science”. It might be legitimate for all I know but I was struck by the exhorbitant fees, the apparent lack of any vetting of submissions, the publication of its “proceedings” by an unknown publisher (NOT the American Acad. of Sciences) and so on. Perhaps I am being over suspicious and the ICEST may be legit., but I think someone should bring out a list of dubious conferences as well. Nita DS

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