Japanese Open-Access Journal is a Joke

Journal of Physical Therapy Science

Journal of easy academic credit.

I don’t see too many questionable open-access journals that originate in Japan, but here’s one, the Journal of Physical Therapy Science. It purports to be the organ of The Society of Physical Therapy Science, for which I can find no website, other than the journal’s. The journal is hosted on Japan’s J-STAGE platform, which calls itself a journal aggregator, but in this case it essentially functions as this journal’s publisher.

Here are some of this journal’s additional weaknesses:

  • It’s a monthly that publishes over fifty articles each month, a sign of easy acceptance. The table of contents is split into multiple screens, essentially hiding the works beyond the first screen.
  • It has no editor-in-chief or editorial board that I could find. If you can find them, please let me know.
  • The articles are uniformly short (2-4 pages) and almost all show a quick, four to five week period between submission and acceptance.
  • There’s a submission fee (¥10,000) in addition to the author fee (¥20,000 per “printed” page). The submission fee is waived for members of the society, but there are no members, apparently. It’s a sham society.
  • The authors of the articles seem to come from pretty much every country EXCEPT Japan, the home country of the “society” publisher. I noticed many from Korea and a lot from Turkey.
  • The author guidelines (published as a separate PDF), don’t say anything about how articles are licensed. The articles bear copyright statements that say “©2015 The Society of Physical Therapy Science” and also say they are licensed under a CC BY NC ND license. Do authors have to sign copyright over to the journal which then releases it under a CC license? Why can’t the authors just retain copyright?
  • Looking at the articles, I observed many author and journal self-citations.
  • The journal uses a small logo that says “Peer Review,” but there’s no evidence that any peer review is done. It appears this journal just takes orders from authors needing easy publishing.
Journal of Physical Therapy Science 2

Somebody in Japan is making a lot of easy money with this journal.

Conclusion

This journal exists chiefly as a means for researchers to easily purchase academic credit, in the form of short articles, which they then use for tenure and promotions and securing employment outside universities. Its publisher is a pretend scholarly society that has fooled many.

J-STAGE should not be publishing low-quality journals such as this one.

35 Responses to Japanese Open-Access Journal is a Joke

  1. Keith Fraser says:

    Ironically, I noticed that the just-published article in Physical Review Letters about the discovery of gravitational waves apparently only took 3-4 weeks from submission to publication. Hopefully that’s because it was prioritized…

  2. Carlos says:

    Dear Dr. Jeffrey Beall,
    Thank you very much for your helpful information of this journal. It is very dangerous for researchers to submit the manuscript. I think that it should be added in your list.

  3. Andy says:

    Dear Prof Beall; Please can you kindly assess me the journal “Translational Pediatrics”. I found it interesting as it is indexed in PUBMED but it looked suspicious as no mention was made on their website on the publication charges (to be paid or not?). Just to note it is open access.
    Many thanks.
    Andy

    • I’ve analyzed this journal’s publisher before. It is AME Publishing Company. I think it’s a borderline medical publisher, and there’s not a strong case to be made for adding it to my list, so it’s not on the list.

  4. David says:

    What a bad research you did Jef (same like your many other posts). The society’s website link is there on “About the Publisher”. Here is society link http://spts.jpn.com/. The journal is available on ISI Master List here http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/cgi-bin/jrnlst/jlresults.cgi?PC=MASTER&Full=Journal%20of%20Physical%20Therapy%20Science, and PMC here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/journals/2193/.

    Journal has an Impact Factor of 0.392 (2014). So overall the journal is an attractive publishing point for Physical Therapy Science researchers. I wonder that you blame a good journal and didn’t mention a bad journal who is actually using the original journal’s title to deceive researchers and can be found here https://sites.google.com/site/jphysther/editorial-board.

    Conclusion: Truly, the research is the work of researchers. So now, you should stop this!

    • This is a journal that has no EiC or editorial board, and you think it’s an “attractive publishing point” ? That says a lot about you. The impact factor does not make it legitimate, but it does explain the high number of pay-to-publish articles that it has. How many articles have you published in this easy journal? The second journal you mention, while also low quality, does not copy the Japanese journal’s title, so you can’t even get that right.

  5. David says:

    So you don’t think that “Journal of Physical Therapy” is using the name of impact factor journal “Journal of Physical Therapy Science”. Well, now you should delete all your posts in which you mentioned that many journals are deceiving authors by using nearby or similar titles. Second, I don’t like to publish my research in these sort of journals. In fact, your pants are already wet due to your non-professional research and non-humanistic attitude. I am not inclined towards any side. I mentioned what I found. But you are clearly inclined toward defaming open access journals, coz these journals are a great threat to Librarians like you. And you are fighting for your survival. And read my previous post carefully, I didn’t write anything about EiC. I write that, this journal is an attractive publishing point for researchers who in fact seek to publish in journals covered by Thomson Reuters or Pub Med. Here is the evidence that their board and EiC exist https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jpts/23/4/23_4_697/_pdf, but why they don’t mention you can ask them directly.

    • Marco says:

      Hmmm…if Jeffrey Beall wanted to defame Open Access journals, he would have had something to say about the Journal of Physical Therapy, considering it also is an Open Access journal.

      You also have an interesting view of what constitutes “evidence that their board and EiC exist”: a paper where a retraction is mentioned in rather generic language, and where only the title “Editor-in-Chief” is used. You may find that most other journals explicitly mention the name of the EiC who initiated the retraction. Others may note that there is no mention whatsoever of a “board” in that retraction notice.

      Maybe there indeed is an EiC and an Editorial Board, but the evidence you have provided so far is seriously lacking in substance.

  6. tekija says:

    I agree that it is most likely not correct to list this journal as predatory. It made the least cost-effective open access forum for publishing in an analysis by Nature analysis, true.

    http://www.nature.com/news/price-doesn-t-always-buy-prestige-in-open-access-1.12259

    and it well may make substantial income to the Society, which indeed is genuine and can be verified to have existed from the late 1980’s at least.

    The Society site provides evidence of peer review as does the retraction notice, cited above by David.

    http://spts.jpn.com/jpts/index.html

    “Attach low resolution images to Word file for peer-review. Final printable file will be requested upon acceptance of the manuscript.”

    The journal has an adress for editorial office that is located in an Office building, judged by the information stand in front of it in Google street view.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/1+Chome-24-12+Sugamo,+Toshima-ku,+Tōkyō-to+170-0002,+Japani/@35.7315174,139.7400181,3a,66.8y,256.21h,82t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sQlbu_BrEhx4lruD3MuJvxQ!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x60188d9863e4be67:0xcbd549c5bcc24e2

    Its publisher is International Press Editing Center, located in the same office building, as per the Society web site.

    http://www.ipec-pub.co.jp/

    It uses ScholarOne for manuscript submissions albeit the adopted procedure is old fashioned. Yet this industry standard software provides electronic peer review and must incur running xepenses.

    Judging by the titles, it publishes strictly papers in its narrow field.

    Googling by journal name it is not difficult to find people accross the world who list in their CV as having been an editorial board member or having reviewed for JPTS at one point in time.

    Clearly there are more prestigious, more professional and more economical places to publish but predatory? – Nope. Few if any criteria fulfilled. Bordline? Maybe.

    Jeffrey makes a terrific job with his list in general, far outweighing an occasional random mishap. Let us not default him for that. Like every work, it must be a continuous learning experience.

    • So, you’re happy with a journal that publishes in English not listing any editor-in-chief or editorial board on its English website. And therefore, according to you, all journals can have invisible editorial boards.

      The retraction doesn’t prove anything. A clerk could have done it. All it proves is that the journal got caught accepting a duplicate paper.

      • Michal says:

        I noticed on the JPTS website http://spts.jpn.com/en/JPTS.html that they have an editor in chief by the name of Hitoshi MARUYAMA. If you have added JPTS as a questionable journal based on the lack of an editor in chief, I would like to ask you to remove the journal from such a list, as it clearly has an editor in chief on its English website.

      • They only added an editor and editorial board AFTER I called them on not having/displaying one. I still think this is a highly questionable journal. Instead of seeking out easy-acceptance journals such as this one appears to be, I suggest researchers find a real scholarly journal for their work. This journal is like a factory spitting out ball bearings.

  7. tekija says:

    I did not see any need to comment on any of your points that I entirely agreed with. What you reiterate is for example insurmountable evidence of low quality, but it does not a predatory journal make. Neither does retraction for plagiarism, which unfortunately permeates scholarly publishing accoss the field as many journals are only now awakening against such attempts. My understanding is that predatory journals typically shun requests to investigate plagiarism and try avoid taking action whereas legitimate journals apologise and retract. Typically, the retraction notices do not name editors. Here are a few hundred examples through Retraction Watch:

    http://retractionwatch.com/category/by-reason-for-retraction/plagiarism/

    I forgive you for the argumentum ad hominem, unexpected though it was.

  8. kito says:

    Always enjoy your posts. This society was founded in 1986, has 3,000 members, has been very active in education , and discloses a detailed financial report every year. Just feeling a little unfair to regard them as a sham. I have no expertise in judging the journal’s scientific validity, however.

    • Thanks. Can you point me to the journal’s editor-in-chief? Its editorial board? Do you know why these can’t be found on the journal’s website? The society must be earning a fortune, publishing 50-75 articles a month at ¥ 20,000 per page.

      • MC says:

        Predatory or not, it’s not transparent, and that should be a factor in deciding if it’s worthwhile or not. Not displaying an editor in chief and editorial board, and having no real details associated with peer review and publishing process makes it, by default, low quality. Perhaps it’s not. With the income they’re pulling in, they could afford the web development to make this look more like a legit journal and less like a crappy OA journal that made their logo in paint. And, pay-per-page? Again, low quality, by default. Now bring on more weird arguments in support of the journal…

      • Andy says:

        Thanks for being alert, upright and strong Jeffrey. So simple a case; why can the journal not simply point out the EiC and Editorial board. Is there anything to hide? I am sure if that were done, you would have simply removed the journal from your list and the matter would have been over!!! Stay blessed

      • K Tada says:

        I have to say the most of the subscription-based academic journals published by Japanese academic societies collect page charge.

        For example, Applied Physics Express, which is one of the best journals in the field of Applied physics with relatively high IF,
        http://iopscience.iop.org/1882-0786

        also collects page charge.
        https://journals.jsap.jp/apex/authors/general-information

      • You missed the point.
        Having a page charge is normal.
        Where is the editor-in-chief? Where is the editorial board? Why are they publishing 50-100 short, low-quality papers each month? Who is deciding which papers to accept, which to reject?

      • K Tada says:

        As J_C says in his comment below, they have a homepage in Japanese showing present HQ members of the society.
        http://spts.jpn.com/katsudo/katudou.html

        They have 編集委員会(Editorial Committee) and
        大重 匡 Prof. Tadasu Ohshige of Univ. Kagoshima seems to be currently served as the chief of the committee. So, he is playing a role og EiC.

        His HP is :
        http://ris.kuas.kagoshima-u.ac.jp/html/100004836_ja.html

        Other committee members mentioned there are aslo active professors, also they do not have informative English HPs.
        .
        赤坂清和 Prof. Kiyokazu Akasaka of Saitama Medeical Univ.
        http://www.saitama-med.ac.jp/hoken/study/study_physical/study_p1.html

        安藤正志 Prof. Masashi Ando of Hosei Univ.
        http://kenkyu-web.i.hosei.ac.jp/Profiles/23/0002268/profile.html

        黒澤和生 Prof. Kazuo Kurosawa of iuhw
        http://www.iuhw.ac.jp/daigakuin/faculty/health_welfare/rigaku/staff/kurosawa_kazuo.html

        藤田博暁 Prof. Hiroaki Fujita of Saitama Medeical Univ.
        http://www.saitama-med.ac.jp/hoken/study/study_physical/study_p16.html

        However, Since my speciality is so far from Physical Therapy Science, I cannot judge the academic quality of the journal.

      • All their papers are published in English, and this information is not available on their main English website or in English anywhere. This is negligent.

      • K Tada says:

        I completely agree with you.
        I have sent an e-mail alerting this issue to J-Stage.

        I also noticed that PMC recently started to share the articles of the journal recently.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/journals/2193/

      • K Tada says:

        So, now I think that the journal is removed from your list. On the other hand, the latest version of your publishers list does not seem to include mdpi. Are there any post covering the story of thr exclusion of mdpi from your list?

      • It’s not removed. There are two lists.
        The removal of MDPI was announced in a Tweet and with an update in a blog post.

      • K Tada says:

        1. Having page charge is normal (as you noted). 2. They have an editorial committee consisting of academic professionals. (Of course, they should have English page about this information.) 3. Publishing 50-75 articles a month at ¥ 20,000 per page does not seem to such predatorial compared with the journal mdpi’s Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health which published 150 articles in last January with 1600CHF per article, for example. So, I think the journal should be removed from your list.

      • When “factory” journals such as this one are exposed, it is not uncommon for them to lose their impact factors. It is very obvious that this journal is just a factory where people pay a high price to get a short article published in an impact factor journal. I think it’s just a matter of time before others, including indexing agencies, realize what’s really going on with this journal and remove it from the indexes. Therefore, I want to alert potential authors (the honest ones) to the risks they are incurring when submitting papers to this journal.

        I agree that MDPI is just another factory publisher, but I was obliged to remove it because the appeals board recommended it.

  9. J_C says:

    When you search for this society, I’d recommend that you do so in Japanese as it will yield more results: 理学療法科学学会.

    They do have a website. Here is the page where you can view their business plan, budgets, rules, and awards, along with the society members/officers and what appears to be an editorial board/committee listed in a chart at the bottom (Japanese):

    http://spts.jpn.com/katsudo/katudou.html

    I believe the main editor is 大重 匡, or Tadashi Oshige. However, you may want to check this with a native Japanese speaker.

    There are two English editorial member names listed (I believe they may play a role with the English language sections): Paul D. Andrew and Richard Bohannon

    I’m uncertain of Paul Andrew’s identity, but there is a Richard Bohannon in the physical therapy field:

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-bohannon-763177b

    Why the society does not list the board members on the Journal’s site though is certainly a reasonable question.

    The president of the Physical Therapy Society is Hitoshi Maruyama of the International University of Health and Welfare. Here is his profile in English:

    http://researchmap.jp/read0039341/?lang=english

    Here are some of the other society members (English):

    http://bit.ly/1XmKGty

    Overall, it is a tad odd that a Japanese society journal features articles that are primarily authored by international researchers (though this is not the case for older volumes). As mentioned, it appears to be mainly Korean, Turkish, & Chinese researchers, although this may not be especially surprising given that their website does have a Chinese language option on several pages and their most recent budget report suggests that funds are being allocated towards international outreach). The price of this journal definitely seems astronomical (as further evidenced by the Nature review linked to above) and their copyright policy is confusing and convoluted. They could use a few tweaks to improve their publication.
    When you search for this society, I’d recommend that you do so in Japanese as it will yield more results: 理学療法科学学会.

    They do have a website. Here is the page where you can view their business plan, budget, rules, and awards, along with the society members/officers and what appears to be an editorial board/committee listed in a chart at the bottom (Japanese):

    http://spts.jpn.com/katsudo/katudou.html

    I believe the main editor is 大重 匡, or Tadashi Oshige. However, you may want to check this with a native Japanese speaker.

    Additionally, there are two English editorial member names listed (I believe they may help with the English language sections): Paul D. Andrew and Richard Bohannon

    I’m uncertain of Paul Andrew’s identity, but there is a Richard Bohannon in the physical therapy field:

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-bohannon-763177b

    Why the society does not list the board members on the Journal’s site though is certainly a reasonable question.

    Next, the president of the Physical Therapy Society is Hitoshi Maruyama of the International University of Health and Welfare. Here is his profile in English:

    http://researchmap.jp/read0039341/?lang=english

    Here are some of the other society members (English):

    http://bit.ly/1XmKGty

    Overall, it is a tad odd that a Japanese society journal features articles that are primarily authored by international researchers (though this is not the case for older volumes). As mentioned, it appears to be mainly Korean, Turkish, & Chinese researchers, although this may not be especially surprising given that their website does have a Chinese language option on several pages and their most recent budget report suggests that funds are being allocated towards international outreach). The price of this journal definitely seems astronomical (as further evidenced by the Nature review linked to above) and their copyright policy is confusing and convoluted. They could use a few tweaks to improve their publication (I cannot speak for the quality of the articles).

    • K Tada says:

      I am a Japanese and am agree with points mentioned in this post in most. The small icons “peer review” and “Journal” are attached by J-Stage, not by the journal itself. (Please check other journals.)

      https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/browse/sicetr
      https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/browse/jfst

      In my personal view, the role of EiC of many journals, which are recognized as proper journals by the Japanese researchers, published by the Japanese academic societies is somewhat different from that of the journals published in western countries. That is, EiC is just a position of HQ of an academic society, which is subject to be election every 1-3 years. For example, The EiCs of English journals published by IEICE, which have Impact Factors, change every two years.

      https://search.ieice.org/bin/editorial_board_archive.php?lang=E&sel_y=2014

      Therefore, in general, Japanese researchers do not seem to care the person who serves as the EiC of the journal. They mainly care whether the journal is published by an authentic academic society or not.

      • K Tada says:

        Oh, this “post” is incorrect. I am agree with points mentioned in this “comment” given by J_C.

  10. Vijay Raghavan says:

    Dear Jeffrey,

    Thank you very much for your untiring efforts in identifying dubious journals and publishers. I and my students have benefited to a great extent in ensuring that our scarce money is well-spent. A crusade like yours is bound to have antagonists, and some of these persons are likely beneficiaries from the predatory activity. It is quite possible that misjudgment may occur sometimes. You have demonstrated your sensitivity by having an avenue for appeal, and your open-mindedness by removing certain journals from the list, when so warranted. Single-handed, you are fighting a whole vicious army. Please carry on. A legion of us are here to support you in your fight for quality in publishing. More power to you!

  11. Greg says:

    What do you think of: Journal of Environmental Biology http://www.jeb.co.in

    I thought that nowadays you can do anything online, but here is a journal that say: “Manuscript should be submitted by post …”

    What do you think of the practice that fees is paid BEFORE acceptance? Is it a clear sign of predatory journal?

    • This journal has some serious problems, and I’ve added it to my list. It shows evidence of possible article brokering (a “special issue” with a bunch of articles all from one country). It also has a submission fee and a page fee, but it doesn’t state the page fees (having a submission fee is not part of the predatory criteria, but not stating the amount of author fees is a serious deficiency). Thanks.

  12. Jake Lee says:

    Academics World is already in your list of possibly predatory publishers, but I’m hoping you can also do an article about the long list of conferences they will be hosting (and have hosted) this year – across the globe, at that. Some of these conferences will be (and have been) held in my country (the Philippines) and I’m afraid that many Filipino researchers who are not aware of the existence of these predatory conferences have fallen prey.

    Here’s the link to Academics World’s website:
    http://academicsworld.org/

    A number of other (possibly predatory) conferences are listed in this link:
    https://www.allconferencealert.com/country_event.php?country=Philippines

    You will see that just for the month of May, Academics World will be holding eight different conferences in two consecutive days, all in the same venue. The list in the link above also includes conferences by other organizations such as IIER and IASTEM. These organizations are in fact, just different names for Academics World – they all consist of completely identical Technical Committees.

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