Peer Review Reports from Questionable Publishers: Three Examples

peer review

A fake peer review in these three cases, I think.

When the first round of the peer review process is complete, authors generally receive a peer review report from the publisher of the journal they submitted the paper to. In this blog post I present three different peer review reports from three publishers on my list. Two of them are reports of authentic papers, and the third is a report returned after a bogus paper (sting) was submitted. (The sting was not done by me but by someone else.)

Looking at the reports, you will see templates that are used for the peer review, in addition to a narrative section. Each one lists a series of criteria with columns for tick marks. Some are yes / no, others use a numerical scale, such as 1-4. All three of these papers were accepted, with two of them only asking for small changes.

ddd

It’s like peer review for a six-year-old.

The textual components of the reviews are equally appalling. Here is the narrative review from the first paper above, from reviewer 1:

The paper provides a very thorough review of literatures. I appreciate the author to choose this type of topic for study. The paper is properly organized and demands appreciation. I think the paper will satisfy the itnerest of the readers

Here is the narrative review from reviewer 2:

The topic of the article is appreciable. There is originality in analysis. The author(s) do an adequate job of demonstrating the basic parts of the paper. The article is written clearly, terms are defined throughout the paper.

This is a sham peer review. I imagine they use the same or similar text for other reviews as well. The publisher’s goal is to get the paper accepted as quickly as possible and pocket the article processing charges.

Sadly, younger researchers who submit their first papers to publishers such as these may not realize that the peer review is bogus. They might conclude that all peer review is conducted this way.

 

36 Responses to Peer Review Reports from Questionable Publishers: Three Examples

  1. Jeff Shrager says:

    This is wonderful data! Maybe we need a PeerReviewLeaks site to post both good and bad examples.

  2. AlexH says:

    Astonishing; not a single comment about anything which is specific for the paper.

    These “peer” reports are very valuable, however, for proving that no genuine peer evaluation was conducted. I think that this is among the most solid evidences for a journal being predatory; and Mr. Beall should be highly commended for publishing these.

    Is it possible in the future to collect these fake reviews and publish them on scholarlyoa.com? Even in the List it would be useful to mark journals and publishers where there is a proof of faked peer review!

  3. Liam Mac Liam says:

    Very striking (and deeply depressing) examples.
    It would be a doable task for a determined researcher to compile and compare a large number of such “reviews” in a fairly short time given that the worst predators are keen to have a fast turnaround.

    Incidentally, the bogus paper “The Economy of Sexual identity: Burroughs and the cultural paradigm of context” sounds intriguing. Is it possible to find the full paper on-line?

  4. Lazgin Barany says:

    Can I have your feedback and assessment to the International Journal of Arts and Sciences conferences who publish a journal (IJAS) ?
    Regards
    Lazgin

    • I personally would avoid their journals and conferences. I would advise my friends to avoid them also. They are more like vacation packages than conferences, in my opinion. I recommend that you seek a more authentic conference venue, such as one organized by a real scholarly society.

  5. P. Canning says:

    Absolutely preposterous. The proliferation of open access journals is really polluting scholarly publishing. There must be some check on them. Can’t the big publishers like Elsevier do something to control this?

  6. Clement Ogunkunle says:

    I want to thank Dr. Beall for this great work he has done. He has actually rescued young researchers like me from exploitation from these hungry publishers. I have once fallen into this kind of sham review practice of which I did not know that it was just a sham review. Please, keep it up, i really appreciate you..

  7. Dan Riley says:

    I once thought of creating a version of SciGen to generate random nonsense “peer reviews” (PeerGen?). I could believe these reviews were generated that way.

  8. With increasing pressure for scholars to publish within university established time frames, predatory journals have a growing “hunting ground”. Thank you for sharing these bogus peer reviews and exposing predatory journals.

  9. P Canning says:

    We should submit papers only to publishers like Elsevier and others who do a good job of adding value to papers. Open access journals are too much headache. Not one is good, lot of predators are there and charges are in thousands of dollars. Should be avoided.

    • Farid says:

      Gordon

      ELSEVIER has many well known ISI indexed journals with poor review quality. Expert Systems with Applications is just an example of it. They used to publish 100 papers per month with no peer review insights. The papers were either rejected or accepted and there was no comments. Here are some of the facts on publishing on OA journals

      1. Your paper has up to six times more chance to get cited.
      2. The scientific society pays less. Note that publishing a paper in non-OA costs well over 5000$ per article and this cost is reduced to 200-1500 depending on OA publisher.

      I agree that there are many OA publishers trying to abuse the whole idea but we should keep in our mind that sooner or later, all publishers must switch to OA model and this help world’s scientific society grow faster.

      Farid

      • J.J. says:

        ‘The scientific society pays less’ not if the number of papers explodes, which is the case. ‘Society’ pays for 10 incremental/redundant OA papers at 1500$ a piece instead of 1 in depth study. This only to help academics to get tenure in universities that stopped bothering about quality and just ask for volume, or well-paid government jobs.

        ‘Note that publishing a paper in non-OA costs well over 5000$’
        This is a wild exaggeration, it has been calculated by the Harvard library that it’s on the order of 3000$, about the cost of 2 pay-for-publish ‘open access’ papers.

        ‘all publishers must switch to OA model’
        I don’t see why they ‘must’, but most of them already have because of the high demand of authors that are desperate to publish their stuff.

  10. Koushik Pal says:

    The predatory publishers remind me of thugs who once created havoc in India. The British rulers brought their terror to an end after prolonged attempts. We need such operations. Mark and catch and hang them! Metaphorically speaking…

  11. M. M. Khan says:

    I totally agree with what you have commented about young researchers.

  12. […] Peer Review Reports from Questionable Publishers: Three Examples – Drüben im Scholarly Open Access Blog gewährt Jeffrey Beall einen Blick auf drei verschiedene Peer Review Reports aus drei unterschiedlichen Journalen. In den ersten beiden Journalen handelt es sich um reguläre Einreichungen, beim dritten Journal handelt es sich um ein Fake Paper (“Sting”) – bemerkenswert ist dabei das Ergebnis in den Reports die sich allesamt nicht sonderlich unterscheiden. Auch hier also die Frage nach der Ernsthaftigkeit, Sorgfältigkeit und Qualität des Peer Review Prozesses. […]

  13. T. Lewandowski says:

    J. Beall said: “The publisher’s goal is to get the paper accepted as quickly as possible and pocket the article processing charges.”

    One little “but”: peer review repot number 1 clearly states: “This issue of the journal is completely free of charge”.

    I greatly appreciate the work mr. Beall does, but exactly this kind of oversimplifications may get us where mr. P Canning already is.

    Great job done this time, though. About time to make peer review more transparent. Be it in OA or in TA journals.

    • I take your point. This is a new publisher, and they strategically plan to get the first couple or few issues full of articles, then they use these early issues to attract additional article submissions, and the “free of charge” policy is stopped. Therefore, the initial, free-of-charge policy does support the publishers’ goal of pocketing the money.

      • T. Lewandowski says:

        I agree – this might be their strategy. It is poor a strategy, though; after a bunch of such crappy peer reviews all they’re left with at the end of the day is an issue published for free and a mob of angry researchers never to submit any paper to them again. I wonder if they will fool anyone more than once.

  14. T. Lewandowski says:

    Reviewer 1 from the peer review report 1 ticked ‘no’ to option ‘litterature review is adequate’, yet in the narrative part he wrote ‘The paper provides a very thorough review of literatures’ (sic!).

    Small thing, but a jolly one.

  15. Ahmad Hassanat says:

    Dear Jeffery
    I would like very much to thank you for the great efforts you are making every day. I wonder if you shed the light on the hijacked journals using fake websites, I personally was almost a victim of http://www.Penseejournal.com which i think it has nothing to do with the great french journal La Pensee. what do you think?

  16. Carlito Tampang says:

    Good morning Sir.

    May I introduce myself because this is the first time I write e-mail to you. I am Carolus Patampang. I am Indonesian and right now I am studying in Saint Louis University Baguio City, Philippines. I am taking my graduate study in PhD in educational management. The first time I encountered your blog was during my research class. Our professor Dr. Gaston Kibiten encouraged us to open your blog so that we will know the list of the fakes journal. Right now I am writing my final paper. Although I have been checking your blog, my I ask again a question in regards to two journals: the Australian Journal of Teacher Education (I have plan to send my paper to be published there) and also The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology (I encounter a research that related to my study). Do you have any comments about this two journal. As well could you recommend any journals in the area of educational management or policy in Australia and Asia which I might send my paper?

    Thank you very much in advance for your response and help

    Sincerely

    Carolus Patampang

    • Hi, Carolus, I think both of those journals are fine. Neither is on my list. I’m sorry — I cannot make journal recommendations outside my own field. I focus on finding the questionable publishers. I recommend asking your librarian for help in identifying good journals in your field. Good luck.

      • Carolus Patampang says:

        Thank you very much for your answer.
        I still accept your information from your blog. It is a very big help. Thank you again

      • M. says:

        Dear Mr. J. Beall Explain me – I think both of those journals are fine. (The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology)
        but: https://scholarlyoa.com/individual-journals/ – there is:
        Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology (TOJET) – ISSN Old (1303 – 6521), New: (2146-7242)
        thank you

      • My explanation: you either have some sort of stake in the journals or you have lower standards than I do. This journal is on my list, and I recommend you avoid it (and the expensive conferences associated with it). This journal is not about Ed Tech; it is about profit for the owner.

  17. Jeff Shrager says:

    Interestingly, a spam ad just arrived in my inbox for a new “journal” called “International Journal of Medical and Pharmaceutical Case Reports” by the already-listed “ScienceDomain”. What is interesting, and apropos to the present discussion, is that this journal has an open peer review process (at least for accepted papers). I haven’t explored this much, but it appears that you can see ALL the reviews BY NAME for all the published papers (at least since they started this process). For example:

    http://www.sciencedomain.org/review-history.php?iid=194&id=12&aid=980

  18. Hello sir,
    I want to submit my ME project paper for peer review.can I submit it with only expected result.because project results are not ready.
    Plz reply me.

  19. Abdu Abasi says:

    International Journal of Arts and Commerce (IJAC) (http://www.ijac.org.uk) are full fake and fraud journal. Publication address and money receiver person country is different. All most all paper is acceptable.

    Publisher address:
    Centre for Enhancing Knowledge (CEK), UK.
    http://www.cekinfo.org.uk

    Publisher and Editorial Office address:
    International Journal of Arts and Commerce
    76’Westoe Road.
    SOUTH SHIELDS
    TYNE & WEAR
    Post code:NE334NA
    United Kingdom

    Payment receives address by review:
    Payment Recipient Name: MD FARHAD HOSSAIN
    (First Name: MD FARHAD, Last Name: HOSSAIN)
    Payment Recipient Address: 04/06, Khilkhet,
    Post Code (ZIP Code): 1230
    City: Dhaka,
    Country: Bangladesh

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